How to Macrame a Basket

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This basket is cute and quick to make. It is the perfect project for those with some knotting experience and also for those with no knowledge of macrame and who are new to the craft.

Depending on the size ring you use, basket can be smaller or larger than those shown in the above photos. Basket can be used to hold whatever you wish. I have inserted a ceramic kitten in mine.

You only need to know a few basic macrame knots to make this basket.

Reverse Lark’s Head (RLH)
Used to attach the macrame cord onto the ring.

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Half Hitch (HH)
Used with the Reverse Lark’s Head to fill in empty spaces around the top ring so metal is not showing. Pull tight next to the RLH.

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Half Knot (HK)
Used to make the Half Knot Sinnet.

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Half Knot Twist Sinnet (HK Twist)
Multiple Half Knots. Used to create the beginning knots under the top ring. After tying the 3rd HK, you will notice the cord will start to twist. It is ok, it is supposed to do that.

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Square Knot (SK)
This is the most basic macrame knot. Used throughout the basket. Tied with two filler cords and two working (tying) cords.

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Alternating Square Knots (ASK)
This is two or more square knots tied in a row with one or more tied in the next row. Cords from the adjoined knot are used to make the new knot in the new rows. Study the illustration to see direction of the cords.

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Wrap Knot
Used to end your project and secure the cords. Gather cords together all in one hand and tie a Wrap Knot.

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Here are the step-by-step detailed instructions.


Materials necessary:

  • 50 Yards 5MM or 6MM Macrame cord (Firm cord, not soft. Braided cord works best.)
  • One 6” round welded metal ring (treated, gold-tone preferred; not raw metal ring)
  • 1 Yard Accent Ribbon – 1“ wide. (Print or tiny design works best for contrast)
  • Optional: One 6″ Ceramic Sleeping Kitten
  • Optional: Flower stem. Use your favorite flowers as a floral accent to match or contrast with cord.

Tools necessary:

Knotting board (or plastic covered ceiling tile)
Tape measure or yardstick


  1. In place of a knotting board you may use thick cardboard pieces taped together or ceiling tile wrapped in plastic works well.
  2. To attach macramé cord to the knotting board, use T-pins or common household sewing pins. If sewing pins are used, use the “hat-pin” type pins with little ball on tip to protect your fingers as you work. (I use T-pins)
  3. When tying knots in a circle, you may wish to hang your project, such as from a door frame hook or “S” hook, so you can ensure knots are evenly tied all around the basket.


WORKING CORDS – Cords that are being used to tie knots.

FILLER CORDS – Cords around which knots are being tied. These are sometimes called holding cords.

SINNET – A strip of the same type knot, each one below the other, tied with the same working cords.

ROW – A line of knots, side by side, tied with different working cords.

* Please refer to the illustration to see how each knot is tied. Also refer to photos. Click to enlarge.


Step 1. Take 6” ring and bend slightly to form an oval shape.

Step 2. Cut 32 cords 1 ½ yards long and 1 cord 1 yard long.

Step 3. Find the center of each cord and individually Reverse Lark’s Head (RLH) each cord onto the 6” ring. DO NOT RLH THE 1 YARD CORD. (Set the 1 yd cord aside. It will be used to tie the wrap knot at the end.)

OK, before we begin tying knots, let’s do an inspection. All cords except the 1 yard wrap cord should now be mounted to the 6″ ring. The ring should be filled with no metal showing. If metal is showing, do a Half Hitch (HH) with one of the tying cords within each grouping. Once ring is covered, continue with the instructions in the next step.

Step 4. Select any four cords anywhere along the ring. Using the two outside cords as working cords and the two middle cords as holding cords tie a Sinnet of 5 Half Knots (HK Sinnet). They will start to twist after tying the 3rd HK. That is ok, they are supposed to do that. Proceed to the next 4 cords. And the next 4 cords. Repeat tying groups of Half Knot Sinnets all way around the ring until all cords (in groups of 4) are knotted. Count cords as you proceed around the ring so no cords are dropped or hidden. Also take notice of your tension. Are you a tight knotter or a loose knotter? Whichever you are, be consistent and tie all knots the same so rows will line up.

You are now completely around the ring and ready to tie your first row of Square Knots (SK’s).

Step 5. Tie ONE row of Square Knots (SK’s) going all the way around the basket. Study the illustration so you know exactly which cords to use. You will not use the same four cords previously used to make the Half Knot Sinnets. Move to the right by two cords so you will be using 2 cords from one Half Knot Sinnet and 2 cords from the one next to it. Otherwise you will just be adding more knots to the sinnets. Hope this makes sense to you. It is important that you are tying with the right cords. (Might be a good time to take a break about now. 😀 )

Step 6. Tie another row of SK’s but this time alternate this row by tying Alternating Square Knots (ASK’s). Look closely at the ASK illustration.

Step 7. Tie 3 more rows of ASK’s. Once finished you will have completed all knots in the basket.

Note: Your basket should now look like this.
1st row. One row of 5 Half Knots creating a twisting Sinnet.
2nd row. One row of Square Knots.
3rd row. One row of Alternating Square Knots.
4th row. One row of Alternating Square Knots.
5th row. One row of Alternating Square Knots.
6th row. One row of Alternating Square Knots.

Step 8. Take all cords and push through top ring (turn inside out). Grasp all cords and following the wrap knot illustration tie a Wrap Knot tightly around all cords using the 1 yard cord.

Step 9. Turn right side out. DO NOT CUT ANY CORDS BECAUSE THEY WILL FORM A PILLOW OR BLANKET FOR KITTEN TO SLEEP ON. Arrange cords neatly in basket. Go around entire basket making sure cord ends are not sticking through basket openings. Or arrange to your liking by pulling out some cord “playfully” for kitten.

Step 10. Weave ribbon in between the open spaces created by the Half Knot Sinnet at the top of basket. Go “in and out” all around the basket and tie a cute bow or finish off ribbon to your liking.

Step 11. Insert kitten inside basket with full face showing or partially covered. This is your choice. Add pillow or toys if desired. (Optional)

Step 12. Tuck in floral stem where best to complement your finished project. (Optional)


Add a ring to the bottom of the basket for a different look. As you can see from the photo below, the pink basket also has a ring at the bottom. One ring or two rings, that is your choice. If a bottom ring will be used, you will need to Half Hitch all cords to the bottom ring before tying the Wrap Knot.

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Finished basket can sit high or low. Pull up on the top ring if you want basket to appear taller or gently push down if want it shorter.

Use any ceramic “laying or sleeping” animal no longer than 6” length and 4” width, to guarantee will fit in completed macramé basket without having to reshape metal ring. Try fitting ceramic figure inside metal ring before beginning project to make sure will fit inside ring.

Paint your ceramic animal different colors. Ceramic kitten in the gray basket was spray painted gray to match the color of the macrame cord.

Try knotting a row of 2 or 3 Square Knots (SK) in Step 4 instead of 5 Half Knots (HK) where mentioned. Will give a different look. Like the pink basket. Knots will be straight in a vertical line instead of twisted.

Also, as I did in the gray basket, you can completely change up the knotting design. The gray basket has a half knot sinnet, a row of SK’s and then another half knot sinnet. Change it up. Create your own design remembering to allow an “opening” at the top to insert accent ribbon.

Ribbon selection: The theme of the ribbon can give you even more ideas on what to use the basket for. For example: If ribbon has fruit on it. Put fruit in the basket. Fresh or imitation.

The ideas for using these baskets are endless and only limited by your imagination. ENJOY!!

If you are unable to find macrame supplies in your area, go here. They have a nice selection of macrame cord, rings, beads, etc.

30 comments on “How to Macrame a Basket

  1. Don Campbell says:


    Who do you recommend as a cord supplier?

    May I link your site to mine.


  2. don_mae says:

    Hi there, sure, I guess. What is your site?

    I buy macrame supplies from and Munro’s is selling off their existing macrame stock without replenishing. Once what they have is gone, that’s it. But Kings Kountry seems to have lots and lots of macrame supplies with no end in sight. I like both companies. Have been shopping at Munro’s since the 80’s.

  3. don_mae says:

    Don, I saw your link to me on your site. Looks great, thanks!! I am working on a macrame resources page. I will include your site. Check my site all month for interesting things to macrame. I have designated May as Macrame Month for my blog articles.

  4. Don Campbell says:

    Many Many Thanks !! 🙂

    I would be more than happy to include any links that you feel are relevant.

  5. don_mae says:

    You are welcome. I added your site to my article above.

  6. Don Campbell says:

    Regarding cord manufacturers have you seen this company?

    I also think there is a company called G&G in Canada.

  7. don_mae says:

    I haven’t. I will have to check them out. Thanks!!

  8. Rosie Gladysz says:

    I don’t have a website yet. I am very impressed buy your instructions. I was thinking that the macrame art was gone. You hav proven me wrong. I am so glad I found your website.

    Thank You So Much for all of the beautiful art forms. I am looking forward to design macrame baskets and more.

    Rosie Gladysz

  9. don_mae says:

    Hi there. You are most welcome. I too was thinking only a few people would be interested in macrame but I was pleasantly surprised. From the search results, my viewers are about 50/50 split between macrame and beading. I am glad to see it return. I always loved creating pretty things from macrame cord.

  10. don_mae says:

    Yamuna, I don’t know how I missed seeing your comment. Thank you!!

  11. […] long ago I found great Makrame tutorials, e.g. a tutorial on how to makrame a basket. Sigh. When I find the time […]

  12. Susan L says:

    Thank you so much for your website! I have recently retired and was looking for my old macrame books from the 70’s (and could not find). I decided to go on line to see if I could find instruction for knots and patterns. I love your little bowls! I was wondering if I could adapt them to put my Christmas cookies in that I give to friends and neighbors. That way they would have a cute little bowl for whatever on their counter long after the cookies were gone. Any ideas on how to cut the cords to make a smooth bottom of the bowl? I would use a ring on the bottom as well as the top but don’t know how to finnish off the cords to make the bottom surface smooth. I have not done macrame in years, so thought you might have an idea. Again, thank you so much for posting your crafts and instructions. It is great.

  13. don_mae says:

    Hi there. I am so glad macrame is coming back. Makes me really happy. I will check my instruction books for the look you need. I am sure I have it. You would start the basket from the bottom with a small ring and add more rings and cord to build the size bottom you wish. From there you would macrame up the bowl to build the sides and finish off with double half hitches at the top rim. Could fringe/fluff the cord or just cut for a smooth look. That is one way to do it.

    Another way is to make a small basket and hide the cords pulled to the center in the bottom with a plastic bowl. Here is what I am talking about. This one has a lid. I have lots of these that I made in all different colors.

    I think I will do a blog article about my little bowls. Thanks for the idea!! Good luck with yours!!


  14. Penspace says:

    Nice article on Macrame,

    Really beautiful works of art

  15. Anne says:

    You items are beautiful!! I would like to crochet a purse using macrame cord. Do you know of any patterns? I thought it would be good to start with a pattern and then attempt to come up with my own ideas.

    • don_mae says:

      Hi Anne. I haven’t tried crocheting a purse with macrame cord but I did try crocheting bracelets and the cord is really stiff and harder to work with than yarn. There are lots of macrame purse patterns available out there. You could search on line. Thanks so much for the compliments on my work. Good luck with your purse.

  16. I’m so delighted to see that macrame is finally making a comeback! Please post more macrame ideas!

  17. VINCENZO says:


  18. Madhu says:

    pls attached photos detail. that is very help do this project….

  19. Melal Piksun says:

    Hi, I have a question about the basket. How did you finish the basket? Because, you haven’t mentioned it. I made a basket before. but at the bottom end of the basket lots of cords made me crazy to tie. I don’t know what to do. Should I just glue them to hide and fix? Please help me. Thanks a lot.

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  24. rutu shree says:

    plz sent me the video of how to make this basket

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