How to Start with Macrame in 2021 – A Complete Guide + Must-Have Macrame Supplies for Beginners
There isn’t a better time to start with Macrame than in 2021! Take your pick from gorgeous cords, handy tools, the best teachers, and countless amazing free patterns. This complete guide provides everything you need to get started with Macrame!
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!
Hi knotties! My name is Marloes and I’ve been running macrameforbeginners.com for almost 1 year now. It’s been so amazing to see how popular this fiber craft has become in 2020 and I’m super excited you’ve decided to join us in 2021!
Our Facebook group now counts over 23.000 new beginners and this once so tiny blog welcomed over 100.000 people last month. I’m still slightly in shock about the rapid growth but at the same time, I couldn’t happier that so many people decided to give this lovely craft a go.
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How to start with Macrame?
Running a Facebook group with over 23k beginners has taught me a lot about the issues most beginners struggle with. Besides that, not so long ago I was a beginner myself and I remember all too well how it felt to start with a new craft.
This guide is specially written for beginners and for anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed and isn’t sure where to start with Macrame. I promise you, after reading this handy and complete guide you’re totally ready to get crafty with your first project.
And keep in mind, if you still have questions or you’re struggling with something, you can always join our fun Facebook community and ask our more experienced members and teachers for help.
Here are the topics that we’re going to briefly discuss in this guide. I’ve also written full lengthy guides for each of these topics which I’ll link to throughout the text.
- What are the basic knots?
- What cords to use for Macrame
- Types of Macrame cords
- What cord thickness to use
- How to measure cords
- Best Macrame cords for beginners
- Where to buy Macrame cords
- What supplies to get for Macrame
- Macrame supplies per project
- How to set up your workstation
- Where to find free Macrame patterns
- 3 easy steps to get started right now
Before we dive in, there are 3 important things I want you to know
1 Most of the beautiful projects you see online are created with just the 3 basic knots, which are super easy to learn
2 Once you know the 3 basic knots you can create anything your heart desires: wall hangings, plant hangers, bags, purses, owls, coasters, curtains, dreamcatchers, earrings…you name it.
3 You don’t need anything but cords to get started
What are the 3 basic knots
The basic knots for Macrame are very easy to master but they do take some practice to get comfortable with. Don’t feel discouraged when it takes you a while to figure out finger placement or where to move your cords. I promise you it only takes a couple of practice projects to speed up and really develop a feel for the craft.
Lark’s head knot
The Lark’s head knot is a super simple knot used to attach your work to a dowel or ring. You can also use this knot to attach cords to your piece and create a fluffy fringe.
The square knot is the most versatile knot in Macrame and can be used in many different patterns. Once you know the square knot, you can also make the spiral knot and berry knot.
Are you struggling with the square knot or just need some handy tips before you start practicing? Then check out my complete Square Knot guide and use my best tips to prevent making any classic beginner mistakes.
Double Half hitch / Clove hitch
The double half hitch, also known as the clove hitch is a knot that most beginners struggle with. Just make sure to keep practicing the various patterns you can use this knot for and I promise you that it will get a lot easier!
Tip: I recommend starting out with 3-Ply cords when practicing the double half hitch knot as this cord is a bit more sturdy and allows the knot to stay in place better.
What cords to use for Macrame
I love working with Bobbiny Macrame cords. They’re perfect for beginners, eco-friendly, silky soft, and available in tons of gorgeous colors like Mustard Yellow, Metallic Gold, and Wild Rose. But even more important, these high-quality cords make your projects look instantly amazing, even when you’re just a beginner!
If you want to learn more about Bobbiny, which is run by a lovely couple from their cozy factory in Poland, make sure to read my full Bobbiny review of this amazing and sustainable brand.
If you want to find out more about the amazing trendy colors they offer, check out my Top 15 Favorite Colorful Bobbiny Cords and get inspired for your next Macrame project!
Types of Macrame cord
Most shops offer 3 types of Macrame cords: 3-Ply, Single Twist and Braided. These cords are available from 1.5mm up to 9 mm in thickness.
Single Twist Cords: For the Single Twist Cords the soft cotton fibers are all twisted together. Easy to brush out into a gorgeous fringe. Available in 1.5 mm, 3mm, and 5mm.
Triple Twist Ropes (3-ply): The Triple Twist Ropes are made by combining three separate single-twisted parts into a spiral. This firm but soft structure is a real joy to work with and creates a curly fringe. Available in 3mm and 5mm.
Braided Cords: Bobbiny’s Braided Cotton Cords are soft, flexible and the perfect alternative for t-shirt yarn.
Braided cords are not suitable to create a fringe. Available in 3mm, 5mm, and 9mm.
What cords you choose for your project depends on the pattern you’re following, personal preference, the size of your piece, and if you want to create a fringe.
What cord thickness to use?
When it comes to choosing the right cord thickness, the smaller your project the thinner your cords should be. If you want to know more about which cord type and thickness to use for each of your projects like earrings and plant hangers, you can check out my complete cord guide for more tips.
How to measure cords?
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 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
When you’re just starting out with Macrame, we recommend watching some Youtube tutorials first so you get a better feel of how much length is needed for each type of project.
Best Macrame Cords for Beginners
When you’re still practicing knots and tend to make mistakes in your patterns, we recommend using Bobbiny 3-Ply Macrame cords. These cords won’t unravel that quickly and the firm structure will make it easier to practice your knotting technique, especially the double half hitch knot.
Because they don’t unravel that quickly, 3-Ply cords are also more suitable for larger Macrame projects. When you use 3-Ply cords, make sure to always tape your cord ends.
Where to buy Macrame cords
Good quality Macrame cords are usually not available in craft stores and I recommend ordering your cords online. Etsy and Amazon sell a wide variety of Macrame cords.
Where to buy Macrame cords is one of the most frequently asked in our Facebook group and with everyone’s input I’ve created this handy list with the bests local online Macrame cord suppliers. This means you can now order all your Bobbiny cords in a local online shop near you and save BIG on shipping!
What supplies to get for Macrame?
When you get started with Macrame, I recommend investing in a good pair of sharp craft scissors so you won’t have any issues cutting your cords.
Scissors are an important tool and well worth it to invest in. You’ll be cutting a lot of cords when working on projects and you’ll really want a sharp pair of scissors to make life easier. I recommend using Fiskar Amplify Scissors.
Measuring cords is another one of those things that come with working on Macrame projects. As you’ll often need quite large strands, make sure to get a tape measure for convenience. I recommend using the Komelon 25-foot self-lock Power tape.
BEGINNER TIP: I usually only cut one cord with the help of a measuring tape and use that one as my guide for the next cords I need to cut.
Often recommended by our lovely group members, rotary cutters are ideal for shaping feathers or cutting your fringe more easily. I recommend getting the Fiskars Crafts Rotary Cutter for the best results.
I started out with a simple comb, but our group was definitely right about using pet brushes with wire bristles to comb out your fringes, I recommend the Hertzko Pet Brush.
When you’re having some issues with creating a straight fluffy fringe, try to use a hand-held steamer. It’s a safe way of adding heat to your cords and will speed up the process a lot. I recommend the Conair Hand-Held Fabric Steamer for the best results.
When you’re working on feathers or a Mandala wall hanging and your fringe becomes floppy, try using some stiffening spray to keep them in place. I recommend this Stiffen-Quick Fabric Stiffening Spray by Aleene.
You can use RIT dye to dip-dye your cords or go for natural ingredients such as beets, avocado, or coffee. Here’s a great Youtube video that shows you which veggies and fruit you can use for this.
Macrame supplies per project
Some projects require you to purchase additional supplies:
Macrame wall hanging
For Macrame wall hangings, you can use dowels or sticks to attach your work. You can find my favorite shops for these items in my guide How to make a Macrame wall hanging.
Macrame plant hangers
For Macrame plant hangers, you can use wooden rings. There are also plant hanger patterns available for which you don’t need any rings. You can find my favorite plant hanger supplies in my guide How to make a Macrame plant hanger.
For Macrame earrings, you can use simple hoops or pretty wooden findings. You find my favorite supplies in my guide How to make Macrame earrings.
For modern Macrame pieces, you can use shapes like stars, circles, and triangles. You can check my Macrame Shopping Guide for all my favorite finds!
How to set up your Macrame Workstation
Most beginners get creative and use duct tape or other inventive constructions to hang their work from. If you prefer a bit more stability and comfort, there are some cheap options available to create a better workstation.
To work on larger pieces, I recommend getting a clothing rack and some large s-hooks. I got myself a lightweight low-budget clothing rack from Ikea for about 10 euros/dollars and it’s been perfect to work on both smaller and larger pieces.
If your budget allows it, you can also choose a more expensive adjustable clothing rack with multiple bars. This can come in handy when you prefer to sit down while working on multiple pieces at the same time.
There are also Macrame boards by Beadsmith available, which are perfect to work on smaller projects such as purses or earrings.
For more handy tools such as crochet hooks and more Macrame boards, make sure to check out my complete guide How to set up your Macrame workstation.
Where to find free Macrame patterns
When it comes to learning new knots or new patterns, I recommend using Youtube. We’ve teamed up with 6 super talented Macrame teachers which you can find on our Featured Macrame Teacher page
I’ve collected all my favorite beginner tutorials in this handy list as well, so you can browse and get inspired for projects you want to make yourself.
TIP: You can find all instructions, measurements, and tips in the description of the video, which you can read when opening the video on YouTube. If you want to slow down a video, you can do so by adjusting the Playback speed in the Settings (cogwheel icon on desktop / 3 dots on mobile). On mobile, to quickly skip 10 seconds back or forth in the video, simply double-tap on the left or right of the screen.
3 steps you can take right now to get started
Now that you know what it takes to get started with Macrame, here are 3 steps you can take right now to get creative with your very first project:
Step 1: Pick an easy beginner project on Youtube
Step 2: Order your supplies in a local online store
Step 3: Join our Facebook group for support
Step 1 – Pick an easy beginner project on Youtube
Lots of people think they need a Macrame kit or an expensive book full of techniques and patterns to get started. Although kits and books can be helpful, they’re usually also quite pricy and often come with complicated instructions. I recommend using my free guides and youtube tutorials to get started with Macrame.
Here are 3 projects for beginners by talented Macrame teacher Soulful Notions, including the supplies and cords you need to make it.
Project: Plant Hanger
Supplies needed: Small wooden ring, 5mm 3-Ply Macrame Cords
Project 2: Macrame Wall Hanging
Supplies needed: 8in/20cm woorden dowel, 5mm Single Twist Macrame Cords
Project 3: Macrame Bag
Supplies needed: 4mm Braided Macrame Cords
Step 2 – Order your supplies
Check my handy list with the best local online cord suppliers and Bobbiny cord stockists. This way your new cords will arrive super fast and you can save BIG on shipping.
Step 3 – Join our Facebook group
It’s always more fun to learn together! Connect with over 14.000 other beginners in our Facebook group, ask any question you might still have, and let our more experienced members or Macrame teachers help you on your way!
That’s all! You’re totally ready to get started with Macrame and I can’t wait to see what you’ll be making! Don’t miss any of my new guides and tutorials to improve your Macrame skills and make sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube!
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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!
We work with the best Macrame teachers!
Macrame for Beginners has teamed up with the best online Macrame teachers so we can provide you with FREE high-quality tutorials. Learn how to make everything you’ve always dreamed of and discover all 1000+ free patterns!
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!
Check out these Easy Macrame Beginner Projects for more inspiration, and read my Shopping Guide for the best Macrame supplies!