creative crafts making macrame with recycled items

Creative crafts: recycle old items to make Macrame pieces

Guest Blog by Lisa – Masters Student & Customer Service Advisor at Central Quay, Sheffield. 

“For the past 12 months everything seems like it has been placed in suspended animation. For students, our mental health has taken a drastic blow and the rhetoric of thriving through these “uncertain times” has been replaced by affirmations of “survival” and “coping”. It is no wonder that certain things had to take the back bench to prevent burn-out; we can’t do it all right? Big picture recycling projects and zero waste shopping all of a sudden became very overwhelming.

Turning to crafts to cope

At the start of the first national lockdown with all of its doom- scrolling and gloom, I noticed that the extra time people now had was being filled with creative projects. As well as knocking up a couple of batches of banana breads, people were starting to make; and it was amazing to see.

Art supplies were flying from the virtual shelves. Hobbycraft announced a 200% increase in sales since the pandemic hit and some stores boasted that wool was back in popular demand after a revival in knitting, especially from the younger generations.

What was so refreshing was to see how this was positively affecting my peers. Instead of the constant dread of seeing perpetual pandemic propaganda on my social media, I now got to witness the projects that gave my friends so much joy. And it didn’t stop. So many of my friends are still creating and, due to lack of funds among so many other joys COVID-19 has inflicted, they are doing so on a budget or using supplies they already had.

Giving Macrame a go

My friend Amy, a student from North Yorks, introduced me to Macrame; a crafting technique that uses knots to create various textiles. She had some cord left over from a previous project and wasn’t sure how to put it to good use. However, she had seen that Macrame plant hangers were popular to make and wanted to give it a go. After seeing her success, I wanted to try it out too. So, she sent me a YouTube video so I could get started with the basics.

What you will need:

If like me, you want to give Macrame a go, watch the video above for a beginner’s guide on How to Macrame. You’ll need the below items to begin.

  • Cord, string or old strips of material (I used an old t-shirt)
  • Scissors
  • A stick of wood or plastic rod (I used a bamboo pole that was hanging about outside but can literally be a stick)

*Top Tip*

If you are using a t-shirt or strips of fabric, make sure they are cut really thin. This is so you don’t lose definition and are able to see your knots. I also had to tie my strips together to make them longer. So, if your material is small, do this first!

  

The images above show my attempts at different knots as well as Amy’s plant holder and her next project; making necklaces out of upcycled t-shirts.

Amy already had an Etsy shop before the pandemic but was glad to add another Macrame knot to her string of talents and another product to her shelf. So, if you get a bit tangled with the basics, you can always support local student businesses and head to her Etsy shop instead.”


Global Recycling Day takes place on 18th March every year to raise awareness about the global issue of recycling. Let us know your top recycling tips and tricks via our social media pages (FacebookInstagram and Twitter).

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