Rope vs. Cord | What's The Difference? Which One Do I Use? Does Size Matter?

cord vs rope blog post

Hey folx ! This is something I knew needed to be a blog post because I get this question on my Instagram all the time! Plus, it was something I was unsure of when I started my macramé journey. 

Let me preface this by saying, everything is subjective, of course! In the end, it really comes down to practicing with different sizes and materials until you find what really works for you! Some makers may prefer how a certain fiber looks or feels as opposed to another, and that's totally okay! You do you. 😌 

This blog post will essentially touch on the differences I have found in material and what I prefer to use! 

Here's a quick reference video that may help too !


In the macramé world, rope is typically used to describe twisted 3 strand fiber.

macrame rope, twisted rope, 3 strand

From my experience, rope is best for beginners! It's easier to handle and more forgiving when undoing knots. Rope works great for projects that need to be a little more "heavy duty" such as:

  • plant hangers
  • dog collars

You can definitely use this for wall hangings, though! I have found that rope makes projects look a bit more structured and rigid compared to cord. This can be oh-so good if you're into creating geometric styled art with super defined lines ! 

Good to know: rope is easy to twist & unravel for a "noodle"-like effect, but much harder to brush out for a fluffy look.

You can find my rope options here. 🙂


macrame cord, single strand

In the macramé world, cord is typically used to describe single stranded fiber

From my experience, cord is best for intermediate makers! It's a bit less forgiving when undoing knots, but this means it's also much easier to brush out if you're looking for a fluffy tassels ! Cord works great for projects that are more intricate and dainty:

  • wall hangings
  • accessories (i.e. keychains, earrings, lanyards...)

Good to know: cord is super easy to brush for a fluffy effect. It's perfect for those gorgeous tassel additions! 

You can find my cord options here. 🙂

Does size matter ?

Okay, again...everything is super subjective and it really depends on what look you're going for! There is no right or wrong, that's what I love about macrame! You are more than welcome to play around with materials! With that being said, here's a breakdown of what I like to use:

5mm ROPE for plant hangers, dog collars

3mm CORD for keychains, coasters, flowers

4mm-5mm CORD for wall hangings, bags

9mm CORD for chunky wall hangings, the inside of a macrame rainbow or additions to weaving projects 


I'd like to reiterate that it is totally up to preference! I've seen some wonderful plant hangers made with cord and gorgeous wall hangings from rope. That is the beauty of macramé. It's not about the material you use but the knots and love you put into your patterns! Hope this helped ya!  😊

If you are still unsure, please ask away in the comments! Let me know what project you are trying to make and I will suggest what I think would work best! 



  • Thanks for the valuable information. As a ranch owner, roping ropes from are what we really use. But then again, this explains in perfect manner the difference of the chord from the rope.

    Peter Maxwell
  • Hi everyone.. I want to make a plant hanger. It calls for 5mm braided cord. I only have 5 mm twisted will that be ok? Thank you so much

    Mindy Anderson
  • Reply to Cindy

    Hi Cindy ! I actually recommend 3mm for earrings – I’ve made some before with my 3mm and it’s worked great :)

    Atty | C By The Sea Shoppe
  • Great post! What size do you recommend for macrame earrings with knots and thick fringe? I tried 5mm but the knots are too thick and I’ve tried 3mm and the fringe is not fluffy or thick enough.

  • I needed this! Thanks! I’m barely starting out, and I’m always trying to figure out which cord size to use or when to use rope and you totally clarified that. Your blog is great!

    Luisa Fer

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