Macrame is the art of knotting threads or cords to create a decorative or useful object. To start your project off right, choose the right materials and the right workspace. First, you need to learn the easy knots of macrame. You will start most of your projects with an inverted lark head knot. The square knot and the half-knot are used in the manufacture of all kinds of objects, scarves or wall decorations for example. Then, when you master the square knot, you can enrich your creations by incorporating beads. With diagonals of half hitch knots, you will be able to create patterns for your achievements.
Part 1 of 6: Prepare and Collect the Materials
Step 1. Choose your threads
This choice depends on the object you want to achieve. There are different kinds of cords for making macrame. For example, you can use wool, string, cotton ropes, leather or any other material in the form of sufficiently flexible threads.
Leather is great for making jewelry. Cotton cords are well suited for making wall decorations, and you can choose woolen threads to make a blanket or scarf
Step 2. Take some sewing pins
Depending on the type of knots you use, they will be used to hold your threads. Sewing pins are fine for this purpose, but you can also use thumbtacks.
Step 3. Make a macrame board
There is no need to take fancy items. The board just needs to be practical and soft enough that the pins can go through it. You can glue a gardening pad or an old foam mattress to a clip-on pad holder. You can also use expanded polystyrene or balsa wood.
Step 4. Choose a knot holder
It's a piece of wood, plastic, or metal that you tie your wires to. You will place it at the top of your macrame board and you will build your project from this anchor point. You will choose your knot holder according to your project. If you are making a keychain or jewelry, take a keychain ring as a knot holder, this is certainly the most suitable item. If your project is larger in size, take a rod or rod.
Part 2 of 6: Start with an inverted lark's head knot
Step 1. Fold your yarn in half
The two parts must be perfectly equal. You will use this thread to tie other knots, and if it is not folded properly, it can create difficulty for you in the rest of your project.
Step 2. Put the loop under your knot holder
Your folded yarn now forms a loop. Wrap it around the knot holder so that the loop is underneath and the ends of the thread are above. If your knot holder is a ring, pass the loop under part of the hoop so that it ends up in the center of the hoop.
Step 3. Insert the ends of the wire through the loop
Pull this under the wand or under the edge of the ring. Then slide your fingers through it to catch the two halves of the wire above. Then, pull the thread down to pass it through the loop. In the end, you will get a shape similar to that of a pretzel.
Step 4. Pull the thread down to tighten the knot
Hold the rod, wand, or ring with one hand. On the other, pull the two halves of the wire down. This will keep the loop going up to the wand or ring as you tighten the knot.
Step 5. Install several wires for your new projects
Usually, you will need at least 2 sets of threads to make macrame. So, you will need to make at least two reverse lark head knots with two different threads on the same knot holder before starting a project.
Part 3 of 6: Create a model with half knots
Step 1. Tie two inverted lark's head knots
Instead, place them towards the middle of your bow tie holder.
Step 2. Distinguish the working threads from the supporting threads
After making an inverted lark's head knot, two strands of yarn are left hanging down. The working thread is the strand that you will move to make the knot. The carrier thread is the strand around which you will wind the working thread to tie the knot.
Step 3. Pass the right working thread over the supporting threads
Start at the top. Take the right working thread, bend it and pass it over the supporting threads in the middle, then under the left working thread.
Step 4. Pass the left working thread under the supporting threads
Start at the same height as for the right yarn. Pull the left working thread so that it goes under the supporting threads, then over the other working thread. Pull on the two working threads to tighten the knot.
Step 5. Create a spiral shape
Continue to tie your half-knots. A spiral will naturally form in your weaving. The number of knots needed to form a twist in the spiral depends on the thickness of the wire. When you are satisfied with the number of twists, tie off the threads.
Step 6. Tie a square knot
Tie the first half-knot described above, then repeat from the yarn opposite where you started. Take the working thread on the left and pass it over the supporting threads in the middle, then under the working thread on the right. Then pass the right working thread under the supporting threads, then over the left thread. Pull the working threads to finish the overhand knot.
Part 4 of 6: Make a pattern by alternating flat knots
Step 1. Tie eight inverted lark's head knots
You will need at least eight different threads. When tying your threads to the knot holder, be sure to stick them together.
Step 2. Divide your threads into groups of four strands
You will make a square knot with each of these sets. You can tie more than eight strands to your knot holder, but the total number of strands should be a multiple of four.
Step 3. Make flat knots
Proceed as described above to tie off each group of four threads. Start each overhand knot at the same distance from the knot holder. Thus, they will be aligned horizontally.
Step 4. Space the rows of knots
Choose where you will start the next row. If you want a tight weave that's great for scarves and blankets, start the second row just below the first. If you prefer a more airy weave or some kind of lace, keep a space of about 3 cm between your rows.
Step 5. Let two wires hang down on each side
By making the next row, you will not use the two threads located at each end of the knot holder. Then divide the number of strands remaining by four to determine the number of flat knots that will make up that row.
Step 6. Divide the remaining strands into groups of four
Then tie a square knot with each group. Start each knot at the same distance from the one before it to have a regular pattern.
Step 7. Continue your rows
With each new row of overhand knots, let two strands hang down from each end of the knot holder, until you run out of thread. When you can no longer divide your threads by four, repeat the process with the 16 (or more) strands you had at the beginning. Then repeat this pattern for the desired length.
Part 5 of 6: making diagonal knots in a half hitch
Step 1. Tie off four threads
A diagonal of half hitch knots requires the use of a carrier thread and seven working threads. So you need to tie four strands with reversed lark head knots to get the eight strands you need. Your four knots should be tight against each other on your knot holder.
Step 2. Choose your working thread
You can start on the right or the left of the model. If you start on the left, the strand at the left end of the knot holder will be your thread. Conversely, if you start on the right, the strand on the right end will become load-bearing.
Step 3. Pin the carrier wire to the left of the working wires
Small pins like the ones you use for sewing are great for this use. Plant one under the knot holder, just to the left of the threads. Pass the carrier wire around the pin, then pull it to the right so that it crosses the other wires diagonally. Secure the carrier wire with a second pin, about 3 cm lower than the first pin.
If you want a more pronounced diagonal, secure the support wire lower
Step 4. Make two loops with the first working thread
It is located just to the right of the support wire. Pass it under it, then wrap it around. Then pull it up so that it continues to travel under the wire. Wrap it around the carrier wire again. After this second loop, you must pass the working thread through the small space that has formed between the two threads, under the carrier thread, following the first loop. Pull the working thread to tighten the knot.
Step 5. Repeat the operation with each working thread
Once you have made the first knot, move on to the next working thread on the right. Make two loops around the carrier thread, then pass the working thread through the small loop that formed between the two threads. Pull on the carrier thread to complete the knot. Repeat these operations until the end of the diagonal.
Step 6. Create a zigzag
When the first diagonal is finished, you can make a diagonal of half hitch knots in the opposite direction. So you will get a zigzag pattern. If the first diagonal starts on the left, start on the right. The thread at the right end of the knot holder becomes the carrier thread and the other threads will be the working threads.
You can also repeat the diagonals of half hitches starting on the same side. This will give you a diagonal pattern with nodes close to each other
Part 6 of 6: add beads using a square knot
Step 1. Start with a square knot
You need to make at least one above the bead to block it. Tie this knot in the usual way. You can tie more than one above the bead, but there must be at least one.
If you are incorporating a bead in a project where there is no square knot, this is okay. Just make sure there is a knot above your bead location
Step 2. Slide the supporting threads into the bead
These are the two central strands that you use for making an overhand knot. Slide the bead along these threads until it is blocked by the knot above it.
Step 3. Tie a square knot under the bead
When the bead is blocked by the top knot, tie an overhand knot below using the working threads. This knot should be glued to the bottom of the bead.
Step 4. Repeat the process
Incorporate as many beads as you want. You can create a pattern alternating a number of flat knots and a bead. You can also use a single bead to complete a project.
- Select simple templates for your first projects. Items like keychains or bracelets are great for getting started. Hangings for plants or wall designs, like owls for example, are at an intermediate level. The manufacture of chairs, hammocks or macrame wallets is rather reserved for people with an advanced level.
- To make your first projects, buy threads specially adapted for macrame. When you have mastered the knot techniques, you will be able to use other threads.