How to Choose the Right Macrame Cords for Your Project

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

Most new Macrame makers are unsure about which Macrame cords to buy for their projects. In this guide, I ‘ll explain what types of Macrame cords are available, how to choose cords for your project, and where to buy the best eco-friendly and most colorful Macrame cords.

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 type of cord for Macrame, most fiber artists prefer working with high-quality cotton cords.

Not only are cotton cords easy to unravel when you make a mistake (which makes them perfect for beginners) but they also give a gorgeous fringe when combed out.

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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.

The one main difference between these different types of cotton cords is the way they’re twisted and composed.

What is the difference between Macrame cord and rope

Braided and single twist cotton cords are usually referred to as ‘cords’ and 3-PLY as ‘rope’. No matter which material you choose, all cords are all super soft, durable, and perfect for your Macrame pieces.

Macrame Cord Guide - 3-ply, braided and single twist cords - Macrame for Beginners

3-PLY Macrame Rope

3-PLY Rope, also known as Triple Twist Cotton cords are composed of many single threads twisted in three parts.

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

Single Twist Cotton Macrame Cords

Single twist cords, also known as 1-Ply or Single Strand cords are composed of hundreds of single threads twisted into one cord.

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

Braided Macrame Cords

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

These super-strong Macrame cords are perfect for bigger projects and a great alternative for t-shirt yarn.

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How do I choose a Macrame cord?

Choosing which cord you want to use for your project comes down to 3 basic notions:

#1 Esthetics

Braided and 3-PLY cords give your project a different look than if you would use single twist cords. I find that when you use braided and 3-PLY cords your knots look a bit cleaner and single twist cords give your work more of a fluffy look and feel.

#2 Type of project

Personally, I like to use 3-PLY or braided cords for my plant hangers and Macrame market bags. For wall hangings, Macrame purses, and Macrame jewelry I prefer to work with single twist cords.

Now it could be that you totally disagree with me and like it the other way around and that’s perfectly fine. Make sure to order different types of cords to discover which look and feel you prefer.

#3 Whether you’re following a pattern

When you’re following a pattern it’s recommended to use the same type of cord. 3-PLY and braided cords are a bit more rigid and your knots will take up more space. Single twist cords create smaller knots so your projects will come out smaller.

How thick should my Macrame cord be?

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

When you use small cords in a big project, keep in mind that you will have to do a lot of knotting and that your knots will be less visible. Thicker cords will show off your knots a lot better, which is what you want in the end.

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

When you follow a pattern, it’s recommended to use the same size mm cords or alter it to make it fit.

My recommendation per project type

  • Big wall hanging: 4-10 mm
  • Small wall hanging 3-5 mm
  • Planter: 2-5 mm
  • Macrame bags: 3-5 mm
  • Jewelry: 1.5-3 mm
  • Key chain / Bookmark: 1.5-3 mm

Where to buy Macrame cords?

My favorite go-to brand and #1 recommendation for cotton 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.

Bobbiny cotton cords are very affordable and come in many amazing trendy colors such as 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, make sure to 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, make sure to 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, when you’re a Macrame beginner it’s easier to practice knots and start your projects with thicker 3-5 mm cotton cords.

Yarn is, however, perfect for low-budget Macrame hanging planters that don’t require any fancy patterns. You can also use yarn to create tassels or you can incorporate threads into your 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 roughly be about four times the length of your project.

When your cord is folded in half with a Lark’s head knot to create two cords, then 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, the longer it needs to be
  • Braided cords and 3-PLY ropes take up more length per knot than a single strand cord
  • When in doubt, always cut more rope than you think you need
  • Estimate extra cord when you want to create a fringe at the end of your piece

When you want to learn more regarding this topic, I recommend you read this post I’ve written about measuring your Macrame cords correctly.

What materials do I need for macrame?

For a complete list of my 10 most recommend and essential Macrame tools and where to buy them check out my Complete Guide on how to build the perfect Macrame workstation.

How do you start Macrame for beginners?

Most new Macrame makers feel quite overwhelmed when they want to start with Macrame and are left with many questions on what supplies to buy, how to learn the basic knots, and where to find free patterns.

Luckily, there is no need for that as Macrame is super easy to learn. I’ve written down all my best tips in my Macrame Basics series How to get started with Macrame as an absolute beginner and I (pinky) promise you: Everyone can learn Macrame! Even when crafting is not your thing 🙂

Do you still have questions?

Make sure to ask them in the comment section and I’ll happily answer them for you and add all missing info to this Macrame Cord Guide.

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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