Macramé Shoulder Bag

Learn how to make trendy fashion accessories using nothing more than a couple of roles of twine or string and a few decorative beads.



4 rolls of 5mm cord (twine, jute or string) *

20 of 25mm wooden beads (10 beads front, 10 beads back)

Knotting board (scrap or off cut of timber) covered with thin batting

Pins or tacks

Tape measure or, ruler


Craft glue

*Although your local Builders Warehouse stocks a range of twine and string, you're going to have to do some shopping around for suitable cord until Macramé gains popularity.





H1. Pin the centres of two of the 3 metre cords side by side on knotting board. Pin the centres of two of the 5 metre cords on each side of the 3 metre cords. The 3 m cords are filler cords and the 5 m 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. 

H2. Working with these 4 cords, tie a sinnet* of 10 Square Knots. Continue adding to this by adding a sinnet* of 15 Half Knots. Remember that Half Knots start to twist after about the third knot.

*A sinnet is a strip of the same knots tied one after the other with the same tying cords. 

Here is one side of the handles that is now completed. The handle has 10 Square Knots at the top and 15 Half Knots at the bottom. Turn strap around and work in the other direction.

H3. Start at the top (where you started the first knots). Tie one Half Knot before tying a Square Knot. because you are working in a different direction and this completes the knot first tied. Now you are ready to start tying knots in this direction.

H4. Repeat the same 10 Square Knot sinnet and 15 Half Knot sinnet as you did for the other half of these 4 cords to complete the first handle. Now repeat the process for the second handle.


F1. Use two 2 metre cords and fold in half. Pin the centres side by side on the board.

F2. With these 4 cords, tie a Square Knot - bringing knot all the way up to the pin so no loops will be above knots. Set aside.

F3. Repeat this process 17 more times so that you have 18 sections.

F4. Pin 6 of the Square Knot Sections created in the above step to the knotting board side by side. Tie them together with Alternative Square Knots starting with the third cord on the left.

F5. You will tie 5 SK’s in this row. Leave on the board.

Attach handles

H5. Take one handle and curve it in an upward arc. Pin one end to the left side of the front portion of purse (which is on the board) and the other end of the handle to the right side of the front portion of purse.

Remember that there are 18 sections on the front, plus 4 on left side of the handle and 4 on right side of the handle = 26

H6. Tie one Square Knot with cords 3-6 on left and 19-22 on the right. Leave on board. (Numbering of the cords will change as sections are added so when numbering is mentioned in the instructions, just re-number mentally.)


S1. Make up 3 Square Knots as per F1. above for a single side panel.

S2. Tie them together with a row of 2 Alternating Square Knots.

Repeat for the other side panel.

S3. When knotting is completed, pin one of these sections on the left of purse handle - the one on the board -and pin the other section on the right side.

S4. Tie these sections together with a single Square Knot - using 2 free cords from side panel and 2 from handle.

Take off board and set aside.


Repeat steps F1. to F5. for the back section.

Attach the second handle to the back using steps H5. and H6. above.

Attach the right side panel using steps S3. and S4. above.

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

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

You will be tying rows of knots in a circular format, a tube. Tie 6 rows of Alternating Square Knots 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

Add beads

A1. Now you will begin adding beads to the front side of the purse.

A2. Number the cords from 1-44 beginning with one half of the side knot.

A3. Tie a Square Knot (SK) with cords 5-8, 13-16, 21-24, 29-32, 37-40.

A4. Under each of these SK’s put a bead on the 2 filler cords, the centre cords of the 4 cords.

A5. Tie another Square Knot under each bead, using the same 4 cords as for the knot above the bead.

A6. 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 grannie knot sinnets to the back side of the purse.

A7. 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.

Stop with those last 2 knots.

There is one row of knots in between the 2 rows of beads. Tie one row of ASK all around the entire purse. Repeat steps A1. to A7. to add the 2nd row of beads and fill in the knots on the side - front and back. Now tie 5 rows of ASK all around entire purse.

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. 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.

Put purse between your knees with the bottom up. Use 6 cords to 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. Continuing closing up the bottom using the next 2 cords from EACH SIDE of the purse and tying ONE Square Knot very tightly.

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.

This completes the knot tying. Apply a small blob of craft glue to each knot and allow to dry. Cut bottom cords leaving about 1cm and melt the 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.