Saturday, February 17, 2007

Making a paracord bracelet with a side release buckle


I occasionally get asked how to attach a buckle when making a paracord bracelet. There are a few tutorials on making the bracelets online to learn from, but they don't show how to make one using a side-release buckle.

I think the photos I've taken will be self explanatory. There are various sources for the buckles, like your local hobby/craft stores or online like ebay. There come in various shapes, sizes, and materials. I get my side release buckles from Creative Designworks and used the 1/2" curved ones for this tutorial, but you can use the other sizes if you prefer, like the 3/8" or 5/8". The 1/2" just match up with the braided width of the cobra stitch knot(also called Solomon bar and Portuguese sinnet), but the 5/8" work well too if you double up the cord when looping onto the buckle ends.

*Note: You can also make dog or cat collars by using a buckle and making a larger version of the bracelet. Paracord comes in a variety of types/colors/quality and can be found at various online sources, but a good source that I use for top quality 550 paracord is the Supply Captain. Lighthound also carries paracord and sells by the foot if you want smaller amounts than the usual 100 foot hank of cord.

The amount of paracord to use will vary with the size wrist it's being made for as well as other methods of increasing the amount of cord used by running more cord between the buckle ends which will be covered by the knots and making a thicker bracelet using the king cobra stitch. For this tutorial, I've stuck with what I think is the simplest method. I would start with a cord length of about 10 feet, so you'll have plenty to work with. You can figure to use about 1 foot of paracord for every inch of wrist size. The other methods can easily double the amount of cord used.

To measure wrist size, take the end of your paracord and wrap it around your wrist and take note of where it meets. Lay that out against a ruler and you have your wrist size. To make a comfortably sized bracelet, the measured length between the end of the female part of the bracelet and the flat end of the male part of the bracelet(male part is the end with the prongs, not used in measuring since they're inside the other part when buckle is connected) when you 've attached the cord, the length should be at least 1 inch longer than your wrist size when you start knotting. Find the middle of the length of cord and attach it to one end of the buckle, either end will do. My wrist size is about 8 and 1/2 inches, so I will start knotting after measuring out the starting length of about 9 and 1/2 inches.

When you've finished knotting, trim and melt the ends, press the melted ends so it attaches to the surrounding cord(careful not to burn yourself), and you're done. Enjoy.

30 comments:

Suparna said...

really the design of these bracelet are very beautiful...good product!

Zak said...

Have you ever made a paracord bracelet with no buckle or release? I tried and it turned out OK, except that you have to size it perfectly to be able to slip it on your wrist and still not be too loose.

Stormdrane said...

Sure, I've made them without a buckle by using knot/loop closure, BDU button sewn on with loop, metal washers, wooden beads, and even a penny with a hole drilled in the center for a closure. All before I figured out how to do it with a side release buckle.

I still occasionally make them with just a loop/knot to finish and if there's a bit of excess cord, I just run it up around the bracelet after it's on to keep it out of the way.

Zak said...

Have you ever done it like this?
I added my idea onto my new blog.
http://zak-thisandthat.blogspot.com/2009/02/paracord-bracelet.html
(I got the idea for the blog from yours, I hope you don't mind)

Stormdrane said...

Looks good. I haven't done one that way, though I have seen a couple done without a buckle with the ends tucked into the other side so it has a seamless look.

Another blogger recently posted one(done with pink paracord, IIRC), but I can't think of who did that one. If I can find it, I'll post a link.

Anonymous said...

My husband works with a young man who is very intersted in crafts and selling his work and trying to find his niche in the craft world. I have suggested this bracelet but I am also wondering if you could create one that is wider and could double as a coffee cup holder....I am thinking it can be a cuff/braclet and also used as a heat shield for the coffee drinker... Kind of a Coffee Cuff! get it. ha.
Anyway, think about it...and I will be watching your blog to see if you come up with a design.

Stormdrane said...

Here are a couple that might work for that:

One, but done with a couple of 1/2" or 5/8" buckles side-by-side, instead of the 'way too big' 1/5" buckle I used.

Two, this wide one may also work, again done with a couple of buckles side-by-side, instead of the single one I used.

Brian, of the Knot Heads World Wide website, has made some 'Java jackets' that fit coffee cups. It's a bit beyond the easier stuff I know how to make, but looks great.

Jean-Paul said...

Awesome job. My son is 15 and I'm one of his Boy Scout leaders. I am really having fun re-learning knots and lashings. I plan on showing off your bracelet on our next backpacking trip. Keep up the good work on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say thanks for these instructions, just starting making them, LOVE IT!! the buckle website is fast and i picked up paracord from a local store. Im getting ready to make a bunch of bracelets for my fellow LA dodger fans and would like to know if you can make the basic paracord bracelet with two colors(and how?) (obviously navy blue and white) without having to have the giant king cobra, which ill probably end up doing a couple just to see what its like. my email is ezgoo24@yahoo.com, thanks stormdrane, these are a lot of fun!!

Stormdrane said...

Just sew, melt, or glue two colors of paracord together, at what would be about the halfway point of a single color strand bracelet, and loop onto a buckle end following the side release buckle tutorial from there. The attached point will be set in the core of the bracelet and covered by the knots.

Two color paracord bracelet(without a buckle) tutorial, shows how to connect two colors.

Anonymous said...

BRILLIANT..THANK YOU!!!

james.tb97 said...

yeah i went on FireBox and saw the link for this blog... the bracelet as you know is £21.95 but you can buy the stuff and make it for £2.98... how cool... XD

Anonymous said...

you can make one of those for £02.98 and buy one off firebox for £21.95... XD

Stormdrane said...

Yes, I posted this tutorial and a few others, like these on instructables.com, so folks can learn to make their own instead of paying someone to do it for them.

But, not everyone wants to take the time to learn something new, so if they want to spend money on one that someone else made, I guess it just stimulates the economy a little more... ;)

Anonymous said...

I meant to add my original post here. Thanks again for the tutorial. It's a great way to spend time with my daughter. We've made a few bracelets and tried two-tone with success. We just can't get them to end as nice as yours but I assume it'll come with time. Our lanyards look good as well. Do you sell or give lessons/classes in the area? Are you projects indexed in any way or do we just need to search through your blog? Thanks again from a fellow Henry Co. resident.

Stormdrane said...

I've not done any in-person teaching or classes for knot work. I just put up the occasional tutorial, some on YouTube and the Instructables websites, and try to link to online resources that are also available to learn from for specific projects throughout the blog.

I also have about 20 knot books that I own linked with some others I'd like to eventually get, that are good to look for at your local library or bookstores/online.

There's a 'Blog Archive' down the side of my main blog page, which displays month/year with number of posts made, that'll bring those up.

I currently have 285 posts, and set the blog to display 20 per page. There's an 'Older Posts' link at the bottom of the last post of each page that goes back in chronological order from there.

The search bar at the top of the page can be used to bring up some key words for looking through the blog too.

Gerard said...

I saw how to make the double color bracelet w/o buckle, how do you make it with? I have also seen 3 colors. 1 on the edges, 1 on the inner, and 1 that appears to be in the middle of the knots.

Gerard said...

How can I make this? I already bought the rope from supply captain and the buckles from creative designworks. I am a soldier and would enjoy learning how to make this, and creating this, rather than being charged $20. This is what I was asking about in the previous question. Thank you so much.

http://www.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=1961057#

Stormdrane said...

Gerard,

After attaching two colors of paracord by sewing, melting, or super gluing them together, you then have one length of cord to work with, which you loop the center of onto the buckle and tie it just like a single colored length of paracord.

The attached section of the cord it just off center of where you loop onto the buckle and is the core strands that get knotted over, so the connection is hidden by the knots.

I haven't tied them with the third color, like is done in your link, but it looks to be a third length of cord looped onto the buckle ends and positioned over the core strands and then knotted over.

Miss said...

Can you post pics of how to make a 2 color bracelet with the buckle?? I am trying to make one without a lot of ends all over the place! I usually make them with no buckle, but I really like the buckle! THANKS!

Stormdrane said...

For two colors, you just sew, melt, or glue the two colors together and follow the tutorial.

If you use 10 feet of cord for a single color bracelet, the two color would use 5 feet of each color. When you loop onto the buckle, the connected section will be in the center and knotted over.

An example of attaching two colors can be seen in my snake knot lanyard instructable.

shapewear said...

do you have a tutorial of this without the release buckle? I would like to make the paracord bracelet as is without using a buckle. But I make a bad knot, would like to know if you have a better tieing method.

Stormdrane said...

@shapewear

I haven't done a tutorial for one without the buckle, besides the slip-on type paracord bracelet, since there are already quite a few out there/online for tying them with knot/loops and beads/buttons type closures, both new and old postings. Here's a couple:

550 cord bracelet

How to make a paracord bracelet

There are more on the instructables website and YouTube, and watching the different ones can help someone see the process done from different perspectives, and that usually helps in understanding the process.

Using a lanyard knot or monkeys fist knot, can be on the larger size for some folks with the knot and loop closure, and some prefer a simple small over hand knot with the end strands, doubled up, and while not as secure as a buckle, they can still hold well enough.

susan said...

I have seen bracelets with another color running through the middle (ie: thin blue line). Do you have instructions for that type of bracelet?

Stormdrane said...

@susan, I don't have instructions for it, but all that's being done, is taking that single strand and working it over/under the knots of the bracelet as it's being tied. There's enough extra at the start and finish ends to be tucked in on the underside of the bracelet at the buckle ends.

Hazna Khaled said...

Thanks for this tutorial!
I just made my own today, but couldn't find any real paracord anywhere in my town, but I'll keep looking. I put the result on my blog+ put a link to yours for the instructions, hope you don't mind!
http://haznakhaled.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Stormdrane, Great info across all of your sites. I have some scout questions for you. Would you be able to shoot me an email at knots @ pack710 dot org?

Thanks,

GAP

Anonymous said...

I love this site. I just discovered it and I also want to try the two colores braceletes. I want to try and make keychains.

Anonymous said...

I bought a parachute cord bracelet with a buckle/ fastner on it and it bearly fastens around my wrist. Can I stretch it,if so how?

Stormdrane said...

@Anonymous, You can try to stretch it out by pulling both ends in opposite directions, but it's not likely to stretch out very much if at all. It may actually shrink up some if it gets wet/washed, depending on the actual paracord it's made from.

Varieties of paracord with polyester material will tend to shrink up where nylon is less likely to do so.

I encourage folks to tie their own, so that they can make it to fit 'just right', whether that's loose, snug, or somewhere inbetween. ;)