Making a paracord bracelet

I’m all for saving money where I can, so I have a crafty, DIY streak that comes out once in awhile. Less often since I figured out that it really is easier to buy some things than take the time to make them myself, but still, it does come out.

I’ve long admired Survival Straps, which are beautifully made and come in every color combination imaginable, but I do think they are much too expensive for what they are: cleverly knotted rope bracelets. The idea behind wearing this type of bracelet is that if you should ever find yourself in a situation in which a length of rope is urgently needed, you need look no further than the end of your arm. Just break the buckle and the bracelet unravels into several feet of cord. They’re cool and functional and, as my sister would say, “excitingly chunky” in their design, which makes them perfect for me!

Not willing to spend nearly $30 to get one, however, I picked up a different brand of bracelet at REI the other day for about $10.

I studied it, decided it can’t be that difficult to replicate, and headed off to the local Army/Navy store. I bought 100 feet of cord for about $8 and a plastic buckle for less than a dollar. Since a typical bracelet uses less than 10 feet of cord, that’s less than $2 (retail) in supplies for each.

Next, I looked online for directions. Many options are available; I used this one.

People who are a bit more adept than I am at fine-motor tasks such as knot tying will sail right through this and have a finished bracelet in less than 10 minutes. It took me, um, a bit longer than that because knots confuse me, plus there’s that whole left-right alternating thing to keep track of. Overall, I think it came out reasonably well for a first one.

However, as you can see from the texture, the cord I got is not the pliable, smooth paracord I had expected. It is, I think, excessively chunky and stiff. If I decide to make more of these bracelets (or any of the other cool items you can make with the same technique, such as dog collars and leashes), I will be sure to get real paracord.


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