Photo Bracelet

Paracord bracelets are a neat bit of gear. If youre an outdoors type of person, or you want to make a gift for an outdoors type of person, then this is the project for you.

The bracelet is comfortable to wear and has a neat two-tone effect. You could even make one using the colors of your favorite sports team. Of course, you can use these same instructions to make paracord bracelets in a single color, like these:

Paracord is strong stuff. It was originally used in the suspension lines of US parachutes in WWII. The "550 cord" typically used in paracord bracelets has a minimum breaking strength of 550lb (250kg).

Making the bracelet is actually really easy. Dont get freaked out by the length of this page - its only that long because I put in plenty of pictures for each step. Youll probably finish your first paracord bracelet within 20 minutes or so.

*If you just want a single-color paracord bracelet, then you just need 10 feet of paracord in one color instead of two 5-foot lengths

The most popular cord for paracord bracelets is called "550 cord". Its about 1/5" (5mm) in diameter. You can buy it at army surplus stores, camping and outdoor stores, or ebay.

All the paracord they sell is manufactured by certified U.S. Government contractors. You can click the image to the left to visit their store.

For a limited time, theyre offering a 7% discount with the coupon code "overstock"

On eBay, Ive seen paracord selling at $8 per 100 feet. Thats only about $1 per bracelet! If you live in the USA, it might be worth scanning the listings below to see if you can spot a bargain. Clicking on a link will show you more information about the auction at eBay.

You can also use other types of cord. The red cord in the bracelet on this page is a 5mm climbing rope, rated to 1000 lb - almost twice as strong as 550 paracord. The black cord is an inexpensive "all purpose utility cord" that I found at an army surplus store.

You wont need a plastic buckle because the method Im going to show you is for a paracord bracelet without buckle, which personally I like better.

Right. Now that youve got the materials, get ready to follow my...

Double over the 2 1/2 foot length of paracord, and tie a simple overhand knot an inch or two from the loose ends. Like this:

Check the size of the bracelet by putting the loop over the knot, like below. This will be the size of the bracelet:

Its best to make the bracelet slightly loose. The band will become fatter and fit more tightly once its finished. Dont worry too much about getting the size exactly right at this stage, because youll have a chance to fine-tune it later.

Dont worry about the loose ends poking out of the knot. Later on (step 4) Ill show you how to hide them.

Join together the two longer pieces of paracord, using the method in the video below. I usually write my own instructions, but in this case someone else has already put together excellent instructions:

I like to reinforce the join by making a few stitches through it with needle and thread. Heres a join that I made:

Dont worry if your join isnt the neatest, because it will be hidden on the inside of the bracelet. Just make sure that you melt down any scratchy edges, because the join will lie directly against your wrist.

Arrange the paracord pieces in a "t", with the long, joined piece behind the short piece. The join in the long piece should sit directly beneath the short piece. Heres a big-picture view and a zoomed in view of what I mean:

Now comes a knot called cobra stitch, also known as a Solomon bar or Portuguese sinnet. Whatever you call it, its pretty straightforward.

First, you take the right arm of the "t" and throw it over to the left - in my case, thats the red strand. Then feed the left (black) strand through the loop made on the right, as the green arrow shows here:

Heres a series of photos to make it clearer. When you tighten the knot, leave about 1" (2.5cm) of loop a the top. Make your knots firm, but not too tight. (Too tight and the bracelet will be stiff and inflexible.)

Then make another cobra stitch thats a mirror image of the first one. For me, that means folding the red strand from left to right, then feeding the right (black) strand behind and through the loop, as shown by the green arrow here. Its exactly what you did for the first cobra stitch, but with left and right reversed.

Just to make it super-duper clear, Ive also made a heres a cobra stitch video instructional (opens in new window).

Continue adding more and more cobra stitches, alternating sides. It will always be one color that you fold over the top, and the other color that you tuck behind and through the loop. For me, its always the red strand that goes over the top, and the black strand that gets tucked behind and goes through the loop.