Paracord Bracelets

I grew up in the 70's.  Stop doing the math.  Back then, macramé was a popular craft and we had lots of it around our house.  I have many of my mom's old macramé books on my craft bookshelf, and I recognize some of the wall hangings, necklaces, plant hangers and seasonal decorations.  Some of the things I remember:

I'm not trying to bring macramé back, although I don't think it ever completely left.  Check out the jewelry aimed at teens for the past few years and you'll find some there.  It really isn't anything more than a series of well-placed knots and we've been tying knots since we've had rope.  I learned a couple of knots when I was a kid and they've served me well over the years.

Which brings me to a blog I discovered recently.  The blog itself is by Stormdrane, but I discovered him through his entry on Instructables.  This blogger creates bracelets, watch bands, belts, key chains, almost anything you can imagine made out of a bunch of knots, using something called paracord.  The bracelets can be used as survival gear, the idea being you untie the knots if you need to use the cord.

Personally, I had never heard of paracord, but I've never had a reason to jump out of a perfectly good plane either.  Apparently, it's the cord used on parachutes, and is also known as 550 cord, because it will support 550 pounds.  I won't be testing that anytime soon, but I was intrigued by it as a craft medium.  I ordered some cord (you can get almost any color you can imagine) from Supply Captain and buckles from Creative DesignWorks and then let it sit around for a month or so while I worked up the courage to give it a try.

My son was fascinated with these bracelets, so I finally broke down and cut into the cord.  I can't even begin to describe how to make these as well as Stormdrane, but I did learn a few things in the process that I can share.

First of all, this will make sense once you've read the tutorial, but don't try to start by feeding the loop through the end of the buckle - it's too thick.  Try the ends instead and pull them through until you have a loop.    

His estimate of one foot of cord for each inch of finished bracelet length worked out well for me. 

I didn't have much luck melted the ends to hold them in place, but pulling them through the back with a pair of needle-nose pliers worked fine.  It just takes a while - longer than it took me to knot it.  You do want to run the ends of the cord over a lighter flame first so they don't unravel. 

I made Tucker's bracelet using the "king cobra stitch", which is essentially knots in one direction and knots over the top of those going back in the other direction.  He wanted me to use a lot of cord.  He got his wish.  Good thing that boy has giant hands.

Codi wanted a version we had seen in several places called The Thin Blue Line bracelet.  It's meant to show support for law enforcement.  I couldn't find instructions on how to make that one specifically, so I just laid two blue cords down the center while I knotted over them.  To make hers less bulky, I used the  stitch known as cobra, Solomon bar or Portuguese sinnet.  It's the single version of the one I made for Tucker.

These weren't very difficult and the materials were pretty low cost.  Tucker is planning a belt, a watch band and a dog collar.  My son is going to save the world with paracord.