How to Macrame a Purse

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Materials & Supplies Needed To Make Macrame Purse

  • 110 yds of 6mm BRAIDED macrame cord (or 5mm braided)
  • 20 one inch wooden beads (10 beads front, 10 beads back)
  • knotting board or ceiling tile
  • T-pins
  • tape measure, ruler or yardstick
  • scissors
  • craft glue

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Step-by-Step Directions (Knot Illustrations are at the end)

STEP 1.  Cut the following cords.

  • 36 cords 2 yds 6″ long for purse body
  • 4 cords 3 yds long for purse straps
  • 4 cords 5 yds long for purse straps

STEP 2/MAKING THE STRAPS.  

You will make the two straps first. Pin the centers of two of the 3 yd cords side by side on knotting board. Pin the centers of two of the 5 yd cords on each side of the 3 yd cords. Cords should be lined up in this order. 5 yd cord, 3 yd cord, 3 yd cord and 5 yd cord. The 3 yard cords are filler cords and the 5 yard cords are the tying cords.  Position on the knotting board with 4 ends going up over top of board and the other 4 hanging down the board.  Refer to illustration.

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Working with these 4 cords, tie a Sinnet of 10 Square Knots (SK).  A sinnet is a strip of the same knots tied one after the other with the same tying cords.  Refer to illustration. Leave on knotting board.

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Continue adding to this SK sinnet by adding a Sinnet of 15 Half Knots (HK). Half Knots will start to twist after about the 3rd Half Knot. That is ok, it is supposed to do this.

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Turn strap around and working in the other direction, continue where you “started”.  (Note: Tie one HALF KNOT before tying a SK. This completes the knot first tied. ) Now you are ready to start tying knots in this direction.

Repeat making the same 10 knot SK sinnet and 15 knot HK sinnet as you did for the top half of these 4 cords.  This completes the 1st Strap. Now repeat the process for the 2nd strap. This is how the two completed straps should look. Set straps aside.

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STEP 3/CREATING THE FRONT PORTION OF PURSE.

Using the 2 yard 6″ cords, fold 2 cords in half and pin the centers side by side on knotting board. With these 4 cords, tie a Square Knot (SK) bringing knot all the way up to T-pin so no loops will be above knots. Set aside. Repeat this process 17 more times. You will have 18 Square Knot Sections. (Throughout this tutorial, these 18 will be referred to as “Square Knot Sections.”)

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Pin 6 of the Square Knot Sections created in the above step to the knotting board side by side. Tie them together with Alternating Square Knots (ASK), starting with the 3rd cord on the left. You will tie 5 SK’s in this row. Leave knotting on the board.

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STEP 4/ATTACHING STRAP TO FRONT OF PURSE.

Take one strap and curve it in an upward arc. Pin one end to the left side of the front portion of purse (which is on the knotting board) and the other end of the strap to the right side of the front portion of purse. Tie one Square Knot with cords 3-6 on left and 19-22 on the right. Leave knotting on board. (Numbering of the cords will change as sections are added so when numbering is mentioned in the instructions, just renumber mentally.)

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STEP 5/CREATING THE SIDES.

Pin 3 Square Knot Sections on board and tie them together with a row of 2 Alternating Square Knots.

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Do the same with 3 more Square Knot Sections. When knotting is completed pin one of these sections on the left of purse strap THAT IS ON THE KNOTTING BOARD and pin the other section on the right side. (Photo is only showing how to add this newly created section to the right side of the strap. Do the same on the left side.) Tie these sections together with one Square Knot, using 2 free cords from Square Knot Section and 2 from strap. Take off board and set aside.

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OK, let’s do a review of what you have completed thus far. The two straps are completed and one strap has been attached to the front section and the two side sections. This is how your purse should look at this stage.

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STEP 6/CREATING THE BACK & ATTACHING 2ND STRAP.

Just as you did for the front… Pin 6 Square Knot Sections to knotting board side by side. Tie them together with one row of Alternating Square Knots, starting with the 3rd cord on the left. You will tie 5 SK’s in this row. Leave knotting on the board. Refer to knotting illustrations in Step 3 if you need help.

Take the 2nd strap and curve it in an upward arc. Pin one end to the left side of the back portion of purse (which is on the knotting board) and the other end of the strap to the right side of the back portion of purse. Note: Make sure this strap measures the same as the 1st strap. If necessary, “push” up on the sinnet to even it out.

Tie one Square Knot with cords 3-6 on left and 19-22 on the right. Leave knotting on board.

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STEP 7/JOINING SIDES TO BACK.

Join the back to the side sections with one Square Knot using the 2 free cords from the side and 2 cords from the back portion.

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Do the same on the other side.

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You now have a one complete row of Square Knots going all around the entire purse.

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STEP 8.

You will be tying rows of knots in a circular format, a tube. Tie 6 rows of Alternating Square Knots (ASK) in the following order:

  • Row 3: Tie row of Square Knots (SK)
  • Row 4: Tie row of Alternating Square Knots (ASK)
  • Row 5: Tie row of SK’s
  • Row 6: Tie row of ASK’s
  • Row 7: Tie row of SK’s
  • Row 8: Tie row of ASK’s

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STEP 9/ADD 1ST ROW OF BEADS.

Now you will begin adding beads to the front side of the purse. Number the cords from 1-44 beginning with one half of the side knot. Tie a Square Knot (SK) with cords 5-8, 13-16, 21-24, 29-32, 37-40. Under each of these SK’s put a bead on the 2 filler cords, the center cords of the 4 cords. Tie another SK under each bead, using the same 4 cords as for the knot above the bead.

Tie a sinnet of 8 Half Knots with cords 9-12, 17-20, 25-28, 33-36.  Repeat these steps of adding beads and tying half knot sinnets to the back side of the purse.

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STEP 10/FILL IN SIDES WITH KNOTS. 

To fill in the sides of the purse opposite where beads were added, tie 4 rows of Alternating Square Knots. First row will have one knot, 2nd row will have 2 knots, 3rd row will have 1 knot and 4th row will have 2 knots. Line these knots up with the bead row. (Note: Don’t get ahead. Stop with those last 2 knots.)

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STEP 11. There is one row of knots in between the 2 rows of beads. Tie one row of ASK all around the entire purse.

STEP 12/ADD 2ND ROW OF BEADS. Repeat Steps 9 and 10 to add the 2nd row of beads and fill in the knots on the side. Front and back.

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STEP 13. Now tie 5 rows of Alternating Square Knots all around entire purse.

STEP 14/CLOSING THE BOTTOM.

To close up the bottom of the purse, first, turn purse wrong side out. Go around the last row of knots and make sure the knots are really tight.

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With the purse flat on the surface, locate the sides. You will see ONE SQUARE KNOT on each side that separates the front and the back of the purse.  This is where you start tying up the bottom. Ok, ready? Put purse between your knees with the bottom up.

Starting with the farthest (on the side) 6 cords, tie 2 Square Knots, using 4 filler cords and one cord from the left side of the purse and one cord from the right side of the purse.

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Continuing closing up the bottom using the next 2 cords from EACH SIDE of the purse and tying ONE Square Knot very tightly.  

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Continue this process across the bottom of the purse until you reach the other side. There should be 6 cords left. With these 6 cords, tie 2 Square Knots using 4 filler cords and one cord from the left side of the purse and one cord from the right side of the purse. The same as you did for the 6 cords on the opposite side of the purse.


STEP 15/CUT BOTTOM CORDS.

This completes the knot tying. Apply craft glue to each knot. Allow to dry.  Cut bottom cords leaving about 1/2″. Melt cut cords with a cigarette lighter or match to keep cords from fraying. Hold fire to the cord ends for just a split second so you won’t burn the cords. Now you are ready to turn purse right side out. Prepare the lining and insert it, if you desire.

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Congratulations!! Your purse is complete and ready to carry. Enjoy!!

Here are pictures of my completed purse.

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Purse measurements: 10 3/4″ length, 1 1/2″ width and 9″ height without straps (14 1/2″ height with straps)


Macrame Cord Suppliers

http://www.kingskountry.com

http://www.macramecords.com

http://www.munrocrafts.com/


Knot Illustrations

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75 comments on “How to Macrame a Purse

  1. Quilty says:

    Another great tutorial with excellant photos to match!
    Keep it up, Donna. Your website is becoming quite a treasure. :)

    I love the purse. Does it come with any money in it to spend? ;)

  2. don_mae says:

    Thanks so much!!

    I looked inside purse and only see cut cord ends. Wonder if I can get any money for them. :D

  3. Sharon aka oreo says:

    Great tutorial! I haven’t done macrame in years. I don’t think my old hands could stand it.

  4. don_mae says:

    Hi Sharon. Thanks!! I take frequent breaks. Can’t macrame 24 by 7 like I used to.

  5. Have you used Satin cord to make this bag?

  6. don_mae says:

    Hi there, no I haven’t tried satin cord. I wonder if the knots would stay in place and not start to untighten. Bet would be very pretty though.

  7. I have odd allergies. Do you know what the braided cord is made of, just nylon or anything ending in “lene” which is usually petroleum based?

  8. don_mae says:

    Interesting… I am looking at one package of 3 1/2mm braided cord and it states Non-Allergenic. It is polypropylene. Made by Maxi-Cord.

  9. Susann says:

    Thank you so much for those wonderful tutorials.
    I liked the Peyote tutorials, but I find the Macramé tutorials best, because I haven’t done much Macramé up until now.
    I will surely try your purse (one day in the future ;-))

  10. don_mae says:

    Hi there, thank you so much for the compliments on my tutorials. You could try one of the easier mini bags to get started. Just follow the “how to create Square Knot Sections” in this tutorial, line them up on a Knotting Board, and start tying knots. Add a carrying cord on the sides.

    Go here for pictures of my mini bags.
    http://thisyearsdozen.wordpress.com/2008/06/24/macrame-mini-bag-line-up/

  11. Susann says:

    It was a pleasure, because I really like your tutorials.

    Thanks also for the link for the ‘beginner bags’, but I have seen them already ;-))
    When finding your blog I had to browse quite thoroughly ;-)

    But it may take a while before I even can begin macrame-ing.

  12. don_mae says:

    Once you get started, if you need any help, let me know. Happy to assist a fellow crafter.

  13. Susann says:

    Thank you, I will let you know, if there will be any problems (which I don’t think will occur because of the detailed tutorials), but it still may take a lot of time until I can begin.
    At the moment I’m working with Kumihimo and do some weaving experiments and then something with Origami ;-))

  14. don_mae says:

    Very pretty. I never heard of Kumihimo before.

  15. Susann says:

    Oh, you have to give it a try, I’m sure that you will love it!
    I wrote a tutorial with links to other resources.
    You can also search at for ‘Kumihimo’, there you’ll find resources, too.

  16. Susann says:

    Sorry, I made the typing error: I wanted to write:
    You can also search at craftster.org for ‘Kumihimo’, there you’ll find resources, too.

  17. Shirley says:

    I decorated a large number of pit fired pieces of pottery last year with elaborate macrame patterns, weaving feathers, beads, arrow heads, weathered sticks and more onto the pots. Much to my dismay, the cord, jute, hemp and other materials (except leather) loosened up, destroying the artwork (which people paid a considerable price for!) How can I prevent the twine from loosening? When I wetted the different twines, they tightened up, but became loose again when dried. When I made the original, I pulled the twine extremely tight using pliers. Help! We’re in several shows this summer where our pottery is on the advertisement fliers.

  18. don_mae says:

    Hi there, my experience with macrame cord has been about 99% with polypropylene. It holds a knot quite well and I just tie them with my hands. I haven’t noticed any of the knots coming untied. Only when I worked with satin or jute was I not able to tie as tightly as required to stay put.

    I don’t know what you can do short of gluing the cord, the back of each knot. That should definitely hold it.

    Question for you. Do you tie the knots and then place the macrame piece on the pottery or do you knot right on the pottery? I am thinking knotting and then placing it on the art object might make for a tighter fit.

    Good luck with your shows. I am sure it will work out.

  19. Wow! very nice so cute and stylish , m sure me gonna buy it :)

  20. Barbara says:

    Could you tell me a little more on making the mini bags— how much cord, length to cut the cords, finished size of the mini bags. I need a little help getting started on one of those. thanks.

  21. don_mae says:

    Hi Barbara, I had to look for my notes before I could answer your questions. I used 3 1/2mm braided macrame cord. 50 yard package. Cut 48 cords each 1 1/3 yards and one 4 yd cord for the strap. I tied 18 rows of alternating square knots before tying up the bottom. I don’t have the measurements of the two bags I made for my friend but the ones I have on hand are 8″ by 5 1/2″.

    (I pull fairly tight when measuring/cutting the cord so I usually can get an extra yard or two.)

    Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck in making your mini bags!!

  22. Barbara says:

    Thank you. I ordered my cord. Will let you know how they turn out. Thanks for posting all the instructions, great information.

  23. Barbara says:

    Hi, not trying to be a pest but with the above measurements I get a total of 68 yards. You don’t get that much extra from a 50 yard package, do you?

  24. don_mae says:

    Oops..you are right. I did use a bit more cord for the green and beige mini-bags I made for my friend. It will still work if you just bought 50 yards. Just don’t make it as wide when you make the “square knot sections”.

  25. Barbara says:

    Thanks, I think I will do that. After I make the first one I will be able to decide if I like the size or need to make it bigger. Thanks for all your help. Now I have to wait for the cord to get here.

  26. Janet Malanoski says:

    Question..How do I add macrame to a project I am doing when I run out of the macrame I am using? Is there any way of doing that?

    I really enjoy looking at what you have done and maybe someday will tackle some of your projects. Thank you so much! Janet

  27. don_mae says:

    Hi there. Adding more cord can be tricky. The key to success is finding a place within the project to “stop and start” without the joined cords showing. To bury the connection. I fuse the ends together plus hand sew to strengthen. Then tie the knot “burying” the fused area. You may have to redo it if you can’t hide it on the first try. Usually I am successful everytime. Just luck, I guess. Good luck to you. Thanks for the compliments on my tutorials.

  28. Barbara says:

    Do these purses need to be lined? If so, what is the best way to attach the lining? Thanks

  29. don_mae says:

    Hi there. Once I sell a purse, I usually line it. I attach the lining starting at midpoint of the first row of knots so no thread is showing along the top row of knots. Sew with teeny tiny stitches careful not to have thread showing on the outer side. When finished, you can hardly see any thread at all. It takes awhile to carefully do it right but well worth the time. I like to add a couple of pockets, double the fabric for a sturdier look.

  30. Thank you thank you thank you……..

  31. Fiza says:

    Hi…. I loved ur work a lot… but the main thing is that i could not understand the half knot sinnet twist at all… I could not find any videos too regarding it…. plzzzz can u help me out???

  32. don_mae says:

    Hi there, Fiza. Tying a half knot sinnet is very easy. Just tie the first part of a square knot and keep repeating it. The cord will start to twist on its own.

  33. jane says:

    thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!it is a lot helpful to
    my project.but i dont really understand how to close it. can you help me out?plzzzz………

  34. don_mae says:

    Hi there. I wish I could “show” you. But since that is not an option, the best way I can explain it is to turn the purse inside out, align front and back flat, fit it between your knees and start to tie knots.

    First..go through the cord ends and match up 2 cords from the left side and 2 cords from the right side. Go through all the cords, side to side, and see if any cords are leftover. If no, go back to beginning and start tying, 2 from each side. If yes, go back to the first cords and you will need to increase the number of filler cords for the FIRST KNOT and the LAST KNOT.

    The important thing is to make sure before beginning that all cords will be accounted for so the bottom will be flat and straight and not lopsided when done. Hope this helps. Good luck!!

    • Mac says:

      You do such beautiful work. Thank you for posting the pattern.

      Still just a little trouble picturing the construction final steps. When making a bag is it all done in one piece, so only one side has to be knotted?

      Do you ever use an anchor cord (separate cord)?

      Thank you,

      Mac

      • don_mae says:

        Hi Mac, this particular purse was made by creating sections first and then joining the sections together. Then it was worked in the round. I have used an anchor cord to begin a project before but not to make a purse. Thanks for the compliments on my work. Appreciate it.

  35. jane says:

    don_mae thanks…..it really helped a lot thank you very much again.now i understand it…………!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  36. don_mae says:

    You are welcome!! Glad it worked. I love to macrame. I may make another purse.

  37. rama says:

    hi very nice purse.so long back i leart this macrame knot.After seeing this site again started making purses and belts.

  38. Dewlain says:

    good

  39. Janet says:

    I am re-learning macrame and I love all of your macarame purses. The tutorial on the bead purse is excellent but how/where can I get instructions on all of the other purses you have made? Are they purchased patterns or did you make them up out of your head? I am happy to pay for the instructions. Thanks, Janet

  40. don_mae says:

    Hi Janet, I made the HUGE purse using these same instructions just made it larger. And the mini-bags were made using “Square Knot Sections” side by side for as wide as I wanted it. I do have a pattern for the lavender, peach and white ones. I can send you that. Thanks much for your kind compliments on my work.

  41. JoAnn says:

    You have inspired me to learn to macrame. I plan on starting later this summer/fall. Do you recommend any books for beginners?

    Thank you.

    JoAnn

    • don_mae says:

      Hi JoAnn. Glad to hear you are going to try macrame. I first started with a “kit” from a craft store. It had everything I needed to make an owl wall hanging. And I practiced the knots by making keychains. I don’t have a favorite book. I would suggest searching on-line for illustrations on knot making, also check the library. Let me know if I can help. Good luck!!

  42. Simone says:

    This is totally awesome and looks really hard!

  43. Humera says:

    Hi mam,
    It’s regarding the macrame purse, all the knots are simple ang good but only the ending part is little bit difficult,will you please make it easy by adding step by step for the last part.how to end the puse. thank you

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Humera, I will do a tutorial on how to tie up the bottom. Will e-mail you when done. Thanks for asking.

  44. Janet says:

    Love this purse! This is very similar to a purse I made back in the mid-80′s and it lasted forever. As I recall, we “burned” the ends together when we were finished. Maybe we were using a different kind of rope?

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Janet, this is probably the same type cord you used. It can be fused. I don’t have a fusing tool so I just tie the knots tight, trim and melt the tips. So far, I haven’t had any bottoms come undone. Are you still doing any macrame?

  45. Svetlana says:

    Macrame purse. I will try made purse.
    Svetlana from Belgrade Serbia

  46. Ela says:

    The purse is lovely! I just must try this soon! (So far I’m having trouble getting macrame cords in UK)

  47. Manny says:

    Donna;

    I like to askyou a question. Is there any book you or your bloggers can recomend on how to Macrame a purse from biggining to end simmilar to the tutorial you have in your blog. Also, is there a book that you or your bloggers can recomend on how to Macrame a rug be it round or oval or both. Any help on this matter I will appreciated. ;-)

    Peace,
    Manny.

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Manny, yes there are lots of macrame purse instruction books out there. I will go through what I have to see which is best. I think I remember seeing a rug in one of them. Will look and let you know.

  48. don_mae says:

    Manny, no luck on the rug. Went through all of my macrame pattern books.

    As to the purse, I have lots of books. I think the best one for you to buy is Macra-Mates, by Babs Applegate. #7411 Plaid Enterprises, 1980.

    http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL15/946380/19219797/380442353.jpg

    It has the most variety. Purses with wood handles, plastic Marbella handles, metal snap closure and cord handles. There are simple, easy purses plus more detailed ones with diagonal half hitch knots, Josephine knots, square knot buttons. Plus a great detailed description on how to close up the bottom. Try KingKountry.com to see if they have it. I think they do. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Manny says:

        Donna,

        They are beautiful. The rugs you seen on that link that is. I tried to read the instructions but no entiendo ni papa frita. hehehe I don’t understand the directions. hehehe Plus I do not know how to Croche. To be honest with you. I don’t think I’ll be good at it. Well, maybe if I had a tutor as good as you. I might! ;-) I’ll see where can I get that book you recomend for the Macrame purse.

        Peace,
        Manny.

    • Manny says:

      Donna,

      Thankyou for trying. I love the link for the rug you seen. That is exactly what I want to create. To bad I can’t Croche. Donna, a friend of mine told me about this other book: MacCall’s Macrame Rugmaking and Weaving Encyclopedia. Everything you want to learn about Macrame rug making and weaving. I allready order it Donna. It’s on it’s way to me. ;-) Lets see how I do.

      Peace,
      Manny.

  49. tunde says:

    Thank you! This is so clear to understand without reading a letter. Excellent tutorial. Thx from Hungary.

  50. Anu Goel says:

    Hello Dear,
    I also Love Crochet, Warli Painting and Qulling, youe purse is very nice you can also see my crochet and macrame hand purse.if you like my blog please comment and be my follower. keep in touch Anu

  51. Mme Houria ZIANI says:

    Hello,

    My english is not good, but i try to write;

    since two weeks , i look for that cord, but i don’t found any where.
    do you help me to found it, and materials to?
    where can’ i buy these materials for do that bag? please

    i am in France.

  52. don_mae says:

    Hi again. I answered you on the other thread where you posted the same question.

  53. Mme Houria ZIANI says:

    Hello,

    Sory, i don’t found your answer. Do you tell me where is it, please?

  54. Mme Houria ZIANI says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for your answer. I gone there, but i didn’t found the T-pins,

    the wooden beads like on photo, the coves D.

    Thank you before.

  55. Kasirajan says:

    I am not able to understand, how to tie half knot twist sinnet.

  56. geeta says:

    its a beautiful purse i ve made it with some changes thx for the pattern

  57. nisha says:

    hi don_mae thanks a lot for the instructions to make this bag. its beautiful. i have never done a macrame work but shall definitely start now. Thanks to you

  58. Fred says:

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  59. albert says:

    thanks for the bag

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