DO IT YOURSELF

Paracord Keychain: Simple Steps to Make Your Own Personalized Model

Bomber Paracord Keychain
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

The parachute cord, also known as paracord is a very durable and flexible material that is used by both soldiers and civilians. Actually, paracord was first used in the army, but after the war, survivalists found it extremely useful in creating various tools. The paracord keychain is one of these tools and today we are going to discuss how to make one, starting with the type of paracord necessary.

What, you didn’t know? There are several paracord types used for different things but the main type is paracord 550 which has been tested to hold a weight of 500 lbs. or 227 kg (hints the name).

The difference between high-quality paracord and cheap knock-offs is made by the number of inner strands and the weave. On the market you will usually find cheaper versions so, if you want something of good quality you will have to make sure that the cord has 7 strands or even 8.

Paracord keychains

Before we dwell into the making of a keychain out of paracord, you should know that this is not the only craft. You can make belts, bracelets, dog collars, dog toys, wallets, phone pockets, and the list could go on and on.

Why Do I Need A Keychain Out of Paracord?

Now, don’t think that you can use a keychain only to hold your keys! They have a variety of uses like hanging things off your bag during a hike, hanging things off your belt, fashioning a hanging device that keeps your food safe in the trees. Even more, once you get skilled, you can give them to your friends as gifts or even sell them to make some money out of your work and creativity.

Keychain out of paracord

The most important part of this is that you will always have paracord with you. For example, if you are in the woods and you broke an arm or a leg then you can use the paracord and a branch to tie it until you can get some medical help. Or, if you don’t have anything to eat and you are near a river, you can cut it and pull out the inner strands and you can use it as a fishing string or a net.

Another use for these keychains is that you will no longer lose your keys (or other items they are attached to) in your purse/bag/backpack. Paracord, especially the colored one, increases visibility and you will find all you need a lot quicker, even if you’re the kind of person who stores everything inside the purse.

How to Craft Your Own Personalized Keychain

Now let’s see what stuff you will need to make them and the main skills you have to acquire. This section is described for a complete noob in paracord crafts, so if you’re a bit more advanced, you may want to scroll down.

First let me tell you that is not a difficult activity, and after you get used to it you’ll finish them in no time.

A simple paracord keychain with cobra weave

Important tip: If you are very young it’s better to ask for an adult to help you or even be present because most of the time you will have to use scissors and a lighter.

One thing that you will need to remember is that with any paracord project you want to make, you will have to think at the length you want. For example, if you want the finished product to be 4 inches long, you will need 4 feet of parachute cord so you can get the desired length.

A simple paracord keychain with cobra weave

This is a very simple model that any beginner should be able to do.

Materials needed:

  • A length of paracord – the thickness is not important for your first projects. However, if you want to use this keychain while in the outdoors, I recommend using the standard 550.
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Lighter
  • Key ring

Instructions:

  1. First you will have to put the paracord in two equal parts.
  2. Then pass it through the key ring and make a loop – this is called Lark’s head. You can measure the length of the loop with a ruler. This will decide the final length of your keychain – as I mentioned above, you can make it as long as you want.
  3. Pass the right end in front of the loop to the left and the left end will pass over the right end but comes out in right from the back of the loop. Pull tight both ends so a knot will form around the key ring.
  4. Now you will have to make another knot but this time backwards. The left end goes to the right in front of the loop and the right end passes over the left end and comes out in left from the back of the loop and pull tight.
  5. Repeat the steps from 3 and 4 until you reach the length you want. Every time you pull the ends of the paracord, it will form a patterned knot which is called the cobra weave.
  6. Leave a little loop at the end so you can hang it wherever you want.
  7. Cut the remaining cord with the scissors and burn the ends with the lighter to make sure the paracord won’t start unweaving.

Once the strands have melted you can smooth the edges (if necessary) with something made from wood or metal.

In the video above, you have the model of the same paracord keychain, only it doesn’t have the loop at the end that I was talking about at step 5.

A Paracord Keychain With Two Different Colors

This one is similar to the first one only it looks a lot better. But first let me tell you how to fuse two different pieces of paracord because you won’t get one unitary piece in different colors.

A Paracord Keychain With Two Different Colors

Thus, you’ll have to fuse two different pieces together, to form the basis for this keychain.

  • While you hold them together, end to end, use a lighter to melt them
  • Take the pliers and hold them tight until they fuse together
  • With scissors you can trim of the excess plastic
  • You can smooth a little bit the area with the lighter

Now we can get to business.

Materials needed:

  • 2 different colored paracord that have the same length and any thickness
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Lighter
  • Key ring

Instructions:

  • Fuse the two pieces of paracord on one end.
  • Fold in two the fused paracord then pass it through the key ring and make a loop. Make sure that the melted joint is in the middle.
  • Now continue with the same steps described above and end the project by melting the ends.

Above is a helpful video where the basics of this model are presented.

The king cobra keychain

This is a thicker and cooler model of the first keychain.

The king cobra keychain

Also with this model you have a bigger length of parachute cord with you that may be helpful if there is an emergency.

Materials needed:

  • A length of paracord, the thickness doesn’t matter
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Lighter
  • Key ring

Instructions:

  • Take the key ring and the paracord and make a Lark’s Measure the length that you want your keychain to be.
  • Make the cobra weave as described above.
  • Once you finish it you will have to make another cobra weave above the one that you just made going the other direction. Make sure to pull tight every time you make a knot so the keychain won’t look sloppy
  • Cut the remaining cord with the scissors and burn the ends with the lighter. Smooth the edges.

Video instruction below:

Monkey fist keychain

The monkey fist knot is a spherical paracord knot and is very easy to learn, but requires some practice. The nice thing is that you can use it as a weapon just like a bola – a melee weapon used by sailors and gangs.

Monkey fist keychain

Since this is just a keychain, the monkey fist won’t be big, but it’s still useful.

Materials needed:

  • A length of paracord of any thickness (you can use two different colors).
  • The core – a small metal ball like a marble or even a golf ball
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Lighter
  • Key ring or if you want, a carabineer
  • Glue

Instructions:

  • Take the ball or marble and glue one end of the paracord onto it. It doesn’t have to be glued very well because this is to help start.
  • Put the ball between your index and middle finger and start looping the paracord around your two fingers, vertically. There must be 5 loops.
  • Once you are almost at the end of the last loop, start making other five loops around the ball but this time horizontally, over the first set of loops.
  • Now, you can remove your fingers from the loops and start looping again the paracord directly around the core. Always make sure that the number of wraps on each side is equal.
  • Tighten the loops starting with the first vertical one and then continue with the other two until you get a strong monkey fist.
  • After that, you can continue with any knot or weave you want using the remaining cord. You can even add a second color by joining them together where the original cord comes out from the ball.
  • You can finish with a key ring or a carabineer but don’t forget to cut the cord and burn the edges using the lighter.

You can choose what ball you want, but remember that the bigger the ball the more wraps you will have to make. In general, the number of wraps is 1.3 per ¼ of an inch of diameter of the ball used.

Above you have a video where you can see exactly how it’s done.

The “Grenade” keychain

Don’t worry, were not going to put a real grenade in there. This model will combine the cobra weave and the king cobra resulting in a thicker version and will only be useful to hold your keys.

Actually, this is a very practical way to make sure you get some paracord with you wherever you go. If you put it on your keys, you’ll definitely take it with you.

The “Grenade” keychain

Fun fact: This model can also be used to put a hand sanitizer in the middle (one of the many uses of paracord crafts). However, this one got nicknamed the germ grenade for this.

Materials needed:

  • A length of paracord that it can be of any thickness and you can also use two colors
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Key ring

Instructions:

  • Locate the middle point and then start a standard knot.
  • Measure your desired length and then make a cobra weave.
  • Once you finish your first cobra weave you will have to do another just like the one described with the king
  • Next, turn it over and start a third one and a fourth, until the grenade is thick enough.
  • Cut the excess with the scissors and burn the edges.

If the instructions are too dull, here you have the video with the grenade paracord keychain.

Keychain with a secret compartment

Now this is indeed something very useful. This secret compartment is great for hiding a lot of small stuff, even money.

Materials needed:

  • Three equal lengths of paracord. You can choose three different colors and as well any thickness
  • Key ring
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Pencil

Instructions:

  • Take two cords and put them in a cross. Now I will note A the horizontal cord, B the vertical cord and C the third cord.
  • With A make an S shape that goes over B, then under and over again.
  • The top of B goes over A’s top loop and then under the bottom loop of the S you just made with A.
  • The other end of B goes over A’s bottom loop and then under the top loop of the S shape.
  • Tight the knot but not too hard so you can easily make the next step.
  • Now C comes into the S shape created by A and goes under the top, over the middle and under the bottom. Pull C until it reaches the middle point. Pull A and B to tighten the knot.
  • Spread out the cords just like a starfish. Now we’ll change the notations a little bit. So the left end of A will be AL and the right end of A will be AR. The same applies to B and to C.
  • Take CR and bring it down over AR, then AR goes over BR. Do this until all cords have crossed down and over the one that is adjacent to it.
  • Pull all the cords and tighten again the knot that is called the closed crown knot.

For the secret compartment you have to complete four or five of this closed crown knots and then insert a pencil in the middle. Continue weaving these knots until you reach the length you want. To finish the project you will have to make a couple of standard knots and, before you take the pencil out, pull tight the strings.

Keychain with a secret compartment

If you like, you can keep the excess cords for a different design, or, as with any paracord project, you cut them and burn the edges until the sheathe melts. Don’t forget to add the key ring or the carabineer.

Above is the video with more details

DNA Weave keychain

This is another cool model that you can make with paracord.

Materials needed:

  • A length of paracord, you can also have two colors if you want and any thickness
  • Ruler
  • Key ring or carabineer
  • Scissors
  • Lighter

Instructions:

  • Take the paracord and put it through the key ring or carabineer while looking for the middle point.
  • Once you find the middle and you know what length you want your keychain to be, take a string or a rubber band and mark the place.
  • What you need to know next is the cobra weave because these two are similar. The difference is on the next weave where you don’t keep the same color or side, you alternate them.
  • Repeat this until you are almost done so you can put the key ring or the carabineer.
  • Cut with the scissors any extra cords and burn the edges.

This is how you need to do it:

Not Sure Which of These Models Is Best?

The main use of a keychain made out of paracord is to hold your keys and provide you with extra cord when needed. It’s also great to use as a hook in various situations because the weave makes this small device quite sturdy.

DNA Weave keychain

According to your skills, you can use any of these models. The only difference is the length of paracord that fits in each of them.

Also, if you care about fashion, you can make it a lot more pretty than what we did here using various colors or other accessories. Regardless of preferences, the main idea behind a paracord keychain is to make sure you’ll always have an alternative when you’re stranded in a bad situation. So, which one of these models is more appealing to you?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Emma Sturdy

    I’ve made a couple of paracord keychains but I’ve not yet had to use them in an emergency. Always better to be prepared though! Currently trying to make a paracord belt as a gift. Pretty much the same process as making a keychain, just on a much larger scale! Was tempted to simply buy a keychain to begin with but the paracord itself is cheap and it’s pretty easy to make things out of it.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll be hooked! There’s so many designs that you can come up with. Most can be seen in DIY tutorial videos that are so creative. You can usually make a big batch, retain some and give to everyone you know. They’ll appreciate it a lot.

  • Jay Cooley

    Paracord keychains are great. I keep them on everything from key rings, to back packs, to items of clothing. I found instructions on how to do a paracord phone case, something that attaches to back packs and things like that, and they have been very popular among my friends because they use considerably more paracord.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Great idea on the paracord phone case, I love it! One of my buddies even made a longer piece of lanyard in order for his solar panels to stay attached to his backpacks, which is remarkable. I guess you’re only limited by your imagination in creating your paracord projects. 🙂

  • Julie Stuart

    I have one of these. It’s in the form of a watch instead of keychain. I do wondsr sometimes if I chose a good one, though. I guess I could test everything and try it out. I really enjoy having it because you never know and I like to be outdoors. The desert is a very harsh environment and one can never be too safe.

  • Daniel Carraway

    You can also do a dozen of paracord projects such as bracelets, lanyards or even belts – yes, you can! You’re only limited by your imagination so it’s great to learn all those knots and put it to good use. I usually do a batch and give some to family, friends and those who need it. They’re welcome gifts especially for nature lovers who trek, camp or backpack. Try it!

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