You may have seen macrame at least once in your entire life but were unaware of what it is. In most cases, you will find it used in fantastic art projects. Using it for an art project requires you to have a lot of the material to build something out of it. The good news is these products are cheap and come in several color and style options. It is also widely available in hobby stores and department stores, to name a few. If you are not of fan of shopping in-store, you can also find them online.
We put together this article to guide you with the essential things you need to know about cotton cords. After reading this article, you will know its uses and brief history. We’ll cover properties to look out for and where to buy them. You’ll also learn about the difference between a macrame rope and a cord. We’ll also show you the best macrame cotton cords you could want! You could even use it to make a t-shirt.
Before we dive deeper into the topic, it is best to know some history. This way, you will have a better understanding of the topic. Its history started several thousands of years ago. People have different beliefs as to where the term came from. Some think it comes from migramah, a 13th-century Arabic word. The word means fringe. Another group believes it comes from the Turkish word “makrama,” meaning towel or napkin. These people think it is a way to secure weaving pieces. Large amounts of threads are placed on the top or bottom of a woven fabric.
Whatever its etymology is, its first appearance was in the carvings of the Assyrians and Babylonians. It appears that they use fringed braiding as accessories to costumes. Arab weaves during the 13th-century used it as decorative knots for towels and veils. It slowly made its way to Europe via Africa.
The craze only reached England during the Victorian era. It was only in the 17th-century that it made its way to England. Queen Mary taught and gave lectures to her court ladies. At this point in history, most homes in England had some macrame decoration in the form of tablecloths or bedspreads. It could also often be found used for curtains and covers, although those weren’t the only places it was used.
For the rest of the world, sailors were largely responsible for spreading it. These sailors did projects with the material to pass the time. American and British sailors in the 19th-century made bell fringes and hammocks. It was also common for it to be used for belts and several other items. After a while, it faded out and had only resurged in the 1970s as a symbol of the Bohemian style. We use it in several crafts and continuously find ways to use it in the present time.
What is it used for?
Macrame is commonly referred to as knotting. It is a versatile craft form that lets you do several projects, from decorative arts to fashion accessories. Planting accessories and beautiful house accessories are often the results.
There are a lot of materials to choose from when doing macrame. Some materials you can use are hemp and yarn. Jute and cotton twine are other materials to look into. The crafter has control over the complexity of the project. It can be as simple as a plant hanger or as complex as a messenger bag.
When knotting in the evening, you may need some good lightning. If you need an extension cord, you can refer to our article about the best extension cords on the market. In case you are looking for one with custom length, there are a few things you need to know. It includes things such as amp wire size. You can look into our 20 to 60 amp wire sizes and 70 to 600 amp wire sizes articles to find out more. If you are looking for the best ones by length, we also have an article for your reference.
There are a few different types. Remember that it is a general term used to describe all types of fiber we use. The weaver has the freedom to choose which material to use. Below are some of the common types of fabric used.
Weavers typically use yarn in weaving or knitting, but we can also use it in macrame. You can use either unplied or plied, which means a single strand of yarn or several strands of yarn twisted together. Manufacturers typically use wool when making yarn.
The downside with using knitting yarns is that the end product will most likely look like cloth, where the knots will not stand out. Unplied, thick yarn is best for softer items. Typical items include baskets and rugs. However, it is not the best option for plant hangers and wall hangings.
The rope is the most common material we use in making macrame. Ropes are always plied, which is their thickness and extra strength. It comes in different types, but the most common is the twisted three-ply cotton rope. The fringes form a wavy pattern, making it very attractive. It is also available in a six-ply option, but we only recommend this if you need so much strength. Its number one selling point is that it creates distinctive knots.
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The string is the opposite of a rope. Several thin fibers are twisted together to create a single strand. In terms of composition, it is softer than a rope and forms tighter knots. The negative side of a string is that its prone to uneven thickness and expansion.
Since it is soft, the string is easy to fringe and adds a soft appearance to whatever project you are doing. Ropes would have a wavy fringe effect, while strings appear fine and straight.
Waxed cords are usually small in diameter and can either be unplied or plied. Wax covers the cord to make it water-resistant and stronger. It also prevents it from fraying on either side. Keep in mind that waxing makes its appearance darker, but it still comes with a wide selection of color choices.
What to look for?
When searching for this type of product, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure high quality. Since every project is unique, the considerations for each of the points below may not always be the same.
|What to look for?|
Among the five factors, the material is likely the most important one. The material affects strength, and aesthetics are crucial. You’ll also want to consider the overall look of the project. Most weavers use cotton in crafting projects since it is inexpensive and works well with beginners. The softness of cotton makes it perfect for hanging art and jewelry. For any type of fashion accessories, it’s a great product. It is also easy to untie cotton cords in case of mistakes.
Pick a stronger material if you want to build a project that needs durable and strong materials, such as large plant holders and bags. Nylon or jute are great examples. Picking stronger materials helps the item last for a longer time while serving various purposes. It can also provide more support for heavy objects, which in turn can hang beautifully on a wall. It is important to know that silk and jute are more expensive than cotton.
When taking a closer look at a cord, you will notice smaller strands make up the cord itself. These are either twisted or braided.
Macrame art usually uses twisted cords because it helps in achieving the look and feel of the art. However, the strands in a twisted cord are likely to separate from those in a braided one.
Braided ones are more structurally defined. The strands will unlikely separate. The downside with these is they are thicker and stiffer than twisted ones.
Stiffness and Thickness
Choosing the stiffness and thickness of a cord depends on the pattern you are trying to achieve. Large-scale projects typically require a 5mm to 6mm thick cord. Some examples of large-scale projects are wall hangers and large plant holders.
For smaller projects such as necklaces and earrings, thinner ones about 3mm or less are perfect. It complements one’s look without adding bulk to it. If you plan to use buttons or beads, make sure the cord can slide right into it.
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The length you will need for your project depends on how big and detailed it will be. If you decide to add pattern designs, that will go on top of the length you need.
Always buy the correct length for whatever project you will be making. It is better to buy more than what you need. If you make a mistake, there is always a spare one to use. When buying them, avoid any differences in thickness or textures.
If you will be using several spools of dyed cords, buy one from the same dye lot. Having different dye lots may result in color changes. You can find the dye lot information in the product information or packaging.
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The texture adds a touch of personality to your project. It is most important when making regular contact with your skin products, such as fashion accessories and chairs.
The material also determines the texture. Synthetic materials are often smoother on the skin, making them the perfect choice for accessory projects. Natural materials are rougher to touch, making them the perfect choice for home decorations.
Where is the best place to buy it?
Similar to other similar art materials, it is fairly easy to find in-store and online. However, your best option is to buy online or at specialty stores. The cords from these stores are typically cheaper and are of higher quality.
If you want to buy online, you can find various options from these online stores. If you make your purchase through the retailer we recommend, you are helping us out at no extra cost. With the help of your DIY project, you can help support the development of our site:
- Niroma Studio
- Modern Macrame
- HolmMade Macrame
- The Lark’s Head
If you plan to buy in-store, your best options are the following retail stores:
- Hobby Lobby
- Blick Art Materials
Take note your options are not limited to the abovementioned stores. Several other stores sell macrame.
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What is the difference between a macrame cord and rope?
Macrame rope and cord are two terms often interchanged. This section will define each term to avoid any further confusion.
A macrame cord, or a sash cord, typically has at least six strands of braided cord. It is stiff and is usually difficult to untie. It is durable, making it perfect for heavy projects.
The ropes have three strands twisted with each other. It is less durable than a cord but is stronger than a string. When untwisting the rope, you will notice a wavy effect on the rope. It adds a bit of texture to whatever project you are doing. A great fact about this type of rope is it expands after it gets cut. Its expansion involves several environmental conditions. At times, it expands up to 1mm.
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Want to create a macramé-style decoration for your home but aren’t sure what cord sizes you need to use?
Fortunately for you, we also know how annoying it can be to create decoration and not use long enough threads.
Or, to start creating a decorative piece and notice at the end that you used some too-long threads and now you have wasted material in vain.
That’s why we’ve created a list of steps we recommend you follow to create the most beautiful decorations:
How to find out what size macramé cord I need?
- Approximate the length of the decoration you want to create in its final shape.
- Multiply this length by 4.
- Add a few extra inches to the length obtained if you want your decoration to have fringes.