Knowing how to make a macramé wall hanging isn't a skill exclusive to bohos and beatniks.
Just because you live in the 21st century doesn’t mean you can’t make attractive wall art using ropes and cords.
Macramé is once again making a comeback.
You’ve probably seen these bohemian-style pieces next to nautical wall décor or as part of vintage beach designs.
Making macramé objects is also becoming a favorite hobby for crafters.
Learning how to make a macramé wall hanging takes your mind off your worries. It also gives you something productive to focus on.
Once you’ve graduated from simple wall hangings, you can go on to make other items. You can make macramé plant hangers, table covers, earrings, belts, bags, and even lawn chairs.
Macramé: A Brief History
Before you learn how to make a macramé wall hanging, it's good to find out where it comes from.
Some historians believe the word “macramé” comes from the Arabic word “migramah,” which means “fringe.”
Thirteenth-century Arabs were known to tie decorative fringes on fabrics used to protect their horses and camels from desert flies.
Others believe the word comes from the Turkish word “makrama.” It refers to napkins and towels that were decorated with the same knotting techniques used in macramé.
However, it’s generally agreed that it was the sailors of the 15th and 16th centuries who popularized macramé.
Sailors were already adept at making all sorts of knots for tying their sails and securing their cargo. But with many months at sea with not much to do, they found a new way to kill time by making things with rope and twine.
When they docked, they would sell their macramé wares, such as hammocks and ditty bags, at ports around the world. They'd also teach others how to make a macramé wall hanging and other items.
That is why macramé fits so well next to nautical-themed décor. It has a nautical origin in the first place.
The Moors of North Africa also took the art of tying knots with them as they went to Spain and France.
It was Queen Mary II of England who made it popular at court, where her ladies-in-waiting were encouraged to learn how to make a macramé wall hanging and other objects.
In the 1970s, American hippies began using macramé again.
When Vogue came out with its own book on macramé, even non-hippies took it upon themselves to learn how to make a macramé wall hanging.
How to Make a Macramé Wall Hanging: A Step-by-Step Guide
It’s easy to learn how to make a macramé wall hanging.
The first step is to gather your materials, which you can find at any craft store. Next, you need to learn the basic macramé knots, which we’ll cover below.
After that, you can look for patterns and start practicing until you master how to make a macramé wall hanging.
Step 1: Gather your materials
Before you begin learning how to make a macramé wall hanging, you need to get your materials ready.
You’ll need cord, which can be natural or synthetic. Natural cords such as hemp and cotton are great for beginners. When you venture into other projects, such as outdoor lawn chairs, you’ll find nylon cording holds up much better.
You’ll also need a dowel or any item to hold up your project. Rods, hoops, rings, branches, or even chopsticks are useful.
To help keep your knots uniform, use a macramé board. You can use T-pins to secure your cords to the board and keep them from moving around.
Step 2: Learn the basic knots
When you’re learning how to make a macramé wall hanging, you need to master the art of tying knots first.
Even the most basic knots can end up in beautiful patterns if you know how to do them well.
As a beginner, it’s helpful to practice with hemp cord. If you make a mistake, you can easily loosen your knots and do them again.
Lark’s head knot and reverse lark’s head knot
The lark’s head knot is the first knot you’ll need to know. Almost every macramé project begins with a lark’s head knot.
A lark’s head knot is used to attach the cord to the dowel.
- Fold your cord in half to form a loop. Position the loop over the dowel.
- Pull the loop around the back of the dowel. The loop should be facing downwards.
- Take the two ends of the cord and pull them through the loop.
- Tighten gently to secure your cords to the dowel.
The reverse lark’s head knot is a similar knot. The only difference is the loop is pulled to the front from under the dowel. Unlike with a lark’s head knot, you won’t see a visible line of cord at the front of the knot.
Check out the video below:
Square knot and half knot
The square knot is one of the most widely used knots in macramé. If you want to learn how to make a macramé wall hanging, you have to master the square knot.
Also known as a reef knot, the square knot is an ancient knot that’s been used for thousands of years. Sailors used the square knot to tie down their sails because it’s strong yet simple.
There are two parts to making a square knot, making a left-facing half knot and making a right-facing half knot. When you complete both half knots, you make a square knot.
- Take two lengths of cord. Attach each cord to the dowel using lark’s head knots. You will end up with four cords. The outer cords are your working cords. You will use them for tying the knots. The inner cords are filler cords. They’re there so you have something to tie the knots around.
- Take the right-most cord and bring it to the left, moving it over the two filler cords in the middle but under the first cord on the left.
- Move the left-most cord to the right. Bring it under the middle filler cords but over the fourth cord.
- Gently pull the two working cords. This makes a left-facing half knot.
How to make the knot
The working cords have now switched places. The first cord, which was on the left, is now on the right. The last cord, which was on the right, is now on the left.
- Take the last cord (the one that is now on the left) to the right. Move it over the filler cords but under the first cord.
- Take the first cord (that one that is now on the right) to the left. Move it under the filler cords but over the last cord.
- Pull each working cord gently to make a tight square knot.
That makes a right-facing half knot. You now have both left and right-facing half knots, which gives you a square knot.
Sometimes, you can learn how to make a macramé wall hanging using the square knot alone. Check it out:
An overhand knot is one of the simplest macramé knots. You might not know it but you’ve been tying overhand knots all your life.
In macramé, overhand knots are useful in preventing your cords from unraveling.
You can't master how to make a macramé wall hanging if you don't learn the overhand knot.
- Take one length of cord. Make a loop with that cord.
- Pull one end of the cord through the loop.
- Gently pull to tighten the knot.
Half hitch knot
A half hitch knot is a variation of the overhand knot. If you’re going to learn how to make a macramé wall hanging, you’ll need to learn how to do a half hitch knot.
- Attach one cord to the dowel using a lark’s head knot. This leaves you with two cords.
- Take the end of the second cord and pull it to the left, going under the first cord to make a D shape.
- Pull the second cord through the hole of the D shape.
- Pull gently to tighten.
Have a look:
Double half hitch knot
On its own, the half hitch knot is pretty useless.
That’s why you don’t want to limit yourself to the half hitch knot when learning to make macramé wall hanging.
The double half hitch knot, which is the half hitch knot done twice, can add a feeling of grace and movement to your project.
Also called a clove hitch knot, this knot is useful in making horizontal, diagonal, and even vertical lines to your project. It’s also helpful when adding new colors to your design.
- Begin with a lark’s head knot to tie your cords to the dowel.
- Take one cord and pull it under the other cord to make a D shape.
- Pull the cord through the hole of the D.
- Take the same cord under the other cord to make another D shape.
- Run it through the D-shaped hole again and pull.
Watch it done:
Horizontal double half hitch
To make a horizontal line using a series of double half hitch knots, do the following steps.
- Take the first cord and hold it horizontally across all cords. It is your filler cord. You will use it to tie the other cords around.
- Take the next cord, bring it up and over the filler cord and through the loop. That makes a half hitch knot.
- Take the same cord, bring it up and over the filler cord and through the loop a second time. That is a double half hitch knot. You should see two knots sitting next to each other.
- Do the same with the other cords.
You can also make a diagonal line using a series of double half hitch knots by following the same steps. The only difference is to position the filler cord diagonally across all cords.
See it done below:
Step 3: Practice, practice, practice
When you’re confident with your knots, it’s time to take it a step further and learn how to make a macramé wall hanging.
You can find free patterns and guides online to help you make your first macramé project.
Macramé might seem daunting at first. You might find your knots uneven and your lines crooked. But with constant practice, you’ll get better at keeping your knots uniform and securing them where they should be.
Make Your Own Design: How to Make a Macramé Wall Hanging
No two macramé projects are alike. Each is a piece of art that reflects the personality of the person who made it.
One project may have an intricate design with complex knots and plenty of colors and beads. Another may have flowing strands and long tassels. Whatever design you choose, it’s important to have fun with your project.
Now that you know how to make a macramé wall hanging, it's time to get knotting.
What’s the first macramé project you’re working on? Share it with us in the comments below.