Macrame has the reputation of being quite an old-fashioned craft and I have seen comments on blogs online where older generations are both surprised and thrilled to see younger crafters showing an interest in this skill. However, if you are one of those newcomers, you may be completely overwhelmed by the concept and how to choose the best macrame cord, yarn, or rope for your creative project.
In this guide, I have highlighted some of the different products that you can get. I have tried to keep things as broad as possible to highlight some of the different styles and materials that are out there. By the end, hopefully, you will have a better idea of what macrame will work best for your next project. Before that, let’s look at some of the different materials used in macrame cords and other important considerations when choosing the best macrame rope for your needs. We can start with some of the confusing terminology.
What is the Difference Between Macrame Cord, Rope, and Yarn?
The term cord makes us think of something quite thick and strong. This can be the case with a lot of macrame cords because some options have a thicker twist of fibers for a more rigid feel. This provides more structure to a design and greater durability.
However, there are lots of different types of macrame cord because the term is so interchangeable with the thinner macrame yarn and other pieces you might consider to be rope. Because of this, you will find a much broader range of options in this guide. I wanted to stay broad to offer some alternative suggestions of materials still considered as macrame cords by some artists. You can then make up your own mind on what qualifies and which is best for your needs.
What are Some of the More Common Materials used to Create Macrame Cords?
Some of the more common choices in macrame cord materials include:
I think that a lot of crafter like the idea of using hemp and jute because they are those rougher, organic natural products we associate with going green in our crafting venture. You should also be able to get a nice strong construction and interesting natural tones. However, you will find that cotton is one of the most common and widely used because of the range of thicknesses, the feel, and the look of the unbleached material. As you head into the territory of making jewelry, as you will see later, you tend to find a lot of waxed polyester instead.
Alternative Materials in Macrame Cords
I want to point out here that while you are most likely to find cotton and polyester on the market, that doesn’t mean that you can’t search around for other materials. For example, you could find some wool or bamboo cord as an alternative way to get a soft and hygienic material for your needs. Some people also like to get roving wool and use that in different ways to create their own macrame yarn or knot that into softer pieces.
There are also people using leather, ribbon, and embroidery silk. My point is that if you have an idea for turning a material into a macrame cord, give it a go! Experimenting helps us learn and take our projects in interesting directions.
Which is the Best Material for Beginners?
If you are completely new to this process, I recommend starting with a medium thickness cord of between 3mm and 6mm. You can see which feels better in the hand and is more suitable for your needs. You can move onto other materials and styles once you get more confident in playing around with your designs.
Whichever Style you for, There are Some Important Considerations to Keep in Mind
What size should you use?
Macrame cord comes in a range of thicknesses. This can determine its strength and its suitability depending on the project you are working on. If you want to create a more traditional wall hanging or plant pot holder then the thicker cords are better. A 6mm cord is ideal here. But, this isn’t going to work for intricate pieces and bracelets this is where you need something 1mm and lower. If you just want to experiment, for now, you can find lots of affordable 3mm pieces.
How much is in the ball of cord?
All of these balls of macrame cord come in different lengths. So, it is important to get an idea of how much you will need for your project. You may require more than you think because the knotting and twisting will shorten the length of the cord as it hangs from your wooden pole. The more you have to play with, the better. So, you can either look for a ball with a lot in one skein or go for something where there are multiple balls in the set.
What colors are available?
Decades ago, we tended to make a lot of plant pot holders and wall-hanging with natural-looking materials. You can still get a lot of great macrame cord products where there is a natural tone to the cotton, hemp, or jute. Others may be bleached to create the pure white look that many people want. However, there are also a lot of colored macrame cord options now that let you play with different designs and ideas. So, take the time to check to see what is available. You could find something really bold and interesting; the choice is yours!
12 of the Best Macrame Cords for your Next Project
Below are 12 different types of macrame cords with different materials, thicknesses, and properties. They range from some of the thinner and more flexible natural material to thicker man-made ones, and others in between.
Standard Cotton Macrame Cord
Let’s start with a few of the more standard types of cord that you can get for traditional macrame work. These products are similar in that you can get some nice natural tones for working on traditional pieces for the home. You also get a nice thickness that isn’t too thick for beginners or too thin for more structural work.
1) Zxcdino Khaki Macrame Cord
What I like about this first option is that there is a focus on the natural origin of the material. The company talks about the environmentally-friendly choice of 100% pure cotton, which suggests there is no special treatment or chemical dyes. That doesn’t mean that you can’t get some great colors. I have highlighted the khaki version because I think this is a nice alternative to white and cream for planters. Each ball is 3mm thick with 100 meters (328 feet).
2) Cyrico Macrame Cord
This is another company that makes a big point about the natural properties of its material. I appreciate that this can make a big difference for a lot of consumers, so it is nice to see them mention the unbleached cotton. This does allow for a nicer look than some other pure white options. This is another one that is 3mm thick – which is a common thickness – but you get a lot more per ball at just over 230 meters (777 feet).
3) Natural Cotton Macrame Cord Rope
This next option is a little different in that you get a braided cord rather than the twist. This gives the cord the look of a smaller rope and that can add to the aesthetics of your project. This also creates a slightly thicker cord than the other at 4mm. This might not be that noticeable at first but it can make a difference. Again, there is a natural look to the cotton and you get around 100m (328 feet) of it per ball.
Thicker Macrame Cord
While many people like to stick with a 3mm cord for their projects, you can get some impressive constructions and stronger builds with a thicker cord. The following options double the thickness and offer a different purpose.
1) Craft County Bonnie Cord
While the focus of the thinner cords above was the look and natural cotton, this 6mm option from Craft County focuses on strength and durability. There is the promise that the cord can sustain a weight of 154 pounds, which makes this a better choice for hangers and anything supporting heavier beads. This time, the material is a braided Polyolefin, a synthetic material with greater strength. You can fuse this as needed to reduce the risk of fraying. Each skein is approximately 91 meters (298 feet). There is a nice range of colors to choose from as well.
2) Macrame Cord 100% Natural Cotton Macrame Rope
This next choice takes us back to the natural cotton, which could make this one a little less suitable for long-term wear or heavier loads. It all depends on the purpose and your design. It is still nice to have that natural material over a synthetic one, and you do get more for your money with 160 meters (525 feet) of twisted cord. Essentially, this is the thicker cousin of the options above for those times where you have to go for a stronger option. You could also mix and match the two as needed and have them blend together in a design.
Thinner Jewelry Braiding Macrame Cord
On the other end of the scale, we have those pieces of cord that are significantly thinner and a great choice for those with smaller, more intricate projects in mind. You can learn a little more about these in my other guide on the best macrame yarn. For now, here are a couple of super-thin options.
1) FANDOL Waxed Strings for Macrame
This first option brings the thickness down to just 0.8mm. The idea here is that this polyester yarn lets users create great miniature macrame effects and jewelry with greater ease than trying to use a 3mm ball. This option is waxed to make it more waterproof and durable, which is ideal for making bracelets. There is also a wide range of colors to choose from based on tone. I have highlighted the dark colors option because I think it is such a nice change from the pale, natural tones of plant pot holders. There are 12 different colors in a set with each cord color being 15 meters (49 feet) long.
2) PH PandaHall Waxed Polyester Thread
This brand offers 106 meters (348 feet) of their macrame cord. Also, this one is even thinner at 0.5mm. This is another polyester option that is waxed to offer protection against damage and water. Which, should also hold its color pretty well! There are a few different color options and buying options as well with this one you’ll have to check out.
Alternative Materials for Macrame Cord
You will also find that while cotton is one of the more common options when choosing your macrame cord, there are also some great choices in alternative materials such as hemp and bamboo.
1) 23 Bees 100% Organic Hemp String
There is so much about this product that stands out if you want something fully natural with no risk of synthetic elements. I know how important this is to a lot of people and I understand the appeal when they say that they are completely natural with no dyes, wax, or any other additions. This product is simple with the natural tones of organic hemp and this should translate nicely to your projects. The material is a little thicker than some macrame yarn products at 1.2mm and you get 60 meters (200ft) on a ball.
2) Hemptique 100% Hemp Cord Spool
Hemptique takes a different approach with their hemp because they have a waxed product. The upside here is that you get added protection for your pieces and it shouldn’t fray so easily. The downside is that you don’t get the same all-natural feel to the material. There are 62.5 meters (205 feet) of this macrame yarn on the spool and it is 1mm thick. There are alsonumerous color choices.
3) Hemptique 1mm Bamboo Cord
Continuing with Hempitque for a moment, we have an option that they claim is the “Crafters Number 1 Choice” and “Made with Love” while the latter could be hyperbole, I do not doubt that they do put love and care into the quality and feel of this product. This one is different because it bamboo rather than hemp and is 62.5 meters (205 feet). The hygienic properties of bamboo mean that this could be ideal for wearable pieces. There aren’t as many colors choices, but the colors the do have are stunning.
Some of the Best Kits with Macrame Cords
Finally, you might want to go for a macrame kit with a macrame cord included if you are a beginner. These sets can offer a great way to learn about the craft and get everything you need for a starter project in one purchase.
1) Maoqian 120pcs Macrame Kits for Beginners
Here you start with some very basic natural cotton macrame cord with the standard 3mm thickness. With 100 meters (328 feet) of the material, you should be able to create a decent wall hanging and have some leftover if it goes wrong. This beginner-friendly kit also contains accessories to decorate your piece, including wooden beads, wooden rings, and metal rings. There are also wooden sticks to start you off and mount the wall hanging. The finished pieces have a nice natural look that will suit a lot of spaces!
2) I Heart Kits DIY Macrame Wall Hanging Kit
I really like this kit for beginners because you’ll really get the handle for macrame when completing these three projects: macrame plant hanger, macrame keychain, and a macrame boho wall hanging. Everythinig you’ll need to complete these three projects is in the kit. Also, you can start small with the key chain and progress to completing a more complicated macrame project.
Choosing the Best Macrame Cord for your Needs
There is a lot to things about when it comes to finding the very best macrame cord for your need. To be honest, you could try out a range of these and find that they are suitable for different projects. If you are keen to work on traditional macrame crafts and wall hangings then the natural-looking thicker cords are the way to go. But, you can still play around with the other materials and the thinner jewelry macrame yarn for other applications. Also, those starter kits could prove to be a great way to build some confidence.
Whichever option you go for here, remember that macrame is an art and there isn’t really a wrong way to create something as long as it remains attractive and practical. So, I encourage you to play around with materials and colors and step outside of the box where you can. Have fun with it and you may surprise yourself with what you achieve!