I have an odd obsession with the straight, exact, cut, and combed look of macrame which you can also see in my modern macrame wall hanging tutorial. In today’s post, you get plenty of that because I created a long narrow wall art tassel for an odd skinny wall that has looked empty for way too long. You can use this technique to create different pieces with varying widths and lengths.
This is definitely a copy-cat project and I got the inspiration for today’s piece from art pieces I have seen all over Pinterest created by Mexican artists who use a mix of fibers. Part of that mix are cotton and sansevieria fibers which are extracted from snake plants. This blog post shows how you can extract those fibers. I wasn’t going to kill a bunch of snake plants though and opted to just use combed macrame yarn again.
These types of pieces sell from around $1000 to $3000 (for example the Lomas Wall Hanging HERE) and I don’t have to tell you that I can’t afford that, right?
DIY long narrow wall art made from macrame yarn
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I am going to show you how you can vary the lengths and widths which creates a completely different look and no matter what measurements your narrow or big empty wall has, you can make your own combination.
- macrame yarn (I used THIS 4mm but you can use others too)
- colored or plain embroidery floss of your choosing
(color numbers I used: 407, 436, 977, 3779, 976, 3826, 402, 922, 21)
- sharp scissors
- hair clips
- fabric stiffener or HERE
- styrofoam balls (I used 2.3 inch and 1.8 inch balls)
- skewer or drill bit to make holes into foam balls
- brush (I love THIS one for these types of projects)
- wood ring (I used a 3.7-inch wooden ring), a dowel rod or you could use a pretty towel bar like THIS, THIS, or THIS for example)
Below I added my video tutorial. Use the triangle on the image to turn on the video. If you are on a cellphone or other device, turn it horizontally for better viewing. If for whatever reason it doesn’t play on my blog then you can also view it on my YouTube channel.
Step-by-step instructions for how to make this long narrow wall art with combed macrame yarn and embroidery floss
This is definitely a time-consuming project but in the end, you will have a stunning piece of fiber art. It was so worth it to me and I absolutely love the pieces I have created with this tutorial.
How to easily unravel and comb macrame yarn
Opening and combing macrame yarn is one of my favorites and I have done it so many times now that I developed a trusted method. I used opened macrame yarn for my giant macrame rope tassel garland, macrame light fixture, modern macrame wall hanging, macrame knot bracelet, and fringe earrings just to name a few. You might be wondering what it is about having the combed and straightened yarn but I love it. It is relaxing, almost like raking sand or combing my barbie’s hair when I was a kid. I know I’m odd. Don’t judge!
Most of the time I use fabric stiffener when I comb macrame yarn because it helps to stiffen the fibers and stops making them curl again after combing. None of the homemade fabric stiffener recipes have worked as well as the bought stiffener. Hopefully, I can find a DIY recipe one day that works just as well.
Sometimes I have used a hair straightening iron to make the yarn dry and completely straight. For this project, I have found it easier to skip that part. Let me show you…
Tips for using fabric stiffener on macrame yarn
As you can see in my comments, some people have complained that they couldn’t successfully comb the macrame yarn after applying the fabric stiffener the way I did. So here are some of my tips
- Using the right brush definitely makes a difference. The sheepskin fur brush I used makes a huge difference and I couldn’t have done the project without it. When you brush the strands of yarn use small sections and start working your way from the bottom up. If you start brushing from the top down, you will fail because everything ends up way too tangled.
- USE STARCH made for fabrics. Some of the people who complained received a type of glue like decoupage glue instead of true fabric stiffener/starch. You have to make sure it is starch! It is so important.
- Wait until the starch-dipped yarn is completely dry before you brush it.
- Most of all have patience. It takes time to make get all the strands combed and straightened and some of it is trial and error.
- Start by opening the macrame yarn ends (for the one piece of long narrow wall art tassel, I used 12 8-foot strands of 4mm macrame yarn that I unraveled).
- I like running my fingers through it fast to unravel it all but you have to make sure that the ends don’t just curl back together and tangle again.
- Now it is time to dip your macrame yarn into the fabric stiffener, this step isn’t a necessity but I find it so much easier to brush/comb the yarn when it is long and has been dipped and dried with fabric stiffener.
- I place my finger over the opening firmly when I pull out the yarn strand in order to squeeze out any excess fabric stiffener liquid.
- After that, I hang the wet strands of macrame yarn over a shower curtain rod and let them dry.
- Now it is time to start combing the macrame yarn strands.
- My favorite tool is to use this fur brush.
- The combed strands stay nicely in place with hair clips as you can see.
When it is time to hang the yarn, you have to decide whether you want to use a wooden ring or some type of rod like I mentioned in the materials list above. Simply fold the yarn in half over the ring or the rod.
Keep brushing and adding all the strands to it.
Tying off the head of the long combed macrame yarn
- Here you can see how thick my bunch of combed macrame yarn ended up being.
- I cut another piece of macrame yarn the exact same length as the combed yarn strands (I used 8′) and folded it in half.
- Then I looped it on with a Lark’s Head Knot as shown.
- Now you can push that piece of macrame yarn under the combed bunch of macrame yarn.
- Smooth everything out.
- Use a small unraveled piece of macrame yarn to tie the bunch of yarn together.
- Now it is time to add the embroidery floss which I did with the Gathering Knot Method. Place the yarn as pictured in a loop…
- …and keep wrapping the embroidery floss tightly around the macrame yarn bunch.
- Here you can see the wrapped embroidery floss with the loop at the bottom.
- Thread the embroidery floss end through the remaining loop.
- Pull the top end of the embroidery floss up so the bottom loop gets pulled with the end piece underneath the wrapped embroidery floss.
- Here you can see the two ends sticking out at the bottom and top.
- Trim those pieces as close as possible to the wrapped embroidery floss.
- Now you add additional colors of embroidery floss to your liking the same way as described above.
Inserting the foam balls into the long narrow wall art
When you are done with your row of colored embroidery floss it is time to add a foam ball.
- Use a skewer or drill bit to poke a large enough hole to fit two strands of macrame yarn through.
- You can take the skewer to help push the two center macrame yarn pieces you attached earlier with a Lark’s Head Knot under the unraveled macrame yarn through the foam ball hole.
- Here you can see the foam ball threaded onto the centerpiece of macrame yarn.
- Push the foam ball up on the macrame yarn and under the combed yarn as far as you can.
- Now smooth the yarn over the foam ball on all sides. You might need the help of a comb.
- Take another short piece of unraveled macrame yarn to tightly tie the yarn under the foam ball.
- Then I used the same Gathering Knot Method to wrap the macrame yarn again with more colored embroidery floss.
- You can add numerous variations in length and colors.
Here are the measurements for the combination of yarn, foam balls, and embroidery floss colors that I used for my long narrow wall art tassel.
Photos of finished macrame yarn long narrow wall art and other different versions of it
I think a lot of us struggle with how to decorate a long skinny wall? Am I right?
Below you can see the odd narrow wall I talked about at the beginning of this post. I think this tassel is perfect for that spot and not only because it isn’t breakable.
I also love it hanging in our living room…
And here is how it would look if you slid different ball and embroidery floss combinations the way I showed you onto a dowel rod. I love it that way! I have a feeling that I will make many more.
The options for this are literally endless and I think it looks lovely either way.
UPDATE: I made the below piece for the living room. It took me a pretty long time but it was well worth it to me.
And for those of you who don’t feel like making your own, below are some other versions for sale. I feel like I showed everyone how to make these and suddenly they are popping up all over the place on Etsy. (images take you to the source)
And if you are wondering about the kitties and the yarn, well they are actually leaving it alone and haven’t even been interested once.