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Holiday Lantern

Holiday Lantern

Description:  The Holiday Lantern is a Macrame decoration that features a ball frame covered with a spiral design.  Inside the ball is a white candle with a flame, much like vintage lanterns.  The brushed fringe at the bottom resembles a wreath. 

In the example shown, twist style Macrame cord (polypropylene) was used to cover the frame.  You can used braided cord, since 4mm twist cord is hard to find.

The frame is made by connecting three brass rings, or you can use a ball frame.   

 <<< (Ball frames are available in the store.  Click on the green banner)

For sizes above 8 inches, you need to use 6mm material and make the candle longer. 

The chart in Preparation will help you determine the length to cut the cords for different sizes, and the total you need to purchase.

This Macrame project is rated easy, suitable for beginners.
Supplies Needed:
  • 4mm cord material (for 5-inch to 8-inch ball frame) -- see Preparation
  • 6mm white material for candle (3 yards)
  • 2mm or 4mm gold material for flame (24 inches)
  • One 2-inch ring
  • Three metal rings or one ball frame (5-inch to 8-inch) -- see Preparation
  • Ribbons or other decorations
  • Project Board and pins
  • Plastic ice cream bucket (optional)
Knots Used:


Candle: Cut 2 pieces of white 6mm material, each 60 inches long.

Flame:  Cut two pieces of gold material, each 12 inches long.

Use this chart to determine the cord lengths you need to cover the frame for your Holiday Lantern:

(These measurements apply to rings or ball frames) 

Ring Size
Length of each Cord

Total to Purchase
5 inch
 6 cords -- 3.5 yards long
22 yards
 6 inch
  6 cords -- 4 yards long
25 yards
7 inch
  6 cords -- 4.5 yards long
28 yards
8 inch
  6 cords -- 5 yards long
31 yards
Over 8 inches
see below
see below

For a large Holiday Lantern using rings over 8 inches, here is the math for the cord lengths:
  • Diameter of Ring x 3
  • Multiply by 8
  • Divide by 36 (for yards) Cut 6 cords, each the length you came up with.

You should use 6mm material for frames over 8 inches.

Ball Frame

To make a frame with rings, arrange three rings inside one another, so there are 6 sections. Place one horizontal, one vertical and one diagonal.

You may need to bend the rings slightly. 

Secure the top and bottom with tape, or a piece of wire.

Macrame Cord Divider


 The Candle

The candle for the Holiday Lantern is made with a Lanyard knot, also called a Crown Knot.    The steps below show you the process.

Step 1:  Place the 2 white cords on your project board so they form an X shape.  Match the centers and secure them.  Mentally label the four segments A - D as shown in the images below.

Move A
<< Move segment A to the right, to rest on top of segment B.  Make sure it curves as shown.

Move segment B upward, to rest
on top of segment C>>
Move B

Move C
<< Move segment C to the left, so it rests on segment D.

Move segment B down to the curved area of segment A. 

Pass it over - under as you bring it through that area.  >>
Move D


Step 2:  Tighten the first Lanyard knot by pulling on all four ends firmly, so it's as small as possible.  Remove the pin from the center, and place it on the outside of the first knot.

Repeat step 1, tying more Lanyard knots. The knots will stack on top of each other as you progress. 

Step 2, continued:  Stop when the candle for the Holiday Lantern is 5 inches tall.

For ball frames over 8 inches, make the candle 6 inches tall.

Design Tip:   Eventually you will need to lay the candle on your work surface. 

Secure it on your board, then curve the end upward slightly, to position the new knots.

Gold Cords

Step 3:  Pass the two 12-inch gold cords through the crossed area at the top of the candle. 

Match the ends to center the two cords.

Half Hitch
<<  Tie a counter-clockwise Half Hitch with the two ends on the left, around those on the right. 

Tie the next Half Hitch with the two ends on the right,
rotating clockwise>>
Half Hitch


Step 4:  Unravel all 4 ends and brush the fibers to form the flame.

The best way to do this when using braided material is to pull out individual fibers close to where the knots are tied.  That loosens the braid and makes the rest come apart more easily. 


The Top

Step 5: The top area for the Holiday Lantern is made with the Spiral Stitch, to match the knots on the ball frame.  The term "Half Knot" is used below, since you tie the first half of a Square knot. 

This design
can be changed by using other knots

Should you make any changes, try to keep the design around 3 inches long

<< Fold one of the cords for the ball frame in half.  Place it under the bottom portion of
the 2-inch ring.

Bring the ends forward and down, over the bottom of the ring. Make sure it goes under the folded
area of the cord. >>

Larks Head

Step 6:  Repeat step 5, attaching the remaining 5 cords for the ball frame. 

Pull the ends firmly to tighten each knot.

Three Groups

Step 7:  Divide the cords into 3 groups of four. 

The Half Knot is tied with two working cords and two fillers.

Move the left working cord to the right, over the fillers and under the right working cord.

Spiral Stitch

Step 8:  To complete the Half Knot, move the right working cord to the left.

Pass it under the fillers and over the left working cord.

Steps 7 and 8 = one Half Knot

Step 9: Repeat steps 7 and 8 several times, until the sennit is 1.5 inches long.

When you get to the 4th knot, the twisting will become obvious.  You may need to rotate the sennit to create the spiral (ends switch places).

Three Spirals

Step 10:  Repeat steps 7 - 9 using the other two groups of cords, for a total of 3 Spiral Stitch designs.

You can add an extra knot in the first and third design, so the bottoms all line up evenly.

Large Spiral

Step 11:  The next portion at the top of the Holiday Lantern is a large spiral.  This brings all the cords together, which is important. 

Mentally number the cords 1 - 12.  The working cords are 1 and 12.  Tie a 1.5 inch Spiral Stitch with the working cords, around all the others (10) which are fillers.

This new spiral is very thick, so you will need to help it twist by rotating the cords. 

You will probably be able to twist it only 1 time.

Top Complete

Should you make changes to the top area of the Holiday Lantern, I recommend you bring the cords together in a bundle like this, using one or more knots. 

This way, when you attach the cords to the ball frame, it's more stable.


Covering the Ball Frame

The next step for your Holiday Lantern is to cover the ball frame.  I recommend you do not make changes here.  The Spiral Stitch is the best decorative knot for this area. 

To keep the spirals the same size, tie a set of 5 knots, then rotate the sennit so the ends switch places.

Also, push the knots close together as you progress.

Half Knot

Step 12:  Choose two cords from the bundle and arrange them on either side of a metal segment on the frame.

Tie one Half Knot, just as you did in steps 7 and 8The metal is the filler.  Tighten the knot firmly, and push it close to the top of the frame.

Step 13:  Go to the metal segment directly opposite, which should be the same ringRepeat step 12

Repeat this process with the rest of the cords, attaching two cords to each metal segment. 

This will anchor the top portion of the Holiday Lantern to the ball frame.  

Ice Cream Bucket

Step 14: Tie the Spiral Stitch to completely cover the six segments of the frame.  Push the knots close together as you progress.

Have you been wondering what the ice cream bucket is for? 

You use it to hold the ball frame as you cover it with knots, so you don't need pins.


Step 15:  At the bottom of the Holiday Lantern, divide the cords into two groups of six. 

Tie an Overhand knot, and tighten it as much as possible.  You can add some glue to the frame, so the cords sit on top of it.

Step 16:  Unravel and brush each cord after trimming to 2-inches.  The best approach is to pull all the cords outside the frame while brushing.

When using braided cord, remove one of the fibers to loosen the others.  Do this close to the frame, not at the tip of the cord.  Repeat a few more times, until the cord is completely unraveled.

Repeat this step with the cords at the bottom of the candle. 

Secure Candle

Use one fiber from a piece of scrap cord, and pass it through the candle near the bottom.

Pass one end around the metal and then tie 2 tight Overhand knots.  This will secure the candle to the bottom of the Holiday Lantern.

Do this in three more areas, securing the candle to other portion of the frame.

Fringe on Inside

After the cords are brushed and fluffed, trim them to neaten the edges.

Pull the fringe inside the frame, so it surrounds the candle.

Add ribbons or other decorations to complete the Holiday Lantern.

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Have any comments about the Holiday Lantern? Contact Me.


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