Paracord bracelets were survival bracelets long before they became fashionable. Survivalists and service members wear survival bracelets in case they need to rig a shelter, build a fire, or create a trap.
Today, paracord bracelets are found on the arms of people of all ages, and colors of paracord exist to match every outfit.
Whether you’re trying to impress your teenager or searching for paracord bracelet instructions for survival preparedness, making these bracelets is a fun craft! Keep reading to learn how to make a paracord bracelet.
What You Need
We recommend buying a beginners’ kit like the MONOBIN Paracord Bracelet Kit, which comes with every color of paracord you can imagine, buckles, a fid, plus keychains and an emergency whistle to tie to your bracelets. This is the kit we’ll be using.
The caveat with this kit is it is made from low-quality paracord, which makes it difficult to make multi-colored bracelets often seen in intermediate and advanced bracelet tutorials. This is because the paracord is not sturdy enough to fuse easily.
If you plan on becoming a paracord bracelet expert and want to try out some of the more difficult weaves, you want to buy high-quality paracord made in the USA like Paracord Planet‘s Paracord.
Paracord Planet is based out of Fargo, North Dakota, and makes some of the best quality paracords you can find in every color and pattern you can dream of finding.
We’ll describe all the required and optional supplies you need for making paracord bracelets below before diving into how to make a paracord bracelet.
You need around 10 feet of paracord to make a paracord bracelet, depending on the size of your wrist. The rule of thumb is 1 foot of paracord for every inch of your wrist.
You can use any scissors to cut your paracord (we tried three different kinds, and they all worked). However, paracord naturally frays, so high-quality fabric scissors minimize the fraying and make cutting easier.
LIghters melt the ends to prevent your bracelet from fraying. Any lighter should do the trick.
It’s easier to work with less paracord, so you need a measuring tape to measure how much paracord you need.
Needle or Fid
Needles and fids come in handy while you’re weaving, especially toward the end of the bracelet. You can get away without using either one if you have long nails.
Side Release Buckle
Side-release buckles are great for beginners not used to tying stopper knots.
Buckles are hard to bring with you into the wilderness since they’re easy to lose or misplace during travel. If you’re making paracord bracelets for survival rather than fashion, skip the buckle and learn how to make a stopper knot.
Paracord Jig Board
A paracord jig board will make weaving much easier because it holds your paracord in place while you work your weave down the bracelet.
You can also use a sturdy piece of tape to hold your paracord in place while you weave or a second set of hands will work too. Paracord bracelets are fun to make with friends!
How to Make a Paracord Bracelet: Easy Paracord Bracelet Instructions
Step #1: Measure Your Wrist and Cut the Cord
You need one foot of paracord for every inch of your wrist when weaving paracord. That might seem like a lot, but the last thing you want is to run out of paracord before you’ve finished making the bracelet.
A little extra is better when you’re first starting because you can’t grow paracord back once it’s been cut. If you are using the stopper knot method, you will need a little more paracord than the buckle method–it is much easier to tie knots with longer strands.
Note: It’s easier to measure what you’re cutting versus what you’re keeping if you’re using a 10-foot paracord. This is because most measuring tapes are not 96 inches long, so it’s easier to measure out 24 inches and cut that section.
Step #2: Use a Lighter to Melt the Ends
Use a lighter to melt the ends of your paracord. Paracord naturally frays when you cut it, and melting the ends will take care of future fraying.
Hold the end of your paracord in the flame for around three seconds until it starts to melt. Flatten the paracord with your thumb while it’s still hot.
Step #3: Fold the Cord in Half
Fold the entire length of the cord in half. At that halfway point, this is where you’re either going to get out your buckles or tie a stopper knot on each end of where your bracelet will be.
Either wrap the paracord around your wrist to determine where the knots or buckles will be, or get out your trusty measuring tape. Tip: You should be able to fit two fingers inside the bracelet for a proper fit.
Once you’ve identified your start and end points, you’re ready to either tie a knot on each end or weave the paracord into the side-release buckles.
Stopper Knot Method
A stopper knot is used to prevent your paracord from slipping. It should be strong and difficult to untie.
The most commonly-used stopper knots for paracord bracelets are the Ashley Stopper Knot, also known as Oysterman’s Stopper, and the Figure 8 Knot, but there are dozens of types of knots you can learn how to do to add a creative touch to your bracelet.
We like Oysterman’s Stopper for those who are first learning how to make paracord bracelets because it’s simple and easy to do, and it doesn’t come undone as easily as the Figure 8 Knot. You may see others recommending the Figure 8 Knot because it’s a simple knot.
Oysterman’s Stopper has three rims that are symmetrical when viewed from under the knot. To make the knot, make a curve and fold it over twice.
You should see a loop formed over the loop. Pull the piece of paracord up and slide your working rope in from behind that piece.
Tighten the half knot first, then pull the tail tight and the standing end. You should see the three separate lobes on the underside of the knot now. (You will need to adjust your knot to see the three lobes.)
Tip: It is easier to do this knot with your paracord resting on a flat surface as opposed to holding it in your hands, and you should always have the working end of your paracord on the same side as your dominant hand.
Do this process at both ends of what will become your paracord bracelet.
Paracord Bracelet Instruction #4: Weave Your Pattern
This is where you start your weave. Though there are dozens of paracord bracelet patterns, we’ll share with you the three basic weaving patterns anyone can do in this article.
While you are weaving, you may need to cut off the excess fray that appears, then melt it with your lighter to seal it. At the end of your weave, you may need to use a needle or fid to finish up.
You don’t have to do a weave if you don’t want to, though. Minimalist paracord bracelets are growing in popularity on Etsy.
Skip to step 5 if you plan to skip the weave. You will still have a neat-looking bracelet that serves its survival purpose.
Step #5: Clip Off the Extra Cord
Once you’ve finished your weave (you may need to use a needle or fid to finish the last couple of weaves), you will need to clip the ends with fabric scissors. How much paracord is left will vary based on the size of the bracelet you made and the amount of paracord you started with.
Step #6: Melt the Ends and Press the Ends
The next paracord bracelet instruction is to melt the ends of your bracelet with the lighter.
While the ends are still hot, gently press the cord ends until they’re flat. You may want to wear heat-resistant gloves if you have extra sensitive hands, but most people should not have a problem touching the hot cord.
How to Make a Paracord Bracelet Frequently Asked Questions
How much weight can a paracord bracelet hold?
This varies by paracord, though the most common paracord used today is Paracord III 550, which can hold 550 pounds of static weight and 110 pounds of working weight.
It can even support a human if you are not moving and weigh less than 550 pounds! (Though if you do move or fall, it will break unless you weigh less than 110 pounds).
What are the uses of a paracord bracelet?
People love paracord because it’s versatile and can be used for so many reasons: tying down gear, making a shelter, catching fish, repairing objects, and so much more. Who knew one bracelet was capable of so much?
Wrapping Up How to Make a Paracord Bracelet
Now you have all the tips and tools you need to start making your own paracord bracelets. If you’re wanting to get inspired while learning how to make paracord bracelets, check out our favorite Survival Bracelets that you can buy right now.