Introduction: Botanical Illustration Macrame Wall Hanging

I wanted to make a very simple but pretty instructable, and honor two disciplines very important to me: macrame and botanical illustration. I was really motivated through the entire process and I'm eager to have your feedback if you try it and of course, see the result and which plant or design you chose :)

Step 1: Supplies You'll Need to Create a Wall Hanging

Materials are very inexpensive and you can pretty much reuse fabric and thread you have at home, for the paint I don't advice using watercolor or any media that is oily or has to be dissolved in a lot of water. But maybe there can be interesting results doing that as well, for what you see in this tutorial, acrylic is best, that's all :D

  • Reference image of any flower, herb, etc. Found on the internet, vintage books, your own garden... Sometimes it helps to google scientific name of plant + 'botanical illustration'
  • Any branch or stick, I preferred a straight one, it is 15 cm long
  • About 15 grams of Cotton fiber rope (can be found at hardware stores, craft stores or supermarkets sometimes too -kids in school use it for art projects-) Thickness of the rope depends on how chunky you want the macrame knots to look. I used a 2 mm rope.
  • Unbleached cotton fabric -a very tiny piece-. I suggest to reuse a branded totebag or something, not worth investing in such a small piece. An iron will come in handy, because this fabric gets lots of wrinkles.
  • About 4 or 6 hand sewing positioning pins or safety pins
  • Measuring tape or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Fine tip permanent marker
  • Acrylic paint
  • The thinnest paint brush you can find
  • Plastic lids for mixing the paint and grabbing just a little bit of water to mix/rinse it
  • Glue
  • Needle for hand sewing (any kind, just try to make sure it's not going to be hard to sew through the fabric you've got.

Step 2: Cut Strands of Rope and Secure Them to Your Stick With a Knot

Using the ruler or measuring tape, cut 12 strands of rope that measure about 135 cm each. While you're at it, also cut a 40-45 cm strand that will be the top hanging device.

From each of the 12 strands, you will end up having 2 strands, so you need to bend the rope and tie a knot as it's shown in pics 2 to 5 of this step: create a loop and wrap it to the back of the branch, bring it forward but below the two strands and pull those to the back through the loop that is now coming forward. Then hold the branch and just pull the two strands down until the knot is nice and tight. Repeat with all twelve strands and align them to the center of the branch.

Step 3: Attach the Top Hanging Device

Simply add some glue (or cut a little incision if you prefer not to use it) towards each end of the branch, and wrap at least 3 or 4 times the area with glue with the strand of rope. then, tie at least two knots so it's secured in position.

Step 4: Learn Macrame Square Knot

This knot is very basic and you can create a mesh with it that looks really cute! Follow the diagram creating one knot and then an identical one that uses the opposite direction, this means you create a knot using the left or right strand as the one that faces the front, and on the second one the other side will take the lead. Notice how there are two strands at the center of the diagram. You hold those using some of your fingers so it's easier to pull the knots in position.

So, since we're using 24 strands in total, we will create 6 square knots for the first row.

On the second row, we will ignore the first and last two strands, so we can create a brick-like structure, so just 5 square knots on this one. On the third row, you go back to creating 6 square knots and so on and so forth, until you are satisfied with the hanging's height. I decreased the knots when I was done, so it didn't have a rectangular shape.

Secure the strands in pairs very firmly so they don't come apart, and cut leaving a fringe at the bottom.

Step 5: Preparing the Fabric

Decide which shape you want for the fabric. It could be an oval, pentagon, an organic shape, circle. I just went with a rectangle. Place the fabric on the macrame mesh (macramesh?) to make sure you are cutting the right size you wanted to achieve. My rectangle was 4.5 x 7 cm. To that, I added about 1 cm for each side, so I could pin those flaps to the back and sew the borders. Once the shape has been sewn on the borders, you're ready to get painting.

Step 6: Preparing Your Design

I used a random small piece of cardboard to trace the rectangle, and sketch the plant I chose to portrait (Amaranth). So roughly add the main elements, so you can use as a guide that is the same size as your shape.

If it's more comfortable for you, now transfer the design onto the fabric using the permanent fine tip marker.

Now get a bit of water in any plastic container, maybe pieces of paper that absorbs (any cardboard will do as well, as long as it's not glossy magazine/flyer paper you'll be fine)

Step 7: Ah, the Joys of Painting Little Plants

This is probably my favorite part. Paint your design, careful not to get too much water in the paint mix (if you want a similar result), a mayonnaise or hand cream consistency is best. if you feel like your paint brush has too much water or paint, you can leave some of that paint in a piece of paper or cardboard, and then get paint just on the tip of the brush (especially with thin lines or details). If you wish, allow at least 15-20 minutes to dry per layer or color.

Step 8: Sew the Little Canvas to the Macrame Hanging and You're Done!

Make sure you use very little and even stitches, now it's ready to hang anywhere, congrats!

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