Knots and Ropes

Paracord Bracelet Instructions

All credit for these instructions goes to this site.

Paracord bracelets are a neat bit of gear. If you're an outdoors type of person, or you want to make a gift for an outdoors type of person, then this is the project for you.

Each bracelet is in effect a miniature survival kit, holding 10 feet of 550 paracord. Use it to construct an emergency shelter, or repair your rucksack with the yarns in the central core.

The bracelet is comfortable to wear and has a neat two-tone effect. You could even make one using the colors of your favorite sports team. Of course, you can use these same instructions to make paracord bracelets in a single color, like these:

Paracord is strong stuff. It was originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes in WWII. The "550 cord" typically used in paracord bracelets has a minimum breaking strength of 550lb (250kg).

Making the bracelet is actually really easy. Don't get freaked out by the length of this page - it's only that long because I put in plenty of pictures for each step. You'll probably finish your first paracord bracelet within 20 minutes or so.

First up, you'll need to gather your...

Paracord Bracelet Materials

You will need:

  • 5 feet (1.5m) of paracord in one color
  • 5 feet (1.5m) of paracord in another color*
  • 2 1/2 feet (75cm) of paracord in whatever color
  • Scissors
  • Lighter

Paracord Bracelet Instructions

Step 1 - Set Bracelet Size

Double over the 2 1/2 foot length of paracord, and tie a simple overhand knot an inch or two from the loose ends. Like this:

Check the size of the bracelet by putting the loop over the knot, like below. This will be the size of the bracelet:

It's best to make the bracelet slightly loose. The band will become fatter and fit more tightly once it's finished. Don't worry too much about getting the size exactly right at this stage, because you'll have a chance to fine-tune it later.

Step 2 - Join Long Pieces Together

Skip this step if you're making a single-color paracord bracelet. 

Step 3 - Cobra Stitch

Arrange the paracord pieces in a "t", with the long, joined piece behind the short piece. The join in the long piece should sit directly beneath the short piece. Here's a big-picture view and a zoomed in view of what I mean:

Now comes a knot called cobra stitch, also known as a Solomon bar orPortuguese sinnet. Whatever you call it, it's pretty straightforward.

First, you take the right arm of the "t" and throw it over to the left - in my case, that's the red strand. Then feed the left (black) strand through the loop made on the right, as the green arrow shows here:

Here's a series of photos to make it clearer. When you tighten the knot, leave about 1" (2.5cm) of loop a the top. Make your knots firm, but not too tight. (Too tight and the bracelet will be stiff and inflexible.)

Then make another cobra stitch that's a mirror image of the first one. For me, that means folding the red strand from left to right, then feeding the right (black) strand behind and through the loop, as shown by the green arrow here. It's exactly what you did for the first cobra stitch, but with left and right reversed.

Continue adding more and more cobra stitches, alternating sides. It will always be one color that you fold over the top, and the other color that you tuck behind and through the loop. For me, it's always the red strand that goes over the top, and the black strand that gets tucked behind and goes through the loop.

You can bunch the stitches closer together by holding onto the overhand knot at the bottom of the bracelet, and pushing the cobra stitches up toward the loop at the top. Put something through the loop first (e.g. a ruler), to stop the stitches sliding right off the top. 

Keep adding cobra stitches until you get to within about 1/2" (1cm) of the granny knot at the bottom. Once you've made all the cobra stitches, your bracelet will look something like this:

Step 4 - Tidy Up Loose Ends

After checking that your bracelet is the right size, it's time to snip off all the loose ends. You'll have two loose ends from the overhand knot, and two loose ends from the cobra stich.

Pick one loose end to start with. Cut it short, to leave about 1/4" (5 mm) poking out of the bracelet.

Melt this end with a lighter, and press on the molten end with a wet finger. This stops it fraying. Also, by pressing on the end, you squash it into a sort of mushroom shape, which stops it working loose. Just be careful not to burn your fingers!

Repeat for the other loose ends.

Here's a picture of one of the molten ends to show you what I mean:

That's it! Your bracelet is finished. Cool huh?