Macrame Bracelet Tutorial

This is a fun summer, rainy day or camp activity that each participant can individualize. If you are planning a craft for a large group, this one is ridiculously economical. Supplies for 200 girls were just about $50. That’s hard to beat.

Supplies:
Hemp
Beads (I love wooden beads for this)
Scissors
Packing Tape, Safety Pin or Clipboard
Pencil

Setting Started:
Cut 2 lengths of hemp, each 2 yards long. With both strands together, find the middle of the strands and loop together on one end, while gathering the four cut ends together on the other. Tie a knot at the looped end. This will be part of the closure for the bracelet. It’s very hard, if not impossible to correct a loop that is too big when your bracelet is finished. I’ve found the perfect loop fits around a pencil.

For ease, your hemp now needs to be attached to something stable. Tape the knot to a surface (table or back of chair), clip it in a clipboard or hook a safety pin through the loop and attach to a tablecloth or weighted-down placemat. You are going to pull pretty hard as you make the knots and it’s easier if your bracelet is secure.
The Basic Knot:
With your hemp secured, untangle and separate the strands.
As shown in the diagram below, you will clearly have a left strand (red), right strand (blue) and two center filler strands (gray). Your center filler strands will be stationary. Keep them taut. I usually just hold them between my knees or loop them around the front button of my jeans.
1. Make a number ‘4’ by bringing the LEFT strand over the CENTER FILLER strands.
2. Hold in place with your left thumb and bring the RIGHT strand to the TOP.
3. With the RIGHT strand on top, go OVER the LEFT strand, UNDER the CENTER FILLER strands and through the loop created by the ‘4’. Pull up to the top knot tightly.
You’ve just created a half-knot. To make the knot complete, repeat the same steps beginning with the RIGHT strand.
4. Make a backwards ‘4’ by bringing the RIGHT strand across the CENTER FILLER strands.
5. Hold in place with your right thumb and bring the LEFT strand to the TOP.
6. With the LEFT strand on top, go OVER the RIGHT strand, UNDER the CENTER FILLER strands and through the loop created by the backwards ‘4’. Pull up to the top knot tightly.
If you lose track of which side should go next, find the vertical loop indicated by the arrow below. Whatever side it is on, that’s the side to start on!
Adding Beads:
To add a bead, simply string a bead on the two CENTER FILLER strands and knot as usual. The knot will hold the bead in place.

Finishing the Bracelet:
When your bracelet is the desired length, tie a knot close to the woven hemp that includes all four strands. Test the knot through the loop on the other end. If the knot is too small, tie another knot directly on top of the first knot to make it bigger. Usually, two knots are just right. Trim off the extra hemp strands and you’re done!

UPDATE: For a different closure see the How-To at the end of my Grown-Up Friendship Bracelets post HERE.

The hemp will be stiff and a little scratchy at first, but it will soften up as it’s worn. Once you are comfortable with the basic knot you can experiment with different techniques.

To make this spiral bracelet, simply start on the left side with a half-knot and continue making half-knots with the left strand until you reach your desired length.

This bracelet uses a switchback technique. String a small bead on each of the two outside strands. Then, bring the two outside strands together (they will now be your filler strands) and from behind, pull one filler strand to the left and the other to the right, making them the outside strands. Starting on the LEFT, tie a half-knot, but don’t pull completely tight. Leave it loose about a half an inch, then take the RIGHT strand and complete the knot pulling tight. Make a few knots between each switchback to help keep its shape.

The possibilities are up to you. Enjoy!

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