This is a fun fibre arts project for both children and adults. It is a great opportunity to talk about different types of fibres and the sustainability issues around fibres. It is also a great way to use remnant pieces of yarn and other materials.
Any type of yarn or scraps of fabric can be used. The yarn used in this project is thrifted 100% acrylic yarn. The amount of yarn needed depends on the thickness of the yarn, the size of the rainbow, and how tightly you wrap the rope.
Your finished project can be attached to a lunch bag, backpack, or used as a key fob. You can also make several rainbows and create a mobile or display as wall art. In this kid-friendly version, glue is used to hold the pieces together. However, as an alternative, you can sew the wrapped ropes together with a needle and thread.
- Three-strand nautical rope or 100% cotton – 5mm (3/16 inch) macramé rope
- Yarn (assorted colours)
- Split key ring (any size)
- Glue gun
- Glue sticks (hot or low temperature)
- Tape (washi, painters, or masking tape)
- Needle and thread (optional)
Let’s get started!
- Cut the rope to 18 cm (7 inches) in length and secure the ends with tape to prevent fraying.
- Cut 2 meters (2.2 yards) of yarn and attach to the rope approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the end using a lark’s head knot (a.k.a. cow hitch).
- Continue wrapping around the rope towards the opposite end. Securely knot the yarn at approximately 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the end.
- Measure the second length of rope to 23 cm (9 inches) long and wrap around a length of 3 to 6 meters (3.3 to 6.5 yards) long yarn around the rope in the same method as previously.
- Repeat the previous step with a third piece of rope approximately 28 cm (11 inches) long and 6 to 9 meters (6.5 to 9.8 yards) of yarn. (continue for more rows)
- Once you have wrapped all of the rope with yarn, place them next to each other and curve to form an arch. Your rope may have stretched out as a result of pulling and wrapping. Check the lengths of the ropes and cut if needed.
- Place a small bead of glue along the edge of the smallest arch. Continue working outward to the largest arch holding each row securely to each other until the glue dries.
- Remove the tape from the ends and fray if desired. You can leave the ends as is or cut to the desired length.
- Attach pompoms or other embellishments. (optional)
- Attach to a split key ring to make a key fob or to hang from a bag. You can also hang from a piece of yarn for wall art.
- If you run out of yarn while wrapping; add a new piece of yarn with a lark’s head knot and continue wrapping. However, remember to wrap over the tail end of the previous yarn for a seamless look.
- This is a kid-friendly version of this project. However, it can be adapted to make a beautiful home decor piece. If you are making a larger rainbow, you can include lengths of wire that are wrapped along with the rope. This will add some support and structure to your larger rainbow.
*This tutorial has also been published in Neighbours of Horseshoe Valley and Shanty Bay.