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Knotting Tips

Knotting Tips
These Knotting Tips are suggestions that will help you learn how to deal with the thin, flexible cords commonly used in Micro-Macrame and handcrafted jewelry designs.

Click on the images and links to see either large photos or to go to the pages indicated.


Essential Supplies

Knotting Tips #1:  ALWAYS use a project board.

The use of a project board is absolutely essential if you plan to make jewelry with fine materials.

You cannot control the tiny, thread-like cords without using tape and pins.

Places that carry jewelry supplies often have project boards made with cork.

Project Boards

You could als use a cork bulletin board, cardboard, foam, or a firm pillow.  When using slippery materials, cover the project board with fabric. 

Make sure you have tape, T-pins, and bulletin board pins. See Macrame Supplies for more details.

Satin Cord

Tip #2:  Use soft, comfortable materials for jewelry projects.

Satin, Leather and Cotton are the best, but good quality Hemp and Nylon are other options.

See Macrame Cord for more information.


Condition your materials with beeswax to make them softer, especially with Hemp.


Cutting and Preparing Cords


Knotting Tips #3: Measure each cord separately when cutting.

Do not be tempted to use one cord to measure out a new one. They get tangled too easily, and the measurement will not be accurate.

Prepare the cords immediately after you cut them, by applying wax or glue to the ends, especially if you intend to use beads.

Leather cord is the exception to this; it needs no preparation.


Nylon Paracord is a very popular material for jewelry.

To prepare the cords, you need to apply heat to the ends to melt the fibers. 

This prevents the inner core material from sliding out.

Light a candle and put the end into the flame for a few seconds.

You can also coat the end by dipping it into the wax.   See Cord Preparation for more information.


Stay Organized


Knotting Tips #4:  Keep your cords organized at all times.

Arrange them into small groups prior to knotting. So if a knot requires 4 cords, break them up into groups of four.


Tip #5:  Roll up the cords if they are longer than 60 inches, so they don't get tangled.

Here is one method:


Wrap the cord around your hand several times, moving towards the end. 

Stop when you have about 12 inches left.

Remove the bundle from your hand. 

Wrap Cord

Wrap the end around the center several times.

  Wrap firmly and pull the end tightly, so you have a sturdy bundle that's easy to handle.

Wrap End

Tuck the end under the loop closest to it, and pull tightly to secure it the end.  As you progress, pull to get more material from the bundle.

 Make sure you tug on the end to tighten the wraps around the center, since the roll gets smaller as you remove cord from it.

Tuck End


Controlling Fine Cords


Knotting Tips #5:   Secure the loops as you progress.

Get in the habit of securing every loop and fold with tape or pins, so controlling them will not become a problem for you.

When you use tape, put it on the cord lengthwise, rather than across it. The cord wonÂ’t slip out of the tape as easily.

Lean the Pins

One of the best methods for securing loops and folds is to LEAN the pins over the portion you want to hold steady.

Wrap Around Pin  

Another good method for securing fine materials is to wrap the cord around the pin several times.

Secure it with a piece of tape to the board, or to the pin itself.


Knotting Tips #6:  NEVER put pins through Leather, Satin or Silk material.

Pins can damage the fibers of several types of material. It's better to use tape, or the technique shown below.


Cross-Pin Technique

Make a loop with the cord. Put the first pin to the right of the crossing point.

Push it to the left, so it leans over the crossed area.

  Lean Left


Place a second pin on the left side.

Tilt it so it leans to the right, over the crossing point of the loop.

The two pins cross, which holds the cord in place.

  Lean Right


Practice the Knots


Knotting Tips #7:  Learn the knots before you make the project.

Before trying to tie the knots with small, dainty threads, I highly recommend you practice ALL the basic and vintage knots in Learn Macrame, using heavy cord.

Micro-Macrame projects are often made with several of the basic knots, such as the Double Half Hitch and the Square Knot.

I recommend you practice each of the knots used in the pattern several times, so you can tie them easily. Then practice making the knots very small, which is what the term "micro" means.

Mystic Knot

Practice unusual or complex knots before starting a project, just to be sure you know what to expect.

This is the Chinese Mystic Knot, which is a challenge to tie, no matter what type of cord you use.  

Practicing will lead to success!



Applying Beads


Knotting Tips #8: Don't add too many beads.

Beads are often used in Micro-Macrame, but you can easily put in too many.

In this pair of Beaded Teardrops, the beads were separated by enough knots to avoid overloading the earrings. 


Knotting Tip #9:  Use light weight beads.

Pendants, charms and beads can deform the knots if they are too heavy.  Choose the smallest beads possible, while making sure the hole size is adequate for the number of cords that will pass through them. 

See Macrame Beads for specific details about the different types and shapes you can choose.

Knotting Tip #10:  Know how to thread the cords through the beads.

There is nothing so frustrating as placing small beads onto delicate, flexible cords.

The tips of the cords easily become frayed and difficult to work with. So here are two methods you can use to apply beads:


Apply Glue to Tips  

Method 1: Apply glue to the tips of any cords where beads will be applied.  Roll the ends  between your fingers as the glue is drying, so the tips are as narrow as possible.

The glue helps the fibers stay together, and will stiffen the ends slightly.



Method 2: Use a threader cord or wire. Fold it in half, and pass the ends through the bead, leaving a loop.

Place one cord through the area where the threader is folded.


Pull on Threader  

Pull the ends of the threader all the way out of the bead. The cord will be pulled through the bead, too.

Make sure you thread one cord at a time.


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