When I started this blog I had no idea the directions it would take me. I have always been interested in art, crafts and DIY projects. But my knowledge was limited to the basics – reading, writing, drawing. Now don’t get me wrong, I adore those basics, but this monthly feature has really opened my eyes. There are so many fun and exciting projects out there waiting to be attempted! I certainly promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle as a part of becoming a healthier happier you. But I feel its also necessary to feed our souls and our minds. Trying something new or venturing into unknown artistic waters is a great way to spark creativity and once in a while, you find a new passion! When I heard about Macrame Wall Art, I knew it was something I had to try!
Learn Something New with Kristin
Feature 3 – Macrame Wall Art
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What is Macrame Wall Art?
Macrame is a form of art where cords, ropes, yarn or other materials create a textile using knots. Historically it was used by a variety of cultures and spread quickly. Examples of decorative macrame knotting have even been found on carvings created by the Babylonians and Assyrians. This art form has since fallen in and out of fashion many times but has recently seen a popularity upswing with large pieces of Macrame Wall Art selling for hundreds of dollars on sites like Etsy and Amazon.
Macrame wall art uses a variety of different knots and hitches to create unique looks. Macrame artists who know the art well can create beautiful masterpieces and patterns on the fly. Thankfully for beginners, there is an abundance of patterns readily available. These patterns range from easy to difficult and can be used to create anything from jewelry to pot hangers to wall hangings. In fact, if you made friendship bracelets as a kid then you have probably already done Macrame you just didn’t know it!
What Equipment do I need?
Macrame wall art is very simple equipment wise! You really only need three items to get started!
- Rope, cord, yarn or other string-like material – I used yarn because I was just learning and did not want to invest in more expensive options. I suggest researching different options if there is a particular look you want to try for. Different cord materials create vastly different looks, especially when it comes to making fringes.
- A Hanger – Originally I wanted a natural looking tree branch as my hanger but this proved difficult to find so I ended up just buying a small decorative curtain rod. I don’t think there is any limit on what you can use for your hanger!
- A Pattern to Follow – I suggest looking for a simple pattern to start with. Some of the more advanced knots can be tricky if your all fingers like me! I found this amazing pattern online which only used two different knots. I figured I should be able to learn two knots! You can see this free pattern here – MyFrenchTwist.com . If that one doesn’t strike your fancy there are plenty of patterns available on Amazon!
How do you do it?
Unlike many types of art, the how of Macrame will vary a good bit based on the pattern and project you choose to tackle. A Wall Hanging is a bit different from a plant holder or hammock! But if you find a good pattern there are a lot of tutorials out there to help you through it all.
There are some very basic knots which seem to be pretty universal. The pattern I chose required learning only two! This was great for me because I tend to be all fingers when working with fabrics. Since I choose a wall hanging I will attempt to walk you through the basic process with some tips I learned along the way.
Macrame Wall Art – Step 1, Measuring your string.
If you found a good pattern they should tell you exactly how much string you will need to purchase and how to cut it. The pattern I linked above calls for 28 pieces of string that are 16 feet long. This worked out to be 448 Feet of string. It sounds like a lot but it turns out most cords and yarns are sold by the yard. I did some math and this worked out to be approximately 150 yards. I bought three skeins of yarn that were 87 yards each. This gave me more than enough yarn to create the pattern with a good bit left over for embellishments or fixing mistakes.
I always buy extra supplies with trying something new. It’s really no fun when you run out of something halfway through the project and then have trouble finding replacements. This is especially true when working with colored items. There is never a guarantee that you will be able to find the original color or that there won’t be subtle shade differences between batches.
If your pattern does not tell you how much cord you need I suggest looking for another when just starting out. But, If you really love it I found a good tutorial for this at Hitch and Arrow.
A quick Measurement to help you out
1 Yard = 3 Feet
Macrame Wall Art – Step 2, Attaching your string to your Hanger.
This step turned out to be quite easy and the pattern I linked above gives a nice tutorial on how to do it. Although I am sure that there are many different methods based on what you are making. The basic idea for the pattern I used was to use something called a Larks Head Knot.
A Larks Head Knot is very simple. Fold your cord in half, put the looped end around our pole and slide the ends through! Simple! Here are some pictures to help you out.
Macrame Wall Art Step 3 – Learn your knots and follow the pattern.
If you have never had practice following a pattern or tying knots before this steps can take a bit of figuring out. I practiced making the basic knots in the tutorial I followed several times with scrap string before I started on my project and I suggest you do the same!
Learning your Knots
For the pattern listed above I only had to learn two knots (not counting the Larks Head Knot above) Once I got into the rhythm of it they were very simple. The two Knots I learned were – The Square Knot and the Double Square Knot.
Here are some pictures of both to help you out!
If the pattern you picked calls for more complicated knots and does not have a tutorial included I suggest looking for a more beginner friendly pattern. Or look them up on Pinterest. Pinterest is a goldmine for things like this!
Following your Pattern.
The pattern I used was very helpful. It told me which cord to start with, included a key so I knew what type of knot to make and listed everything by row. For someone who has no experience following a pattern, this is great! Double check your counting and follow your pattern, you don’t want to get halfway finished and end up having to undo a bunch if knots!
The only thing I had trouble remembering was what row I left off on when I finished working! I started writing it down in my planner at the end of every session (endless rows of knots get hard to count after a while) but it probably would have been easier to print the pattern off and highlight the parts as I finished them.
Macrame Wall Art Step 4 – Add Embellishments and Hang it up!
I loved my piece of Macrame Wall Art when I finished the pattern but since I had some extra string I decided to add a few embellishments and truly make it mine. Three large tassels and a giant pompom later and I was happy. I also ran the string for my tassels and pompom through these cute wicker balls I found at the dollar tree.
This is the time to try out some other braids, figure out if you want to unwind your ends and make a fringe or otherwise alter the piece to really match your style. When you’re happy with your wall art, pick a spot and display it proudly. You made that! Aren’t you fantastic? I think so!
Macrame Wall Art – Ending Thoughts
I expected this to be far more complicated then it was. In fact, I put this project off until I was a bit ahead on my blog work and knew I would have lots of time to figure it out! It turns out this was a good idea. While the process itself (if you have a good pattern) was very simple it WAS time-consuming.
Parts of this project can be completed while watching TV, I did my measuring and cutting while sitting on the living room floor. Other parts are easier with a better set-up. While it is possible to do all of it sitting on the floor in front of the tv I found that it was difficult to keep the strings from tangling while working with the knots.
In the end, I ended up hanging the rod over my husbands pull up bar and working from there. Having the strings hanging was a huge help in keeping them untangled as I worked. If you know where you ultimately want to hang your piece of art then it would probably be easier to mount your rod and work on it OR buy some temporary peel and stick wall hooks to hold your piece off the ground while you work.
I also suggest working on this a little bit at a time. Your arms start to hurt after a while since you have to spend a great deal of time holding them up while working on the knots. If you want your project done by a certain day leave a good bit of time to do it. This wall hanging took me about two weeks to create working on it a little bit every day. I expect this time would go down drastically with practice though!