Projects Using a Cotton Clothesline

Projects Using a Cotton Clothesline thumbnail
Projects Using a Cotton Clothesline

Ordinary clothesline may seem like one of the most uninspiring materials possible for craft projects. But solid braided-cotton line is ideal for many types of projects. The most common size for clothesline is 1/4 inch (size 8), although it’s made in sizes ranging from 1/8 inch (size 4) to 3/4 inch (size 24)—enough variety to inspire a multitude of uses.

  1. Coasters and Placemats

    • Coiling is a basic technique that can be adapted to many projects. For coasters or placemats, first mark the outline of your project on a piece of corrugated cardboard. Cut one end of a skein of clothesline at a 45-degree angle, cover the end with craft or fabric glue, and fold it over tightly to form the center of your mat. Lay it flat in the center of the cardboard pattern and pin it down with a straight pin. Coil the rope around the center, gluing as you go and pinning to the cardboard every inch or so, until you’ve filled the pattern. Cut the end of the clothesline and let the glue dry completely.

    Coiled Baskets

    • Another coiling technique, especially well suited for baskets and tote bags, involves winding fabric strips around the clothesline before coiling it. For these projects, the coil is usually machine stitched, using a wide zigzag setting.


    • Macramé combines patterns of knots to create a surprising variety of useful and decorative items, from delicate jewelry and fashionable accessories to baskets, wall hangings and window coverings. Cotton clothesline is ideally suited for many macramé projects, such as plant hangers and purses or tote bags. For example, projects that call for 6mm braided macramé cord would be appropriate for 1/4-inch (6.5mm) clothesline.

    Holders and Caddies

    • A neat wrap of clothesline can cover a multitude of flaws and turn trash into useful tools and containers. Cover a coffee can with wrap of cotton rope, or disguise an ordinary clay plant pot or a glass jar of cut flowers. Glue together three or four clean, empty cans (preferably the kind with covered edges) and wrap them closely with clothesline, to organize pens and pencils, kitchen utensils or silverware.


    • Projects using clothesline inevitably leave unused bits and odd-sized pieces behind. Rather than throw them away, even them up and bundle them to use as disposable brushes for applying paint or stain to other projects. This trick can save you some frustration whenever you want a clean brush and don’t have one handy; you can always cut a few short pieces to use as needed.

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