Macramé has become a popular way to design jewelry, wall art and home decor in recent years. Once popular in the 1970’s, macrame is a method of knotting cord into decorative or useful patterns. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at it, having been quite the lanyard maker in my formative, elementary years. I started out by making a simple bracelet with a connector ring and an adjustable closure, and detailed my steps below.
I’ll be honest- macramé is not for the faint of heart. It took a few tries and a lot of patience and concentration. I highly recommend popping in your favorite series on Netflix while you knot, knot, knot! Once you’ve got a dozen knots under your belt, it gets easier and you’ll be whipping up macramé doilies in no time!
What You’ll Need:
Knotting Cord (I used nylon cord found on Amazon).
Connector Ring (I recommend closed, not open jump rings)
Begin by cutting 5 lengths from your cord: two 30-inch pieces, two 20-inch pieces, and one 10-inch piece. Lay down your connector ring and take one 20-inch piece of cord and fold in half. Lay on top of the ring, and then loop the ends up over the ring and through the loop of the cord. Pull tight to affix the cord to the connector ring.
Repeat with the second 20-inch piece of cord on the opposite side of the ring. Then tape down one side, so you can work on the other without everything moving around.
To begin knotting, take a 30-inch piece of cord and lay underneath your 20-inch piece. Make sure the cord is even, with both the ends having the same length. I’ve used different colors below and I hope this helps you follow along!
This next step is most easily explained by imagining that you are a making a giant “P” with your cord. Take the right side, and pull it down, then left over the middle cords and all the way over. Then, take your left side, pull all the way to the left, then straight down OVER the cord that has come from the right.
Keep your hand on the left cord, weaving up under the bottom of the “P,” under the double cords and then up and over the right cord.
Pull tight to form a knot. Congratulations! Your first knot is done!
You will be performing the same steps, but backwards for the alternating knot. Take your left cord, shaping it to the left, then down and across to the right over the middle cord.
Take your right cord and pull straight down OVER the cord that’s come from the left. Then pull it up under the left cord, under the middle cords and up and over the top of the “P.”
Pull tight to finish your second knot.
Continue making alternating knots until you have your desired length.
Sometimes if you aren’t paying attention, you can accidentally make two knots on one side, instead of alternating. You will notice that your knotting rows start to turn sideways or look bulky on one side. If this happens, simply undo the last few knots and straighten everything out.
When you’re done with one end of your bracelet, remove the tape and then repeat the knotting on the other side.
Once you’ve made the right amount of knots for your length, you have a few options to tie off your bracelet. The first option is to simply make your last knot and lay down some super glue on the backside. Wait until it dries and then snip off the knotting cords, leaving the center cords in tact.
The second option is to take the one knotting cord, and make a knot with the adjacent center cord. Do the same on both sides.
Flip the bracelet over and place super glue on the back side of the knots. I like to do the glue over the last few knots for extra strength.
Take hold of your the cords you have been knotting and snip off, as close to the knot as possible, without actually cutting the bracelet.
You should have your two center cords remaining.
Ok, now for the hardest part (in my opinion!)- make the adjustable fastener. If this is too complicated for you- no worries, You can simply take the double ends of your bracelet and just tie on! If you’d like an adjustable option that’s probably a little easier to put on by yourself, here’s how you do it.
Tape down your bracelet by the fastener and then gather the two, double ends and form a circle. Grab your one 10-inch piece of cord, because you will be using it to create about a 1/2 inch length of the same type of knots to create the fastener. Hold the short piece behind the grouping of 4 cords and form the “P” shape, knotting just like you did for the entire bracelet.
This part can be tricky to keep all the pieces holding still. You can use a remnant piece of cord to hold them together while you knot. I recommend trying to keep the 4 pieces as flat as possible so you can smooth knots. If the cords are bunched, you will have lumpy knots!
Tie off the end of the knots using the same method- either super gluing, or knotting and super gluing. Cut off the excess. You will have an extra amount of cord from the original middle strands, that you will want to size and knot. Adjust the strands to the length you want (leaving room to allow you to fit the bracelet over your hand and wrist, and then pull tight). Make a simple knot.
Cut off the excess after the knot. If you have a lighter, here’s where I used it to do a quick light and melt the ends to ensure no unraveling and an extra strong knot that won’t pop open when adjusting your bracelet.
You’re finally done! While a lengthy craft, it’s definitely a unique one that will keep your brain cells hopping and your hand eye coordination working overtime. I hope you enjoy!