A Modern Macramé Hanging Planter

 Add a natural touch to your home décor with this classic take on a retro craft.

By Celestine Maddy and Abbye Churchill

May/June 2016

DIY Macramé Planter

In their new book A Wilder Life, Wilder Quarterly publisher Celestine Maddy and editorial director Abbye Churchill share four seasons’ worth of projects, lessons and inspirations aimed at getting a new generation back in touch with nature. This Modern Macramé Hanging Planter is an easy-to-learn DIY project that’s perfect for any home—whether you have a big garden or live in a tiny apartment.

Macramé has gotten a bad rap over the years. Originally developed as a way to finish weavings in ancient Babylonia, the knot-tying technique became a favorite of sailors who spread the art form throughout the world. The Victorian era favored macramé for making tablecloths, curtains and delicate, lacy wearables. In the 1970s, macramé knots were used to create elaborate wall hangings and belts, and the 1990s saw hemp macramé jewelry for neo-hippies, grunge kids and frat boys alike. Suffice to say, macramé has seen its fair share of style changes, and yet it still endures.

In part, this lasting popularity is because macramé is so easy to do. If you can tie your shoelaces, you can make this planter. It relies on two traditional macramé knots, the square knot and the overhand knot, which you may recognize as knots used in a variety of everyday tasks.

In the square knot, the right outermost strand is brought to the left side and the left outermost strand is crossed in front of the right strand and brought to the left side so that the two strands have changed positions and looped through each other.

In the overhand knot, a loop is formed with a pair of strands and the end is brought through the loop. This is the type of knot you would use to secure the end of the thread in sewing.

Once you’ve nailed these knots, more complex macramé knots can be substituted in the same proportions. Or, go wild and create your own pattern — macramé offers endless variations.

Closeup of macramé planter

What You’ll Need

• 72 feet of cord, made of cotton, hemp or nylon
• 4-inch metal ring
• Ruler
• Scissors
• Glue
• Potted indoor plant


1. Temporarily attach your metal ring to a nail in the wall, a chair or a table to create tension while you tie your knots.

2. Cut the cord into four 18-foot pieces and place them through your metal ring.

3. Pull each piece of cord halfway through the metal ring. You will now have 8 pieces of cord; make sure that all the ends are the same length. 

4. Take the 2 outermost pieces of cord and separate them from the group of cords.

Macramé planter steps 1-3 

5. Using the outermost pieces as your working strands, create 6 inches of square knots, continually tying the outermost pieces around the inner 6 remaining pieces.

Macramé planter steps 4-5 

6. Divide the group of cords into 4 pairs. Then tie an overhand knot in each pair 18 inches down from your square knots column. 

7. Take the left cord from a pair and
tie it to the right cord of the pair next to it using an overhand knot. Repeat for all pairs. 

8. Measure 4 inches down and repeat the previous step. 

Macramé planter steps 6-8 

9. Measure 3 inches down and repeat the previous step.

10. Measure 2 inches down and repeat the previous step.

Macramé planter steps 9-11 

11. Join all the cords together. Using the same method you used for your first column, tie 2 inches of square knots using the 2 outermost cords to tie around the inner 6 cords.

12. Secure your final knots with glue and allow to dry overnight.

Macramé planter steps 12-13 

13. Cut the excess tassel to the desired length.

14. Suspend your planter from the ceiling and place your plant inside its new home.

Excerpted from A Wilder Life by Celestine Maddy and Abbye Churchill (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Claire Cottrell.

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