It’s not a thing of the past anymore: Macramé and wall tapestries are making a major come-back in design and décor. Macramé is an easy and inexpensive way to add a textural piece of art to your wall. In its simplest form, macramé is a series of knots. When you arrange the knots in certain ways, you are left with patterns that can have a sculptural quality to them. Learning the basic knots is the first step to creating your own unique wall hanging.
Things You'll Need
- Cotton clothesline (200 feet)
- 32-inch dowel (approx. 3/4" in diameter)
- 2-foot leather cord
- Optional: hanging rack or hooks to support dowels while weaving
Set up an area for weaving. It is possible to create a macramé wall hanging without mounting your dowel, but having a large piece hanging as you work is ideal. You can either rest each end of your dowel onto wall hooks or, as shown here, hang the dowel from a horizontal bar.
Cut the Rope
Measure and cut your rope. You will need 16 lengths of rope, 12 feet each
Larks Head Knots
Larks head knots are typically used to attach the rope to the dowel. Fold each length of rope in half making a loop. Hold the loop behind the dowel, and bring the two ends of the rope around the front of the dowel and through the loop. Repeat with all 16 rope sections.
Half Hitch Knot
To give this wall hanging some weight towards the top, there are a series of half hitch knots to start. Bring the first left-hand rope behind and around the second rope on the left and through the loop made by the first rope. Pull tight and repeat.
Make the same knot with second and third ropes. Moving left to right, repeat this series of half hitch knots.
If the knots don’t look similar, check the tension and don’t hesitate to undo one and start again.
Diagonal Double Half Hitch
This knot is used to make diagonal lines that can be arranged into zigzags or an “X”.
The first cord will act as the “carrier cord” around which all the other cords will knot. Hold this cord at a diagonal and wrap the second cord around it and through the loop formed. Repeat. This is your first knot. Continue with the carrier cord at an angle and make the same knot with the next cord. Repeat until the diagonal is the desired length. For a diagonal going in the opposite direction, follow these steps with the carrier cord held at a diagonal in the opposite direction.
For the pattern shown, the first eight cords are knotted in a diagonal double half hitch, left to right. The second eight cords are knotted in a diagonal double half hitch, right to left. The third set of eight cords are again knotted in a diagonal double half hitch, left to right. And the last eight cords are knotted in a diagonal double half hitch, right to left. That sequence will create two “V” shapes with the cording.
Gather the four cords at the tip of the “V” formed by the diagonal double half hitch knots.
Hold the two center cords together. Bring the left cord over the center strands and under the right cord. Bring the right cord under the center strands and then up and over the left strand. This is the first half of the square knot.
To make the second half of the square knot, bring the right cord over the center pair and under the left cord. Take the left cord under the center pair and then up and over the right cord.
The floral appearance of these knots is achieved by leaving 2 inches between alternating square knots.
More Diagonal Double Half Hitch Knots
For this weaving, four additional diagonal double half hitch rows were knotted with the cords not included in the square knot mentioned above.
Alternate Square Knots
Horizontal Double Half Hitch
Take a separate length of cord and knot one end. This will be the carrier cord. As with the diagonal double half hitch, work left to right across the weaving. Bring the first cord around the carrier cord and through the loop. Repeat. Move onto the next cord. For the weaving shown, there are two rows of horizontal double half hitch knots.
More Square Knots and Diagonal Knots
For the lower portion of this weaving, square knots and diagonal double half hitch knots were repeated. Square knots were doubled up beneath the horizontal row of double half hitch knots. And the weaving is finished with intersecting diagonal double half hitch knots.
To finish off the wall hanging, trim and even out the excess cord. To add an extra layer of texture, the rope can be teased apart and fringed as shown here.
To display, wrap cording or extra cord around either end of the dowel and hang anywhere you need some unexpected neutral texture.
Feel free to experiment with these various knots to see what sort of tapestry you can make.
In 2012, Charlotte Smith left NYC and Ciburbanity [city + suburb + sanity] was born. She blogs about fixing up her historic home on a budget of twinkies and cheez-its. She has appeared on Flea Market Flip, Better Homes and Gardens and has a monthly appearance on Good Morning, CT.