Simple Instructions To Make A Paracord Bracelet
Learn how to make a paracord bracelet in simple steps with this easy picture tutorial. You'll be making your first bracelet in minutes.
Knowing how to make a paracord bracelet is common knowledge to every soldier, hiker, backpacker, camper or anyone who spends time outdoors; they know that having extra cord handy is at the top of the list, and the practice is common among this crowd. The uses for this extra cord can be many, and not having it when you need it most can be critical in some situations. Of course you can always simply wind up a section of cord and pack it away in case it's needed, but why not spend a few minutes learning how to make a paracord bracelet and some other useful items out of that same cord?
Most people who want to learn how to make a paracord bracelet simply like the way paracord bracelets and strands look... they ARE cool. Using a variety of colors and lengths you can get really creative... with buckle, colored strands and more. And there's really no limit to the things you can make and do with it once you have the really simple process down. There are only two steps to know in order to make your own paracord bracelet, which we'll cover in very simple detail to make it fun and easy to learn.
When my family is camping or backpacking we always take extra cordage and practice making different lengths or types of strands. Things we've made include key fobs, pack straps, knife lanyards, belts... on and on. This is the beginning of a lot of fun, so let's dig in an learn how to make a paracord bracelet the easy way.
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Rope & Paracord Can Save Your Life
How To Make A Paracord Bracelet - The Basics
There are many instances where having a length or rope or paracord could prove useful or even life saving, which is where the idea to make these bracelets came from. Nearly every hiker I know makes it a point to carry extra paracord in their packs or in the form of bracelets or other woven items. And you may know from my other articles that I think it's important to always fit family time into our daily lives and to find creative ways to do more together. This is another great opportunity to do something fun and creative with your family, teaching your kids (and yourself) a valuable skill. Whether at home or sitting in your camp, you can spend time together and make a paracord bracelet and other paracord items. The only limit is your imagination.
With that said let's get to it. To learn how to make a paracord bracelet you'll need to first get some quality paracord. Paracord is short for the parachute cord that was popularized when it began being used in U.S. military parachutes. The term you'll most often hear when discussing paracord bracelets is 550 cord, the term used in the military that refers to the cord used in parachutes and which is rated to hold up to 550 lbs per strand (there are plenty of second rate knock-offs that WILL NOT hold 550 lbs of weight per strand). Here's a spec sheet from Wikipedia that lists the ratings for various sizes of paracord as used by the military, and an image that shows what "real" 550 paracord should look like (it's a single cord made up of 7 individual cords inside, and each of those 7 is made up of 3 individual strands):
Why do you care? If you will never rely on your cord (or braided products) for weight bearing, then it won't matter. But if you're thinking of using these for your camping or backpacking outings then you should take the extra effort and have the peace of mind in knowing that your cord can hold your weight should the need ever arise. Beware, there are a LOT of sellers claiming their product is 550 Paracord and unfortunately a lot of it is not.
How To Make a Paracord Bracelet - Step 1 - Step By Step Instructions For Cool Survival Bracelets
To begin you will first determine what you're going to be making. In our example we're learning how to make a Paracord Bracelet so we know what length of paracord that we'll need to start with. If you're making something else then you'll have to experiment a little to get the proper lengths. Fortunately, paracord is relatively cheap so if you know you're going to be experimenting or teaching others then buy the cheapest paracord you can find, and only use the real 550 cord for the final product.
Note: When cutting paracord it will unravel and the cover will slip from the internal strands, so once you cut the cord have a lighter handy to "singe" the cut ends, which melts the inner and outer pieces together on the tips. Be careful, though, the melted nylon stays hot for a bit!
For our example paracord bracelet you'll cut two lengths of cord- one 8 foot length (red cord in our example) and one 2 foot length (black cord in our example), then lay them out as pictured above. The 8 foot section will stretch out in front of you left to right, and the 2 foot section is folded in half and laid flat on top of the longer section.
What we're going to be doing is creating a Cobra Knot repeatedly to create the visual design, and in effect "store" the cord for easy carry. That is, rather than carrying a wadded up section of paracord you simply carry it on your wrist. The original idea was that if you ever need cord you could simply undo the bracelet (or other object you've made) and have the cord ready to go.
To make a Paracord Bracelet using a Cobra Knot you'll be repeating reversing moves; there are essentially just two movements, one from left and one from right, so once you have them down the process is really simple. We're using red and black cord in our example for better visibility. So here we go.
With the cord laid out in front of you as shown above, grasp the longer section (red) on the right side and lay it on TOP of the small section (black) of cord as shown, creating a "Z" (hopefully your Z looks better than mine!).
Now grasp the left side of the longer strand and thread the end over and through the first loop (bottom left) of the "Z" and UNDER the small strand then back out through the second loop of the "Z" (top right).
Now simply pull on both ends of the longer strand to gently tighten the knot up. Early on you'll have to adjust the knot and cord as you go to keep them nicely aligned. This is how it should look at the end of this first step. Yours should be a little more snug than the picture shows.
Be sure to follow me on Pinterest for loads of paracord patterns and ideas. You can see my Board here: Paracord Bracelet HQ
How To Make a Paracord Bracelet - Step 2
Reversing The Process, The Steps In This Technique Are The Same
Now, moving on to step 2 of learning how to make a Paracord Bracelet. Grasp the longer section of the cord (red) on the left side and lay it on TOP of the small section of cord as shown below, creating an "S". The first step outlined earlier involved laying the cord out in a Z shape. This time lay it across in an "S" shape... these two steps will be used throughout the entire process regardless of what you're making. Z, S, Z, S, Z, S...
Now we'll reverse the procedure from step one and grasp the right side of the longer strand and thread the end over and through the first loop (bottom right) of the "S" and UNDER the small strand (black) then back out through the second loop of the "S" (top left), as shown below.
Once again you will gently pull both ends of the long strand (red) to tighten the knot. When you are done it should look like the two images below.
That is essentially ALL there is to braiding with paracord. You will repeat those two steps as many times as needed, again depending on what you're making and how long you want it to be. When you finish braiding and have reached the length you want, tie a simple knot in the bottom of the short strand (black cord in our example). This knot will let you fasten the bracelet around your wrist, hooking it into the loop at the top, and will also serve to stop the braid from unraveling in other projects. It's easier than you thought to make a Paracord Bracelet isn't it?
Once you completed the bracelet and are happy with it, cut off the excess cord and using a lighter singe the ends so they don't fray. Some people leave the strands and using a very small needle nose pliers or other tool work the excess back up into the woven bracelet for a much nicer and more finished look. Either way will work fine for the purposes of a survival paracord bracelet. You can also add any hardware you want to before you start braiding by simply looping the short strand through the object. For example, we attached a braided segment on a camping knife as seen below.
Now you have learned how to make a Paracord Bracelet and can hone your skills and do even more, use different color paracord, expand your skills using different knots and weaves... there's no limit to the great things you can create and the fun you can have.
Paracord Bracelet HQ
At Paracord Bracelet HQ I have some other great articles you should check out (see below). One is about the many different types of paracord bracelet patterns, and also adding buckles and splicing different colors together. The other articles are about paracord projects and the best friendship bracelet patterns. Have a look, I'm sure you'll enjoy them, too.
For anyone looking to make some really cool friendship bracelets you'll find this article of the most popular patterns helpful. There are videos and plenty of links to sources for more information.
There are so many different paracord bracelet patterns that you can use for bracelets, but also even more that are great for lanyards, key fobs, etc... This is the top rated article on patterns and designs, so have a look.
If you're looking to make something other than a paracord bracelet then you're going to love this articles which provides some great ideas, from necklaces to knife covers and more.
Do You Prefer A Bracelet With Buckles - Or the more simple style as outlined in this article
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. I will be updating this soon to include step by step instructions and photos for adding buckles to the bracelets, but I wondered how you felt about them. And do you prefer plastic or metal buckles?
Any other thoughts, please share them. Many thanks!
Do you like the traditional knot and loop bracelets, or buckled?
Making A Paracord Bracelet With Buckles - If you like the side relase buckles then you'll enjoy this method.
This is the same steps we discussed above, but of course when you do them a lot you can get quicker and so there's no need to oversimplify with S's and Z's... you can also see here how easy it is to add a buckle. I'll upload some photos soon showing how to make a paracord bracelet with buckles.
Paracord In Almost Every Color Combination You Could Want
Perfect way to make a paracord bracelet fundraiser
When you're ready to purchase your paracord (for yourself, or a school or church fundraiser), check out the MANY color choices offered by this Amazon vendor. All paracord from "Our School Spirit" is manufactured in the USA and is packaged with the "Our School Spirit" brand.
Great for paracord bracelets, pet collars, camping equipment. Also check out their 3/8" buckles in a variety of colors.
"Our School Spirit" is owned and operated by a combat disabled veteran.
Paracord From "Our School Spirit"
How To Make A Monkey Fist - Another cool technique that you can use to make awesome paracord gear
There are so many things that you can do with braided cord once you've learned how to make a Paracord Bracelet, and one of them that I like is making a Monkey Fist. While it is different than the braiding we used above, its still a simple process you can master in no time. Especially great for women, a braided Monkey Fist is, by day, just an add-on for your keys or flashlight that you carry in your purse. By night it can be a potent self defense tool. With the built in steel ball is packs a punch! At the very least it's a great conversation piece and again, something creative to do with your family.
Here's a great instructional video outlining how to make these Monkey Fists using the same cord we've used to make our bracelets.
Make A Key Fob Using A Slant-Wrapped Endless Falls Knot
This is another REALLY cool way to use paracord. These key fobs are so fun to make, and look awesome... give them a try with these instructions!
Expanding Your Skills With the Cobra Knot - These detailed instructions will get you beyond the basics.
Here's a good tutorial which shows you how to expand on the Cobra Knot (referred to in the video as the Solomon Bar - they're the same knot). The technique he uses in the video to attach the brass (or hardware) can also be used when you make a Paracord Bracelet like we're demonstrating above. You would simply loop the small black segment of cord from our example above around whatever fastener you want to use on the bracelet, whether it be a metal clasp or plastic buckle. Once you know how to braid these you can get really creative and make some nice gear, but I would urge you to get the basics down (master how to make a Paracord Bracelet) first so you don't get overwhelmed and quit! Have fun!
Learning How To Make a Basic Paracord Bracelet Is The First Step
Take it to the next level with these awesome books at Amazon
J.D. Lenzen, the author of these two books, is considered by many to be the authority on braiding with paracord. That's him in a couple of the videos above. He's helped fuel and lead the paracord phenomenon with his near wizardly skills with the knot. Check out these books at Amazon and read what other reviewers are saying... these are THE "go to" books for learning all there is to know about tying paracord knots and the multitude of patterns.
This Is THE Guide To Own
Are You Going To Make A Paracord Bracelet
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I REALLY enjoy your feedback so please leave a comment if you enjoyed learning how to make a Paracord Bracelet. Many thanks.
Gunner Pearce on August 01, 2018:
I love this website it gives me exactly what I want when I want it. They should put more things to make on this website because it is so fast and easy.
SamanthaBlake on March 21, 2018:
Awesome descriptions on how to tie! I actually like your idea of no fancy (more like cheapo plastic) buckles. Now to go play...
Marilyn from Nevada on January 17, 2017:
Amazing! I love this, and will be attempting to follow the instructions. I always wondered how the survival bracelets were made. I have several. Now it also makes sense how they would come apart for use! Thank you for a wonderful, educational hubpage!
Bob (author) from Kansas City on June 27, 2014:
@DawnRae64: Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Be sure to check out this page at Paracord Bracelet HQ, there are lots of designs and perhaps the Caterpillar Sinnet or a similar, smaller weave would be better suited for a kayak leash, giving you more flexibility and not taking up quite as much space.
Dawn from Maryland, USA on June 27, 2014:
I need a short but sturdy kayak leash. I am going to use your lens as a guide. thank you so much! I'll try to remember to let you know how it turned out. I love this lens. I first visited a long time ago.
richard-hardwick-754 on May 26, 2014:
here ya go
blinkzu on February 25, 2014:
AnonymousC831 from Kentucky on February 21, 2014:
Nice lens. I gotta make one after reading this.
jm090770 on February 16, 2014:
Very nice lens. thank you very much for this information
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on January 24, 2014:
@safereview: Thanks so much for your very kind compliment! I've pinned this to my Pinterest board on Jewelry Design and Jewelry Making Projects, Techniques and Tutorials. :)
unicornblogger on January 24, 2014:
AWESOME instructions! Great lens!
Bob (author) from Kansas City on January 21, 2014:
@Margaret Schindel: Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it Margaret. From someone like you who has written some of the best crafting lenses on Squidoo, it's a heart-felt compliment. Best regards.
Margaret Schindel from Massachusetts on January 21, 2014:
This is an absolutely terrific tutorial! Great pictures and explanations. I don't hike, but I do like the look of these and think that carrying extra paracord on your wrist in the form of a bracelet is just ingenious.
bead at home mom on January 11, 2014:
Really great pics and making it look so easy, I especially appreciate the extra info on cord weight as well. I have wanted to make one for some time and use to macrame so often in my younger days. it's probably time to break down and get one done.
Family_Survival_Strategies on December 28, 2013:
Wow I had no idea these were so easy to make AND so useful! I will definitely set my kids to making some to include in our bug out bags. Thanks for the inspiration. Some of the books look pretty amazing too. Who knew you could do so much with knots?? Seriously, they look really cool too. My kids are gonna go nuts when I show this to them. They love being crafty. And I love being prepared for emergencies! Best to you! -Pepper M, Website Owner, familysurvivalstrategies.org
ikeephouse on December 21, 2013:
Nice pictures. My kids...like a lot of others are loving making these bracelets right now.
anemnafair on December 10, 2013:
I do a lot of survival/camping adventures and thought you did a great job of describing everything. Great job!
Tursiops on December 08, 2013:
Thanks for this! I'll definitely make one :)
Carol Houle from Montreal on December 07, 2013:
Great Lens! I hope to try this myself as soon as I find some cord. Thanks a bunch.
chrisilouwho on November 18, 2013:
Thanks for the detailed steps, the photos are very helpful!
Jimmy J Oliver on October 19, 2013:
Hi nice lens you got there and ranking well. Very informative, where would I get paracord?
Have given you a squidlike.
Dawn from Maryland, USA on September 25, 2013:
Good lens! i've been considering buying a paracord bracelet from an organization, and i probably still will. But it's good to have the how-to. I think i will try this with the kids at work. Thanks.!
anonymous on September 13, 2013:
@safereview: Yeah, did a lot of these in camp in the mid 80's... then again while on deployments to keep my mind occupied between patrols.
So yeah, nothing new here. Old stuff (I never even had names for any of it, just "my 550 keychain" or "that replacement watchband I made downrange" ) I never even used Cobra knot as a term till I surfed through here
anonymous on September 03, 2013:
An excellent lens. May use it with some student. Thank you.
jura on August 27, 2013:
I am not that good with crafts but I can't wait to try to make one .
Bob (author) from Kansas City on July 05, 2013:
@wiseriverman: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your visit and comment!
wiseriverman on July 05, 2013:
Your photos are really excellent and clear. I can't wait to get started.
Bob (author) from Kansas City on June 30, 2013:
@anonymous: Thanks for stopping by Katbrid, and sharing a comment. I'm sure your students will love learning how to make these cool bracelets.
anonymous on June 30, 2013:
I will practice this and teach it to my students in the fall. Thanks. I also like that you added the historical beginnings of this craft. My Uncle was a paratrooper in the Korean War and I bet he learned how to do this!
Bob (author) from Kansas City on June 07, 2013:
@Northerntrials: Anyone who was a Boy or Girl Scout recognizes many of the knot patterns, and frankly when its all said and done these are all variations of one old fashioned knot or another.
There's no doubt that these weaves and knots have been around for ages, its just that the paracord hobby has become so large that, well, people started giving them names all their own to differentiate them from macrame. And there are dozens, if not hundreds, of new variations on old knots and weaves that are specific to paracord. Guys like J.D. Lenzen have created an entirely new crafting segment with paracord.
Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.
Bob (author) from Kansas City on June 07, 2013:
@anonymous: Thanks Jen, I appreciate your visit.
Northerntrials on June 07, 2013:
When I was growing up these knots were all part of the macrame trend of the sixties. Putting cool names on the knots like cobra knots doesn't change it. It is still macrame. I got ribbed plenty for it but it never changed my hobby or love of ropework and fancy knots. Thanks for this lens. It was a great collection and it shows how simple it really is.
anonymous on June 07, 2013:
Thanks for sharing such good, easy directions and pics. Gives me faith I can figure it out
Bob (author) from Kansas City on May 23, 2013:
@angelatvs: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it and appreciate your comment.
angelatvs on May 23, 2013:
Really great lens!!!!!!
anonymous on April 27, 2013:
Like these all bracelets.
Bob (author) from Kansas City on April 08, 2013:
@GatorD: Great! Thanks for stopping by and sharing a comment.
GatorD on April 02, 2013:
Thank you for sharing this lens, I have been interested in a paracord bracelet and now I know how to make my own!
Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on March 16, 2013:
The pictures really make it easy to follow. Excellent craft tutorial.
Kirsti A. Dyer from Northern California on March 06, 2013:
Bob (author) from Kansas City on February 22, 2013:
@anonymous: Thanks for the nice words Beth... I really appreciate it. Most instructions do not use an S and Z example, rather they simply proceed with the square knots. And for the people just starting out it can seem complicated... what goes where. :) Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
anonymous on February 22, 2013:
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! I was overwhelmed trying to figure it out, but your step by step guide made it so easy! First try was a success!
caneilson on February 03, 2013:
This is totally cool--I've been dying to know how to make these! I'm glad it's not too complicated!
Bob (author) from Kansas City on December 31, 2012:
@anonymous: Hi Kim, thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I do have more to add to this lens, including making the bracelets in multiple colors, with buckles and also how to include a colored or reflective ribbon down the center. I'll hopefully be updating it soon. Happy New Year to everyone!
anonymous on December 31, 2012:
These are great. Do you have any instructions for making these survivor bracelets, like 2 color or with a "ribbon" showing in an alternate color?
Monica Lobenstein from Western Wisconsin on December 13, 2012:
Good clear instructions and pictures. Thanks!
anonymous on December 07, 2012:
I've wanting to do this and I'm happy to find your tutorial, Very cool! :)
MartieG aka 'survivoryea' from Jersey Shore on December 05, 2012:
Nicely done-photos make this a real learning lens :>)
Bob (author) from Kansas City on December 04, 2012:
@Zach Spangler: I've used my paracord bracelet or one of my lanyards, unraveled, many items for things like tie downs for my tent or for hoisting my bag into a tree at night, out of reach of critters. I've never had a life or death emergency requiring it, though. However, I've rappelled in the military and in personal life and i would trust the 550 cord to hold my weight "if I had to." That being said, I would avoid such a situation at all cost... it is only for an emergency, nothing more. Thanks for visiting and commenting, much appreciated.
darciefrench lm on December 04, 2012:
Excellent tutorial for how to make a paracord - something I should practice with my daughter
Zach Spangler on December 04, 2012:
Have you ever used one of these before? In an actual risky situation?
KimGiancaterino on November 23, 2012:
One of my first jobs was making beaded macrame necklaces and I could crank out one every 5-6 minutes. This is the first time I've seen paracord bracelets. Thanks for the excellent tutorial on making them, and congratulations on the success of your lens!
BeadCatz on August 02, 2012:
I have been looking for these. Thanks so much for posting this tutorial. Great job by the way.
Darla Dixon on May 30, 2012:
I made my first (and 2nd) paracord bracelets today! Great lens.
Frankie Kangas from California on May 30, 2012:
Excellent. I love learning how to do creative and practical things like this. Thanks for sharing. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster
anonymous on May 19, 2012:
I love everything military surplus so another use for paracord is always a good idea - particularly when it is a fun idea
anonymous on April 05, 2012:
Great step by step instructions!! I completed my desert camo bracelet last night and a woodland green camo this morning. It only took me literally 10-15 minutes to make both bracelets. Thank You again
Alan from Mobile, AL on April 02, 2012:
Great pictures. Inspiring me to finely get in gear and make a few myself. Thanks
goodee on March 31, 2012:
This is great! I love to backpack, so it is great to be able to make these myself now.
Hagglecoins on March 09, 2012:
I've tried this in the past through vids on youtube, and struggled. Thanks for the step-by-step pics, they REALLY helped me finally get my first one made!
JoshK47 on February 04, 2012:
Great information! Thanks for sharing it, and sharing it extremely well, to boot. Blessed by a SquidAngel!
WriterJanis2 on February 03, 2012:
Wonder instructions and a great idea.
daedrea lm on February 03, 2012:
lovet this lense! Very creative. This is great to link to on my next lens. :)
blessedmomto7 on February 02, 2012:
Very cool. Blessed.
Gayle Dowell from Kansas on February 02, 2012:
I really like this idea. We hike occasionally. This would be great to have on hand (wrist) in case of emergency.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on February 01, 2012:
Well now, this is just down right awesome! I need to make several of these. I have a couple of mountain climbing brothers and we all hike. Really, really awesome!
Renaissance Woman from Colorado on January 26, 2012:
I had been wanting to make a paracord bracelet so your instructions were very helpful. Thank you for these important survival resources. I did not know about the monkey fist. Looks like a great self defense weapon.
spartakct on January 23, 2012:
anonymous on January 12, 2012:
How very cool and functional with great instruction for others to successfully make a paracord bracelet! Blessed.
Sherry Venegas from La Verne, CA on December 31, 2011:
Knots are as fascinating as folded paper.