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Macrame Cord

 
Assorted Macrame Cord





 

Macrame cord materials have specific qualities you need to become familiar with. It is vitally important that you choose the right type for your project.

For example, making a hammock requires strong, sturdy materials. Jewelry, on the other hand, needs a softer type of material.

Nowadays, there are many kinds of cord materials available, including yarn, ribbon, leather, and parachute cord.

 
 
 

General Information

 
 

FLEXIBILITY:  The degree in which cords will bend, twist, and curve to form the decorative knots.

This is important, since the knots are tighter when using flexible materials. Certain materials will maintain the shape of the knots better than others. 

 
 
  Leather Cord  

Leather is quite stiff if it's thicker than 1mm.  Very thin round leather (1mm - 2mm) is a good choice for bracelets and earrings made with loose knots.

This is a Leather Bracelet, made with Celtic knots.

 
 





 
  Cotton Cord  

Cotton cord is usually very flexible. It's great for Macrame projects like clothing, handbags and jewelry.

This Friendship Bracelet was made with cotton crochet cord, which results in tight knots.  It's a great choice for projects featuring Double Half Hitches.

 
 
 
 
Macrame Cord Divider
 
COMPOSITION: The type of fiber used to make the Macrame cord materials (synthetic or natural).
 
 
  Hemp Cprd  

Certain plants are used to produce natural materials such as Hemp, Jute, and Flax Linen cord.

Leather is made from animal hide, so is considered a natural material.

This is the pendant for an Owl Necklace, made with Hemp material.

 
 





 
  Satin Cord
 

Satin cord is made from either nylon or rayon, both synthetic fibers (man-made). It's flexible and a great choice for jewelry, handbags, and more.

A common synthetic cord used in Macrame is polypropylene (Bonnie Braid), which is similar to nylon.
 
 
 





 
Macrame Cord Divider
 
STRENGTH: Refers to the amount of weight cord materials will hold.

Needless to say, a hammock will need much stronger material than a necklace.
 
 
  Jute Cord  

Jute is very strong, but cannot be exposed to sun and rain, or it will fall apart.

It's a great choice for indoor items like plant hangers and wall decorations.

 
 





 
  Paracord  

Parachute cord, also called Paracord, is EXTREMELY strong.

It's perfect for Macrame furniture and plant hangers that will be outside. You can also use it for jewelry.

 
 
 





 
Macrame Cord Divider
 
TWIST:  Refers to how the Macrame cord material is constructed during the manufacturing process.
 
 
  Twisted versus Braided Cord  

There are three types: Braided, Twisted, and Compressed.

Braided Macrame cord will unravel less easily than twisted material.

The twisted style is a better choice for brushed fringe, since you will be separating the fibers.

 
 





 
  Compressed Cord   Compressed cord is sometimes called Lacing. Suede is a compressed form of leather.

This style in found in cotton and flax as well.
 
 
 
 
Macrame Cord Divider
 
TEXTURE: A description of how the material feels against the skin.
 
 
  Silk Cord  

Obviously, you would not want to use Macrame cord material with a rough texture for a necklace or bracelet.

Silk cord is very soft, as is Satin, cotton, and leather.

 
 
 
 
Macrame Cord Divider
 
THICKNESS:   Refers to the diameter, or width, of the Macrame cord material.
 
 
  6mm Thick Cord  

The diameter of the cord is usually described in millimeters (2mm, 4mm, etc.).

This image shows a knot made with 6mm diameter cord, which is the standard size for Macrame.

The term Micro-Macrame is used when an item is made using cord material less than 2mm thick.

 
 
 
 
Macrame Cord Divider
 

Types of Cord Material

 
 

Below is a list of the different types of Macrame cord materials that can be used in your projects.

Most of them are not sold specifically for this craft, so may not be be seen in craft stores.

Yarn, Cotton, and Hemp are usually easy to find, but if not, there are other places to try (like online stores).

Search for cord material in Thrift Stores and Yard Sales, as well as Hardware, Garden, and Livestock supply stores.

 





 
  Satin Cross
 

Satin Cord: This luxurious material is made from Rayon or Nylon, and is soft and very shiny. It can be found in many different colors, and is often dyed by hand.

Th is image shows the Butterfly Earrings, which are made with Satin.

 










 

You can use Satin Cord to make just about any type of Macrame project, since it can be purchased in small or large quantities.

It usually comes in 2 sizes: 1mm, sometimes referred to as Bugtail, and 2mm diameter, which is called Rattail.   It's possible to find 3mm size as well.

Satin Cord is slippery, so the knots can loosen over time.  Despite that fact, it's an EXCELLENT choice for jewelry. 

It's also delicate, so use the Cross Pin Technique for securing it.






 
 
  Polypropylene Cord  

Polypropylene: This is the type of material most often sold specifically for Macrame. It comes in both braided and twisted forms, and can be found in many different colors and patterns.

This material is soft and flexible, and maintains the shape of the knots very well. You can find it in 2mm to 8mm thickness.

 
 





 
Nylon Cord  

Fine Nylon: This Macrame cord is used for Jewelry. It usually comes in 2mm size or less, and has a huge range of colors.

Sometimes the manufacturers will apply a light wax coating to make it a little easier to handle, and to make beading easier.

 
 





 
Paracord  

Parachute cord: Also called Paracord, is a type of nylon material. It's the strongest cord available nowadays. It's usually 2mm to 4mm size, and can be used for just about any project, from plant hangers to jewelry.

Melt the ends with a flame in the preparation and finishing steps.

 
 





 
  Hemp Cord  

Hemp Cord: This is the most popular material for Macrame, and was frequently used in the 1960’s. This type of cord material is strong, so is great for a wide variety of projects, from jewelry to plant hangers.

Unfortunately, Hemp is only available up to 4mm size. Anything thicker than that is considered rope, which is very expensive.

 
 





 
  All the natural materials, such as hemp, jute, and flax, need to be protected so they don't dry out. Place the material in a plastic bag when not in use. Treat the cords with beeswax as well.   Beeswax  
 





 
  Cotton Cable Cord  

Cotton Cable Cord: This material is a natural fiber, off-white in color, and textured (not smooth).

It is a good choice if your project calls for strong Macrame cord, such as furniture and plant hangers.

It's usually found in widths up to 4mm.

 
 





 
  Twist Style Cotton  

Another type of Cotton Cord is the twisted style, which is often found in Garden and Hardware stores. You can purchase it in large rolls, so it's very economical.

Large projects using 500 yards or more can get costly, so cord like this is will save you money.

FINE Cotton Cord is sold as Crochet Cord or Embroidery Floss, and is used for Micro-Macrame jewelry.

 
 





 
  Jute Cord   Jute: This type of cord material is strong, and used to be the fiber of choice for Macrame. It's biodegradable, since it's made from plants. So it needs to be protected from the sun and weather. You can get Jute in several sizes, including 4mm and 6mm, the standard sizes for Macrame cord.  










 
Jute is not comfortable on the skin, so is not suitable for jewelry.

"Primitive" craft designs look great if made from this natural material.

You can find dyed Jute in several colors, but most places that carry it have only the brown color shown in the images.
 





 
  Thick Yarn   Yarn is a good choice to use as Macrame cord. It comes in a huge variety of colors and sizes, and results in tight knots because it's very flexible.

It's a great choice for children's projects since it is inexpensive.
 
 





 
  Leather Cord
 

Round Leather: This material is strong, doesn’t fray or unravel, and can be found in many colors.

You will need to use 0.5mm to 2mm size, because anything thicker will be difficult to knot.

It’s great for jewelry, particularly if you want to feature a single knot, as in these Celtic Circle Earrings.

 
 





 
 

Pins easily damage leather cord, and the knots will make permanent creases.

It's important to use the Cross-Pin technique when working with any type of leather cord.

  Cross Pin Technique  
 





 
  Flax Linen Cord   Flax Linen Cord: This material is a good choice for Micro-Macrame jewelry, since it produces tight knots. It's soft and smooth, and looks similar to Hemp.

People in Ireland still spin this material by hand.
 










 
Flax Linen has been around for over 5000 years. The ancient Egyptians used the  plant's fibers to make cloth.

They wrapped their mummies with the material, which often remained intact after hundreds of years.
 
Flax cord is stronger than Cotton, and is often used to make delicate Lace and other fine fabrics.

This Macrame cord material usually has a light Beeswax coating, which softens as it's handled.
 





 
  Silk Cord   Silk: This cord material is soft and flexible, and comes on cards or individual strands. You can find silk cord in 0.2mm diameter to 4mm size. But few places carry the thick material, since it's very expensive.  
 





 
  Metallic Cord   Metallic Cord: This type of Macrame cord is great for Holiday projects, since it's shiny. It can be made from a variety of materials, but some forms are not as soft as others.

This material often has a cotton core, which is surrounded by the metallic fiber. Be sure to prepare the ends before working with  metallic cord. It unravels easily once it's cut.
 
 







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