Creating fantastic macrame projects doesn’t take much in terms of supplies, but it sure does take a lot of macrame cord!
This relatively inexpensive crafting material comes in a variety of colors and styles to suit the task at hand. You can buy it in some retail craft or hobby stores, but before you do you should know it’s generally cheaper (and better quality) online.
To help you find the right macrame supplies for you, I put together a quick guide to all the different types of macrame cord, as well as the best places to buy it. I’ve also laid out the difference between macrame cord, rope, yarn, and waxed cord so you can choose the right option for your project.
If you just want to pick up some macrame cord quickly, check out my quick picks below for the best general-purpose cords. Need some inspiration for your first project? Check out some original interviews with macrame artists around the globe!
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Best macrame cord: Quick picks
XKDOUS 3-ply macrame cord
- Perfect bulk purchase for beginners
- 3-ply natural cotton in 3, 4, 5, or 6mm thickness
- Colors: natural, black, coffee, mustard, yellow, dark grey, deep green, and wine red
Crafteza single ply macrame string
- Soft, all natural cotton
- Single ply macrame cord fringes nicely
- May be difficult for beginners
- Inexpensive and available in many colors
UnfetteredCo recycled macrame cord
- Small craft business based in Canada
- Recycled cotton in a variety of thicknesses, colors, and styles
- Affordable and high quality
- Buy four get one free (mix and match colors)
Bobbiny macrame cord
- Small craft business based in Poland
- Fantastic quality products
- Many thicknesses, colors, and styles
- Expect longer shipping times to North America
Types of macrame cord
First things first: What exactly is macrame cord?
Macrame cord is a catch-all term that covers all types of fibers used for macrame, including rope, yarn, string, and waxed options.
In most macrame patterns you will see the term cord used, but which material you decide to use is up to you. However, you should try to get the same thickness, as it will have an effect on the lengths of cord you need.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between rope, yarn, string, and waxed cord for macrame:
Rope is the most common type of macrame cord, and it’s likely what you picture when you think of macrame projects. It’s always plied, meaning several strands are twisted around one another, giving it extra strength and thickness.
The most common rope for macrame is twisted three-ply cotton, which is both strong and fringes into a lovely wavy pattern. Some braided six-ply rope is also available, but I’d recommend sticking to three-ply options unless you need a lot of strength.
What’s great about macrame rope is that it creates thick, distinctive knots. While cotton rope is soft, it’s still rigid enough to hold knots well. And unlike single strand alternatives, it won’t start untwisting while you’re in the middle of a new piece.
For beginners and intermediate macrame artists, medium-sized cotton rope is a great material to use. You really can’t go wrong.
Yarn is typically used for knitting or weaving, but it can also be used for macrame. It can be both plied and unplied (meaning several strands twisted together or just one), and is typically (but not always) made of wool.
While you can use knitting yarns for macrame, the end result will more closely resemble a cloth, and your knots won’t stand out. I’d recommend trying a thicker, unplied macrame yarn for softer things like rugs and baskets, but for wall hangings and plant hangers it’s not the best choice.
String is very similar to rope, with the only difference being that it isn’t plied. It’s instead composed of many thin fibers twisted into a single strand. You may also see this type of cord referred to as single-strand macrame rope (although it isn’t rope at all!).
As a result of its composition, it’s much softer than macrame rope, and creates smaller, tighter knots. It’s also much more prone to expansion and uneven thickness, so don’t be surprised if it’s 1mm bigger or smaller than advertised.
That said, it’s very easy to fringe and can add a nice, soft appearance to larger projects. It fringes out straight and fine, while three-ply rope tends to fringe with a wavy effect.
For beginners, 6mm macrame string is great for wall hangings and other non-weight bearing projects. Just be careful that it doesn’t start untwisting in the middle of your piece!
Waxed cord is typically small in diameter and is frequently used for macrame jewellery. It can be plied or unplied cord, which is then covered in wax to make it stronger and more resistant to water.
The wax makes the color darker, but there are still a wide variety of color options available. The process also prevents the cord from fraying, although you should still secure the ends of your piece carefully.
This guide is mostly dedicated to larger macrame cords for decorative work, rather than jewellery, but waxed cord is readily available on Amazon and Etsy. Since it’s waxed, you don’t need to be as concerned about quality.
Natural vs synthetic fibers
Another thing to consider before buying is whether you want natural fibers or synthetic fibers. Macrame cord is ready available in both, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Natural fibers like cotton, wool, linen, jute, and hemp are the most common choices. They’re all biodegradable, making them an eco-friendly pick for crafters. However, they won’t stand up to the elements, so they’re not an ideal choice for outdoor projects.
Most natural fibers are also easy to dye. You can always buy cord pre-dyed in different colors, but if you want to dye them at home you should stick to cotton, wool, or linen.
Synthetic fibers like nylon, acrylic, paracord, polypropylene, and plastic are excellent choices for projects that will remain outside. Many are still relatively soft to the touch, but don’t expect the same feel as cotton or wool.
If you’re not sure which one to buy, I’d recommend starting with a cotton macrame cord. It’s a great general-purpose rope, being soft, resistant, and forgiving for knotting-newbies.
Best macrame cord to buy
Now that you know a bit more about macrame cord types and materials, it’s time to look at a few specific product recommendations.
There are plenty of great brands for cord, but here are just a few of my favorites, followed by an in-depth description of each.
- Best for beginners: XKDOUS three-ply macrame cord
- Best single strand: Crafteza macrame cord
- Best recycled: UnfetteredCo three-ply macrame cord
- Best in UK and Europe: Bobbiny macrame cord
Best for beginners: XKDOUS three-ply macrame cord
If you’re just starting out with macrame and want a fairly inexpensive and easy-to-use cord, XKDOUS brand rope is a great option. It makes twisted three-ply cotton macrame rope in 3, 4, 5, and 6mm diameters, sold in lengths from 109-328 yards.
Even better, there are eight color options: natural, black, coffee, mustard, yellow, dark grey, deep green, and wine red. All of them are nearly always in stock on Amazon, and they’re cheap at around $9-20 depending on size and length.
The company is also very responsive to complaints, which is rare for sellers on the platform. The cord ships from the US so it should also arrive promptly for those in a hurry to get crafting.
Best single strand: Crafteza macrame cord
Single strand macrame cord (or macrame string) can be slightly more difficult to work with as it’s prone to untwisting, but it can create some stunning results.
This line from the Crafteza brand is a good pick because it’s soft, all-natural, and comes in a variety of colors. It’s also very inexpensive since it’s sold in bulk. You can get nearly 400 yards for about $40, or 200+ yards for about $25, both with free shipping.
Since it’s made from high-quality virgin cotton, it also dyes like a dream. The cord is produced in India but all orders ship from the US, so they should arrive in less than a week.
Best recycled: UnfetteredCo three-ply macrame cord
High-quality cotton is great, but recycled cotton can be every bit as soft — and help you do your part in saving the environment.
My favorite recycled cotton macrame cord is sold by UnfetteredCo on Etsy, and comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes. It’s also very affordable, and there’s a buy-four-get-one-free deal so you can mix and match colors.
This macrame rope ships from Canada, so expect relatively speedy shipping throughout North America. Plus, you’re supporting a small macrame business and making someone’s dream come true!
Best UK and Europe: Bobbiny macrame cord
For readers in Europe and the UK, there’s a fantastic little mom-and-pop Polish company called Bobbiny that produces incredible macrame cord in all sizes and colors.
Of course, Bobbiny also ships around the world, but it will take 1-4 weeks to receive your order in the US. If you’re patient, it could very well be worth it, as this is some of the best macrame cord you can buy.
Where to buy macrame cord
If you want to shop around a bit more, macrame cord can be purchased both online and in select retail stores. However, your best bet is buying online or specialty shops. Not only will the cord often come out cheaper, it will also be higher quality.
Plus, it gives you the option to buy from small businesses instead of huge multinational corporations.
Here are the best places to buy macrame cord, starting with one of the most famous craft supply websites out there.
There are tons of great macrame supplies and patterns for sale on Etsy, and macrame cord is no different. No matter where you live in the world there’s a small business that ships cord of any size directly to your house.
Here’s a short list of my favorites and where they ship from:
Although the company has a dubious reputation, it’s still the world’s largest marketplace. There are tons of vendors selling macrame cord on Amazon (although many of the same products can be found on Etsy).
Here are just a few listings to give you an idea of what’s available:
- XKDOUS three-ply macrame cord
- Crafteza single strand macrame string
- Floravogue 5mm macrame rope (black)
- Tenn Well braided jute for outdoor macrame
- Cyrico three-ply 3mm macrame rope (yellow)
Although it’s generally more expensive and lower quality, macrame cord can also be purchased in the following large retail stores in the US:
- Blick Art Materials
- Hobby Lobby
- Home Depot
Smaller specialty stores are more likely to have better cord, so check your local macrame, knitting, and crochet groups for more locations!
Online specialty stores
In addition to large retail stores, there are also many specialty shops that sell macrame supplies online. These are almost always small businesses, so you’re supporting creators and entrepreneurs directly (although it may take longer for products to restock).
Products may also be a bit more expensive than some of the other options listed, but the quality is always excellent. Plus, the care taken in packaging and shipping truly can’t be beat. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Modern Macrame — Emily Katz is somewhat of a macrame celebrity, with several books and frequent workshops focused on teaching fiber arts. Her shop has tons of macrame cord and other supplies, as well as patterns and kits.
- Niroma Studio — Founded by fiber artist Cindy Hwang Bokser, Niroma stocks a wide variety of supplies, from macrame cord to weaving looms and more.
- HolmMade Macrame — If you’ve ever watched YouTube tutorials for macrame, you may have already come across the HolmMade Macrame channel. She also sells macrame cord and supplies through her website.
- Ganxxet — While they primarily sell through their Etsy store, Miami-based Ganxxet also sells directly through their website. However, there are some stock issues, so you may have a better experience on Etsy.
- The Lark’s Head — SoCal-based fiber artist Rachel Breuklander sells a variety of fiber supplies, including macrame cord of many sizes (with discounts on bulk purchases).
Where to buy macrame cord in bulk
If you’re an avid fan of macrame and want to save some money, you can also buy macrame cord in bulk. One place to do this is Aliexpress, which ships directly from factories in China. You can also order wholesale macrame rope from companies like XKDOUS in the US.
Ordering wholesale means your shipment can take a few weeks or more to arrive, but it should leave you with enough cord for months. You could even start your own small craft supply business with a bit of graphic design and marketing knowledge.
One extra tip is to search for cotton rope instead of macrame cord, which is the same thing but often retails for less. Certain sports and fishing retailers may sell natural cotton or synthetic rope by the spool for cheap as a netting material, and it works great for macrame, too.
Can I use yarn for macrame?
Yes, although it’s not ideal. Nearly all types of yarn are suitable for macrame, although you won’t get the same knot profile as you would with rope. Expect a flatter, softer result no matter the yarn thickness you use.
What is the best macrame cord for beginners?
If you’re new to the art of macrame, start with a medium size (4-7mm) cotton rope. It’s sturdy, easy to work with, and creates very distinctive knots. Medium rope is perfect for everything from wall hangings and plant hangers to rugs and large curtains. Single-strand macrame string is a bit more difficult to work with, and can lead to accidental untwisting while knotting.
How much macrame cord do I need?
How much macrame cord you need depends on the size of your project and the thickness of your rope. As a general rule, cut about four times the length of the finished piece. Most macrame patterns include a guide to cord lengths and sizes, so follow that when it’s available.
What is the best size cord for macrame?
Medium-size (4-7mm) cord is the most versatile for common projects like wall hangings and plant hangers. Small cord is best for jewellery or decorative objects, and large cord is great for statement pieces, but they can both be more difficult to work with than medium-sized options.
Can I dye macrame cord at home?
If the cord is made out of cotton or other natural fibers, absolutely! However, synthetic fibers typically don’t take dye well, although they can always be purchased in a variety of colors.
What does single ply (or single strand) cord mean?
Single ply means the cord is made from one continuous strand. It may also be referred to as unplied or single strand. Three-ply cord is made of three separate strands twisted together. Both are suitable for macrame, and both are available in a wide variety of thicknesses.
Why do I see the terms macrame cord, string, and rope used for the same products?
Although they’re technically slightly different, you may see listings on Etsy or Amazon that use all three terms interchangeably. This is purely so that they appear in more search results, and has little bearing on the actual product. Look for other terms like single strand, three-ply, or braided for more accurate product descriptions.