When you’re just starting out with Macrame, you’re probably wondering how to measure the correct rope length for your projects. In this Beginner’s Guide, I will give you all my best tips for estimating the length of your Macrame cords and ropes.
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How do I know the length of cord I need for a project?
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 estimating the 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 rope
- When your pattern consists of many straight cords, you can cut the rope a bit shorter
- The thicker the cord, the longer it needs to be
- Braided 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
- Always estimate extra cord to create a fringe at the end
How do I change my cord thickness?
When you change your cord thickness from the size stated in your pattern, you will have to add or subtract length.
If you’re wondering how to measure cords when you change from 4mm to 5mm or the other way around, you can use this super handy calculation table on the website of Mary Maker Studio.
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How to calculate Macrame cord lengths?
If you want to be more specific, you can calculate the length of each knot separately. Simply tie the knot and mark the top and bottom of the knot on the rope with a pen.
Now untie the knot to measure how much cord was needed for one knot and multiply the length of each knot to measure up your project.
I recommend keeping a record of all your measurements per cord size & type in mm for easy reference in the future.
What is the best cord for Macrame?
Most fiber artists prefer working with high-quality cotton ropes because it’s strong and durable and makes your projects look amazing. Cotton rope is easy to unravel, so that you can turn the ends into a lovely fringe.
Cotton rope is usually available in three types: Single strand, braided, and twisted. Braided cotton rope consists of 6 strands (or more) braided into one single rope. Twisted cotton rope consists of 3 strands (also known as 3-ply) twisted around each other.
I love creating my Macrame pieces with cords from Bobbiny. Their colorful and silky soft eco-friendly cords are easy to work with and perfect for beginners. Read my full Bobbiny Product Review to discover why I recommend this brand!
What size cord is best for Macrame?
The thickness of the macrame cord is often indicated in millimeters (mm). When picking the right rope diameter for your project, I recommend using a standard medium-sized Macrame cord of at least 3-5mm.
Medium-sized cords are the #1 choice by most fiber artists and are perfect for creating your wall hangings, plant hangers, and other Macrame home decor projects.
If you want to design a giant wall piece, you can even go up to 8mm. Just consider that such a thick cord will make your project very heavy.
For tiny projects like bracelets, I recommend staying under 2mm. You can check out my Macrame Supplies Guide to find the perfect cord for your next Macrame project!
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Therefore I’ve created the Macrame for Beginners Facebook Group: a safe place where you can learn new knots & patterns, ask all your questions, and share your latest creations with our lovely & positive Macrame community. Come and join us; we’re happy to help you out!
How do you choose the best Macrame rope?
After lots of trial and error, I’ve found that the quality of your ropes and cords is very important when working on a Macrame Wall hanging or Macrame Planter.
Especially as a beginner, you want a cord that’s soft on your fingers and easy to work with. When you’re still practicing your knots, I recommend picking patterns that use at least 4mm ropes, so it’s easier to unravel when you’re making a mistake.
Regarding my favorite brands, I recommend working with high-quality soft cotton Macrame ropes from professional cord makers such as Bobbiny.
Easy DIY Macrame Beginner Projects
I’ve created a list of Easy Beginner Projects with video tutorials from some of the best Macrame teachers on YouTube. Each project has all the correct measurements, so you can start knotting immediately!
- 15 DIY Easy Macrame Wall Hangings for Beginners
- 12 Easy DIY Macrame Jewelry Projects for Beginners
- 16 Easy DIY Macrame Plant Hangers for Beginners
- 15 Easy DIY Macrame Bags, Purses, and Clutches for Beginners
Where to buy the best Macrame Cords and Ropes
Whether you’re searching for ropes, cords, dowels, rods, hoops, natural branches, or colorful beads, you can find a list of all the best quality Macrame ropes and cords in my Macrame Supplies Shopping Guide.
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This cute Macrame Plant Hanger is super easy to make and only uses 3 easy knots. Make sure to subscribe to the Macrame for Beginners YouTube channel for more fun beginner tutorials!