How to Choose the Right Macrame Cords for Your Project – Braided, Single Twist, or 3-Ply?

How to choose the right macrame cords - Macrame for Beginners Guide - Basics

Rope, Cord, or Braided? Most new Macrame makers are unsure which Macrame cords to choose for their projects. In this guide, I explain what types of Macrame cords are available, how they compare, and where to order them online!

Affiliate links may be sprinkled throughout the awesome, free content below. I’ll receive a small commission when you purchase from my (Amazon) links (at no extra cost to you), which I’ll happily spend on more colorful macrame cords!

What is the best cord for Macrame?

Although you can use any cord for Macrame, most fiber artists prefer working with high-quality cotton Macrame cords. These are usually available in 3 types:

  • 3-Ply rope (or Triple Twist)
  • Braided cords
  • Single Twist cords (or Single Strand/1-Ply)
Macrame Cord Guide - 3-ply, braided and soft cotton cords - Macrame for Beginners

In this guide, I will explain the difference between each cord type, how to choose the right cord for your project, and determine what thickness (mm) you need.

If you’re looking for the best shops to order Macrame cords, check this handy guide with local Macrame cord suppliers near you.

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Types of cotton cords that are available

Most Macrame makers refer to the umbrella term Macrame cords, but when you want to go and order your supplies, you’ll quickly find out there are different types of cords you can choose from.

5 mm Braided, 3-ply, and Single Twist Macrame cords

The main difference between these different types of cotton cords is how they’re twisted and composed, making some more suitable for specific projects than others.

What is the difference between Macrame cord and rope

Braided and Single Twist Macrame cords are usually referred to as cords and 3-PLY as rope. Whatever material you choose, all cords are super soft, durable, and perfect for your Macrame projects.

3-PLY Macrame Rope

3-Ply Macrame Rope comprises many single threads twisted into three separate strings.

How to Choose the Right Macrame Cords for Your Project - Different cord types
1.5, 3, 5, and 9 mm 3-ply Macrame cords

Thanks to its twisted structure, 3-Ply ropes are super strong and easy to work with. The soft material creates gorgeous defined knots and gives a pretty twirly fringe.

Always tape the end of your 3-Ply ropes, so they don’t unravel while working on your project.

Perfect for: Small and Large Wall Hangings, Plant Hangers, Hat Hangers, Market Bags, etc.

10 DIY Easy Macrame Hat Hangers for Beginners - FREE DIY VIDEO TUTORIALS

Braided Macrame Cords

Braided cords are composed of hundreds of single threads braided into one cord. 

How to Choose the Right Macrame Cords for Your Project - Different cord types
3, 5, and 9 mm braided Macrame cords

These slightly stretchy Macrame cords give your pieces a gorgeous soft look and are perfect for small and large projects.

Braided cords are the most durable of all three cord types, making them perfect for beginners and practicing your knots.

You can easily undo your work when you make a mistake, and the cord doesn’t fray or unravel. Braided Macrame cords can’t be combed out into a fringe.

Perfect for: Wall Hangings, Plant Hangers, Bags, Market Bags, Hat Hangers, Jewelry, etc.


Single Twist Macrame Cords

Single Twist Macrame cord comprises hundreds of single threads twisted into one cord.

How to Choose the Right Macrame Cords for Your Project - Different cord types
1.5, 3, 5, and 9 mm single twist Macrame cords

These Macrame cords are a joy to work with, and the silky soft material creates the prettiest knots and a fluffy fringe.

Single Twist cords are the most fragile of all three cord types, making them less suitable for large projects, beginners, and practicing your knots.

Perfect for: Small to Medium Wall Hangings, Plant Hangers, Bags, Jewelry, Coasters, etc.

Free Easy DIY Macrame Heart Coaster Pattern for Beginners - Macrame for Beginners Free Macrame Tutorials

How do I choose a Macrame cord?

Choosing which cord you want to use for your project is easy. Here’s what to ask yourself:

#1 Whether you’re following a pattern

When following a pattern or tutorial, use the recommended cord; otherwise, you will have issues with cord measurements.

Each cord creates a different size knot and uses a different amount of cord length to make each knot.

Cords that are slightly stiffer, like 3-ply, will take up more space per knot than a braided cord. A knot made with 3-ply cords also uses up more cord length than a Single Twist cord. See the image below for an example.

How to Choose the Right Macrame Cords for Your Project - Different cord types
9 mm braided, 3-ply, and single twist Macrame cords

#2 What type of project you’re making

To be clear, you can use any type of Macrame cord for any type of Macrame project.

However, from personal experience, I don’t recommend using Single Twist Macrame cords for large wall hangings because these cords can get very fragile when used to make many knots.

#3 Esthetics

Each cord type can give your project a slightly different look and feel. I find that projects created with 3-Ply cords look slightly more bulky and robust, while braided cords make your pieces look more refined and elegant. Single Twist cords are perfect for creating a soft and dreamy look.

Both braided and 3-PLY cords make your knots look more defined, while Single Twist cords make your knots look more fluffy.

#4 Personal Choice

When I first started, I loved the look of Single Twist, but after experimenting with Braided Cords, I now prefer to use them for most of my work.

I recommend ordering different cord types to discover your favorite one!

How thick should my Macrame cord be?

When determining the mm cord thickness for your project, the basic rule is to use thin cords for small projects and thick cords for big projects.

When you use thin cords for a big project, you will have to do a lot of knotting, and your knots will be less visible. Thicker cords will help you speed up and show off your knots better.

What mm cord size do I need for my Macrame project?

Always use the same size mm cords as recommended when you follow a pattern.

Macrame cord recommendation per project in mm:

  • Large wall hanging: 4-9 mm
  • Small wall hanging 3-5 mm
  • Plant Hanger: 2-5 mm
  • Macrame bags: 3-5 mm
  • Jewelry: 1.5-3 mm
  • Key chain: 1.5-3 mm
  • Coaster: 3-5 mm

Where to buy Macrame cords?

My favorite go-to brand and #1 recommendation for Macrame cords is Bobbiny. Their eco-friendly and high-quality recycled cotton cords are silky soft, durable, and comfortable to work with when you’re a Macrame beginner.

Tap here to find a local Bobbiny Supplier Near You!

Bobbiny cords are very affordable and come in many amazing trendy colors, like mustard yellow and terracotta to make your home decor creations instantly look more amazing.

Find the best Macrame cords for your project

If you want to know more about why I recommend Bobbiny as my #1 brand for Macrame cords, you can read my full Bobbiny product review.

Macrame Cord Shopping Guide

If you’re looking for a local Macrame cord supplier for Bobbiny, Ganxxet, or other brands, check out my complete shopping guide with the best local online Macrame cord stockists!

Can I use regular yarn for Macrame?

Although you can Macrame with regular yarn, practicing knots and starting your projects with thicker 3-5 mm Macrame cords is easier when you’re a Macrame beginner.

Yarn is, however, perfect for low-budget Macrame plant hangers that don’t require any fancy patterns. You can also use yarn to create tassels or for modern Macrame pieces (like the ones with metal hoops) and your Macraweaves.

How to measure Macrame cords

The first thing you want to do is determine the length of the piece you’re creating. In most cases, your Macrame cord needs to be roughly four times the length of your project.

When your cord is folded in half with a Lark’s Head Knot to create two cords, go for eight times the length.

When calculating the actual length of your cord, it’s important to look at the pattern first:

  • If your pattern consists of many knots, you will probably need more cord
  • When your pattern consists of many straight cords, you can cut the cord a bit shorter
  • The thicker the cord, the bigger the knots, and the longer it needs to be
  • Braided cords and 3-Ply ropes take up more length per knot than Single Strand Cord
  • When in doubt, always cut more cords than you think you need

I recommend reading my guide on How to Measure Cord Length when you want to learn more about this topic!

What do I need for macrame?

All you need to start with Macrame are some cords and scissors. Learn more with my Free Macrame Guides for Beginners!

Discover my ten favorite Macrame tools and where to buy them in my Guide on how to build the perfect Macrame workstation.

How do you start Macrame for beginners?

Macrame is easy to learn, and I (pinky) promise everyone can do it! Even when crafting is not your thing 🙂 Download my Free Macrame Knot Guide to get started!

Do you still have questions?

Join our Macrame for Beginners Group on Facebook, and we’ll happily help you become a Macrame Rockstar!

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About Macrame for Beginners

Welcome to my blog, macrameforbeginners.com, where I love teaching and inspiring you to create beautiful Macrame decorations.

New to Macrame? No worries, it’s super fun to learn! Follow my 3 Easy Steps and download my FREE MACRAME KNOT GUIDE to start!

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Watch my Latest YouTube Tutorial

This cute Macrame Plant Hanger is easy to make and only uses 3 easy knots. Subscribe to the Macrame for Beginners YouTube channel for more fun beginner tutorials!

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Check out these Easy Macrame Beginner Projects for more inspiration, and read my Shopping Guide for the best Macrame supplies!

Happy Knotting!


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  1. Hi there, I am wondering when measuring for a continuous spiral knot , like for a hanging electrical cord
    How do you measure for that stitch??
    I did one before and i over cut but was wondering if there was a better way to not waste cord like i did
    I know i can reuse but what was left over
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi! Thanks for your question. When I’m not sure how long my cords need to be, I usually test a couple of knots and mark each cord with a pen before I untie them to check how much length it took. Then I calculate the complete project. Keep in mind that with a spiral knot you have to make sure your working cords are much longer than your holding cords. I’ve written some more about this here https://macrameforbeginners.com/how-to-measure-macrame-cord-lengths/ If you still have questions, please feel free to join our Facebook Community where everyone is happy to help you out https://www.facebook.com/groups/macrameforbeginnerscom