How to Macrame Hanging Baskets

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Turn ordinary cord into a practical and beautiful plant holder.
Turn ordinary cord into a practical and beautiful plant holder. (Image: Rope image by Vanessa van Rensburg from Fotolia.com)

Macrame is an art form that developed in the 13th century. It involves tying cords, ropes or yarn into both simple and complex knots to create jewelry, plant hangers, wall hangings, home decor, clothing, belts, purses and more. The macrame artist needs no loops, needles or hooks to create elaborate macrame designs. Macrame designers can select from a wide variety of materials to achieve their desired look. Some designers will incorporate wooden, glass or ceramic beads into a project to further express their creativity. A basic macrame plant hanger is a simple but useful project for the beginning macrame artist.

Things You'll Need

  • Cord
  • Scissors
  • Wax, glue or tape
  • Craft ring
  • Beads or thin cord
  • Pot

Select a pliable cord, such as jute or clothesline, according to the size of the pot your hanging planter will hold. A delicate cord will complement a small pot, and a more substantial cord will look nice holding a large pot.

Lay out a length of cord as long as you wish your planter to be from the ceiling to the end of the tassel plus an additional six inches. Do not cut it. Triple that length using the first cord as your measure. Mark the cord at that point with a piece of tape. Double the new length. Your rope is now six times the original length and is marked in the middle.

Cut the cord. Cut and mark five more cords the same length. Cut two separate 18-inch cords for the beginning and ending knots.

Dip the ends of each cord in melted wax to prevent fraying. Other sealing methods include burning, taping or gluing the ends.

Gather all six cords together and pull them through the craft ring until the ring rests at the center tape mark on the cords. You now have 12 cords emerging from the ring.

Hang the ring on a sturdy hook, piece of furniture or nail to free both hands for macrame. The hook must be stable enough to withstand the constant tension you will place on the cords.

Tie a hangman's knot variation around the 12 cords directly under the ring, using the 18-inch cord. To form a hangman's knot, hold the cords and the short rope in one hand. One end of the short cord should protrude above the craft ring by three or four inches. Call this end A. Create a loop about eight inches in length by bringing the lower end of the cord down then back up to meet the original end. Call this second end B. Hold the loop securely with the other cords. Wrap B around the bundle of cords, including the newly formed loop. Begin wrapping near the ring and gradually moving down, maintaining neat, close wraps. When the hangman's knot is as long as you prefer or you have nearly reached the end of B, insert B into the remaining loop at the bottom of the knot. Hold the wrapped knot firmly while pulling A to tighten the lower loop around B. Trim A and B so they are not noticeable.

Wrap the hangman's knot neatly and snugly.
Wrap the hangman's knot neatly and snugly. (Image: green plastic knot image by drx from Fotolia.com)

Separate the 12 cords into three groups of four. Tie two groups out of the way. Of the four remaining cords, the two inside cords are carrier cords and the two outside cords are for tying knots around the carriers.

Tie a spiral knot around the carrier cords. A spiral knot is a series of half square knots. Bring the right cord under the carrier cords and over the left cord. Place the left cord over the carrier knots and under the right cord, threading it through the space formed where the right cord initially crossed under the carriers. Pull the cords snugly. Repeat this knot until you are halfway down the carriers. If the cords do not spiral, twist them manually to achieve the spiral effect. Maintain tension on the carrier cords the entire time, either by stepping on them, holding them with one hand or attaching them to a surface or board.

Thread all four cords through a bead or use thin cord to tie a hangman's noose around the four cords at the halfway point. Move the carrier cords to the outside of the tying cords. Continue tying the spiral knot in the same manner or lead with the left instead of the right to spiral the opposite direction. Tie until you have reached your desired length.

Repeat the process with the remaining two groups of four cords. Maintain the same tension and focus on keeping the new cord groups even with the length of the original group. You now have three sides for your hanger.

Spread the cords from two hanger sides in your hands. Gather two cords from each group, selecting the four cords that most naturally fall together in the center of your hand. Drop the four outside cords.

Move your hand down a few inches before tying your next knot to allow space to insert the pot. Experimentation and personal preference will determine how wide you want the spaces on this section which will hold the pot.

Tie a square knot around the two inside carrier cords using the two outside cords. Cross the right cord under the carrier cords and over the left cord. Cross the left cord over the carriers and under the right cord, down through the loop on the right of the carriers. Tighten. Complete the second half of the square knot by reversing this action. Cross the left cord under the carrier cords and over the right cord. Cross the right cord over the carrier knots and under the left cord. Pull snugly, keeping the carriers straight. Repeat the process around the circumference of the planter, tying each side to the adjoining side.

Tie a neat, even square knot.
Tie a neat, even square knot. (Image: reef knot image by bluedelta from Fotolia.com)

Tie another row of square knots a few inches down from the previous row. Use two cords emerging from one square knot and two cords from the neighboring knot to tie this next row of square knots. The resulting square knot will be lower than and between two of the previous square knots. Repeat the process until the planter section is as long as you desire.

Tie a piece of cord around the bottom of the hanger. Check that everything is as you wish. If you are pleased with the appearance, remove the cord and close the bottom of the hanger with another hangman's knot.

Even out the rope ends with a scissors. Fray them slightly for a decorative tassel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Experiment with different knots, materials, beads and other techniques.

References

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