Getting Started

Beginners Guide to Paracord Knotting

Welcome to the remarkably relaxing hobby or paracord knotting. It might not seem like it at first when you’re trying to master your first knot and wondering where it all went wrong, but I assure you it will get much better.  I should warn you now though that it will become addictive and you will find yourself suddenly realising it’s 2am and you’re surrounded by bracelets, keyrings and the odd tarantula! (more on that later)

The aim of this post, and the reason I started KNOT Paracord, is to help get you knotting as quickly and as easily as possible and to show you how fun and relaxing paracording can be.

Things You’ll Need

The bare minimum items you’ll need to create your first paracord bracelet are:

  • 6ft of paracord (minimum)
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Buckle (optional)

If you’re under 16 then you’ll also need a responsible adult to do the cutting and melting. Although I’ve also seen some adults who could do with this too, you know who you are.

You may be wondering why I’ve listed the buckle as optional. This is because there are many bracelet designs that you can make which don’t require a buckle, you simply make a loop at one end and a ball knot at the other which slips through the loop.  However you will find it easier to use a buckle for your first bracelet.

Practice Makes Perfect

Before you get started with your first bracelet I’d recommend getting used to melting the ends of the cord. Yes, you get to play with fire and melt things, I told you it was a good hobby!  Seriously though, if you’re reading this and you’re under 16 then this is the bit you need to get your responsible adult to do.

A good practice exercise is to tie a small knot near the end of your paracord, then cut away the loose end of the paracord about 3-4mm away from the knot.

Next take the lighter and hold the blue part of the flame close to (but not touching) the section of paracord that you just cut, next to the knot. Hold the flame there for about 5 seconds and you’ll see the end of the paracord start to melt.  You don’t want to over melt it as this will give you a messy finish and you don’t want to melt the knot at all.

The next step is to push this melted blob of paracord into the knot to secure it.  I use the side of my lighter to do this, however I’ve also seen other people use the back of a tea spoon or a thimble (gives it a cool texture).

In this tutorial I’m using the side of my tried and tested cheapo lighter.

Once you’ve melted the end of the cord I recommend counting to 5 again to give the molten blob enough time to cool a little. I used to just melt and press it flat straight away, but I often got a messy finish, with it going too wide and leaving stringy bits at the side when I removed the lighter, as shown in the image below.

The next image shows what it looks like after waiting for 5 seconds after melting the loose ends.

Feel free to experiment on these practice knots to find the best melting and cooling times for you. It saves you messing up the first couple of bracelet you make.

Measuring Your Wrist

Some beginner tutorials will show you how to measure up your new bracelet on your wrist. However many tutorials will skip this part assuming that you already know how to do this.  So we’re going to show you how to do this properly.

If you’re using a buckle, then you’ll need to take your length of paracord (for a cobra bracelet that will be 8ft of paracord) and find the middle point.   Then tie the middle end of the paracord to one side of the buckle with a cow hitch knot and then take the other ends of the paracord and feed them through the other side of the buckle.

Place the paracord on your wrist and pull tight, making sure that the strands aren’t twisted.   Then slide two fingers under the cord around your wrist as you want a little bit of slack because you’re going to be tying paracord around these initial two strands which will reduce the inner diameter.

You’re going to want to secure the paracord while you take it off your wrist.   It can be really tricky to hold it yourself which trying to undo the buckle, so I use a clothes peg or hair clip to hold the strands securely while I take it off.

Now that you’ve got the measurement and know how to finish off the bracelet by melting the ends, you’re all ready to go.

Listed below are a number of different tutorials which are perfect for beginners.

Cobra Bracelet

This is by far the most popular paracord bracelet design out there.  Pretty much everyone starts with this design.  The main knot you have to do is pretty easy and just a case of repeating it again and again.  This is a great place to start.

Weavers of Eternity

Bored paracord

Fishtail

This is one of my favourite designs to wear.  It’s more of a weave than tying knots and very easy to learn to do.  The trickiest thing about this design is keeping the tension even so that it ends up even.  It’s a lot easier to make on a paracord jig as you get two hands free to pull the cords evenly and stop the last weave from coming undone as you do the next one.

Weavers of eternity

Why knot

Paracord knots

Snake knot

This design is definitely all knots and an easy one to do too.  The hardest thing about this bracelet design is to get each knot close to the last one but once you get used to pushing the knot close to the next as you tighten it you’ll find this design really rewarding.

Weavers of eternity

Bored paracord

Sliding knot

This is by far the easiest and most simple design to start with.  So much so I decided to pick two tutorials which add a little something extra to the design.  You don’t have to add the extra embellishments if you don’t want to.

Weavers of eternity

Bored paracord

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