The Cord Measurements you make for Macrame
include determining the number of cords you need,
their lengths, and the total amount of material to
purchase for your project.
This page describes the step-by-step process you
need to follow when:
You create a design on your own without a
You make any changes to a Macrame pattern.
You should make all the measurements and
calculations BEFORE cutting any
material. Write down the result for each
step in the process described on
Pencil (So you can erase mistakes)
Flexible measuring tape or ruler
2017 Update: I've added more
information and images, and changed the layout of
this page so it makes more sense.
Conversions have been added to this
updated page. You frequently have to convert
to metric measurements, since beads and cord
material are often described in millimeters or
centimeters. Also, this will help when you
find material sold by the foot rather than the
Here are some basic math conversions you can use
for cord measurements, and to understand the
patterns on this site.
1 inch = 2.54 Centimeters
1 inch = 25.4 Millimeters
6mm material = approximately 1/4-inch (0.24
12 inches = 1 Foot
3 Feet = 1 Yard
36 inches = 1 Yard
1 Yard = 0.9 Meters (Often considered the
Circumference of Ring = 3.14 x the diameter
Cord Measurements for Width
The information below describes the process you
must follow in determining the WIDTH of your
project when it's finished.
The cord measurements and details you get in steps
1 - 5 will determine the number
of cords to cut for your project.
Step 1: Determine the Finished Width
You must start by calculating the
finished width (side to side) you are
aiming for, in the widest
is the Owl
widest area is at the top, where the
cords are mounted.
a tape measure to decide the width
you want, then write that size on
Step 2: Material Size
You MUST know the actual
size of the cord material,
which is the width from edge to edge.
the material before using it, since
labels can be inaccurate.
When making changes to a pattern by using a
different size material, the finished width
will increase or decrease.
You may need to change the number of cords, or
the overall design, to keep the size the same
as the original pattern.
This is the Striped
Clutch, which is an old
pattern I decided to alter by changing
the material size from 6mm to
I had to increase the number of cords
used in the design so the width stayed
Step 3: Make a Knotting Plan
You now need to create a written
plan and/or drawing showing the
following information, so you can make accurate
The specific Macrame knots you plan to use
for your design, and how many cords are needed
to make them. Remember that you can add
(or subtract) cords if necessary.
Details about how the knots are constructed,
and how wide
they will be, especially if you are using
rings. (See examples below)
Details about the spacing between the knots,
whether they are close together or separated
by space. (For step 9)
Decide now if you plan to mount ALL the
cords at the beginning, or if you want to
start with a few, then add the rest later.
Determine if you need extra
cords for clasps, certain knots, or if you
will be adding more cords to widen an area.
The All Natural
Owl's wings are made with
Double Half Hitches (DHH), which have two
loops that rest side-by-side.
When tied with 6mm size material, both
loops will measure 12mm, which is
2: This Candy
Cane was made with Square
Knot Picots, which are loops that stick
out on each side of the knots.
They can be made any
size, so you would need to write
down how wide you plan to make them.
Step 4: Determine Ring Sizes
You need to know the circumference
of the rings you plan to use for the design, in
order to make these cord measurements as
accurate as possible.
= Total area of the entire ring
Measurement from edge to edge
Measure across the center to get the
x 3.14 = circumference.
The Fringed Table has three rings at
the top in different sizes. In a
case like this, you need to know the
circumference of EACH
The main thing you need to consider when using
rings is that you can only tie a certain number of
knots onto a ring, before you run out of
It's possible that you may need to add
cords to cover rings, especially if they
increase in size.
Step 5: Determine Mounting
Mounting the cords to a ring, dowel, or
other cord is done at the beginning of
You MUST determine if the cords are to
since this will affect your cord
measurements for both width and length.
Buttonhole clasps, you start out with the
cords straight, beginning the knots in the
center. Then you fold the knots to form
any point in the design usually
means you need to cut less cords (1/2 the
Step 6: Primary Cords
Now it's finally time to determine how many cords
you need to cut, which is based on the cord
measurements and information from steps 1 -
The PRIMARY cords are the ones that make up the
majority of the design.
Multiply the Finished
Width (from step 1) by the number of
cords shown in the table below.
The quantity depends on whether they are folded
(see step 5).
2 cords per inch
4 cords per inch
3 cords per inch
6 cords per inch
4 cords per inch
8 cords per inch
6 cords per inch
12 cords per inch
12 cords per inch
24 cords per inch
Finished Width = 10 inches.
For 6mm material, you choose 2 cords per
inch, since you want to fold the cords during
the mounting process.
Multiply 10 x 2 = 20 cords.
Divide the total number of cords by the quantity
you need for the knots. The result must be a
number (not a fraction).
Alternating Square Knots require 4 cords per
knot. There will be 40 cords to work
with after mounting, since they are folded in
Divide 40 by 4 = 10 (whole number).
That means you have the correct amount of
cords to make Square Knots.
Now you need to determine if the total number of
cords will fit on the rings. This is based
on the type of knot used to attach the cords to
This step DOES NOT apply to a ring where you
the cords without using knots, like at the top of
a plant hanger.
Design Tip: Sometimes you can fit more
knots on a ring if the material is flexible and
the knots are very tight. So don't be afraid
to try a smaller ring size than your cord
Ring diameter = 6 inches
Multiply by 3.14 = 18.84 (total area to
Double Half Hitches are used to attach the
cords to the ring. They are each made
with 2 loops. Using 6mm material, each
cord will produce a 12mm knot (1/2-inch).
Multiply 40 by 1/2-inch (0.5 inch) = 20
The result is close enough to the total area
on the ring that you should be able to get all
the cords on. Flexible materials may
actually require you to add more knots and/or
Here are common situations where you need extra
cords. Be sure to write these all down on
since they are likely to have different cord
measurements than the primary cords.
Look at your design plan/drawing (step 3) to
see if you will be adding cords to widen an
When increasing ring sizes, you may need to
add more cords to the larger ring. Also,
you may need one cord to wrap a ring, which
will be a different size than the
cords: Write down any SEPARATE
holding cords that you will need to add (not
primary cords used to hold knots).
The cord measurements are done a little
Counteach complex knot in the design.Multiply the
total number of knots by 5.
the length you got by 2, if the
cords are folded
anywhere in the design.
Add extra length to your cord measurements
if you plan to tie picots.
Step 10: Lengths for Other Cords
In step 7 you wrote down several types of added
and/or extra cords. The cord measurements
for each type needs to be calculated
individually, depending on where they are placed
and why they've been added.
The most common situations are described below.
cords that are NOT USED to tie
any knots should be at least the finished
length + 8 inches.
the length if the cords are folded.
When holding cords are used to tie knots,
they should be the same length as the
primary cords (step 9).
The cord measurements that apply when
adding cords to widen
an area depend on where they are
Mentally divide your design into three
parts -- top, middle, and bottom.
Same length as primary cords.
1/2 the length of the primary cords.
1/4 the length of the primary cords.
Clasps made with knots
require at least 18 inches of material.
Saving scraps and remnants will provide
you with the short cords you need, so you
should always keep the longest pieces.