I’ve been so wanting to do a tutorial and I finally decided on this cute little macrame bracelet. It’s based on the knotted bracelets you see in tourist shops. They’re very simple to make and depending on the cord and beads you choose, you can design them to suit your style. They also make great gifts because of the somewhat adjustable length on the sliding clasp.
Just about any kind of cord and beads will work as long as the bead holes are large enough for two cords to fit through. Only one knot, a simple square knot is used throughout. The sliding clasp is as simple to finish as the bracelet and the entire project can be done in one episode of American Idol or whatever you fancy TV wise.
- clipboard with a piece of foamcore or cardboard cut to fit
- 4 yards cord (I used C-Lon Tex 400 for this demo)
- 8 or more beads depending on length of bracelet
- 2 smaller beads for dangles
- 3 straight pins
- needlepoint needle for finishing (has a round ballpoint end)
- needlenose jewelry pliers (optional)
1) Cut 2 pieces of cord about 24″, hold together and clip them under the clipboard about 8″ from the one end. These will be the filler cords. I’m using a shade of lavender for my filler cords.
Cut one piece of cord about 2 yards long. This will become the knotting cords. Normally I use the same color cord for both filler and knotting cords, but just for this demo I’m using a dark shade of purple for the knotting cords. Find the middle of the knotting cord, slip under the filler cords and pin to foamcore board. Now we’ll begin working square knots with the knotting cords over the filler cords.
2) I’m right handed so I usually start with the cord to the right side of the filler cords. Lay it over the filler cords horizontally forming a loop on right. Take left cord and place over horizontal cord, then underneath all cords and up through loop on right. Pull both knotting cords out and tight. That’s 1/2 of the square knot.
3) Repeating step 2, but take the left cord and lay over the filler cords horizontally forming a loop on left. Take right cord and place over horizontal cord, then underneath all cords and up through loop on left. Pull both knotting cords out and tight. You just made one complete square knot.
4) Continue making square knots and placing a bead on the filler cords after every 3 to 5 square knots. The number of knots depends on the size of cord, the size of the beads and however many knots looks pleasing to you. Continue this pattern to the desired length. Keep in mind that the sliding clasp will add about 1/2″.
When you’re done, thread one knotting cord on to your needle and sew up the center as far as you can. If you have trouble, use a pair of jewelry pliers to pull your needle through. If you find that your knots are very tight and you cannot sew the entire cord through, unravel the 3-ply cord and sew each thread up individually. After neatly sewing up both knotting cords, trim off the excess.
5) Next we’ll make the clasp. Form your work into a circle and hold together by loosely tying with a bit of cord near both edges of knots (I used orange). Pin bracelet to foamcore.
Cut a cord about 12″ long. Just as you did in step 1, slip this cord under all four cords and work square knots over all four cords for 1/2 inch. Finish ends off just like you did with the bracelet. While sewing these ends in, be sure to avoid putting needle through the cords that are encased in clasp.
6) Remove those bits of temporary cord. There are 2 loose cords coming out of each end of the clasp section. Hold 2 cords together and form a slip knot, place a bead on both cords, then form another slip knot to hold in place. Trim off the excess. Run around and show off to everyone you know.
If you have any questions, please let me know. I’d be happy to help you. I didn’t design this bracelet, in fact I disassembled one of those inexpensive tourist versions just to see how they finished off the ends. So feel free to work up this design to your heart’s content.