Although many people think macramé was only around in the 1970’s, this is not true on two counts: macramé has been around since the 1200’s in Spain, and it is still popular even today!
If you’re new to the world of macramé, you may be overwhelmed by the vast array of options for the cord material. There aren’t just multiple options for the fibers the cord is made with, but the sizes of the cord as well.
So, which size macramé cord should you use for your next project? The size of macramé cord you choose for your project will depend on what exactly you’re making. In general, you’ll use the small sizes for jewelry making, medium sizes for most other projects, and large sizes for extra big projects such as curtains.
In this guide, you’ll not only get to understand the various sizes of macramé cord, but also the different fiber options out there and ideal projects based on the size and fiber you choose.
What Is Macramé Yarn?
In essence, macramé yarn is the same as macramé cord, rope, string, etc. It’s all the same material, with just different names associated based on your region of the world.
Macramé is the art of tying several knots in a pattern or design to create something new. Traditionally, yarn is intended to be woven into a solid piece of fabric, so when it comes to macramé, it’s more common to refer to that material as cord, rope, or string.
Macramé cord can be made from several different fibers: jute, cotton, hemp, and even synthetic fibers. No one of these types of fibers is better than the other, but they do all have specific uses where they work best.
We’ve have put together a comprehensive list of some of the best cords for macramé for you to check out as well, if you’re curious.
Macramé Cord Fibers
As mentioned above, there are different fibers used to create macramé cord. These fibers are twisted together to create one cohesive cord ready for knot-tying.
Cotton is the most commonly used type of macramé cord. Cotton is soft and extremely forgiving when it comes to tying and untying your knots (which you will be doing a lot of).
Cotton is also very strong and sturdy. It’s great for creating a hanging plant holder and will support the weight of whatever pot, soil, and plant you put in it.
The final positive thing to note about cotton is that it’s easy to dye and fringe, making it versatile for whatever your vision is for your project.
Hemp is another common option for macramé cord, usually for jewelry projects. Its softness has been likened to silk, making it an ideal fiber for any projects that will be worn on the body.
Another great thing about hemp is that it’s sturdy. So all the hours you spend making friendship bracelets for your friends won’t go to waste, because they’ll be strong enough to withstand usual use and won’t be torn or broken easily.
Jute is a plant-based fiber, and is most helpful for use in any outdoor projects. It’s got great strength, resistance to rot, and resistance to stretching. These qualities make it ideal for any outdoor hanging plants or decorations.
Sometimes jute is referred to as garden twine, so if you have trouble finding it by searching for jute, try searching for garden twine instead.
Synthetic fibers are also available and have become much more popular in recent times. They have their strengths, but you may want to feel it before choosing one in case it’s not your desired texture or flexibility.
Sizes Of Macramé Cord – Chart
The sizes of macramé cord range from 1mm to around 10mm, with each size having its own advantages and disadvantages depending on your project. Different types of macramé knots may also work better with certain cord sizes.
For your convenience, we’ve grouped the sizes into three sections: small, medium, and large. We’ll dive into the details of each size and what projects they’re most useful for, but first, here’s a simplified macramé cord size chart:
|Size Range||1.2 mm||3-5 mm||6+ mm|
|Use||Jewelry making, small projects||General macramé projects, wall hangings, plant holders, etc.||Larger projects, bold designs|
|Beading Compatibility||Can be strung through beads||Can sometimes be strung through larger beads||Cannot be strung through beads|
|Knot Types||Smaller, more intricate designs||Standard knots and some intricate designs||Chunkier knots and simpler designs|
1. Small: 1-2 mm
Small macramé cords are often also referred to as micro macramé cords due to the very thin nature of the strands.
The best option for small macramé cords is jewelry making. Not only are you able to make more intricate knots and designs because of the size of the strands, but it’s thin enough to be strung through beads if you’re adding those to the project.
Small macramé cords are really ideal for only small projects. Keep in mind the amount of time you’re prepared to spend on a project.
If you want to use 2mm macramé cord to create a 2’x4’ wall hanging, you can certainly do so, but it will take you much longer than if you were using 4mm macramé cord.
You would need to use more cord to fill the square footage of your project and it would take tying more knots to achieve the size. This may be your desired goal because more knots allows for a more intricate design, but just be aware it will take significantly longer.
2. Medium: 3-5 mm
Medium size macramé cords are the most common for general macramé projects, and can be considered the standard size of macramé cord. If you’re looking into online patterns and designs for macramé projects, they will likely be using this standard size.
The macramé cords in the 3-5mm range are perfect for wall décor, plant holders, mandalas, placemats, produce bags, and more. These cords can also be strung through large-hole beads.
The sizes in this range offer a lot of versatility. Choosing 3 mm gives you a cord that’s thin enough to offer the space of designs that are as intricate or as simple as you want; choosing 5mm gives you that same freedom, but helps you achieve a larger project faster.
3. Large: 6+ mm
Large macramé cords that are 6mm or larger are intended to make a really bold visual impact.
Because these cords are so thick, it will be difficult to do very many knots. However, they’re great if you want to make a wall-hanging big enough to cover the entire wall, cover a long hand railing, or even create your own decorative curtains.
Think of this type of macramé cord as that really large chunky yarn you’ve seen people knitting giant blankets with. It’s so large that they have to use their arms as knitting needles, and the desired end result is an oversized blanket.
The same is true for the large size macramé cords. They’re designed to be used for oversized, eye-catching projects and not necessarily to do intricate, complex designs with.
Is Macramé Cord The Same As Paracord?
Paracord can be considered a type of macramé cord. Although it’s really a general utility cord, it’s been used to create bracelets in a macramé style of knotting.
The thing to keep in mind with paracord is that it’s usually made with rougher synthetic fibers, such as nylon. These can be great because they’re so strong, but would also not be highly recommended for jewelry making or any other project worn on the body.
If you have a friend who really enjoys rock climbing, sky diving, or other outdoorsy activities, it might be a fun idea to create a wall-hanging for them using paracord in the art of macramé. It adds that outdoorsy element while still being artistic and creative!
How Strong Does My Cord Need To Be To Start With?
The strength of your macramé cord will depend entirely upon your project.
If you’re creating a plant hanger designed to hold a large, heavy pot, you will want a very strong and sturdy cord to support the weight. This cotton cord on Amazon is my favorite.
However, if you’re making a simple wall-hanging, it won’t need to be very strong at all. Cotton or hemp will do just fine.
In general, all types of macramé cord are designed to be strong to a certain extent. No macramé cords are designed to be broken or ripped easily, so you’re safe no matter what you choose.
Something to consider is the way you’ve tied the knots. Some knots, such as the square knot, have a lot more inherent strength and will be able to support a lot of weight simply just by the way it’s been tied.
How Much Cord Do I Need For Macramé?
The amount of macramé cord you need will not only depend on the size of your project, but on the size of your cord.
Creating a wall-hanging designed to be 1’x1.5’ will take a different amount of cord depending on whether you are using 2mm or 5mm size cords.
A simple rule of thumb that seems to work is that you will need cord that measures approximately four times the length of your final project.
Of course, there are other factors to consider. For example, braided or 3-ply cord will take up more length to create the same knot as a single strand cord. If you’ve chosen a more intricate design with more knots, you’ll need more cord than a simple design.
Up Next: The Best Macramé Kits