If you learned to macrame in the late ’60′s or early 70′s you probably picture heavy cord or fuzzy hemp plant holders and hangings in natural colors with wooden beads. Hello, Red Hill Junior High and Ted Allen’s art class! These slender macrame bracelets made with bead cord in pretty colors and centered around metal charms or connectors have a completely different feel.
The good news is, if you did it back then, you can surely do it now. If you didn’t, these bracelets that I saw on Honestly WTF, use a basic square knot and some easy jewelry findings you can find at a craft store or online. Erica shows a sliding knot closure on Honestly WTF but I thought it had more of a hippy feeling like those early macrame projects and I like the more polished look of the clasp.
My first try was using C-Lon beading cord that I had from the Wrap Bracelet I made on Day 19, from another great tutorial on Honestly WTF. The C-Lon is a little stiff and bouncy so sometimes I felt like I was fighting it. I finished my first bracelet and could see mistakes so started my second. What is important is remembering which side you are knotting from so that the macrame stays flat and even.
You can see that the top one isn’t as even and neat as the bottom one. In fact, you can make a twisted macrame strand by starting your knots from the same side each time. I wasn’t doing that on purpose and was much happier with my second attempt.
Then I made a trip to the Baubles and Beads, my local bead store, and got the Chinese Knotting Cord mentioned on Honestly WTF and started my third bracelet of the day. This stuff is lovely to work with, or at least it is for this project. It is smooth, silky and flexible. I wasn’t struggling to make it lie flat. They sell it for 35 cents a yard so it is pretty economical for a bracelet.
This is a project I am looking forward to doing more of. But right now I’m just glad I made it to the end of the 30 Days of Creativity! What I’m really looking forward to now is not being up at 11:00 PM or midnight finishing a post. I’ll be taking a bit of a craft break while I attend to other stuff around the apartment and in my life. I’ll be writing a little review of the projects and I’ve got other projects and ideas that didn’t happen during 30DoC still to come.
4 yards Chinese Knotting Cord (0.5mm) or C-Lon Bead Cord
Charm or Connector
Crimp-On Cord Ends (2)
Jump Rings (you want ones that open, not those that are soldered closed) (2)
Lobster Clasp (1)
Flat Nose Pliers
Tape (I used Washi) to hold macrame to your work table
Aleene’s All Purpose Tacky Glue or E6000 Adhesive (optional)
The exact length of cord you will need is a little tricky to tell because it depends both on the size of the charm or connector you use and the size of your wrist.
Cut your cord into four 1-yard pieces. Fold each one so one third or 12 inches is on one side and two thirds or 24 inches on the other. When you attach the cord to the charm, you want the shorter ends to be in the middle and the longer ends on each side. Take the fold and loop it through your charm, fold it over and pull the ends through the loop. Repeat with the second piece of cord.
Turn the charm around and do the other two pieces of cord the same way on the other side.
The inner two strands on each side don’t get knotted, they just lie there and the outside strands are knotted over them. That is why you can make the inner cords shorter – the outer ones get shorter as you go along. The following isn’t a great picture but it shows two inner cords that are shorter than the two outer ones.
Tape your piece to the table or desk where you’ll be working .
Starting with the strand on the right, bend it over the two inside strands like a letter P and under the outside cord on the left.
Bring the left side strand under the two center strands and up through the loop on the right. Pull tight.
Now do the same on the left. Instead of a P, you will form a small q when working from the left side. (I actually think of it like a number 4). The strand on the left is now bent over the two inside strands and under the strand on the right.
The strand on the far right goes under the two center strands and up through the loop. Put it tight.
You have now created a square knot! Keep on knotting. I found I was easily distracted and would forget if I’d knotted from the left or right unless I kept saying “right, right, right” in my head until I finished that side, than my chant becomes “left , left, left”. Once you have one side knotted, turn it around, tape it down and start knotting the other side.
Measure the cord ends, jump loops and the clasp so you know how much to factor in for size. Also allow a little give – you don’t want this to be too tight. I added a bit more so that when I attach the cord ends I actually crimp it on just over the end of the macrame knots, not just over the loose ends of the cord.
The little cord end I got folds down – I use a little glue inside the cord ends for extra insurance. Kelly at Baubles and Beads was very helpful directing me to the right thing. There is also a tiny little spike inside the cord end at the end opposite the loop. Press down on the end of your macrame onto that micro-spike.
Use pliers to fold first one side of the connector down and then the other.
You can either trim the ends after attaching the crimping cord end or trim the ends and then add the cord end. I did both and prefer trimming before attaching the cord end, although these pictures show the ends left on and trimmed after crimping.
Add a jump ring to the loop at the end of the cord end finding. Add the cord end and jump right to the other end of the bracelet and put the lobster clasp on with the jump ring at one end.
There you have it! Now go forth and make multiple macrame bracelets! (Look here for pictures of great bracelets by readers).
My final 30 Days of Creativity post in 2011 Honey Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce. Delicious.
I know I’ve been loading your in-boxes with email. Thanks for your patience and support through all thirty days!