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Paracord Knots: Increasing The Versatility of Your Paracord

Paracord knots
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

If you’re familiar with paracord and paracord knots, then you’re aware of how useful these can be. You should have paracord with you when you’re hiking or planning a bug out bag for when things are at their worst.

For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Paracord is a flexible nylon rope with a lot of elasticity that was once used on parachutes. However, over time, paracord uses expanded to civilians due to its incredible versatility.

For instance, you can use paracord for fishing lines, boot laces, sewing your tent back together, or tying up your gear so that it’s easier to keep together and carry. Ever since paracord showed up on the civilian market, a wide series of products filled the survival and fashion niche.

Products like bracelets, which are handy little fashion accessories that you can wear on your wrist offer about 8 to 12 feet of paracord in case of need. That’s a lot of rope at your disposal contracted down to a small and useful tool that doesn’t require any space or extra carrying power.

Making paracord knot

Now, in order to really understand paracord and its uses, it’s helpful to have a handful of knots in mind. These will help you put together a series of tools that, in need, will be more than useful. You also want to use knots that come undone quite easily so that you’re not struggling and wasting time, trying to undo each knot.

This article is designed to show you the wide variety of knots that are available, whether it’s for aesthetic or functional reasons. In addition to learning a few great knots there are other great benefits like:

  • increased hand-eye coordination,
  • you learn to work with your hands,
  • you develop patience as you learn and practice,
  • you get an interesting hobby that you could even turn into a money-making side project.

Paracord comes in such a wide variety of colors that you’ll have fun creating so many different looks and combinations!

Common Mistakes When Learning Knots

When you’re just starting out in learning these knots, you’re bound to make a few mistakes every now and again. It’s understandable, as there’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re putting them to good use. Knowing what these mistakes are beforehand can make it easier for you to take notice and correct them before it’s too late.

Ending with the wrong kind of knot

When you’ve gotten to the ends of your paracord, you need to use the right knot in order to keep everything in place and prevent it from unraveling. Using the wrong kind of knot will result in all of your work coming undone and leaving you to start all over again.

Ending with the wrong kind of knot

Most people who start out making paracord knots tend to end their work with an overhand knot. This is because everyone knows how to do it (since it’s the first knot everyone learns) but it can leave your work looking extremely unprofessional and sloppy.

The lanyard knot is much more useful, looks more professional, and is actually sturdier than the overhand knot. Of course there are a series of more complicated knots that are used to finish off your work, but these will be discussed further in this article.

Melting the ends incorrectly

There are two ways that you can finish off the ends of your paracord incorrectly: you can melt them the wrong way or melt too much.

In melting them the wrong way, this is when you’re using two colors of paracord and want to hide the ends behind the resulted product so your work looks seamless. However, if you melt them the wrong way, the transition is quite obvious and results in your knots not looking their best.

In melting the two pieces together, you have to press the ends together quite hard to bond them to each other, or else you’ll end up with a hard piece of nylon that can scratch your skin.

Melting the ends incorrectly

Melting off too much is another problem that beginners face, as they may end up using too much heat and setting the entire paracord on fire. Using a hand lighter can be the best way to take care of this problem, and burn your edges slowly at first so that you can acclimate to how much heat is necessary.

Not getting the length right

It can be difficult in the beginning to estimate just how much paracord you’ll need. It may look like a lot when you’re just starting out, but with practice and patience, you’ll learn to adjust your mindset and estimate how much you’re really going to need in putting your knots to good use.

After all, paracord is cheaper in bulk, so you can practice with as much length as you need over and over again until you get it right.

Now that you’re familiar with the common mistakes that even the professionals have made at some point in their knot-making careers, it’s time to start learning the various kinds of knots step-by-step.

The Cobra Knot

This is the very first knot that most learn when they start taking up making things out of paracord.

The Cobra Knot on the top

Here, we’ll describe how to make your very first paracord bracelet, with buckle.

  • First, you’ll need something to attach your paracord to in order to ensure that your knots are right. You can use the plastic buckle you intend to use for your paracord bracelet, or a simple jump ring.
  • You’ll need to find the middle of your paracord by folding it in half and attaching it to whatever you intend to use in the step above using a cow hitch knot (passing the ends through the loop around the anchor).
  • Once fastened, take the length of cord on your left, place it under both strands that are connected to the ends of your buckle.
  • Be sure to keep a loop on the left side of your strands. Then take the cord on your left, bring it on top of your strands, and pull it through the loop on the left side. Then pull both ends tight to create your knot.
  • Repeat the same method but on the opposite side: pull the right cord under the strands, leaving a loop, pull the left cord on top and through the loop on the right side, and pull both ends tight to create another knot.
  • Continue alternating the knots until you reach the full length of your bracelet.

What’s great about this kind of knot is that the bracelet can be worn on either side, as the knot looks the same on the outside and the inside of the bracelet.

If you want to see how the whole thing is done, above is a helpful video for you to follow.

The Lanyard Knot

Although this kind of a knot is a bit more complicated, it can look quite nice when it’s complete and can make your bracelet look quite unique.

The Lanyard Knot

Attention is definitely required when putting together this kind of knot, as it can be quite easy to slip up and make a mistake.

  • First, fold your paracord in half and insert two fingers through the loop end.
  • Create a loop with the right end and lay it over the left end that is in your palm.
  • Using the left cord, go under the right cord and through the loop that is in your palm so that the cord goes over the loop and underneath itself. The shape of the knot should look like a figure 8 with a diamond in the middle.
  • Take each end and, moving counterclockwise, pull them through the diamond shape in the middle.
  • Tighten up your knot and arrange the parts of the knot with your fingers so that it looks more complete.

It can take some time to get this kind of knot right, but it’s not that difficult with a bit of practice. What’s great about this knot is that, if your knot ends up in the right place, you can always pull and push on the cords to get your knot in the right place and flush with the rest of your work.

Above is a helpful video that shows the process from start to finish.

The Snake Knot

This is one of the more intricate knots that you can learn to make, and actually looks quite stylish when you’re finished. But not only is it decorative, it also makes your length of paracord extremely durable, making it perfect for use on your tools with lanyard holes on them.

The Snake Knot

It can be interesting to use two contrasting colors of paracord together so that you can keep track of which cord during weaving.

  • To start off, fold your paracord in half and go through the motions of making an overhand knot, but don’t pull the ends tight.
  • Use the opposite cord (the one that you didn’t use to make the first knot) and pass it through the loop, then pull the knot tight.
  • Turning it over, you should see that one end with 2 loops, and the other with only 1. Loosen the knot on the side (the one with only one loop), and pull the opposite cord through it. Pull it tight again, and then turn your work over.
  • Repeat this motion with the alternating cords until you’ve completed your bracelet.

Here’s a helpful video that goes through each step so that you can ensure you’re doing it correctly:

The King Cobra Knot

You’d think this would be extremely complicated, given the name, but it’s actually a lot simpler than you think. All it requires is weaving another cobra knot into an already existing project that used the cobra knot. This can add a lot of versatility, give you even more paracord to work with on your hiking or camping trip, and has a very unique finish that will turn heads.

To combine two cobra knots together, above is a very helpful video that shows you how to achieve this wonderful look.

The Trilobite Knot

This kind of knot is going to call for a lot of paracord, as you’re going to be weaving four cords together. Using two different colors can also help for you to see the pattern and keep a consistent weave so that you don’t make any mistakes.

The Trilobite Knot

Using two pieces of paracord fold them both in half and hang them from a nail or a hook until they are both the same length. The two strings in the middle are your core, and the two on the outsides are going to be your weaving material.

  • Take one of the exterior strings and bring it around the first inner string, and then under or over the two remaining strings, depending on the knot that was made before it (you want to alternate).
  • Keep repeating the process with each cord alternating over the middle strands until it’s complete. The result is a very wide band that has a very sturdy look.

To see how this pattern of weaving is made, here is a step-by-step video detailing the process:

The Half Hitch

The half hitch knot is one of the simplest ways to secure a line to an anchor point, and is an alternative of the overhand knot. The only thing that makes it different is that the knot is formed around the object. Simply loop your paracord through the hitch you want to tie to, and do an overhand knot.

The Half Hitch

It’s a tightening knot, which means that the harder you pull on it, the tighter the knot is going to get. If you want to make your knot even more secure, you can do a double half hitch by tying another half hitch to the main line.

Above is a short and helpful video.

The Rolling Hitch

If you need a knot that allows you to adjust the tension on your paracord, then the slipper hitch knot can do just that. All you have to do is slide the knot up and down the main line of your cord in order to adjust it.

Paracord The Rolling Hitch

This can be very useful if you’re not sure just how much length of cord you’ll need, and need your knot to be close to the end of your line.

  • First, double over your cord to form a loop.
  • Wrap the end line around the main line three times.
  • Use the end line to wrap once around the two cords making up the loop, and pass the end line through the loop to complete the knot.
  • Pull it tight to ensure that it’s fastened well together.

Not sure you get it? There’s a video that goes through the process:

Now that you’ve learned about the various kinds of knots that exist for making bracelets and for functional purposes, how would you feel putting all that knowledge to good use?

If you’re feeling creative, you can even try a combination of these knots and more to create a look that is quite unique. But you’re not going to do that sitting here, reading this article.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and start trying out these knots! Of course, we’re waiting to hear from you in comments. Let us know about your first paracord weaving experience and how long it took to make your very first bracelet.

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.

  • Ryan Freeman

    I’ve made myself a ‘solomon bar’ – or a ‘cobra knot’ as others, like yourself, call it – as a keychain so I can always carry paracord around with me. My job would probably frown upon a paracord bracelet, hence the keychain. Desperately trying to master a Globe knot but it just doesn’t want to work! Any tips for that one? Or a monkey fist even?

  • Daniel Carraway

    Practice makes perfect everytime. Just play the video and try to tie the knot as well as you can. After 3 or 4 times of trying, you’ll get the hang of it. 🙂

  • Jay Cooley

    You should get more of your stuff on Pinterest. I can’t tell you how helpful this article would have been back when I first started making thing with paracord. This is a really good list, and the how to that goes along with it makes it probably the best article on the subject that I’ve seen to date. Much appreciated.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Thanks Jay! I’m so pleased that the DIY projects and various kinds of knots are helping you with your creations. I’ve done a lot of bracelets, lanyards and belts – most I give away to thankful family members and co-workers who have caught on with the paracord’s usefulness. The paracord is really amazing!

  • Rebecca Jones

    This was so interesting. I honestly didn’t know there were so many ways to tie a paracord. I am really getting more and more into hiking because I moved near mountains recently. I’m really wanting to learn more and more about everything I can. Eventually, I’d like to not only tie these knots but also be able to identify these knots just by looking at them!

  • Daniel Carraway

    Welcome to the world of backpacking and camping Rebecca! There’s so much to learn and I guarantee that it will be fun and enjoyable. Nothing beats the outdoors! These paracords are lifesavers and learning how to tie these knots and turn these into useful bracelets, lanyards, or belts are the best. I hope you learn more in the coming days. 🙂

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