Craft

Macramé Tutorial: How to Tie a Square Knot (Step by Step)

Learn square knot variations, how to avoid common mistakes and tips to improve your technique, with Natalia Corbi

Macramé was born in Turkey, and evidence of macramé from around 3000 BC has also been found in China, Mesopotamia and Egypt. This ancient technique is still loved today because it allows you to create exclusive and beautiful designs. Which is why it’s useful to know how to combine various knot types, from the basic to the complex.

Textile artist Natalia Corbi (@nataliacorbi) is a macramé expert. In this tutorial, she teaches you the basic steps you need to create a simple square knot, plus a few square knot variations.

Don’t miss her expert tips!

Getting started

First, tie two cords to a piece of wood using a simple lark’s head knot. It’s best to keep them close together, to give you a firmer base to work on and make it easier to create your square knot.

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Tie a lark’s head knot to attach your cord to the wood.
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It’s best to keep the knots together for a firmer base.

Create a simple square knot

Now you’ve tied both cords firmly to the wood, you can separate out the four cords using this rule:

- The middle cords are the fillers and don’t move.
- The outside cords are the working cords you use to create the knot.

Follow these steps to create a square knot:

1. Pass the right hand working cord underneath the filler cords in the middle to make the shape of a reverse number 4.

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Pass the right hand working cord underneath the middle filler cords to make a reverse number 4.

2. Pass the left hand working cord through the reverse number 4 you just created.

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Pass the left hand working cord through the reverse number 4 you just created.

3. Close the knot so that it fastens at the top of the cords, as close as possible to the piece of wood.

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Fasten the knot at the top of the cords, tight in to the wood.

4. Reverse these steps to create the second knot in this sequence.

5. Pass the left hand working cord below the middle fillers to make a number 4.

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Pass the left hand working cord below the middle fillers to make a number 4.

6. Pass the right hand working cord through the number 4 you have just created.

7. Repeat the same process, working from one side to the other to create a chain of knots.

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A chain of simple square knots.

A helix knot or half square knot spiral

This knot is a variation of the square knot, with just a few additions to create a new effect. Follow these instructions to create yours:

1. Pass the right hand working cord below the middle filler cords to make the reverse number 4.

2. Pass the left hand working cord through the reverse number 4 you just created.

3. Repeat the process. This time you don’t want to change sides. Keep working from the right.

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A helix knot or half square knot spiral.

4. Use your hand to adjust the twist. The tighter the knots, the more twisted your spiral. Choose the effect you like best.

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Adjust the level of torsion by hand.

Spaced-out square knots

This is another square knot variation. Spacing them out creates a special effect.

1. Follow the steps to create a square knot.

2. Leave a space measuring 1-2 cm between your knots.

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Leave a 1-2 cm gap between the knots.

3. Stretch the filler cord out with one hand as you tie each knot. This will look lovely.

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Stretch the filler cord out with one hand as you tie each knot.
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Spaced-out square knots.

4. You can also join the knots up more closely into a compact weave to achieve a different design.

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Push the knots up to achieve a different design.
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A compact design.
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