Home decor trends come and go, and one that’s definitely having a moment is macramé. You may have seen it without knowing that’s what it’s called—perhaps at your parents’ or grandparents’ place, hanging on the wall since its last heyday back in the ’70s. 

But this string art is back in fashion, with a contemporary twist. Read on to learn more about macramé, including some wearables and decor items you can make yourself.

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What Is Macramé?

macrame net
Macrame by Skillshare student Kari Simmerman.

Macramé is a string art that uses knots to create decorative (and sometimes functional) textiles. It’s similar to weaving, knitting, and crocheting, but unlike these crafts, you don’t use a loom, needles, or hooks for macramé—it’s all done by hand. All you need is a mounting pole or ring to keep the piece in place while you work. 

Macramé Origins

Macramé has been around for a long time, falling in and out of fashion throughout the years. It’s hard to trace the exact origins of what we know as macramé today because similar knotted string crafts have been made by different cultures and societies throughout the centuries. It’s likely that the craft spread from the Arab world to Europe around the 13th century. In fact, although the word sounds rather French, it’s believed to originate from the Arabic word migramah, which means “ornamental fringe.”

Like many fiber arts, macramé has long been practiced by women. But macramé is also associated with maritime life, as sailors have created decorative and functional pieces out of string and knots.

How to Make Macramé

macrameing
Start with something easy.

Macramé isn’t difficult to learn, and because it doesn’t use many materials, it’s also quite accessible to beginners and crafters on a budget. After you learn the basic skills, you can start learning more complex knots to add variety and interest to your work.

DIY Macramé Patterns

You can easily find DIY patterns online, which will list the macramé materials you need and provide step-by-step instructions. DIY patterns are most suitable if you’ve had a bit of experience with the craft already or have completed a course for beginners.

Macramé for Beginners Kits

DIY kits are an easy way to learn this craft as they include everything you need to make a certain item. If you’re just starting out, you may not want to invest in a wide range of materials until you know you love the craft, but a kit will have exactly what you need. Some craft stores sell macramé kits, and you can easily find them to purchase online.

Macramé Classes

Whether you’re a complete beginner or you want to build on existing skills, taking a macramé class is helpful because you’ll have someone showing you how to make an item, step by step. Video tutorials are a great option because you can stop and start whenever you need. Here are some classes to get you started:

Macramé Supplies

cord
Cords you can use for crafting.

The specific supplies you’ll need will vary depending on what you want to make, but here’s a general list of macramé supplies that you’ll need for many projects:

  • 3 or 4 ply cord (neutral or colored)
  • Wooden or metal pole or hoop for hanging
  • Fabric scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Comb or pet brush

Other common materials include metal bag clasps (for bags or purses), earring hooks, and buttons or clasps for clothing.

The thickness of your cord should be decided by what you’re making. Small, delicate earrings need a much thinner cord than a large wall hanging. In general, 3- or 4-ply cord (made up of multiple strands twisted together) is ideal for large projects because it’s stronger.

What Can You Make with Macramé?

Plant holders and wall hangings are perhaps the most popular macramé items you’ll see because there are so many designs and patterns you can make. But these aren’t all you can make with macramé.

Plant Holder

macrame plant holder
A plant holder by Skillshare student Lei Narido.

Macramé plant holders are an attractive and handy way to display plants indoors.

Earrings

macrame earrings
Detailed earrings.

Not all macramé needs to be on a large scale! Earrings are delicate and intricate.

Art

macrame wall art
Tree of Life art.

Not all art needs to be a painting or a print—this macramé art is simple and beautiful. 

Bag

macrame bottle holder
Macramé wine bottle tote bag.

A simple macramé string bag is a good way of carrying groceries or even taking a bottle of wine to a dinner party. Once you learn a few techniques, you can adapt them for different kinds of bags.

Purse

macrame purse
A cross-body purse.

Fashion your own accessories by making a macramé purse, tassels and all.

Wall Decor

a wall hanging made by a skillshare student
A wall hanging by Skillshare student Vera Koe.

Macramé wall decor is an attractive way of adding interest to your home without spending a heap of money.

Jewelry

a mandala necklace
Mandala turned into a necklace.

Pick some attractive colors and make jewelry, such as bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.

Decor

macramé placemat
A runner by Skillshare student Tracy Jones.

In addition to wall decor, you can make other home decor items from macramé, such as coasters, table runners, and placemats.

Clothing

macramé vest
Source: instagram
A vest by @macramefolk.

Macramé lends itself well to some items of clothing, such as vests, shawls, bikinis, and miniskirts – particularly if fun tassles are your style.

Sell Macramé Art

If you find you love making macramé art and accessories, you might want to cash in on your hobby or even turn it into a side hustle or full-on creative job. Here are some places you can sell your art.

On Etsy

Many craft makers’ (and purchasers’) first port of call for anything handmade or craft-related, Etsy is a huge online marketplace. In addition to finished pieces and kits, you can also sell patterns on Etsy.

On Ravelry

Ravelry is a website for knitters, crocheters, and other fiber artists, including those who work with macramé. It’s free to join, and there’s a huge range of resources on there, including the opportunity to sell patterns.

At Craft Fairs

Many towns and cities have regular craft fairs for local makers, and these are also great places to sell macramé work. Many people like to see and touch a craft before they buy it, so by attending craft fairs you can tap into this market.

Out of the ’70s and into the ’20s

macramé wall hanging
A wall hanging.

Like all art and craft forms that dip in and out of fashion, macramé can easily be updated to current tastes. Typical earth-toned variations remain popular because neutral shades go with almost anything. But if that feels a bit old-school to you, brighten up your creations with different colored cord or by adding decorations like beads or shells. There are no rules when it comes to crafting. Have fun experimenting!

Start Your Easy Macramé Today 

A Beginner’s Guide to Mindful Macramé: From Plant Hangers to Wall Art