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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.

From choosing supplies to securing cords, these topics are very important if you are a beginner.   Make sure you visit Macrame Essentials and read through all the pages in that section.


Knotting Tips for Gathering Supplies

ALWAYS use a project board.

One of the most important item you need for Micro-Macrame is a project board.

It 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.


You could also use thick cardboard, foam, or a clipboard.  When using slippery materials, cover the project board with fabric. 

Make sure you have tape, T-pins, fine tip pliers or clamps, and small scissors.

See Macrame Supplies for more details.

Soft Cord

Use comfortable materials for jewelry.

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

See Synthetic Materials and Natural Materials for more details.


Knotting Tips for Preparing Cords


Apply Beeswax

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


Prepare the Cords after Cutting

Measure each cord with a ruler or tape measure.  Cut them cleanly with sharp scissors.

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

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


Nylon Parachute cord (Paracord) is a very popular material for jewelry.

To prepare the cords, use the flame from a BBQ lighter to melt the material (at the tips).   This prevents the inner core material from sliding out.   See Cord Preparation for details.


Knotting Tips for Staying Organized


Organize the cords before each knot is tied.

Arrange them into small groups prior to knotting.

For example, if you are tying Square knots with four cords, divide them up into groups of four.


Roll up the cords

It's important to roll the cords into small bundles 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 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.


Tuck the end under the loop closest to it, and pull tightly to secure the end.  As you progress, pull the area leading to the knots 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 material from it.


Knotting Tips for Controlling Cords


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.


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

Click on the image to see this in more detail.

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.



NEVER put pins through Leather, Satin or Silk.

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


Make a loop with the cord, arranged horizontally.

Put the first pin above the crossing point.

Tilt it forward, so it leans over the crossed area.


Tilt Backward

Place a second pin below the crossing point.

Tilt it backward, over the crossing point of the loop.

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


Knotting Tips Regarding Knots


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 cord material 2mm to 4mm thick.

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.


Micro-Macrame projects are often made with several basic knots, including the Double Half Hitch.

Click on the link to see the instructions.

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!



Knotting Tips for Beading


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. 


Use light weight beads.

Choose the smallest beads possible, while making sure the hole size is adequate for the number of cords that will pass through them. 

See Micro-Macrame beads for more information.


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:



Method 1: Apply glue to the tips of the cords.  Roll the area 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 so you can pass them through the bead holes more easily.



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

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



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

When using this method, make sure you thread one cord at a time. 


Please send me suggestions for other knotting tips you feel should be included on this page.


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