Are you a macrame beginner? Do you want to get into macrame but want are unsure of what cord to buy or how much of it you need? Are you wondering how easy macrame is to learn? Or maybe you like the look of macrame but aren’t sure what you can actually make using it. I’ve answered the 5 most commonly asked questions I get people thinking about starting macrame. And if I have missed something that you would like to know, pop a question in the comments at the bottom of the post and I’ll get back to you.
Is Macrame Easy to Learn?
Most macrame is made up of the same few knots repeated over and over to create decorative patterns. So once you have mastered the basic knots, most patterns are just these in different combinations. And most people have experience of tying knots, even if it is just your shoelaces. So there is something familiar about the process already. I try to make all my tutorials and kits a simple to understand as possible, breaking each step down into small actions to make it as simple as possible.
What cord or string do I need to make macrame?
You can use pretty much anything to macrame with! You can macrame with any string or rope you can find as well as with ribbon and wire if you fancy. But there are specific macrame strings, cords and ropes that are generally used.
Macrame cords usually fall into one of these categories. String is lots of fine threads twisted together, like a chunky, softer version of household string, and is often referred to a “single twist”. It creates a lovely finish and is brilliant when you want to create fringing or tassels. Rope has 3 strings twisted together, which is why it is also called 3-ply, and creates more texture in your macrame. I use 3 ply rope in many of my kits as it is also easier to handle when you first start out, but can still produce a good fringe. Cord is braided, usually around a core and is often used for larger macrame pieces. Most macrame cord, string and rope will be made from cotton, which grips and holds the knots tightly. NOTE- each of the terms string, rope and cord can be used somewhat interchangeably, I tend to use cord as a catch-all term. Look for the words single twist, ply and braided to help you identify the type of cord that you want.
For practicing, and some complex knots, a nylon paracord can be really helpful. Paracord is easy to untie if you get a bit wrong and is brilliant for knots that require lots of working to get the knot tight.
How much macrame cord or string do I need?
This depends on what you are making and the thickness of your cord. But you usually use more than you think you need. As a macrame beginner, the best thing to so is follow tutorials and patterns or buy a kit (like mine!) that will tell you exactly how much cord you need for that particular project. You will begin to get a feel for the lengths of cord needed for different projects. But, if you were to press me for an answer, I would say to work on the principle that each individual cord needs to be 2 metres long for a small jewellery piece, or 4 metres long for a larger wall hanging. This won’t work for every design, but its a good starting point.
Do I need lots of tools and equipment as a beginner?
One of the great things about macrame is that you don’t need lots of tools or specialist equipment. The main tools are your own hands! But there are some helpful items that will make macrame-ing easier. It is usually helpful to have something to hold your work down when making knots. This can be something as simple as some masking or washi tape to stick cords down onto your desk. For small scale pieces a foam or cord board can be really handy. You can use either ordinary sewing pins or tougher macrame t-pins to pin down cords and rope to the board. Some specially made foam boards (like this one) also have slots around the edge to hold cords in place.
You will need some everyday household items: something to measure your cord with, such as a sewing measuring tape or retractable metal DIY tape. Sharp scissors for cutting your cords and trimming fringes. And to brush out that fringe, a simple plastic comb will do the trick.
Beyond this, you may need components to make your macrame functional, such as wooden rods for wall hangings or metal findings for jewellery making. These will depend on the project you are making, but most things will be easily available from your local craft shop or online.
What can I make using macrame?
I used to think macrame was all plant hangers and owl wall hangings (I am an 80’s baby and there was A LOT of boho macrame hanging around from the 70’s when I was a kid!) And there is nothing wrong with plant hangers and owl hangings. But macrame is incredibly versatile and can be used to create everything from clothing and cushion covers, to room dividers and obviously my favourite, jewellery!
Bonus Question – How do you say Macrame?
I go with muh-KRAAH-mey which is the most common pronunciation here in the UK. Then MA-kruh-mei is to be more commonly used over in North America. But as far as I can tell, both of these are correct! However I did have someone call it ma-crahm recently, and that one is definitely not right. The word macrame comes from the French (via Turkish and Arabic) macramé and that acute over the e means an “AY” sound, but the rest depends on where your accent would normally place emphasis.
As for the spelling, is it macrame or macramé? I generally go without the acute accent over the e, as we don’t tend to use them in English language, but again either works!
If you are looking to take the next steps in your journey as a macrame beginner, take a look at my ebooks and kits! And sign up to my monthly email, The Loop, for top tips, news and subscriber offers.