Our tutorials will show how to make different paracord bracelets in various colors with a side-release buckle. When made on a larger scale, you can make this for use as a dog or cat collar as well. A reliable online source of paracord, and side-release buckles I recommend the Paracord Planet.
Step 1: Materials
• Paracord, or equivalent 1/8“ diameter cord
• Tape measure or ruler
• Side-release buckle
• Lighter (torch lighter works best).
Step 2: Measure Wrist
Wrap the paracord around your wrist and make a note of where the cord meets. Hold this point next to your ruler or tape measure, and that’s your wrist size.
Step 3: Find the Center of the Cord
Hold the ends of the cord together and find the center of the loop. Take the center of the cord and
pull it through one end of the buckle (either side of the buckle, it doesn’t matter).
Now pull the cord ends through the loop until it’s tightened up and attached to the buckle.
Step 4: Finding the Bracelet Length
Take the buckle apart and pull the free ends of the cord through the other part of the buckle, sliding it up toward the attached part. You’re going to measure the distance between the two buckle ends for the bracelet size for your wrist. Add about one inch to your measured wrist length; this will make the finished bracelet a comfortable fit. You’re measuring from the end of the female part of the buckle to the flat part of the male end of the buckle (the part with the prongs; they don’t count for the measurement because they fit inside the female part of the buckle when the bracelet is closed.).
Step 5: Start Making the Knots
The knot used for the bracelet has a few different names—Cobra Stitch, Solomon Bar, and Portuguese Sinnet. Take the cord on the left side and place it under the center strands running between the buckle ends. Now take the cord on the right side under the left-side cord, over the center strands, and through the loop of the left-side cord. Tighten up the cords so the half knot you just formed is next to the buckle. Now take the right-side cord under the center strands. The left-side cord goes under the right-side cord, over the center strands, and through the loop of the right-side cord. Tighten up the cords (not too tight, just until they meet the resistance of the knot) and now you have a completed knot. You will continue, alternating the left and right sides as you go. If you don’t alternate, you’ll quickly see a twisting of the knots, and just undo the last knot and begin alternating to correct.
Step 6: Continue Knotting
Keep tying the knots until you have filled the space between the buckle ends. The knots should be uniform from one end to the other. Tie each knot with the same tension to keep them all the same size.
Step 7: Trim the Excess Cord and Melt the Ends
You can now use your scissors to trim off the extra cord close to the last knot you tied. I trim one at a time and use my lighter to quickly melt the end I cut, wait a second for the melted cord to cool just a bit, and then use my thumb to press the melted end onto the surrounding cord so it hardens as it cools and attaches. You must be careful with this step. The melted cord is extremely hot, and it’s possible to get burned, so you might also try using a soldering iron or wood burning tool for the melting step if you wish, or you could even use something like a butter knife, the side of your lighter, or the knurled section of a tool to flatten out the melted end of the cord to finish it. An alternative to melting the ends is to tuck/pull the ends under the last couple of knots. I have used hemostats to do this on the inside of the bracelet, then trimmed them to finish. It does work, and is just barely noticeable, as the cords add a slight bulge at that end of the bracelet.
Step 8: You’re Finished
If you did everything correctly, it should look something like this finished one.
Once you know what you’re doing, you can vary the amount of cord used by making the knots tighter or looser and pushing the knots closer together as you go.
A tip for paracord bracelets: If the side-release buckle is large enough, you can loop the paracord around it again before you start knotting to fill in the extra room on the buckle. The 1/2” side-release buckles are a tight fit for this but will work, and the 5/8” size is just right. This leaves a two-strand core for the bracelet when you start knotting.
Now, you could also have a four-strand core by starting with a lark’s head on the first buckle end, double wrapping on the second buckle end (at your wrist size), running cord back to and over the first buckle end, then starting to knot over the four-strand core. Or, for a six-strand core, lark’s head first buckle, run the two strands around second buckle (at your wrist size), back to and around first buckle (now has four strands around), then back to and around the second buckle, and start knotting around the six core strands. This gives extra cord in case you need it for whatever, but it also makes the paracord bracelets thicker and more rounded, which I personally didn’t care for and that’s why I stick with the two strand core.
Step 9: Other Variations
Once you have the hang of the basic bracelet/collar, you can add another layer of cobra stitches overlapping first set of knots, called a King Cobra Stitch/Doubled Solomon Bar/Doubled Portuguese Sinnet. The amount of cord used for a king cobra is about twice as much as for the regular stitch. Both the 1/16“ and 3/32“ sizes work well for the bracelets and can be used alone or combined with paracord.
Glow-in-the-dark paracord is available now, found from various online vendors and on eBay, but I haven’t used any myself, so I couldn’t say if it’s any good or not, or how long it glows, etc.