Survival in the wild and outdoors depends on a multitude of factors. Critically, having a strong sense of mind coupled with the right equipment is essential for being as prepared as possible. We’ve explored several key pieces of articles that will aid you in your expeditions outside… such as snake proof boots, which you can read about here.
A survival bracelet is something that every keen outdoor enthusiast can add to their repertoire. Their uses are countless and here are just a few, to give you an idea;
- Tie up gear.
- Make a shelter.
- Hang game for drying.
- Make a perimeter trip line for warning.
- Use as a tourniquet.
Immediately, the diversity is obvious and stands out as one of the most diverse and important pieces of equipment you can attach.
If you’re excited about the endless possibilities that this item can bring, that’s great and you’ve come to the right place! Today, we will be looking at how to construct numerous paracord bracelet patterns with our how to make paracord bracelet strategies and guides that you can immerse yourself in and become an expert within no time.
Before we get started, it’s important to understand what a paracord actually is.
To explain, paracord (parachute cord) is a lightweight nylon rope originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes during World War II.
In the field, paratroopers soon discovered that this cord was helpful for a multitude of tasks and jobs. This included; hanging tools from their belts, replacing broken or missing shoelaces, tying equipment down and of course just bundling gear together.
In modern times, this versatile cord is now used for more general purpose reasons by both military personnel and civilians alike. As such, it is used commonly amongst hikers and outdoor sports enthusiasts who will weave the paracord into a survival bracelet for use in the field.
The length is typically 50 to 100 feet long and also comes in a variety of colors. In addition, it can be purchased in larger quantities by the spool.
As you begin to dig deeper into the realm of paracord, you may come across the item being referred to as “Paracord 550.” The numeric digits are meaningful, as this denotes that it has a breaking strength of 550 pounds. You can imagine therefore that quite a lot of gear can be supported with that sort of power!
Seven inner strands are present which give the paracord its multi-functional ability, examples of uses have already been established above, but to expand even more on some “outside of the box” opportunities, here are some other ideas for you to consider:
- Make a sling for your arm
- Make an emergency belt to hold your pants up
- Make emergency suspenders
- Create makeshift hand cuffs
- Repair a zipper pull
Now, the inner strands of the core can also be removed when finer string is needed. This opens up the opportunity for even more uses which include sewing thread to repair gear, fishing line, tripwire, nets, traps, and other emergency and/or survival situations. The nylon sheath is often used alone (the strands in the core removed) when a thinner or less elastic cord is needed, such as when used as a boot lace. The ends of the cord are typically melted (easily achievable with a common lighter) which prevents fraying.
DIY paracord bracelets can also be used for many other functions instead of just survival bracelets. Fashionable in their own right, there are many paracord bracelet patterns such as knotted or braided bracelets that can be used as lanyards, key chains, belts, and other decorative items.
With the basics behind paracord established, let’s delay no more and get stuck in to the materials that will be needed so you can get on and read our paracord bracelet instructions!
What You Will Need to Make a Paracord Survival Bracelet
Paracord Almost stating the obvious here, but yes, you will need paracord!
Most Paracord Bracelets are made with either one or two colors of Paracor and we will explore how to make a paracord bracelet with two colors later on. In some instances, a survival bracelet can even have three colors. In the main, a bracelet will be constructed from one piece of paracord that is 8 feet in length, or two pieces woven together that are each 4-5 feet long.
Ruler or Tape Measure: Used for measuring the wrist (yours or whoever the bracelet will be for) and also to measure the bracelet itself.
Sharp Scissors or Knife: Necessary for cutting and trimming the ends of the paracord once your bracelet is complete.
Buckle (optional): Many of the paracord bracelets you see today are finished with plastic or metal buckles and we will be exploring how to make a paracord bracelet with buckle as one of our guides below. However, this is not a mandatory requirement and is simply something to consider.
Lighter or matches (optional): As we mentioned above, the ends of the Paracord on Bracelets are often burned and melted with a lighter or matches to secure the ends and keep the bracelet from unraveling. Just remember to stay safe and be careful with a naked flame. Also, the molten nylon or polyester material can stick to your skin and consequently leave a pretty nasty burn, so don’t get caught out.
That’s the list in essence and while there are additional materials that can be sought, for the tutorials below, the above will suffice.
So, here’s how we can make our first paracord survival bracelet
Step One: Measure Paracord
Measure and cut an 8 ft. piece of paracord. Match up two ends and find the center of the piece
Step Two: Thread through the Buckle
The top of the buckle will have a seam where two pieces (male and female) connect. Locate this. This seam should be on the right side of the buckle. Next, insert the apex of the loop from the top of the right side of the buckle, down through the opening.
Carry on threading the top of the loop over the summit of the left side of the buckle and into the opening. Now, open the buckle and pull the loop over the top of the female part of the buckle and pull it so it’s nice and tight.
Step Three: Measure
Determine the size of the bracelet by attaching it loosely around your wrist. As a tip, leave an extra inch so you can have some extra room for comfort. Unbuckle the bracelet and carefully retain the distance between to two buckles. Attach the female part of buckle at bottom of your weaving apparatus (this is where the buckles on the apparatus may be adjusted to fit your wrist measurement). Click the male part of the buckle at the top of the weaving apparatus. When both parts of the buckle are connected to the apparatus, pull on the free ends to prepare for the next step; weaving
Step Four: Weave
Tie a basic knot underneath the vertical cords of the bracelet. Next, pull the free ends of the cord out to the side to tighten. Notice that the cord on the right points down and the cord on the left points up. These positions will alternate with each weave. Always begin your weave with the cord that is pointing down. Continue the trend and cross the right cord over the vertical cords on the left side.
Now, take the top left cord and pull it down over the bottom cord and then under the vertical cords, and up through the loop on the right. Carry on and pull the free ends out to the side to tighten. As a reversal of what happened earlier, now you will notice the cord on the left is pointing down and the cord on the right is pointing up. Begin your next weave by crossing the left cord over the vertical cords to the right side. Take the top right cord and pull it down over the bottom cord, then under the vertical cords, and up through the loop on the left. As before, pull the free ends out to the side to tighten.
Repeat each weave until you get right to the bottom. If you do not alternate the weaves, the pattern will not look consistent and thus not get the desired effect. But if you make a mistake it’s okay and simple to correct; just undo the last knot and alternate it!
Step Five: Trim the Fat
Begin by pressing the ends to open up and expose inner white strands. Get as much of the white strands out as possible (this is called gutting). This is so that the outer shell of the paracord will melt together easier without the inner strands.
Step Six: Burn Baby Burn
Burn the gutted ends with the lighter or match as previous advised. When the ends begin to melt quickly and carefully turn it over and press the melted ends against the side of the lighter to seal the ends together. Remember, the melted paracord is extremely hot, and it’s possible to get burned. After a few seconds, the melted paracord will harden. Turn the lighter (twist it) to release the bracelet from the lighter. That’s it! Your first paracord survival bracelet is in the bag! Great job. Now, let’s see some other designs..
This Blaze Bar Quick Deploy paracord bracelet is designed with speed in mind. A survival situation often doesn’t give you time to react quickly, so fast thinking and action is required. We will again be employing a buckle and this survival bracelet aims to fit the mold of pace and ease of deployment and here’s how it’s made:
To start things off, attach your paracord to one side of the buckle. Follow this up by folding your piece in half and threading it through the buckle. Now pull the ends through the loop you made and pull it tight. Continue by attaching the other buckle and threading the loose ends through. Keep pulling along until the cord is at the correct length for you.
This is the weaving stage and it will vary slightly from what we saw above. Firstly, distinguish the ends by holding the left free strand on the left side of the buckle and the right will naturally mirror this, by being over on the right side. Take the left strand around the front and loop it around all pieces of the paracord and pull it back to the left side. You’ll notice you have a “core section” for both the left and right side and the next phase is to get your left loose piece and thread this over the left core segment. Now, take this under the right section and over the free right strand. The free right strand will now be taken and still being kept under the left free stand, pull it over the right core section and underneath the left core section and finally through the loop that has been created by the left strand. Pull to tighten.
A continuation really, the second segment will begin instead this time with the right free strand. Take this under the right core section and pull it over the left sector and under the left free strand. The left strand is now taken under the left core piece and carried over the right core piece and up through the loop on the right side. Push this weave up and then pull the free strands in their opposite directions to tighten. Keep repeating these steps until you work your way down to the second buckle.
The finishing touches can be applied now, with loose ends being trimmed and then finally cut off and burned with your lighter or match.
The next bracelet we’ll look at will vary slightly as we will be looking at how to make a paracord bracelet without buckle.
This iteration is sometimes referred to as a “cobra stitch” and will require multiple lengths of paracord.
Begin with 4 different pieces of paracord, which are different colors. The measurements are as follows, but don’t worry if you’re not exactly on the money, just try and make sure you have more, rather than less! (Colors below are to be used as an example)
- 1 foot (0.3 m) black paracord
- 5.5 feet (1.7 m) orange paracord
- 3 feet (0.9 m) orange paracord
- 3 feet (0.9 m) grey paracord
Grab your lighter and slightly burn the end of each piece of paracord so that the strands inside melt into one solid lump.
Now, take your 1 foot piece of paracord and the 5.5 feet piece. With each piece, form a loop. Next, take the longer piece and place it beneath the shorter one.
Continuing on, make an overhand knot whereby the shorter paracord will be vertical, with the longer part horizontal.
Pull as tight as possible and this will create a loop at the top with a knot appearing just below it. The shorter paracord now acts as the “core” while the manipulated piece will be the longer one.
Following on, take the right paracord beneath the shorter paracord, but over the top of the left one. Pull the left paracord across and above the shorter piece through the loop that has been formed. Finally, pull as tight as possible to make it nice and compact.
Repeat the above step but alternate direction and make the knot so that it will cover the entirety of your wrist. Finally, you can cut and burn each end of the paracord, but take care as you do not want to burn the cords inside.
The final design we look at will again make use of color as we examine how to make a paracord bracelet with two colors in a tire tread configuration.
For this design, a side release buckle and two pieces of 9 foot paracord are required. The color examples will be used again as a reference, you can choose whichever combination takes your fancy!
Take your yellow paracord and fold it in half to navigate the center. Take this loop and feed it through the slot on the female side of the buckle. Now, pull the ends through and tighten sharply around the buckle.
Repeat the first step but with your black piece of paracord and attach to the male side of the buckle. Remember to pull it at the end so it fits snugly around said buckle.
Here’s where we can begin to prepare the black paracord to attach to our yellow piece. To begin with, measure the length of your bracelet with some measuring tape. It can be any size you desire, but for the purpose of this guide we will be creating a seven inch bracelet. Use your fingers to keep the length of the bracelet true, fold the two ends down which will create two loops. Take the right strand and pull it over the center and then underneath the left strand. To complete, then take the left piece under the center and pull up through the right loop.
We’ve deliberately saved this tutorial for last as now things can become a little tricky, but fear not; you have more than enough capability to see this through!
We’re now going to take the yellow paracord and ends through the “bunny ear” loops that were just created with the black paracord. The part which can get confusing is making sure the buckles are facing the same direction on completion. In order to achieve this, lay out your yellow paracord and it will become obvious if things are incorrect once you pull this all the way through the loops.
With the buckles attached and our paracord locked down, we can begin with the weaving process. Take your yellow paracord first and pull the right strand under the middle piece and over the left strand. Then take the left yellow paracord and pull it over the center piece and then through the right side and finally pull to tighten. Repeat this process, but now with the black paracord and keep going until you reach the bottom of the bracelet.
Once down to the end, you can finish off the paracord survival bracelet. Take the last cord you end up with and pull it over the center and underneath the left piece. Continue by taking this left piece and pull it under the center and through the right loop and then pull to tighten.
Learn how to make the Diamond Braid Stitch & the Shark Jaw Bone Stitch paracord bracelets!
We’ve now gone through several iterations of the infamous survival bracelet that dominates the world of hiking and outdoor exploration. Any of these designs will see you in good stead out in the field and as we explored earlier, there are multiple uses that can be employed. Practice first with the initial designs and then you can build confidence and then move on and try your hand at some trickier variations. Remember don’t worry if you make a mistake, usually it is very obvious what’s gone wrong (such as incorrect weave) and can be rectified very quickly. So take the guides above, grab your gear and go and have fun!
Some complementary knowledge to keep yourself safe, sane and in control: