Summer Camp Crafts: All the Macrame Tutorials!

Macrame Pendant Square Knots

Macrame is the perfect summer camp craft. It’s super versatile, with the potential to make any project that a kid dreams of. It requires little in the way of supplies or equipment, so kids can happily knot away in a cabin, campsite, or any outdoor venue. It’s also incredibly eco-friendly! Cotton twine and yarn are natural materials that are easy to work with and can be composted instead of landfilled, so I always recommend those instead of the polyester paracord that many tutorials call for. If you choose cotton cording in a variety of fun colors, kids won’t even miss that paracord!

Below, you’ll find lots of macrame tutorials, ranging from beginner-friendly to ones that require more fine-motor finesse. I like to have a few different projects, in a range of difficulties, when I do macrame with kids. Some kids do best with a project that lets them practice just the square knot, while other kids will be ready to move on to water bottle slings and rescue bracelets and cat hammocks. Have the right range of projects at the ready, and you’ll have a whole camp-full of kids contentedly crafting!

Beginner-Friendly Projects

Macrame Orange Bird Feeder via Blue Corduroy
macrame orange bird feeder image via Blue Corduroy

macrame orange bird feederThis is the perfect project to introduce kids to macrame. For bonus points, combine it with snack-time. For BONUS bonus points, place it somewhere that kids can watch the birds come to devour their delicious treats!

keychainsHere are several methods for making keychains. You can ALWAYS use another keychain!

survival bracelets via Taking Time to Smell the Lilies
survival bracelets via Taking Time to Smell the Lilies

survival braceletsThis is a gold-standard kid project! Kids can spend ages just cranking these out in every colorway imaginable, so have lots of supplies on hand. Cotton cording is a good substitute for the paracord called for in the tutorial.

macrame rainbowA yarn-wrapped rainbow is a surprisingly easy project. If you can cut yarn and tie an overhead knot, you can make this rainbow!

hex nut macrame bracelet via mini eco
hex nut macrame bracelet image via mini eco

hex nut macrame braceletA surprising supply makes this beaded bracelet even more fun. Metal hex nuts are a great substitute for plastic beads, and they look lovely paired with natural cording.

plant hangerPlant hangers are endlessly useful, and this one is the easiest to make.

Medium-Difficulty Projects

Macrame Pendants

macrame embroidery floss pendantsThis project uses very few beginner-friendly knots, but embroidery floss is one of the more difficult cords to work with. If a kid can make a friendship bracelet, they can make this!

wall hangingWall hangings can be a little challenging, but this is a good introductory one. Jazz it up by embellishing it with wooden beads.

Coaster
macrame coaster image via Curly Made

macrame coasterCoasters make great gifts, and this project is a good way to build up one’s skill-set for basket weaving.

sailor’s knot braceletFancy your jewelry-making game up with the addition of a knotted centerpiece and a store-bought fastener.

More Challenging Projects

Potion Bottles via Pilotneko on Instructables
potion bottles image via Pilotneko on Instructables

potion bottlesThis project is a little trickier because of the precision required to knot around a bottle, and the strength needed to work with suede, but older kids LOVE it! If you’d like to avoid animal products, substitute a hemp or jute twine for the same sort of rustic look. For bonus points, use bubble solution as the liquid, and show kids how to make their own bubble wands. Fairy potions are also a big hit!

garlandLearning how to make a garland is a terrific skill, because it opens up the possibility for so many beautiful handmade decorations. You’ll never have to visit a big-box party store again!

Macrame Feathers via Marching North
macrame feathers image via Marching North

macrame feathersSkilled macrame artists will enjoy these feather embellishments that can be added to a backpack or wall hanging. Or make them tiny and enjoy your new boho earrings! This is a great way to use up scraps of cording.

climbing netThis climbing net is a challenging project not because of knots involved, but because of the scale of what you’ll want to accomplish–a climbing net is a big job! You can find rope made from a variety of natural materials, but cotton is easier on the hands than jute. This would be a terrific project for a group to collaborate on, however, resulting in a finished product that can be used by all or donated.

wall hanging via Hello Nest
wall hanging image via Hello Nest

more elaborate wall hangingIf you don’t have the space or need for a big group project like a climbing net, this wall hanging is a good substitute for building the same skill set. Kids who love this project are ready to learn to crochet!

macrame cat hammockHere’s another larger project that uses simple knots. Consider asking your local Humane Society if their cat colonies might like to have some cat hammocks!

Do you have a macrame project that you’d love to know how to make, or one that you LOVE to make? Tell us about it in the Comments below!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.

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