Rope, clothesline, piping bowls (updated)

Yes, I drank the koolaid! I love this project, it’s quick, easy, customizable, and USEFUL!
rope bowl from 1/4" piping BIG SIZE
A BIG bowl I made from 1/4″ piping.
I’ve made these small and large, with and without handles, colorful thread, and more subtle.
I have found this post by Amanda to be a great resource (and some eye candy! Look at all those beautiful vessels!). She links to this Creative Bug class, but I don’t have a subscription there so I used a free online tutorial. Here is a video of a popular vessel maker, Gemma Patford, in action if you want to see more than pictures.
Comparing materials and costs for rope bowls.
I’ve found clothesline to be the most popular material for making these online, but it is not the only choice. If you want a higher cotton content I would suggest trying some other materials. Here is a breakdown for you of things I’ve tried:
rope bowl from clothesline
Clothesline, 100′ ranges in price from $5.49 on Ribbon Jar and up. My local hardware store had it for $6.79. These are all reinforced cotton, they are usually about 60% poly and 40% cotton. To me it feels like cotton, and I like the stiffness (the clothesline on Ribbon Jar actually is 100% cotton). It’s 3/16″ which is right in the sweet spot for thickness on these bowls. This is going to run you about 17 cents a yard.
rope bowl from 1/4" piping
Cotton piping, 1/4″ natural $4.49 on Ribbon Jar. This is a 33 yard bundle. I like that it has natural specks on it. The cotton material is held together with stitching wrapped around it. This blends really well after you sew the bowl together. It is a poly/cotton blend (83% cotton 17% poly). It also has a bit of a thick and thin look to it. This is going to be about 14 cents a yard.
rope bowl from 100% American made cotton braid
You want something American made? We finally found it and I bundled it up for my mom’s shop. Cotton solid braid $21 on Ribbon Jar. It is SUPER sturdy, the most sturdy of any product and the finished look is so nice. A very consistent product. This is going to be about 64 cents a yard.
rope bowls from organic cotton and spindle cord
Another option is to buy cord by the yard. These materials are not bundled specifically for making bowls, but work great.
Organic cotton cord is $1.85 a yard at the Ribbon Jar. Very beautiful, and expensive, as organic things tend to be. It also comes in a toast color. What a beautiful gift it would be to make a basket out of this for a new baby. I love doing treasure baskets for little ones who like to touch, explore (and eat!) everything!
Spindle cord is something I use a lot for bags, but is esspecially fun for bowls because of it’s vibrant color! Sprindle card is 75 cents a yard at The Ribbon Jar. I used this amazing green color for the bowl above (that’s a five yard bowl).
I hope all of this was helpful. I haven’t had my mom order very many things at the Ribbon Jar since she bought the business from me, but I really had trouble finding what I was looking for with these bowls. I love that she was willing to try these new materials, thanks so much mom! And thanks for the free samples!

I added a new post with details about trying this project with recycled twine. Check it out here.

Join the Conversation


  1. I love these baskets so much! They are addicting once you get started making them. I love the 1/4″ cotton piping for it’s organic nature and the Spindle Cord for the color! Thanks for helping me get this product in store!

  2. Thanks so much for this post, and for speaking at the CMQG meeting in February! These are so fun to make!!

  3. I have made many purses using this technique. It is so relaxing! I have a “ton” of macrame cord and use it also. I made round chair pads and oval placemats using the macrame cord and they have lasted over 30 years. Works great for round or oval rugs too! Happy wrapping!!!

  4. I love making these bowls for family and friends. Unfortunately my sewing machine does not. What kind of a machine do you have that you make these with?

    1. I believe in the Bernina..I have one that I sewed on when I was 8 yrs 60 years ago & it hums along perfectly..I bought a new one 3 years ago & It is fancy & easy to use..if $$ is short try a used one..just made some of these bowls & used the denim thread with #19 needles..a dream to use..

      1. Make sure that you are using a heavy duty needle. My Benina wasn’t doing well either until I used the correct sized denim needle.

  5. I have been making these bowls, urns, and much more for over two years now and love doing it. I do sell many things at The Wishing Spring Gallery in Bella Vista , Arkansas I did sell very well at the huge Arkansas Craft Show in Bella Vista, Arkansas, too
    I was worn out but the money was worth it. I am busy sewing now to get ready for this fall. I make everything from bowls to an adorable witch. I would love to buy this cord by the big roller, I am just not sure which one is the best. It is almost impossible to get good cord down here in Arkansas for some reason. Some is so floppy you simply cannot use it. I do not have a website, wish I did. I may go for that soon, just not sure how to go about it. Working on it.
    Ginny Baker 1201 Harber Oaks Loop Grove Ok. 74344

  6. I like your breakdown of the various ropes. I’ve made a few using the 3/16″ type. I was a beginner when I did it but it came out really nice and I was very sturdy.

  7. I use macrame cordage. With a 40% of coupon at Hobby Lobby, Annie’s 6 mm runs about $5.75. Annies Macrame and Craft cording is a bundle of 100 YARDS so it runs about 6 cents a yard. It’s a lot easier to wrap and not as ‘floppy’ as clothesline. It stitches up really nicely. I’ve found it on Amazon, Joanns online and many craft websites for around $10.00 tp $12.00 per skein. Of course, if you get a skein on sale, so much the better…..BUT if you get a skein or two as a gift….pretty well FREE!!

  8. If you buy cloths line from Wal-Mart….make sure you read the packaging. There is a serious warning on some of it.

  9. The zigzag stitches on my Huscvarna are not even, skipping or bunching up. Ideas or suggestions? I picked up clothesline from Dollar General that was more nylon than cotton but it still worked well. First project was a small basket with handles. I used colored thread to make the basket red, white and blue. Might try dying some of the rope with Kool-aid to see if the colors are more brilliant than Ritz. Since I have more scrap fabric than sense, wrapping the rope is always an option too. Now where has the time gone and where will it come from to accomplish all these things?

    1. Cotton solid braid for sure, I think clothesline is good for semi sturdy, but the actual braided cotton rope is the most sturdy, and the most expensive option.

  10. Love all your bowls and bags! I just started and I’m already hooked. How did you do the bowl that is white on the outside but full of color on the inside? It’s beautiful!

    1. Thank you! The outside of the bowl thread is determined by the bobbin, and the inside is the spool on top of your machine. So if you want a bowl “white” on the outside, just use a neutral colored bobbin to match your rope, and a fun (in this case varigated) thread of the same weight and type on the top spool. Have fun!

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