Updated November 2019 for more tutorials and projects
Paracords are more than just glorified lengths of cordage. In the right hands, these sturdy cords can save your behind in an emergency or survival situation. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that they’re probably the most versatile piece of gear that you can carry in your EDC kit or bug out bag.
Initially used in parachutes and that odd space mission to fix the Hubble telescope, paracords have now been used to:
But these are not what makes the paracord special.
The unique thing about a paracord is that it’s the only survival tool that you can transform into other useful (and even fashionable) items. Many of these items can be unraveled or deployed real quick, so you can use your paracord when the need arises.
Ready to get crafty? Here are some basic paracord knots and badass paracord projects that you definitely have to do:
Basic Paracord Knots
Before we dive into complex paracord projects, let’s lay down some basics. Knots are the foundation of any paracord project. Familiarizing yourself with these basic paracord knots allows you to easily make patterns, mix and match designs, and complete paracord projects faster.
Here are a few basic knots that you have to know:
Box Knot or Square Knot
Otherwise known as the Square Knot, the Box Knot is one of the easiest paracord knots that you can make. As the name suggests, this knot has a square shape and produces a nice, compact weave. Lots of preppers use this knot to shorten and organize long lengths of paracord. The Square or Box Knot has tons of applications, like keychains, fobs, lanyards, and bracelets.
The Snake Knot makes for bad-ass looking bracelets and lanyards. This distinct weave takes on a round snakeskin pattern when done and stores a moderate amount of paracord. It needs a moderate skill level, though, so make sure to practice tying it often.
There are a lot of stopper knots out there but they all have the same purpose: to prevent your paracord creation from unraveling. This video features an insanely simple single-strand stopper knot, which you can use to finish off just about any project.
Button knots make excellent stoppers for single-strand bracelets. One of the most common button knots to put together is the Celtic Button Knot. Unlike the basic stopper knot discussed above, Celtic Button Knots require a bit more complexity, with one end of the paracord weaving in and out of multiple loops. You can check out how to make a one-strand 550 paracord bracelet with a Celtic Button Knot stopper on the video above.
Sliding knots allow you to adjust the size of your paracord bracelet with ease. Just make sure not to singe the sliding knots onto the main length of cord— you’d still want them to move freely!
Barrel knots are one of the most versatile knots out there. Similar to a sliding knot, you can use it to adjust the length of the paracord or connect one length of paracord with another.
Fishtail knots may look fancy, but they’re super durable, too. This knot requires a bit of skill and two lengths of paracord, but don’t let that scare you. The tutorial above is extremely easy to follow. When done right, you’ll end up with one clean-looking bracelet and a lot of paracord at your disposal.
Badass Paracord Projects That You Can Try
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some cool paracord projects that you can try at home or at camp:
Keychains, Fobs, and Lanyards
How To Make A Paracord Crown Sinnet Keychain
Paracord keychains are so simple, even newbies can make them in one sitting. You can make this crown sinnet keychain by stacking one box knot on top of the other. All you need is two lengths of paracord, each about 35 inches long (different colors for extra cool points) and a keyring.
The idea is to simply thread the keyring with your paracord and create a chain of box knots. Once you’re happy with the length of the crown sinnet, tighten the last knot, snip off the edges and singe with a lighter. And that’s it! You’ve got yourself a paracord keychain.
How To Make A Quick-Deploy Paracord Key Fob
Like the Crown Sinnet Keychain, anybody can make this quick-deploy paracord key fob. This project only involves a single strand of paracord, but it’s quite robust and sturdy. All you’ll need is around 5-6 feet of cord and…well, that’s actually all you need.
Seal one end with an overhand knot and from there just twist the cords over itself and lock it down towards the end. If you want to deploy it, just pull the end with the overhand knot free and the rest comes unraveling in a few seconds.
How To Make A Paracord Key Fob Trilobite Style
There are key fobs…and then there are paracord key fobs done trilobite style. If you’re looking for a basic but cool-looking project, try this one out.
This trilobite key fob may look very small, but it can already give you about 4 feet of paracord. That’s enough to get you out of most survival situations. The loops at the beginning can be a bit daunting for newbies, but don’t worry, we’ve picked out a very easy-to-follow tutorial just for you.
How To Make A Paracord Lanyard
Lanyards make for excellent paracord projects. They can store long lengths of paracord, are easily accessible, and can carry a wide variety of gear. This tutorial features a paracord lanyard using a cobra knot, which is arguably one of the easiest but meanest-looking knots out there.
To make the paracord lanyard, you’ll need a lot of paracord (about 17 feet in total), two pairs of buckles, and an s-biner. Start by folding the paracord in half and tying the buckles on both ends. Make sure that the paracords are of equal length before beginning. Then it’s just a matter of making nice Cobra weaves from one end to the other.
How To Tie Paracord Zipper Pulls
Got scraps of paracord lying around? Turn them into these cool zipper pulls. This project will not only help you tidy up, you’ll also have small, convenient pieces of paracord on hand. In a survival or emergency situation, you can transform these zipper pulls into mini-lanyards for gear, fish bait, and even fire starters. And if you don’t get to use them for survival, then at least you walk away with 7 really cool zipper pull designs for your bug out bag or backpack.
Wearable Paracord Projects
How To Make Mad Max Paracord Survival Bracelet
When the action movie Mad Max: Fury Road came out in 2015, paracord junkies were quick to notice that the movie’s protagonist, Mad Max, was sporting a paracord bracelet. What’s cool is that this bracelet uses a simple cobra weave done in dark green and anyone can make it. Instead of a fixed buckle, the bracelet uses a stopper knot at the very end. This feature makes the bracelet adjustable. Making this involves really tight knots towards the end so don’t forget to keep your fids nearby.
How To Make A Quick-Deploy Paracord Millipede Bracelet
Here’s another type of bracelet that you can do with paracord. It’s not as simple as the Mad Max bracelet (this one uses a slightly advanced millipede bar), but it does have a lot of upsides. First off, it’s a quick deploy bracelet, meaning you can actually unravel it in a matter of seconds. Second, the sturdy millipede style uses at least 16 feet of paracord, which can really save your neck in a survival situation. Don’t forget to have a screw pin shackle handy to lock everything in place.
How To Make A Paracord Watchband
Who doesn’t like a cool watch band? This project uses a trilobite weave from a single strand of paracord. You’ll need approximately 10 feet of paracord and a buckle. The trilobite weave is comfy and flexible so it shouldn’t feel too rigid around your wrist. This style even allows you to conveniently change the watch’s batteries.
How To Make A Paracord Belt
The usual rule when making projects like this is that you’d need one foot of paracord for every inch. For example, this tutorial wanted to create a 40-inch belt, so they used 40 feet of tan and brown paracord. A shorter length of black core cord was thrown in the mix, too.
These three cords were then woven into a wide solomon bar. To complete the project, use a 1.5-inch buckle. The result? A cool and sturdy camo belt that you can use for any occasion. Should the need arise, you can unravel or deploy at least 80 feet of cord (remember you’ve got 2 40-feet cords) and in a survival situation, that length can go a long way.
Paracord Projects For Everyday Carry Gear
How To Make A Quick Deploy Paracord Handle Wrap
When they’re not woven into belts or bracelets, paracords are often turned to handle wraps for just about any tool. You’re hitting two birds with one stone when you make a paracord handle wrap: you save a lot of space in your bag and you can get a better grip on your tools. This type of handle wrap is also quick to deploy. Simply undo the bottom and the whole wrap unravels with a pull. You can shrink the wrap by submerging it in warm water for several seconds. You can also use wax for better grip.
How To Make A Paracord Swiss Army Knife Sheath
You know what’s better than having a Swiss Army Knife in your EDC kit? It’s having a Swiss Army Knife and a matching paracord knife case in your EDC kit. A case helps secure your knife and keeps it from getting lost in your bag or glove compartment. It also protects your other gear from getting scratched.
The project uses a diamond knot for a stopper and a standard cobra knot for its body. All you gotta do to complete the pouch is grab a fid and tie the sides. You can also use this same method to create a pouch for other EDC gear like multitools and flashlights.
How To Make A Paracord Lighter Holder
Tired of always losing or dropping your lighter? Here’s a simple solution: make a lighter wrap with some paracord. This project uses a gutted paracord, which means that the inner cords have already been taken out. Gutting the paracord allows the wrap to lie flat when done, but it won’t be as strong as a standard paracord when deployed. You’ll be doing a bit of weaving, so you’ll also need a mandrel and a flat lacing needle to complete the project.
How To Weave A Paracord Bottle Holder
This water bottle paracord cozy is perfect for both EDC and the outdoors. It can store lots of paracord, it’s relatively easy to make, and even easier to deploy. Spend a relaxing time weaving this bottle holder while watching a game on TV, hanging out at camp, or just chilling out at home.
How To Make A Paracord Wallet
This project uses a simple in and out weave and should give you a nifty, flexible wallet. You’d need at least 28 feet of cord if you want to do one color, or 14 feet each if you wish to do two colors. A little reminder, though: like the lighter wrap, this wallet involves gutting the paracord. This significantly decreases the cord’s strength and it might not be able to do heavy-duty tasks. Still, it looks pretty cool so if you’re itching for an easy and functional paracord project, this might be the one for you.
How To Make A Paracord Phone Sleeve
This is one of the more complex projects on this list. The phone sleeve is rectangular shaped and involves a couple of stitches. The frame or the outer edge of the pouch is a basic cobra weave, while the rest of the phone sleeve is made by weaving another length of paracord across the frame.
How To Make A One-Inch Paracord Monkey Fist
People don’t give monkey fists enough credit. In the right hands, this unassuming little ball can be a very effective self-defense weapon. Monkey fists are also insanely cheap and easy to make. You can safely stow it away in your pocket, purse, or bag, too.
To make this monkey fist, you’ll need a monkey fist jig, around 12 feet of paracord, and a one-inch steel ball. Start by measuring out a length of paracord for the monkey fist handle (around 6 feet in total). Then, weave your remaining paracord around the jig five times per direction over as shown in the video above. Once you’re done, it’s just a matter of tightening your paracord over the steel ball and finishing it up with a simple knot for your handle.
How To Make A Paracord Electronics Cord Protector
Electronics have become a part of our daily lives. Make sure your cords are safe from wear and tear by weaving a paracord protector around them. This project is a no-brainer; all you need to do is weave a cobra knot along the length of the cable. You can also do this to save damaged cords from completely breaking.
How To Make A Paracord Steering Wheel Wrap
Paracords make for amazing steering wheel wraps. They help improve your grip, protect your steering wheel from extreme temperatures, and can store feet upon feet of paracord. It’s a great addition to your car kit.
The project can be a little challenging at the beginning, especially when you’re securing your cord, but it’s smooth sailing once the initial knots are already in place.
Paracord Projects For The Outdoors
How To Make A Fishing Lure With Paracord Strands
This project is the very definition of “simple, but effective”. It’s more of a hack, really. It doesn’t require any knots at all. To make a paracord fishing lure, you’ll need a short length of cord and a fish hook. Slide out the inner strands and make sure they all fan out. Singe one end closed with a lighter and you’re on your way to catch some dinner.
How To Weave A Hammock With Paracord
Your paracord can be woven into a super hammock that can carry even the heaviest loads. This project takes a bit of time (and a whole lot of paracord) but after, you can literally just hang out anywhere and relax with your handiwork. To make the construction easier, you’ll need a frame and some space to weave this all out. Make a rope border to prevent your hammock from unraveling then just weave away like how it’s done on the video.
How To Make A DIY Paracord Net
This project highlights the paracord’s strength and versatility. You can use this net to catch fish out in the wild, as a net bag, or as a hammock for when you’re resting. Your imagination is the limit.
How To Make A Paracord Rock Sling/Shepherd’s Sling
A shepherd’s sling can come in handy when hunting for food in the wild. You can also use it to fire projectiles like rocks or ball bearings for self-defense. To create a shepherd’s sling, measure out two to three feet of paracord for the handle and then weave a little “basket” with the remaining length of cord. Once done, don’t forget to practice your slingshot skills.
How To Make Paracord Counter Beads
Ranger beads or pace counters are must-haves when you love spending time outdoors. They’re vital in keeping your pace on the trail and in keeping you from getting lost. Instead of purchasing ranger beads, you can make your own by tying multiple Celtic button knots on a length of paracord.
Fun Paracord Projects For Your Pets
How To Make A Dog Collar With Paracord
If you like taking your dog to outdoor trips, you might as well make a paracord dog collar for them. The collar uses a simple bar and incorporates a buckle and a D-ring. The tutorial advises using a half-inch buckle for a small dog, ¾ inch for a medium-sized one and a one-inch buckle for bigger breeds. The number of cow hitches and designs can also vary depending on the size of the buckle. On your 3rd or 4th pass, add the D-ring so you can have somewhere to attach your dog’s leash. You can even try using glow-in-the-dark cords for a cool twist.
How To Make Paracord Chew Toys For Pets
Who says paracords are only for us humans? Treat your four-legged pals to some paracord fun by making these dog bone chew toys. They’re great for when you’re spending time out at camp or at home. You can even use these sturdy chew toys to train pets or service dogs how to fetch and pick up objects.
This toy looks difficult at first, but don’t be fooled. It’s just a combination of crown and diamond knots. You can also use a length of rope to create a bigger toy.
How To Make A Dog Leash Using Paracord
The “lazy man” braid used in this project is so simple, anyone can whip it out in a jiffy. It’s durable, so you can make one for bigger dog breeds. It also stores lots of paracord. To create a lazyman dog leash about 4 feet long, you’ll need about 17 feet of paracord. You’ll also need a snap hook or a small carabiner.
How To Make A Paracord Pet Harness
If you want to level up, you can always make a paracord pet harness. This one is a bit more complex than the lazy man’s dog leash since it’s made of two components, but it’s also safer and more comfortable for your pets. You’ll need a foot of paracord for every inch. To secure the leash, prepare a buckle and D-ring.
Paracords, albeit their functionality, are often underrated. Some people just don’t realize their potential and importance as a survival tool. The truth is, if you’ve got a paracord on you or somewhere in your pack, you can get out of any tough situation.
These projects demonstrate the versatility of paracords. You can weave them into bracelets, use them to catch dinner or make an entire hammock out of them. These projects are also a great way to unleash some of your creativity. Practice making these paracord projects at home, or better yet, innovate some projects of your own. Who knows, you might just come up with something cooler.
Got any favorite paracord project? Let us know in the comments below!