Discover which basic materials you need to create your own macramé pieces
Do you know much about macramé? This technique consists of making types of knots using a crochet needle to create unique textile pieces.
The name of the technique, macramé, has two possible origins: the majority of people say it derives from the Arabic term "migramah" (ornamental fringe). However, it could also come from the Turkish word "makrama," meaning napkin or towel.
Textile artist and founder of brand Aram Studio Natalia Corbi (@nataliacorbi) specializes in creating macramé pieces using natural fibers and materials.
Her interior design-oriented projects reflect her passion for life and beauty. Corbi takes this traditional art form and gives it an original and contemporary twist. Below, Natalia lists the basic materials and types of fiber you’ll need to get started.
Natalia selects a wooden frame measuring 50x50cm. You should be able to order this type of frame from a carpenter. If you like, you can also reuse a frame from an old painting or create your own using a tying technique that Natalia teaches in her course.
There are three types of cord: the 5mm braided cord, the 5mm twisted cord for the fringe, and the 3 mm braided cord for the finish. The first is one of Natalia's favorites. "I use it in most of my work," she says.
We’ll use these to cut threads and the fringing. We can use any type, as long as they cut through fabric.
Our tape measure will come in handy when measuring out our cord.
Fine comb or steel brush
They will be used to untangle and comb out the fringing. Your steel brush does not have to be specifically for macramé. Natalia, for example, uses one she purchased at a pet store.
This is a finishing tool that is useful for hiding cut threads. If you don't have a spatula, you can use any other tool with a flat tip.
This is used to hang the frame that serves as the base for our macramé. This is very useful for when we hang our piece on a clothes rail or something else that is straight while we work on it.
Clothes rail or another structure from which to hang our piece
This is where we hang the piece we’re working on. If you don’t have a clothes rail, you can use one of the following: a coat hanger, a hat stand, a curtain rod, or simply a nail in the wall.
Types of fibers
Next, Natalia lists several natural fibers you can work with. However, she first reminds us that your choice of cord will directly affect your final result, as each material has specific characteristics.
Cotton braided cord
This cord offers greater definition and is very resistant. There are braided that have been more tightly woven–and are, therefore, more rigid–and others that are looser and therefore more flexible and suitable for providing more movement.
Braided cord is available in different thicknesses. Natalia usually uses a 5mm cord.
Twisted cotton cord
This is a very soft and pretty cord. It is also very useful for adding fringing to our pieces
Cotton string comprises several smaller braided cords that have been twisted together. It’s very easy to find, and there are countless options available regarding thickness and color. This cord is perfect for fringing because it easily unravels. To do this, just undo the braids.
For larger pieces, Natalia recommends using thicker cords. For a more delicate result, choose thinner options.
This textile fiber is extracted from the bark of the ramie. It is a rougher fiber, which is very resistant and beautiful, and provides a rustic finish.
When working with this, you should consider protecting your fingers with bandages to stop blisters from forming.
Sisal is a fiber from the agave family, which is extracted from the plant’s leaves. It is easy to find and will add a rustic touch to your work. If you are going to use sisal, protect your fingers with bandages first.
This fiber can be found in different thicknesses.
Wool is a soft material that is widely used to add texture and color to a piece.
Natural fibers are recommended for pieces to be displayed indoors. If your piece is going to be hung outdoors and exposed to different weather, it needs to be more resistant. In which case, it is best to choose a synthetic fiber, such as polyester.
Have you enjoyed Natalia Corbi's tips? If so, sign up for her course Introduction to Macrame Tapestry and learn how to create your own textile pieces with geometric frames.