Introduction: Macrame Wall Hanging: an Upcycled Alternative

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I have been a fan of macrame wall hangings and yarn wall hangings for a while now. They are great for filling a blank wall and adding a bit of colour and interest to a room.

So when I set myself a challenge to repurpose and upcycle two of my husband’s worn out shirts, I knew one of the projects I would use the fabric for was to make my own take on a macrame wall hanging. This is my upcycled alternative wall hanging with significantly less knots than the original macrame versions – which makes it an easy DIY project to do in an afternoon.

To find out what I did with the rest of the shirt you can head to my blog here.


  • 2 men’s button down shirts (I didn’t use the whole of the two shirts, there was plenty left over – I used one striped blue & white one and one plain blue one).
  • Branch/Twig/Stick to your desired length (Mine was 53cm/21″ long and 2cm/1″ thick).
  • Twine
  • Rotary fabric cutter & matt and/or fabric scissors

Step 1: Find a Suitable Hanging Branch

I have a garden that requires a lot of maintenance – we bought it a bit wild (there is even a fox with a den at the end of it!) and we haven’t quite gotten on top of trimming back everything that grows in it.

So I actually had a fair amount of branches and twigs to choose from when I ventured out to look for the right kind of thing.

I wasn’t looking to make a huge wall hanging so I cut off some modest sized sticks and took them into see which one would work. They were all roughly 50-60cm long. In the end I plumped for the one with the funky bend in it which was 53cm long.

Step 2: Cut Your Fabric Strips

Next I used my rotary cutter to cut out strips from the two shirts I have been upcycling.

So for the strips I wasn’t aiming for a particular length I knew I wanted some longer strips in the middle and shorter ones on either end.

I started by using parts of the shirt that were already dangling from where I had cut it up for other projects. For example I used the button hole strips (I cut these in half) at the front of the shirt and most of the seams on both shirts. For one thing these parts are long and thin already and for another it’s harder to use them for other projects.

To get enough strips I also cut up some parts of the sleeves to a similar width to the seams of the shirt. So each strip is roughly 1-1.5cm (or. 0.5″) wide. For the length they were all roughly 50cm-80cm long. Better to go longer if you are unsure as you can always trim them later! In the end I used 29 strips of the plain blue colour and 23 strips of the striped blue and white colour.

Step 3: Loop Your Strips Over the Branch

I don’t know how to make complicated macrame knots and patterns but as you can see from my inspiration photos above I was more drawn to the ones that hang straight down – so all I used to attach my strips was a simple loop at the top.

I folded over the end of each strip just long enough so that the end of the shortest side got caught in the loop when I pulled it tight – see the photos for a better explanation!

Step 4: Fiddle and Adjust

I first started putting the strips on in a bit of a random order but I didn’t love the result.

So I took them off and grouped the strips by colour and length. I then started with the longest blue ones roughly in the middle and worked outward with sections of striped and blue fabric with the strips getting shorter. They are torn up bits of shirt that wave and have loose threads so the result is certainly not uniform and neat but I think it looks better than my first attempt.

The other thing I did to kind of fiddle and adjust my wall hanging was to loosen and tighten the knots where the loops were pulled tight so that they were all at the same place along the bottom of the branch. I also used this loosening and re-tightening process to shimmy the strips across the branch until I was happy they were somewhat centred.

Step 5: Hang Your Wall Art!

Lastly all you have to do is attach a bit of twine to either end of the branch and find somewhere to hang it!

I've managed to make a ton of things out of just two men's shirts, along with this wall hanging I also made a teddy bear, some zippered pouches, some decorative colours and bracelets and an apron for my son.

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