Macramé is the ideal craft: Easy to learn. Uses stuff you have around the house. Deeply satisfying to do. And DIY tassel and macramé keychains are the perfect example of this theory, so we’re hooking you up with step-by-step instructions for easy, adorable keychains you can make as simple or as fancy as you’d like. They make the best little gifts, too.
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From left: #1 Square knot with bead and tassel. #2 Striped clove hitch. #3 Beads with short tassel. #4 Folded braid. #5 Beads with long tassel. #6 Half knots with tassel.
If you need an excuse to make a custom keychain—or if you make one and get obsessed and want reasons to make a dozen more—here you go:
- Create a cute keychain for the house- and pet-sitter
- Give as housewarming gifts, new car congrats, birthday gifts, gift wrap add-ons and stocking stuffers
- Make a keychain for just your car key to turn over to a valet or when you take it in for service
- Update the keychain you’ve had since forever
- Decorate your backpack or purse
- Create the snazziest luggage tag on the baggage carousel
- Give a set of keys to a trusted neighbor so when you lock yourself out you don’t have to break in to your own place
- 1″ keyrings
- 3/16” natural cotton piping cord
- Embroidery floss or yarn
- Small rubber band (keychain #4 only)
- Free downloadable instructions
Hallmark Designer Leslie S. made six different custom macramé keychains. You can download her free instructions—or if you’re comfortable with simple macramé knots, skim through the basics below and then improvise. (Want a refresher? Watch this video.)
Pro tip: Leslie made beads out of Sculpey and hand-painted them because of course she did. You can do the same, or try painting some wooden beads, or use any other beads you’d like.
Let’s start with keychains #1 and #6 in the group photo above. They’re made with a simple square knot—and its unfinished but fancy sister, the half square knot.
- For both, start with two 50″ (or so) pieces of cord. Loop each through the keyring with a larkspur knot, making the outside strands about 2/3 the length of the cord. See the free download for step-by-step photos.
- For keychain #1, make about five square knots, add the bead, make a half square knot below it, and tie the rest off in a tassel.
- For keychain #6, make about 16 half square knots and finish it with a tassel.
- To give your tassel the perfect fancy neck, use your favorite colors of embroidery thread and follow the steps in our printed instructions or this video.
- Separate the cord at the ends, trim it up and you’re finished!
Pro tip: To cut the bottom of a tassel perfectly straight, press it flat and wrap it with a piece of tape. Cut the tape in half, remove it and marvel at the perfect fringe.
Keychains #3 (below left) and #5 (above left) use the same technique but vary up the number of beads and length of the tassel.
- For both, you’ll start by tying a 10-16″ piece of yarn to your keyring with a larkspur knot.
- Add the beads.
- Cut yarn for a tassel—we used about 20 pieces of yarn. (You pick the length and fluffiness. Make it twice as long as you want your tassel.) Center it under the bead and tie it on with a simple knot. Tighten up your beads and tassel and double the knot.
- Fold the tassel in half and wrap the neck with yarn or embroidery floss using the steps in our printed instructions or this video.
- Trim the ends. That’s it!
Keychain #2 (above right) may look fancy and complicated—but it just takes two basic knots to get its stylish custom color palette.
- Start with two 20″ or so pieces of cord (you can always cut them shorter, so it’s better to start long). Loop each through the keyring with a larkspur knot, making the outside strands a little longer than ones on the inside. See the free download for step-by-step photos.
- Add vertical clove hitch stitches with a few different colors of yarn. This video has easy instructions to get you started, including how to measure your yarn. We did two rows each in the first two colors and one row in the third color.
- Make a full square knot in the middle.
- Add another set of vertical clove hitches, reversing what you did on the top.
- A quick trim of the ends finishes it off.
Keychain #4 (above left) is seriously easy.
- Cut three pieces of cord a little more than twice as long as you want the finished custom keychain.
- Stack them, even the strands and wrap one end with a small rubber band a few inches from the ends.
- Do a simple braid. Stop when you’re the same distance from the ends as the rubber band is.
- Loop one end through the keyring. If you’d like, put the rubber band around both ends to hold them in place.
- Follow the instructions in our video or in the free printed macramé keychain instructions to turn the ends into a tassel. Start the neck right under the braid. (You can cut the rubber band loose as you start to wrap the neck with embroidery floss.)
- Tie knots in the ends of the cord to finish it up.
Pro tip: Google “braid variations” for instructions on fun options like fishtail and chainlink braids.
We dig macramé kind of a lot. If you find yourself a little addicted to it after you make a keychain or two, check out this tutorial. Photo Stylist Andy Newcom shows us how to make a square knot—the foundation of macramé—as well as spiral and half-hitch knots.
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