Top Tips for Making your first Macramé Wall Hanging
Macramé wall hangings look impressive… and complicated. Therefore, knowing where to start can be intimidating...
The good news is that, while there are many amazing and complex hangings out there, macramé is so easy to pick up that most people can complete complex patterns and knots in just a few weeks from starting
To help you along your way, here are a few things I wish I had known when I’d started.
01. The best dowels in life are free
Natural dowels are as good, if not better, than artificial ones. And the best of the best, are the ones you hunt for yourself. And this bit can be just as fun as the knots themselves!
Go out into your garden or some nearby woods, find a beautiful chunky dry branch and bring it home. Then strip off the bark with a knife before drying. Be careful when doing this, and always stip the the knife pushing away from your body.
I dry mine in the airing cupboard for a few weeks, but a few days on the radiator does the job nearly as well,
Straight sticks aren’t always the best sticks. Slight curves or quirky features make for interesting and attractive dowels.
Natural dowels do come with an element of risk, however, so it’s best to read up on how to identify rot and fungus if you want a wall hanging - and a dowel that lasts.
The easiest option, if you don’t fancy brushing up on mycology (that’s the study of fungus) is to “hunt” in DIY stores. You can buy straight dowels 2 metres long for £6-8, from there you can saw it into smaller pieces. You can get two or three dowels from one 2m straight, so it is very good value for money.
02. Don’t buy an excess of cotton
It’s very easy and very tempting to buy huge amounts of cotton before you start making, but never start with any more than two reels. There are many different cottons, ranging in colours, thicknesses and weaves of varying expenses and everyone prefers different things.
It may take you a while to settle on your favourite one, and without working with lots of them you will never know. Try a different type of cotton with each piece, until you’ve settled on one you love. Then, and only then, should you buy lots.
A good one to start with is my 4mm Macramé Cord. It’s perfect for beginners and very reasonably priced too!
03. You only need two or three knots
Hangings often look far more complicated than they actually are. Would you be surprised to learn most of my hangings only use three basic knots? In fact, you can make a beautiful wall hanging using only one.
Start with one knot, and get used to its different variations. Only when you’re happy with that, should you focus on another.
By working in this way, you get started fast and can enjoy the satisfaction of finishing your first piece.
You can see my beginners tutorial, which teaches three basic knots, by clicking the link below this teaches three basic knots
04. Measure long and cut long
Running out of string halfway down a piece is pretty horrible, and yes it has be known to happen. Even to me! To avoid it, I try to imagine the finished size and multiply it by 4.5, before rounding the number up to get a cord length.
Finished piece = 55cm long
55x4.5= 248cm (the length of cord you measure and then cut)
248cm/2=124cm (the length this will become once folded and hung on a dowel.
05. Be yourself
Always try to make something new, rather than replicate someone else’s work. The challenge of creating an original piece with limited knots is how you’ll learn the craft, and by creating something new you become an artist and are contributing beauty to the community.
If you are not quite ready to move into your own designs, you can use my free tutorials and the patterns of which are free for personal use. Go ahead, practice some knots!
06. Take pictures that will do some justice
Wall hangings are things of great beauty, and should be shared with the world. So here are the two things you need to know to take great pictures of them.
There are only two things you need to know to take a great picture of your wall hanging:
a) You don’t need a fancy setup
A smartphone to take the snap (take a few and hold the device steady) and some very *light* editing will make a big difference. I only raise the brightness in my pictures and find Instagram works best for this. Over-processed heavy filtered images will mean the detail is lost.
b) You do need daylight
This is the single most important lesson from this article. You cannot get a good picture using light from anything but the sun. Set up a desk near a window, or go out into the woods/your back garden. You can even take friends and ask them to take a picture of you holding your hanging up, with a big proud grin. As long as you’re outside, you’ll be much much happier with the quality,
07. It might “knot” be perfect
Mistakes are an essential part of the learning process. They create an opportunity to learn. Keep this mantra in mind, every mistake you make means you’re one step closer to the perfect hanging.
08. Don’t go it alone
There are plenty of crafty people out there who can support you - starting with me! Add me somewhere or send me a message, be that as a beginner looking for someone to confide a mistake in, or from an experienced crafter wanting to share their own tips and tricks. I want to hear from all of you.
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