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Monday, October 22, 2012

How to Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet

Original Article

Making a bracelet from paracord (also called parachute cord) is a relatively easy project.  We did this together as a family and even my 8 year old got one made with not too much help from mom.  A paracord bracelet gives you approximately 8-10 feet of usable cord that you can wear wherever you go.  You could also make it longer and use it for a dog or cat collar.  Although there are varieties made with just paracord and no buckles, we made ours with side release buckles to make it a little easier to get on and off and more secure once it was fastened on.

Here’s what you’ll need:

About 10 feet of 550 Paracord.
I got mine at the Army Surplus store, but you can find it online at places like CampingSurvival and The Supply Captain.  The bracelet needs about a foot for every inch, but varies quite a bit depending on how tight you tie and how many knots you squish into an inch.

Side Release Buckle. These are also available online.  Mine are 3/8″ size, but you men might want a little larger size–these are a bit tedious to manipulate with hands larger than a lady’s.

Flame source like a lighter for melting the ends of your paracord.


How to make your bracelet step by step:
1. Find the middle of your length of paracord by folding it in half.

Stick the folded middle loop through one side of your buckle.  This is my OCD showing, but it looks nicer if you put your loop in the top of the buckle hole rather than up from the bottom.  If your buckle is small, you may need forceps to pull the folded cord through the slot.

Once you have your loop through the hole, thread the rest of the cord through the loop to fasten it to the buckle.

2. Loop the cord around your wrist with the buckle attached.  You could alternately measure around your wrist and then measure the cord.  Either way, you want to know where to attach the second half of the buckle to the cord.

This step is easier if you have someone helping you, but I just marked the spot I wanted my buckle attached by clamping the forceps at that point. (Everyone else was already tying their knots.)

3. Thread the loose ends of the paracord through the second half of the buckle to the marked point.  Again, going down from the top looks better than coming up from the bottom.

4. If you have your buckle fastened, open it up.

Now we’re going to start the knots.  The knot we are tying is called the cobra knot or Solomon bar.  It’s basically an overhand knot like you’re tying your shoes, but you just have to make sure the center core cords are tucked in the middle right.  To start, take your right cord and cross it under the core cords and over the left cord, leaving a little slack on the right side.

With your left cord, go over the core cords and down through the slack loop (under the right cord).

Now pull it tight.  At this point, with both ends of your buckle secured, you want to try your bracelet on again and make sure you like the fit.

Contrary to what your brain tells you, the bulk of tying all those knots onto the core cords actually doesn’t decrease the diameter much if any, so when it’s done it will fit very close to how it fits at this point.

5. Repeat the knot for the length of the core cords, alternating which side you start on each time.  If you look at the cords when you’re done with a knot, one of them is coming out toward you and one is threaded down away from you.
At the end of each knot, one cord is coming toward you and one is going away
The cord coming toward you is the one you want to go under the core and over the other one.  The cord threaded away from you goes over the core then through the hole.

If you get this backward, it will start twisting and looking funny, but you can always untie it and do it again.  We found ourselves repeating:  Cord 1=”under, over”, Cord 2=”over, through”.  Under over over through, under over over through, under over over through.  It’s kind of catchy.  Tying them all the same tension makes nice, even edges on your bracelet.

6.  When you get knots tied all the way to the first buckle, cut the ends fairly close and melt them so they don’t come unraveled or untied.

I cut one at a time and melted it using a knife or the scissor edge to flatten it and smash it into the bracelet.

flattening the melted cord

That’s it.  You’re done.  You now have a fashionable and useful bracelet made from paracord!  These would make fun gifts for the extended family–even the kids can make these.

I bought my parts piecemeal–no bulk purchases–and our cost per bracelet was under $2.00.  The cost gets even lower when you purchase paracord and buckles in bulk.  Time for a beginner to make this was 30-45 minutes depending on how quickly they figured out the knots and how many they had to untie and re-tie.  We had a lot of fun making these together, so definitely involve the family on this project!  Enjoy!

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