Basic Macrame Knots : Step by Step Guide

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Learn how to make basic macrame knots with this step by step guide.  Includes a handy macrame knots pdf that you can print out for your next macrame project!

Learn how to make basic macrame knots, such as Lark's Head, Square knots, half hitch and spiral knots.

Are you feeling totally overwhelmed by Macrame?

Do you see all these beautiful patterns and think, ‘I could never do that?’

I got news for you.

YOU CAN.

Your Macrame worries are over.

Today I’m helping you take that first step.

Because here’s the great thing about macrame:  Even the most basic macrame knots can make drop-dead gorgeous patterns.  Just check out these macrame projects for the beginner.  Amazing, right?

If you can tie a knot, you can macrame.

UPDATE: I’ve included a handy macrame knots pdf that you can download and print out for your next Macrame project.  Go to the bottom of the post for the download to the pdf.  

Check out my other Macrame Projects right here or just click on the macrame link in the sidebar :

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Basic Macrame Knots: Step by Step

Basic Macrame Knots - Macrame Cording and Hoop

Below are four basic knots to get you started.  You can make so many things with just these basic knots under your belt.  Keychains, bookmarks, placemats, macrame bracelets, macrame knot wall hangings, plant and jar hangers, etc.

So first we need to go grab some Macrame cord.  I like this cording.  Plus, it’s inexpensive.  But Amazon has TONS of options for good macrame cording.  And don’t forget that you can get all sorts of colors too.  Read the reviews and find what works for you.

Then, we need to get a hoop, a stick or a ring.  Something like this to attach your cord to.

Here’s a whole set for you if you want to get it all at once.

Here’s the gold ring I used.  I had these rings leftover from my hoop wreath project.

We are making progress already.  

Let’s get started with our knots …

Lark’s Head Knot

The Lark’s Head Knot is one of the most basic knots in Macrame.  In fact, almost every beautiful piece of finished macrame you see starts with this knot.  The Lark’s head knot is used to attach your cording to your ring, dowel or handle when starting a macrame project.

  1. Start by folding your piece of macrame cord in half.
  2. See that little loop?  Place that loop under your ring or dowel.
  3. Now fish the ends of the cording through that loop.
  4. Pull tight and you have your lark’s head knot!

By the way – check out this really easy and cute DIY macrame knot wall hanging with beads using JUST the lark’s head knot.  

To make a reverse lark’s head knot – you simply do a lark’s head knot the opposite way.  OR – just flip your project around to the back.  

Square Knot

There are essentially two parts to the square knot.  You have to complete one side (also called a half square knot) and then the other side (also called a right half square knot) to make the full square knot.

  1. Start with two Lark’s head Knots.
  2. There should be a total of 4 macrame cords there.
  3. We are going to take the outer left cord and cross it over the two middle cords.
  4. Now take the outer right cord and place it on top of the left cord and UNDER the two middle cords.
  5. Loop it through the hole on the left side.
  6. Now pull tight without letting your cords twist.
  7. Yay!  You now have ONE side of your square knot done.  You have now completed a half square knot.  

Now, let’s do the other side…

  1. You should still see your 4 cords there – got it? Good.
  2. Take the outer RIGHT cord and cross it over the two middle cords.
  3. Take the outer left cord and place it on top of the left cord and UNDER the two middle cords.
  4. Loop it through the hole on the right side.
  5. Now pull your cords tight.  Your Right Half Square Knot is complete.
  6. You have completed the full square knot.

When you repeat this knot over and over again (in rows or sinnets) – you end up with a beautiful pattern of tightly weaved or netted cording.

This photo below is an alternating square knot.

Square Knot - alternating

This is more of a wider pattern. I love alternating square knots with even spacing in between the knots. 

To make the alternating square knot like I did above, start with 4 Lark’s head knots (there will be 8 total cords).

  1. Make a square knot with four left side cords.
  2. Make a square knot with the four right side cords.
  3. Make a square knot with the four middle cords.  (Push away the outer two cords on the left and right side to make it easier.)
  4. Continue working this pattern, left, right, middle, left, right, middle.
  5. Make sure to pull your cords tight without any twisting.

Half Hitch

To me, a half hitch is simply your basic knot.   Follow these steps …

  1.  Start with a Lark’s head knot.
  2. Take one cord and make a number 4.
  3. Loop that cord through the “4” hole and pull tight.
  4. You made a half hitch knot!

Double Half Hitch

A double half hitch knot is just a half hitch knot repeated a second time.

  1. Start with a Lark’s head knot.
  2. Take one cord and make a number 4.
  3. Loop that cord through the “4” hole and pull tight.
  4. Make another number 4 using the same cord you used before.
  5. Loop it through the hole of the “4” and pull tight.

See that diagonal pattern I made?  You can make this by doing a repeat of double half hitch knots.  (See photo above)

Here’s how to make it:  

  1. Start with 3 or more Lark’s head knots.  For this example – we are using 3 Lark’s Head knots.  There is a total of 6 cords.
  2. Take the outer left cord and place it diagonally across all the other 5 cords.  This cord is your filler cord. The direction and placement of this outer left cord will determine it’s pattern.  So just make sure it’s placed the way you want over your cords.
  3. Working left to right, make a double half hitch knot with the second cord.
  4. Pull your cord tight.  Ensure your outer left cord is still placed diagonally over the cords.
  5. Now make a double half hitch knot with the third cord.
  6. Now make a double half hitch knot with the fourth cord.
  7. And keep going until you reach the last cord on the right side.  You will see your diagonal pattern of knots.
  8. Now, you are going to repeat steps 2-7 but this time working right to left.  So place the outer right cord diagonally over the other cords.

You can also make a horizontal line of double half hitch knots (just go horizontal instead of diagonal with that first cord).

There are variations to the half hitch knots, (like triple half hitch knots), but even with these basic half hitch knots you can make great patterns.

Spiral Knot

Spiral Knot - Macrame

I think the Spiral knot is one of the prettiest knots.  And fortunately – it’s one of the easiest too.

You already know how to do the spiral knot. 

It’s just a repeat pattern of half square knots (first half of a square knot) or half hitch knots.  Instead of switching to the right side to complete the square knot, you just keep working that left side.  The macrame will naturally spiral.  Just go with it.

To make a thicker version of the spiral knot, start with 2 Lark’s Head knots.

To make a single version – start with 1 Lark’s Head knot and make a repeat pattern of half hitch knots.  Again – your macrame will naturally start to twist.  This is the pattern on the far right below.

Learn how to make basic macrame knots with this step by step guide.  #macrame #diy #crafts #tutorial

The trickiest part of this knot is keeping the pattern going the right way when it starts to twist.  

That’s it!

you did it! 

You’re awesome! 

Pat yourself on the back!

Look at your beautiful patterns.  Aren’t you super impressed?

PS:  I sat in front of the TV and finished these knots up last night after the kids were in bed.  My husband asked me if I was making him a giant friendship bracelet.  LOL.

Here’s the link to your handy basic macrame knots pdf.  

Basic Macrame Knots: Step by Step PDF

I love this activity so much.  I can totally understand how people get hooked on Macrame!!

xo Karen

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16 thoughts on “Basic Macrame Knots : Step by Step Guide”

  1. Hi thank you for the steps. Very clear and helpful. I’ve done macramer more than 30 years back. Now trying to reconnect . One important thing, how to determine the length of cord in respect to the design and object. Thank you for reply

    • Hi Firdos – That’s a great question! A good rule of thumb for determining the length of your cord is to just make it double or (2.5x) the length of your finished macrame piece. For example – if you want a 12 inch finished piece – start with at least a 24 inch or 30 inch piece of cord. Hope that helps! Enjoy reconnecting with this great craft!

  2. I saw a pattern for a carousel with horses and it went around and it was really great. Do you know if there’s such a pattern around now, and how would I be able to go about getting one? Thank You for any help you can give me and I have shared your Macrame Site on my site hope you get a lot of hits from that.

    • Hi Margaret – it all depends on what you are trying to make. It’s always better to have too much cord than too little! I would go with a length at least four times larger then the finished project.

  3. Thank you! I have just sat here and learned to macramé in just a few hours! Your pictures and instructions make it so simple to follow along. Thanks so much for taking the time to do this 🙂

  4. Thank you, Karen! I came here for the knot that’s on the right in the main photo. What is that knot called? It’s perfect for what I’m trying to do for a plant hanger.

    • Hey there! The knot that is on the far right in the main photo is called a Half Hitch Spiral Knot. You make a series of half hitch knots in the same direction and it will naturally spiral for you! Let me know if you need any more help with it! 🙂

  5. Hi. I learned how to do this in highschool but its been a few decades.
    I forgot how to do it all. Thanks. I think i can pick it up again easily now.

    • Yay! Awesome Malissa. It’s a great activity to pick up again – there are so many things you can make! Let me know if I can help you any further! 🙂

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