Macrame is an art form that goes in and out of fashion. You could go with the crowd and follow popular patterns, using pretty standard cotton macrame cord to make planters and wall hangings that look like giant pieces of lace. Or you could follow your own path and find some interesting types of macrame yarn and work on decorative items and jewelry with a personal touch.
Whichever route you wish to take, you need to be able to use the best macrame yarn for your needs. This means choosing from a range of styles and materials. In this guide, I will show you some of the most popular products, as well as recommendations for other materials. Before that, let’s look at the difference between macrame cord and macrame yarn.
What is the difference between macrame cord and macrame yarn?
The two terms are pretty interchangeable with a lot of crafters referring to anything that is used for macrame as cord. That is why you will see a lot of products online that use the terms yarn and cord in the descriptions. You can also find references to rope and string, just to make things even more complicated. In a broader sense, when we think of yarn we tend to think of softer materials for knitting and weaving.
Also, when we think of cords, we tend to think of thicker, stiffer structures. For example, there are a lot of thick twisted cords of fibers that are more than 5mm in thickness. These cords can also have treatments such as wax to make them stiffer and less likely to fray. With this in mind, this guide will focus more on the softer side of macrame yarn.
The best macrame yarn can allow for some great pieces of jewelry and decorative items.
The thinner materials that you can use for delicate work. You might find that cord and rope are much better for large-scale projects like plant pot holders because of their structure and strength, with a lighter, more flexible macrame yarn is a better choice for working on jewelry and other smaller decorative projects.
Therefore, the products listed below will focus more on these thinner cotton and nylon macrame yarn options. If you are interested in learning more about the thicker cords, you can find a much broader range of options and a comparison on my guide to the best macrame cord. Following these product suggestions, I will also talk about the potential for using alternative materials for your macrame craft. First, let’s look at some of the most important considerations when choosing the best macrame yarn.
What to consider when choosing the best macrame yarn for your projects.
The thickness of the yarn.
Macrame cord and yarn come in all kinds of thickness depending on the style and purpose. Over on my guide on the best macrame cord, you will find some that are as thick as 6mm. This provides great strength and is great for large projects. However, macrame yarn for jewelry needs to much thinner. The majority of the products I have included below are very thin at 0.5mm, but you can also find some that are 1mm that are still effective.
The material used.
Again, there are differences between the best macrame cords and the best macrame yard. A lot of the cords that you will find on the wider thickness are cotton and hemp is also popular. Here, you will find a lot of yarn that is man-made, such as polyester and nylon. However, I have also included a bamboo one as an alternative. If you are keen to have a natural material rather than a synthetic one, you can search around to see what else you can find.
Do you want waxed or unwaxed yarn?
You will also find that a lot of these products are waxed cords rather than unwaxed. The difference here is that the wax allows for a piece of yarn that is stiffer and won’t fray. You also find this with some thicker cords because it makes it easier to create a better structure. Some find this to be an advantage with these thinner pieces of macrame yarn because it creates nice knots and you also get protection from fading and water damage. This can be really helpful if you plan to make bracelets so that people can accidentally get the piece wet, such as when washing dishes.
However, others prefer the softer, more flexible feel of an unwaxed yarn to create more delicate pieces. That is why some people will try and create their own pieces from other materials like embroidery silk and wool.
The color choices.
One of the great things about opting for a thinner macrame yarn for jewelry making is that you can often find a lot of different colors. Companies often create lengths of yarn on a bobbin, a bit like the thread you use for a sewing machine. The purpose of these strings for decorative items and the use of man-made materials can allow for some brilliant bold colors instead of the more muted and natural tones in the thicker cotton macrame cord.
6 of the best macrame yarn products for experimentation with jewelry and other decorative items.
1) FANDOL Waxed Cords for DIY Bracelets
This first option is ideal if you want a piece of thin macrame yarn that is better suited to jewelry than other projects. This isn’t the thinnest option at 0.8mm, but it isn’t far off. The polyester comes in a nice range of colors and the company has two different sets to choose between. One has lighter tones while the other has darker ones. I like the idea of the darker ones because they are so different from the natural cotton in thicker macrame cords. The thread is also waxed for protection and you get 15 meters per roll.
2) PH PandaHall Waxed Polyester Cord Thread
Here you get a lot more thread for your money, which could make this the more interesting choice for anyone with a lot of projects in mind. If you have promised bracelets and lace decorations to all your friends and family, this 100+ meter roll of waxed polyester should keep you busy. This one is also a little thinner at 0.5mm. Again, you should be able to find an appropriate color in their range. You can mix and match and find complimentary beads as you shop around to enhance your projects.
3) Mandala Crafts Nylon Satin Cord
Then some are made from nylon rather than polyester. This can offer a different look and feel for alternative projects. You will see the words Chinese Knotting and Kumihimo mentioned in the descriptions of these thinner nylon macrame yarn threads. This is something you might want to research if you want to expand your horizons. This option from Mandala Crafts promises to be nice and silky for a smoother process and a better feel on the skin. The thickness is the same at 0.5mm and you get around 150 meters to play wither. There are also some nice bright colors in the range.
4) Arricraft 1 Roll Nylon Cord
In many ways, this is the same product under a different name because once a company has a thread with the same properties, the name doesn’t really matter. Still, I want to mention this one as an alternative because you could find that they have a better range of colors or a better price when you go to purchase your yarn. The yarn is the same 0.5mm thickness with the smooth, snag-free nylon. There is the option to fuse the ends yourself to stop fraying or to leave the material as it is. The only downside here is that you don’t get as much on the roll.
5) C-LON Bead Cord
This 0.5mm nylon thread is a little different from those above in that it is a bonded nylon, this should make it a little stiffer and less prone to fraying or damage than some of the others. It is up to you whether or not this approach is suitable for your way of working. You don’t get as much in one roll here, as there are just 84 meters. But this could still prove to be enough to test out the feel and workability of the material. Also, you do have to search around a bit for alternative colors. They are worth the effort though with some nice nautical tones for an interesting look.
6) Hemptique 1mm Bamboo Cord
Finally, for this section, I want to talk about an option made from a natural material. As the name suggests, Hemptique has a great selection of hemp macrame cords. But, this is their thinner bamboo option for more intricate work. That thickness is 1mm, which will be noticeable compared to the 0.5mm thick nylon. However, this is still much finer than the similar natural-looking cotton cords. There are fewer colors here, as there is an emphasis on that idea of a natural tone. But, it still looks and feels great.
Alternative materials for macrame yarn.
Finally, I want to take a moment to discuss some alternative materials that you can use to make your projects a little more interesting or personal. When starting out with macrame yarn, it is best to stick to those reliable polyester and nylon strands for the best results. But, there are alternative materials out there that can offer a great result with some imagination and practice. Some people braid embroidery silk and work with that as a cheap, flexible, and colorful solution. But, these two options could work too.
Using leather as macrame yarn.
Yes, I am stretching the terminology of “yarn” about as far as I can here for this one. A small piece of leather cord isn’t really yarn like the twisted fibers above. However, you can similarly use these strands. This allows for a completely different look and feel with a nice durable material.
Fun-Weevz Genuine Leather Cord for Jewelry Making
This product is an interesting place to start if you don’t want to try and source and twist your own leather from scraps. You get 10 meters of 2mm leather, so it is thinner than the average cord but thicker than the jewelry yarn above. This set also comes with additional macrame supplies to create a bracelet.
Using roving wool as macrame yarn.
You might say that wool is the most fitting material for a true macrame yarn. Roving wool is a wonderful material for crafters that are confident enough to transform the material and get the best out of it. It is often used for felting and creating wool yarn, while some people knit together the softer, unbraided material. You can play around with it for some interesting effects.
Flora Knit Merino Wool Super Chunky Yarn
If you are going to treat yourself to some roving wool – whatever your intentions for it – you can’t go wrong with some quality Merino wool. This is soft and beautiful wool that you can manipulate into some interesting chunky projects. This option is a cream color, which is a little easier on the eye than a pure white. You may be able to find some other tones to suit your needs.
Choosing the best macrame yarn for your projects.
In short, you may have more options than you think when looking for thinner, more flexible macrame yarn. There are some really nice waxed polyester and nylon options in a range of colors that can create intricate jewelry that is pretty and durable. But, don’t be afraid to look at other materials and styles to see if there is something better suited to your tastes. As you get more confident in your abilities with this craft, you could find that you can work with other materials and even make your own yard. Don’t be afraid to play and make mistakes. Go out of your comfort zone with this old-fashioned craft and help take it in bold new directions.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my toddler however, that is typically a challenge with her limited attention span, messiness, and desire to always have clean hands. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for the both of us.