How to Make a Macrame Hammock

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Sometimes, relaxing on the porch requires a comfortable and stylish hammock. With a few tools and some basic math skills, you’ll have a beautiful chair that shows off your do-it-yourself skills. This hammock is made using the macrame technique, which requires knotting together cords. Macrame is a centuries-old method used to make furniture, plant holders and other home decor items.

Relax on your porch in a comfortable macrame hammock.
Relax on your porch in a comfortable macrame hammock. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Things You'll Need

  • 3 1 1/4-inch hardwood dowels, 30-inches long
  • 2 5/8-inch hardwood dowels, 36-inches long
  • 200 yards, 1/4-inch macrame cord or rope
  • 8 yards, 1/2-inch rope
  • 4 1-inch wood screws
  • Drill and 5/8-inch bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
Supplies to make a macrame hanging chair.
Supplies to make a macrame hanging chair. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Measure the Dowels

While measuring and drilling the dowels, ensure all the holes are level and lined up with each other so that the frame is perfectly square. On two of the 1 1/4-inch dowels, measure and mark at 2 inches and 3 1/2 inches from each end. The third 1 1/4-inch dowel will only need to be marked at 3 1/2 inches from each end.

Measure and mark the dowels for drilling.
Measure and mark the dowels for drilling. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Drill Holes in the Dowels

Drill a hole at each mark on each 1 1/4-inch dowel. Start with a small drill bit and work your way up to 5/8 inch. A spade bit or dowel jig makes this much easier.

Drill holes in dowels using a spade bit or dowel jig.
Drill holes in dowels using a spade bit or dowel jig. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Sand the Holes

Sand the holes to remove any splinters from drilling.

Sand holes to remove any splinters.
Sand holes to remove any splinters. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Slide the Dowels Together

Make a square frame for the seat by sliding each of the small dowels into the 5/8-inch holes on the large dowels. Leave about 1-inch overlap on each end.

Slide dowels together to create a square frame.
Slide dowels together to create a square frame. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Secure the Frame With Screws

Drill a small pilot hole where the dowels meet. Using a 1-inch screw, secure the two pieces together.

Screw together the two dowels to secure the frame.
Screw together the two dowels to secure the frame. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Hang the Frame

Before starting the macrame, temporarily hang the frame in a place where you can easily stand or sit to knot the ropes.

Temporarily hang frame for easy use.
Temporarily hang frame for easy use. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Wrap the Cords Around the Dowel

Using the 1/4-inch cord, cut 16 26-foot pieces. It sounds like a lot but as you knot, the cord shortens quickly. Pick up one cord and fold it in half. Wrap the loop around the dowel from the front to back. Pull the tails through the loop. Continue with all 16 strands of cord. Once they're all hanging, you'll have 32 strands.

Wrap the loop around the dowel and pull the tails through.
Wrap the loop around the dowel and pull the tails through. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Cross the Cords From Left to Right

To create the seat, you'll be using a simple square knot. Starting with the first four cords, take the left cord and cross it over the center two, then under the right cord.

Four cords are used to create a square knot.
Four cords are used to create a square knot. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Cross the Cords From Right to Left

Take the right cord and cross it under the center two cords and up through the hole, passing over the left cord.

Change the direction by crossing the cords from right to left.
Change the direction by crossing the cords from right to left. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Complete the Square Knot

To complete the second half of the knot, you’ll do the same thing in reverse. Take the right cord and cross it over the center two, then under the left cord. Then take the left cord and cross it under the center two cords and up through the hole, passing over the right cord. Pull the knot tight. Continue this with all the cords.

Pull the knot tight and continue with all the cords.
Pull the knot tight and continue with all the cords. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Start With the Third Cord

The next row also uses the same square knot but starts with the third cord. You’ll be using two strands from each section. When knotting them together, make sure to keep everything even. Continue this until to reach the end of your cords.

Use two strands of cord from each section.
Use two strands of cord from each section. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Repeat the Pattern

Now the pattern repeats. Just like in the beginning, tie a square knot with the first four cords and work your way across. Then use the third cord to start the next row.

Continue using square knots to create the seat pattern.
Continue using square knots to create the seat pattern. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Knot Until the Seat Measures 45-inches Long

Continue knotting until the seat is about 45-inches long. The finished macrame needs to be longer than the frame.

The seat needs to be longer than the frame so it hangs loosely.
The seat needs to be longer than the frame so it hangs loosely. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Attach the Seat to the Frame

To attach the ends to the bottom of the frame, wrap all four cords from each section around the dowel and tie a knot.

Wrap the cords around the dowel and tie a knot.
Wrap the cords around the dowel and tie a knot. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Tie a Second Knot

Tie a second knot by splitting the strand into two. Pull it as tight as you can.

Tie a second knot to secure the cords to the frame.
Tie a second knot to secure the cords to the frame. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Cut the Ends of the Cords

Cut the ends of the cords to the length desired. You can fray the ends or leave them as is.

Cut the ends of the cords to the length desired.
Cut the ends of the cords to the length desired. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Cut a 1/2-inch Rope

Cut one 120-inch piece of 1/2-inch rope. Fold it in half and tie a knot a few inches from the top, creating a loop.

Cut the rope and create a loop.
Cut the rope and create a loop. (Image: Angie Diersman)

String the Rope Through the Dowel

At this point, if you can hang the rope in a temporary place by the loop, it will be much easier to make sure all the ropes are even moving forward. Using the leftover third dowel, string the rope through each hole and tie a knot, leaving about 20 inches in between the loop and dowel.

Temporarily hang the rope to string the dowels.
Temporarily hang the rope to string the dowels. (Image: Angie Diersman)

String the Rope Through the Top of the Frame

Continue with the same piece of rope. String it down through the top of the frame on each side and tie a loose knot, leaving 30 inches in between the two dowels. You want a loose knot because once you hang the finished chair, you’ll need to make some minor adjustments.

String the rope through the top of the frame and tie a loose knot.
String the rope through the top of the frame and tie a loose knot. (Image: Angie Diersman)

String the Rope Through the Bottom of the Frame

Cut two 65-inches pieces of 1/2-inch-thick rope. Starting at the bottom of the frame, string one rope on each side through the hole and tie a loose knot. This time, the knot should be below the dowel with the rope running up.

String the rope through bottom of frame and tie a loose knot.
String the rope through bottom of frame and tie a loose knot. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Tie the Rope Around the Third Dowel

Run the rope all the way up to the top third dowel. Wrap the rope around the dowel and tie a loose knot, leaving 60 inches between the third dowel and the bottom of the frame.

Wrap the rope around the third dowel and tie a loose knot.
Wrap the rope around the third dowel and tie a loose knot. (Image: Angie Diersman)

Hang the Seat and Adjust the Ropes

Now you can hang the chair in a more permanent spot using a sturdy hook on your porch or deck. Make sure all the ropes are even. If you need to make any adjustments, this would be the time to do so. Then, tighten all of your knots. Use caution when sitting in the hammock for the first time. The ropes will expand a little and form to your weight. Once everything feels right, cut off any excess rope hanging below the knots or fray them to hang free.

Hang the hammock from a sturdy hook and adjust the ropes.
Hang the hammock from a sturdy hook and adjust the ropes. (Image: Angie Diersman)
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