As a tween, I thought hemp necklaces and bracelets were the hippest things out there. My grandma’s birthday was coming up so I made her a necklace and packaged it all up. When she opened the box, she informed me that the beloved super cool hemp jewelry I made for her was actually called macrame, and it had been around for quite some time.
While my hipster tween dreams of being super cool were squashed, there now laid before me a whole new world-- flowing with macrame accents.
Macrame is a technique of textile making that uses knots, rather than weaving or knitting, and guess what? It goes way back. Like, further than grandma years. The art of macrame can be traced all the way back to 16-8 BC in ancient Mesopotamia. Its lineage has faded in and out of popularity since then being passed on mostly by sailors on trade routes.
In the 1970s macrame made a comeback in a major way and made its way into all kinds of home decor from lampshades to wall dividers, to jewelry.
Like all great things, macrame is back (or maybe it never really left?). Its recent surge is thanks to both the cyclical nature of fashion and decor, as well as its ability to be used as a mindfulness practice.
While there are countless items that can be knotted, today we will focus on a project that is great for beginners and seasoned crafters alike: a plant hanger.
The following list is based off of what I made, but this design can easily be adjusted to use things you have at home, which is one of the fun parts of DIY macrame projects. For example, if you have a larger pot at home you can easily alter this design to fit your needs. Or, if you have something else to hang this from, you can replace the metal ring with that.
Begin by measuring 8 x 12 feet long cords. I suggest cutting the first cord and then using that as the base for the other seven cords. This helps to ensure that they are matching lengths and saves time.
Place the metal ring on a hook low enough so that you can reach on an easel, wall hook, or a place that you can organize the rope easily. Secure your cut cords and thread the eight cords through the metal ring until the cords are folded in half. Make sure that the cords are not overlapping.
Grabbing one cord from the right and left side, place the right cord across the six remaining cords, making a figure four shape. Gather the left cord from the opposite side and wrap it over the right cord and then under the 6 remaining cords, pulling it through the hole of the figure four. Pull both ends taught against the metal ring.
Then, gather the left cord. Make a figure four again, this time alternating side, pulling the right cord through the left figure four hole. Pull it taught.
Repeat this process once more on both sides, for a total of 4 square knots.
Arrange the 16 cords into 4 groups of 4. Tie 4 square knots with each group.
Now, we will create a stronger base as well as some depth in the top of the planter.
Select 2 cords from one group, and then 2 cords from a neighboring group to create a new group of 4 cords. Tie 4 square knots. Repeat this three more times. Make sure to pull the knots taught with the same force so that at the end, the rows are mostly even.
The “legs” of the planter is an important piece to ensure that you can easily place and remove your pot, as well as having space for the plant to grow.
For each group, measure down 5 inches and use the outer cords to tie two square knots. Repeat twice in each group.
It’s important to keep the two center cords aligned during this process. If you find yourself having difficulty measuring, just make sure that the knots match on each of the four groups. I typically use one cord here to measure the others against so that if my measurements are off, the design still looks symmetrical.
Using the same technique we used in the beginning, select 2 cords from one group, and then 2 cords from a neighboring group to create a new group of 4 cords. From the base knot you have, measure 3 inches down and tie 2 square knots. Repeat once more.
Measure down 3 more inches, choose your two longest cords from the outer edge and tie 4 square knots around all the other cords, creating the base.
From the base you just tied, take 4 cords from the center and tie 2 square knots. From the 2 new square knots, split the cords in half. Take two of the neighboring unused cords and two from the knot and tie 2 square knots. Repeat for the other side.
Then, make a row of 3 square knots, then 4 repeating the same process.
To create the inverse of the diamond, you will repeat the process in reverse, making a row of 3, then 3, then 1.
Measure 5 inches down, and do a half diamond: row of 4, then 3, then 2, then 1.
Plant your planter and hang it up for all to see! Here, you can see I’ve left the ends loose to give it a more whimsical feel, but you can also tie them off if you’d prefer.