Make Your Own Macramé Garland
Macramé is a type of textile art that uses knotting to create ornamental or practical objects. In this tutorial, we are going to make a beautiful garland that can be used for endless decorative purposes. Whether for a boho-inspired wedding or party or to add whimsy to a room in your house the effect is stunning. We will be using two main knots to create this project, and as you will be repeating the pattern for each flag that you make, you’ll be a master of them in no time!
What you will need
- Macrame cord—you can use any type you like. I used a 4 mm triple-strand twist cotton. If you use a thinner cord you will have an overall smaller design and vice versa. The triple-strand twist also gives you a nice twisted fringe—a brushed cotton will be straight and you won’t be able to brush out a braided cotton.
- Measuring tape
Step 1: Meassurments
Measure your guideline: If you have a specific place where you are going to hang the bunting, measure the length that it will take up. Add approx. 20 cms per side to allow for hanging. This will be the length of your guideline. If you don’t have a special place already in mind, I made a 150 cm garland, with an extra 40 cm to allow for hanging—190 cm total. This accommodated eight flags.
Measure your cords: For each section of the bunting (or “flag”) you will need a total of twelve cords. The measurements are as follows:
- 2 x 75 cm cords—group “A”
- 2 x 120 cm cords—group “B”
- 8 x 100 cm cords—group “C”
Step 2: The beginning
Attach your cords. You can either hang your cord from something you have around your house (get creative! Door handles, furniture or a clotheshorse work great) or use tape to stick your guideline to a table or other work surface. The important thing is to maintain tension.
Lark’s Head Knot: To attach your working cords to the guideline you will use a Lark’s Head Knot. The easiest way to do this is to fold your cords in half and lay the cord on top of the guideline with the fold pointing toward the top. Fold it over the back of the guideline then take the tails and poke them through the loop made by the top of the cord. Pull it tight.
How to order the cords: The cords will be arranged in the following pattern:
The “B” and “C” groups are folded in the middle, leaving both hanging cords the same length. The “A” group has a slight difference in that one side will be 50 cm while the other side is 25 cm. Leave the longer side on the extreme edge of the flag. This is to save a bit of wasted length at the end which would otherwise just be trimmed off.
Step 3: Let’s get knotting!
The first knot that we will use in the pattern is the square knot. To achieve this knot you will use four cords, but only work with the two on the outside.
- Take the outside left cord and fold it at a right angle, laying it on top of the two following cords and underneath the last one.
- Take the outside right cord and fold it underneath the two middle cords, bringing it out through the loop made by the left cord. Pull it tight.
- Repeat these steps in reverse: Lay the outside right cord on top of the middle cords and under the left, then take the left cord around the back of the middle cords and out through the loop left on the other side. Tighten it all up.
Rows 1-3: After you have completed one row of square knots you’ll do the same for three rows. Alternate the cords on each row. For subsequent rows you will take two cords from each knot above, creating a unified net. This means that every second row will leave the two outside cords of either end unknotted.
Row 4: Leave the four middle cords unknotted, completing two square knots on either side (the outside cords will also be free).
Row 5: Make two more square knots on either side, this time leaving the eight central cords unknotted. Now we’re going to make the centre decoration; again using a square knot, but this time encompassing all of the middle cords (see diagram).
Row 6: Make one square knot on each side using two cords from the knots above and two from the centre bunch. Continue in this way for rows seven and eight.
Row 9: Make the final point at the bottom of the diamond by making a square knot with two cords from each of the last two square knots.
Step 4: Clove Hitch/Double Half Hitch
The next knot that we are going to use is the Clove Hitch, or Double Half Hitch. The cords on the very outside of the pattern are going to be our filler cords, or the cords which we tie the other cords around. They are going to run along the bottom of the triangle that we’ve created with the square knots. This knot is super useful for outlining patterns or making lines.
Left side: Start with the second cord from the left and bring it up underneath your filler cord, folding it behind and to the left of itself. Bring it up in front of the filler cord and to the right, folding it over through the loop you have created. Repeat this for the following ten cords until you reach the middle.
Right side: The same as the left, but in the opposite direction. When you get to the middle, tie a Clove Hitch with one filler knot around the other one to link them together.
Repeat step four, leaving the extreme edge cords loose.
Step 6: Trim your fringe!
Depending on which type of cords you have used, you make like to untwist them or brush them out. I like the wavy effect you get from the triple-twist cotton!
One of the most important aspects of macramé is maintaining the proper tension. If you keep it too tight then your pattern will warp, and if it’s too loose it can also lose its shape and look uneven. Although this is definitely something that comes with practice, it’s good to be aware of if you are just starting out—it will make the learning curve a lot less steep!
If you would like to check out a time-lapse of me making this project, you can find me on Instagram @gringaenredada