Creating fantastic macrame projects doesn’t take much in terms of supplies, but it sure does take a lot of macrame cord!
The good news is that there are more options than ever online. The bad news is that it can be difficult to choose the best macrame cord for beginners.
To help, 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 high-quality macrame cord quickly, check out my favorites below for the best general-purpose cords. I’ve also put together a massive list of macrame kits if you want to save yourself the trouble!
Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.
This soft, all-cotton single-strand macrame cord fringes beautifully and is compatible with most macrame projects.
Best macrame cord guide:
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, braided cord, and waxed threads.
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 stick to 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 thread 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 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 creating 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 crochet, knitting, or weaving, but it can also be used for small-scale macrame projects. It can be both plied and unplied (meaning several strands twisted together or just one), and is typically (but not always) made of wool or cotton.
While you can use thinner knitting yarns for macrame, the end result can more closely resemble a cloth, and your knots won’t stand out.
I’d recommend trying a thicker, unplied macrame yarn for softer items like rugs and baskets, but for larger projects like wall hangings and plant hangers, it’s not the best choice.
Macrame string or single-strand rope
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 plied 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 adds 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!
Braided macrame cord
Braided macrame cord has become more popular in recent years, and for good reason. It’s great for beginners and pros alike, with a unique, modern look for macrame.
Unlike other cord, it’s typically 8-10 strands woven around a soft filling. This composition means it’s super soft, durable, flexible, and somewhat stretchable.
Braided macrame cord is available in lots of colors and sizes from small to large. I love to use 8mm braided cord for chunky jewelry with tight, distinctive knots. It’s more comfortable to wear than plied cord due to the extra softness and stretch.
The biggest downside of braided macrame cord is price. It’s the most expensive cord you can buy, and you’ll probably need to get it from a specialty shop.
It also doesn’t fray very easily, so you’ll need to come up with creative solutions to finish your piece. Braided cord is great for beginners since it doesn’t untwist when tying and untying knots, but I’d recommend starting with braided cord after you’ve tackled your first few projects if you’re on a budget.
Waxed cord is typically small in diameter and is frequently used for macrame jewelry like bracelets and necklaces. It can be plied or unplied cord, which is then covered in wax to make it stronger and water-resistant.
The wax makes the color darker, but there is 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 jewelry, but waxed cord is readily available on Amazon and Etsy. Since it’s waxed, you don’t need to be as concerned about the quality of the fibers underneath.
Natural vs synthetic fibers
Another aspect to consider before buying your materials is whether you want to craft with natural or synthetic fibers. Macrame cord is available in both forms, 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 great picks for eco-conscious 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 pre-dyed cord in different colors, but if you want to dye them yourself, you should stick to cotton, wool, or linen for the best results.
More recently we’ve also seen bamboo macrame cord, which is the most sustainable option you can buy. It’s very soft and comes in a variety of colors and styles, but it’s fairly expensive and not as easy to find as cotton cord.
Synthetic fibers like nylon, acrylic, paracord, polypropylene, and plastic are excellent choices for projects that will remain outdoors. Many are still relatively soft to the touch, but don’t expect the same cozy feel achieved with 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 multi-purpose rope, because it’s 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: Macrame Cord by Rock Mountain Co
- Best recycled: UnfetteredCo three-ply macrame cord
- Best shop: Ganxxet 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: Single-strand cotton Macrame Cord by Rock Mountain Co
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 Rock Mountain Co is a great pick because it’s soft, all-natural, and available in several colors. Considering the premium quality of this product, it’s also relatively inexpensive.
But of course, that depends on how much you’re willing to spend. Depending on your option (there are two cord lengths to choose from), you’ll pay between ~$40-$80.
While not the cheapest alternative, it is definitely worth the splurge if you’re aiming for high-quality materials for large-scale displays such as wall hangings or dream catchers.
For the time being, this Colorado-based seller only delivers to the US and Canada.
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 range 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 while saving money.
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 shop: Ganxxet
There are a lot of specialty shops that sell macrame cord out there, but one of my favorites is Ganxxet, based out of Florida. They have such an excellent selection of macrame cord in a wide variety of colors that you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.
The shop carries recycled three-ply 4mm cotton cord in a lot of colors (similar to the above), which is the one I’d recommend for beginners for most projects. They sell a lot more than that, though, with both three-ply and single-strand cord in a huge variety of sizes, colors, and quantities.
The easiest way to browse their wares is on their Etsy store (they also have a physical location in Miami), but their website has the same products at a lower price. Plus, if you use the code “Tiny” at checkout (or click the link below) you can save 10% at checkout.
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 at select retail stores. However, your best bet is buying online or at specialty shops. Not only will the cord often come out cheaper, but higher in quality too.
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
- 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. It may take longer for products to ship and restock, but it’s more than worth the peace of mind.
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 beaten.
Here are a few of my favorite online macrame cord shops:
- Ganxxet — While they primarily sell through their Etsy store, Miami-based Ganxxet also sells directly through their website. They have a great selection, and you can save 10% with the code “Tiny” at checkout.
- Modern Macrame — Emily Katz is somewhat of a macrame celebrity, with several books and frequent workshops focused on fiber art. Her shop has tons of macrame cord and essential supplies, as well as patterns and kits.
- Niroma Studio — Founded by fiber artist Cindy Hwang Bokser, Niroma stocks a rich assortment of supplies, from macrame cord to weaving looms, and more.
- 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 great place to do this is Ganxxet’s website. They have a huge selection and a minimum order of $300. You can also try AliExpress or 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 (4-6mm) 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 macrame curtains. Braided macrame cord is also a great choice, but it’s significantly more expensive.
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 bracelets 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 typically be purchased in a variety of colors.
What does single-ply (or single-strand) macrame 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 macrame 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.
That’s it for this comprehensive guide to the best macrame cord! If you have any other questions feel free to drop them in the comments below, and we’ll address them as soon as possible.