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Macrame Beads

Macrame Beads

Macrame beads come in all shapes and sizes, and are often used in a variety of projects, especially Micro-Macrame jewelry.

Some beads are not suitable for Macrame, however, due to the fact the holes are too small.

In most patterns, the holes in the beads need to be large enough for at least two pieces of material to pass through.

So for standard Macrame (4mm to 6mm material), you need the hole sizes to be 8mm or more. For Micro-Macrame, the holes need to be 2mm to 6mm size, depending on the material.

I recommend you read through this page thoroughly, so you know which beads are most suitable for the Macrame projects you are working on.

The first section describes several different types of beads. Further down you will find information about the various shapes.



Types of Beads

  Macrame Beads   Macrame Beads are specifically designed for this craft, so they have 8mm to 12mm size holes.

Made from wood, porcelain, or ceramic materials, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Ceramic beads are hard to find and are more expensive than wood beads.

  Metal Bead   Metal Beads have holes 2mm to 4mm in size, depending on the shape. You can find gold plated, silver plated, and brass metal beads in stores that carries beading supplies.

Precious metal beads are more expensive. The bead shown is made from antique brass.

  Cloisonne Bead   Cloisonne Beads are metal, and usually have a colorful design imprinted on them. They have an "Oriental" feel and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The holes are usually 1mm to 2mm, so these are used for Micro-Macrame jewelry.  

  Wire Beads   Wire Beads usually don't have holes at all. You slip the cords through the loops of wire. They are often handmade and suitable for Micro-Macrame (1mm to 2mm openings).  

  Glass Beads  

Glass Beads are very attractive, and on occasion you can find them with holes over 2mm in size.

Crow Rollers are similar to pony beads, but made from glass.  The holes are usually 3mm - 4mm in size.


  Glass Pandora Bead  

Pandora beads (European beads) have become very popular for Macrame projects. They often have a silver or gold lining inside the large hole, which is usually 4mm to 5mm in size.

These are primarily used in jewelry, as focal beads, but are a good choice for other projects, too. 


  Plastic Beads  

Acrylic Beads often have holes 2mm to 4mm in size.

They are easy to find, and are inexpensive compared to other beads.


  Metallized Bead  

Metalized Beads are plastic, but have an authentic metal coating, and are often quite unique.

They are slightly more expensive than regular plastic Macrame beads.


  Clay Bead  

Clay Beads have great details and many are shaped to form three-dimensional objects, like this flower.

The holes are usually 1mm to 2mm, but it's possible to enlarge them slightly with a bead reamer.


  Cord Beads  

Cord Beads are very interesting. They are made from loops of cords wrapped around a plastic or wood base. The hole size is usually 2mm.

Crochet beads are a type of cord bead. They are usually made from wood or plastic, with a crochet fabric covering.


  Gemstone Beads   Gemstone Beads usually have very tiny holes (1mm), so are suitable for Micro-Macrame.

They are often more expensive than beads made from other materials.

  Lava Bead  

Lava Beads, also called Pumice Beads, come in a variety of shapes. There is usually a 1mm to 2mm size hole running through the bead.

Some shapes have a large opening in the center, like this triangular bead.



Cabochons are polished gemstones or acrylic material. They don't have any holes, and have a flat back. They are usually oval, round, or teardrop shaped.

The Pendant Setting is one way to turn cabochons and coins into pendants. It's a knot technique you should know if you plan to use these stones in a jewelry design.


  Rubber Beads  

Rubber Beads are very unusual, and are made from recycled car tires. They are soft, and comfortable against the skin, even if they have spikes like the ones shown.

They have small holes (1mm to 2mm), so are suitable for Micro-Macrame jewelry.


  Beaded Bead  

Beaded Beads are made by hand. They have rows of seed beads attached to a wood or plastic base. You need to be careful when you use them, since seed beads are delicate, and can come loose.

These are suitable for Micro-Macrame (1mm to 2mm holes).


  Rhinestone Bead  

Rhinestone beads have become quite popular. They are called Disco Ball or Pave beads if the stones are close together. 

They usually have 1mm to 2mm holes, and are suitable for Micro-Macrame only. 


  Lampwork Bead  

Lamp Work Beads are unique because they have raised areas, forming a 3-D effect.

These handmade beads are easy to find, and usually have small 1mm to 2mm size holes.


  Ceramic Bead  

Ceramic Beads are often greatly detailed, and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

They are used primarily for Macrame jewelry projects, since they usually have 2mm holes.


  Mood Bead  

Mood Beads are very unique because they are made from a material that changes color, depending on your body temperature.

They come in a variety of shapes, and most have 1mm to 2mm size holes. They are often expensive.



Shell and Bone Beads usually have very tiny (1mm) holes, and are made from real shells and bones.

These beads are easily damaged, and will often break if you try to enlarge the holes.


  Rudraksha Seed  

Seed Beads come from a variety of plants, and are a good choice for Micro-Macrame. The hole size is usually 1mm to 2mm.

This is a Rudraksha bead.

(Not the same as tiny glass beads, also called seed beads)


  Wood Bead  

Wood Beads are the most common Macrame beads, since they have holes ranging from 2mm to 12mm in size.

They come in natural, unfinished, or painted styles. These are usually oval, round or barrel shaped.

The holes can be enlarged easily if necessary.


  Beaded Button  

Buttons can be used instead of Macrame beads. Beaded buttons make great pendants, and you can use shank style buttons for clasps.

The hole size is usually 2mm.

Macrame Cord Divider

Bead Shapes

  Round Shape  

Round Beads usually have holes 2mm to 8mm in size. Large round Macrame beads are usually made from wood. Small round beads are used in Micro-Macrame projects, and you can find them in glass, gemstone, and metal materials.


  Barrel Shape  

Barrel Beads are the most common shape used in Macrame. They are not as tall as Oval beads, and are usually smaller.

The average size for these Macrame beads is 15mm, which have 6mm to 8mm holes. You can find them in smaller sizes as well.


  Oval Shape  

Oval Beads are often specifically made for Macrame, and sometimes have decals on them, like the one shown.

They are usually ceramic or wood, and have holes ranging from 2mm to 12mm.


  Drop Bead  

Drop Beads are designed with the hole running horizontally near the top, so the bead dangles below the cord. Some are shaped like teardrops, but many are not.

The standard teardrop styles usually have 1mm holes, but you can sometimes find them with holes 2mm in size.



Pendants and Charms are designed with a loop that is often large enough for several cords to pass through (2mm or more).

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Like drop beads, they dangle below the cords.


  E Type Seed Beads  

“E” Beads are very small, so are only suitable for Micro-Macrame projects. Cord materials over 2mm do not fit through them.

They come in many colors, are inexpensive, and can be found in stores carrying jewelry supplies.


  Crow Roller  

Crow Rollers make great Macrame Beads. They look like a barrel bead cut in half, and come in several sizes. Most Pony Beads are this shape.

They are the best beads for 2mm cord materials, and you can often pass one 3mm to 4mm size cord through them.


  Diamond Shaped Bead  

Diamonds, also called Bicones, are hard to find with holes above 2mm, unless they are very large. So they are primarily use in Micro-Macrame jewelry.

These beads are usually made of glass, but you can find them in metal, wood, or plastic as well.


  Donut Bead  

Rings and Donuts usually have holes 2mm to 4mm in size. They are made from glass, ceramic, metal, plastic, gemstone, and wood materials.

These make good Macrame beads, but you need to use them like pendants. Pass the cord through the center, so the ring dangles. 


  Spaghetti Beads   Spaghetti beads are long and oval in shape. They are often used in jewelry projects as well as items like dog collars. Most have 2mm size holes, but you can find larger ones with 4mm to 6mm hole sizes.  

  Tube Shaped Bead  

Tube Beads come in many different sizes, and are made from a variety of materials.

Drum Beads are very similar, but are shorter.

Both types have holes ranging from 2mm to 6mm, making them excellent Macrame beads.


  Curly-Q Bead   Curly-Q Beads are actually a type of Lamp work bead. They don't have any holes at all. Instead, the beads wrap around the cords. They are often suitable for Macrame designs using 2mm or 3mm size materials.  

  Triangles and Cubes  

Triangles and Cubes are unique. You don’t see them used very often in Macrame.

Most have 2mm to 4mm holes. They're slightly more expensive than other shapes.



Blocks are simply large wooden cubes, with a hole through the center. These Macrame beads are great for children's projects.

They usually have 4mm to 8mm holes, which can be enlarged.


  Figure Bead   Figure Beads are interesting, and many shapes are available. Animals, flowers, hearts, and stars are the most common. They are suitable for Micro-Macrame, but sometimes you can find large ones suitable for regular Macrame projects.  

Macrame Cord Divider

Beading Techniques


There are a few techniques you need to know when using Macrame Beads:

How to thread the cords through the beads, and securing them so they don’t fall off.

Using a Wire is the easiest way to attach beads. Simply fold the wire, and feed both ends through the bead. Leave a small loop.

Insert the cords into the loop, and pull the ends. The entire wire as well as the cord will go through the opening in the bead.

Beading Needles are another option, but only for Micro-Macrame. You feed the end of the cord through the hole in the needle.

Then you pass the needle through the beads. The down side is that it can be very difficult to thread the needle.

Attaching the beads by hand is the third option. Sometimes it’s just easier to poke the end of the cord through the bead's hole.


  Beeswax   No matter which technique you use, I recommend you coat the cords with beeswax and apply glue to the tips. This will prevent fray and the glue stiffens the tips to make beading easier.  


Securing Macrame beads to the cords is pretty simple. When tying knots around the beads, there is no need to secure them.

For other situations, tying a Barrel Knot above and/or below the bead will work.

For beads used as part of a clasp, use this method:

Thread the cord through the hole in the bead. Make a tight Overhand Knot, and pass it back through the hole.

You can tie a different type of knot if the hole is large and the cord slips out.

Cut the remainder of the cord close to the Macrame bead and apply a small amount of glue inside the opening, if possible.


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