What will I need?
- 2 rings
How do I make it?
To make the handle
First, work out the length of strap (or handle) you wish the bag to have. The strap will be made in two halves. You will need to cut 4 strings that are 8 times the length of the total strap length. For an 18” strap, you will need 4 72” strings for each ring.
Fold one of the strings in half and knot over one of your rings at the folded end. Repeat this with the other 3 strings.
Lay the ring on the table. Focus on the knot that is furthest right. Loop the inner string under, over, and around the outer string on the same knot. Pull this tight, to form a second knot.
Take the outer (right) string of the second knot and repeat this process, looping the string around the string to the right. You should have created 2 knots on the right side.
Look at the knot on the left. Grab the inner string and pull under, over and around the outer string. Tighten to form a knot. Repeat to form a second knot on the left. All of the strings should be incorporated into one of the two string ‘families’.
Repeat this process 5 times for either side. You will end up with 2 rows of knots that vaguely resemble plaits.
Extend the knots to link them. This means you grab the left-most string on the right knot. Pull it under, over, and around the right-most string on the left knot.
Continue until all of the strings have been knotted. Repeat this process to create 3 rows of knots.
Once you have done this, change direction and knot from the left to the right. Create 3 rows in this fashion.
Repeat this process twice completely, so you end up with 3 sections of vertical string ‘plaits’ and 3 rows of the diagonal connecting knots.
This is half of the strap made.
Repeat the entire process using 4 more pieces of string and the other hoop.
Knot the ends of the strings on each ring. Snip off one of the strands and continue tying a new knot using the next strand. Do this for both halves of the bag strap.
Once both halves have been tied off, line up the ends and, using a needle and thread, sew the strap together.
An alternate strap method is to create a braided handle. Loop 16 22” strings over a dowel, ensuring the ends are aligned.
Measure 11” down and wrap some masking tape around one side. Remove the bundle from the dowel and flip around. Tie the strings with a loose, basic knot.
Divide the strings into 4 sections of 4 strings. Starting where the masking tape is, do a four-strand braid.
To do this, cross the right strand under the two middle, and over the second strand in from the left. Bring the left-most strand under the two middle and over the second strand in from the right. Keep repeating this process until you have braided the correct strap length.
Tie a gathering knot at each end of the braid. To do this, fold over the end of the string you are going to wrap around. This fold should be 5cm longer than the length of the wrap you wish to create.
Bundle together all of the loose strings. Place the folded string on top of the bundle. The folded end should face down and the exposed end at the top should stick out.
Wrap the cord tightly around the bundle of strings, ensuring you do not cover the looped end or the short exposed end.
Continue to wrap until you have reached your desired length. You must go around the bundle at least 5 times to ensure it is secure.
Thread the end of the wrapping cord through the exposed loop. Hold the bottom of the wrap and pull the shorter cord at the top.
This creates a knot under the wrapped section - try to position it about halfway.
Pull the cord at both ends to secure and trim any excess string. Glue the ends to secure further.
To make the bag
Decide the length of bag that you wish to make. Cut 10 sections of string that are 4x the length of the bag you want to make.
Knot each of these 10 strings onto the empty section of one of your rings, in the same manner as for the strap.
For the bag, you will need to use a knot known as a box knot.
Grab the two strings on the right side of the ring. Decide how large you want the gaps between knots to be - a good distance is around 2 inches. Measure this distance from the ring to ensure your knot will be formed in the correct position.
Separate the two outside straps from the interior ones. Loop the exterior strings around the middle ones. Do this again, and then pull both knots tight.
Repeat this process on all of the other strands. Once you have reached the end of the loops, measure a further 2 inch distance down.
Make another row of box knots, but start knotting on the first string in from the right. You should have 2 individual strands left out of the first knot on the right.
Repeat once more so that you have 3 rows of box knots. Do the same on the other ring.
Knot the two sides together, using 2 strands from either ring.
Continue to create box knots until the bag is the desired size.
If you do not want tassel ends, snip off the strings close to the knots. Cover the cut edges with a little PVA glue to keep them secure.
Allow the glue to dry and then flip the bag inside out. You have now successfully made a macrame bag.