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Understanding Different Types of Macrame Cords and Macrame Ropes

It's safe to say that '60s and 70's fashion is making a comeback, and with it, so is macrame.  Not a lot of supplies go in when creating a beautiful macrame cord, but boy, do they use up a lot of macrame rope or macrame cord.


Getting into the art of macrame is not complicated by any means. There is something for everyone to make. Whether it's your first time your hundredth, you will never get bored of macrame. However, we will say that it can be a bit overwhelming when you start getting into it. It's not because of the process of creating them but because of all the different types of macrame cords and macrame ropes you'll come across.

Whether you should use a rope or you should use a cord?

Why are there so many sizes?

What size would be best for your project?

So many questions and very few answers.


Are you someone stuck with all these questions as well? Want to start doing your own macrame project, but you just don't know how to start? Whatever it is, don't worry, we got your back. We'll go through everything you'll need to in order to create macrame projects, starting from different types of macrame cords and macrame ropes all the way to their various uses. Let's get to it.


What Are Macrame Cords?

Macrame cord or macrame rope are usually very similar. The only difference is that macrame rope is usually a 3-ply cord, whereas a macrame cord is an encompassing term for all ropes, fibers, and strings.


Macrame cords can be as simple as a single-stranded macrame cord, but it can go up to six-stranded cords or even more. The six-stranded macrame cords were the most widely used during the '70s and '80s, the time when using cotton strings was just not cool enough.


There are different types of cords to use for various purposes, such as the 'stash cord,' where the strands are really tightly wound, so it is difficult to unravel and is even tough on the hands. But if you want to use it, it is better to use it for a project that will hold weight. There is also a 'polypropylene braided macrame cord' or a polyolefin macrame cord, in simpler words. This kind of cord is perfect for any outdoor project because it does not mold easily compared to regular cotton cords. Also, keep in mind, its fringe will be frizzy because of how the strands are braided together. So if that's the look that you want, go for it. If not, try looking into other kinds of macrame cords.


What Is a Macrame Rope (Braided Cord)? 

Sometimes also called a 3-ply or even a braided cord, Macrame rope is your typical macrame cord. In it, usually, three strands are twisted together to create a pattern. There are also some macrame ropes with four strands, but three strands are the most common one you will find at any crafts store.  Usually, it is the kind of material beginners use to get started on their macrame project because of their wide availability and reasonable price.


These kinds of macrame ropes are strong, so it's best to use them for projects that will need to hold heavy weight. You can also get a beautiful wavy pattern once you untwist them, and you can even brush them for a perm sort of look. However, they are not the easiest to work with. It is made up of individual combinations of polyester, nylon, cotton, or any other strong fiber. In simpler words, they are great if you want something solid but difficult to unknot or even fringe with. So it is not suitable to use for every project you have.


Also, macrame rope might expand once it's cut. Depending on the place you live and the humidity around you, a macrame rope can expand up to 1mm, yes that's a lot. So if you are a beginner, it is better to test out different sizes and see how they adjust to your surroundings.


Different Materials for Macrame Cords 

Okay, let's move onto the different materials of macrame cords.

The composition of a macrame cord can be divided into two parts.

  • Natural macrame cords
  • Synthetic macrame cords


The natural macrame cords are made up of naturally produced materials (duh!) in various ways, such as natural geographical processes, animals, or plants. These kinds of cords can be recycled and therefore not bad for the environment. Also, depending on the material used, they have different strengths, and hand feels. The most common fibers are cotton, hemp, jute, linen, and wool.


Synthetic cords comprise of fibers that are made up of tiny molecules of synthetic polymers. The compounds that are used to make synthetic fibers usually come from raw materials like petrochemicals (aka petroleum-based chemicals). Some types of synthetic fibers are spandex, nylon, and polyester. These fibers are a good alternative to natural fibers, but it's best to steer clear of them due to the negative impact they have on the environment.


The Texture, Feel, and Touch of Different Macrame 

If you are someone who works with macrame often, you'll know each macrame gives a different feel and has a different texture to it. If you didn't, now you know. It is essential to keep these different feelings and textures in your mind when working on a project. The more you work with macrame, the more you will be able to understand the difference and see what is best for you and your project. As a beginner, we would suggest you familiarize yourself with them because they can change anything you are making. 


Different Sizes of Macrame Cords

Now let's leave all the science stuff behind, and let's do some numbers. We will be going through the different sizes of macrame cords that are available and their best uses.

The size of a macrame cord plays a vital role in the project because it changes its whole look and its feel.


For simplicity purpose, we divide the sizes into three different parts

  • Small Macrame Cord Size
  • Medium Macrame Cord Size
  • Large Macrame Cord Size

Let's go through all of them one by one.


Small Sized Macrame Cords 

A small macrame cord, sometimes also known as a micro-macrame cord size, is usually between 1 mm to 2 mm.  These micro-macrame cords are the most ideal if you are planning to use tiny beads in your project. Trust us when we say you cannot use large-sized macrame cords to weave through tiny beads, no matter how much you try. You can use the 1 mm or 2 mm cords when making small delicate projects, especially jewelry such as bracelets, earrings, necklaces, or just anything dainty.


Medium Sized Macrame Cords 

This set includes 3mm macrame cords, 4mm macrame cords, and 5mm macrame cords. They are an ideal size as you can use them for most projects. Even when buying macrame chords, you will mostly find these standard sizes. They are suitable for making any wall-hanging projects, such as plant hangers. You will have no trouble finding any projects to make with macrame chords this size because we really did mean when we said you could make (almost) anything with them.


Large Sized Macrame Cords

Anything that is a 6mm macrame cord or larger is considered a large-sized macrame cord. You use these to make big and hefty projects. If you want to cover large surfaces such as a wall, you can most definitely use these. But keep in mind that the larger the macrame cord's size, the fewer knots you will be able to make. People don't usually use anything bigger than a 6mm macrame cord, BUT don't let that stop you at all. Although these large projects are a bit tricky and challenging to make, the process is very fun, and joy up get from seeing the final product is just *chefs kiss*


So here you go, from the different types of macrame cords to their various material, their different sizes, and their multiple uses. Here you have anything and everything you'll need to understand as a beginner for macrame. We hope this makes your journey a lot easier and a lot simpler. Remember, you don't need to be an expert to start your own macrame project, but sometimes it is helpful to have a little bit of knowledge beforehand; the entire process becomes a whole lot easier. SO, what are you waiting for? Grab your cord and start knotting.

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