Aidan and I have been having so much fun with parachute cord crafting lately! It’s almost as addicting as duct tape! While we were on vacation, we learned how to make parachute cord bracelets, and now we have some key chains and backpack zipper pulls to share with you. These would make a great back-to-school project for kids – something to personalize their bag!
Aidan (age 10) made his by himself. I think that this would probably be a good project for ages 8+, depending on the kid.
There are two ways to make these key chains and zipper pulls:
1. Have something on both ends to attach the parachute cord to – we used a key ring on one end and a metal hook on the other end.
2. Attach the parachute cord only to a key ring. This is my favorite method, but the boys love being able to clip their key chains onto their belt loops, etc.
To make either project, first assemble your materials. You will need:
- Parachute cord (also called paracord). You can use either 325 or 550. 550 is heavier.
- A lighter for melting and fusing the ends
- Key rings and possibly swivel hooks – this type is very similar. We got ours in the leather crafts section at Hobby Lobby.
- A ruler
- Masking tape
- Beads (optional) – we added letter beads to make the boys’ names!
To make the key chain with something on both ends:
Step 1: Cut a piece of parachute cord to 4 ft. long
Step 2: Fold your cord in half and attach it to a key ring luggage tag style. Then pass the ends through your swivel hook on the other end. The distance between the swivel hook and the key ring should be 4 inches. This will be the finished length. Use the extra ends as your “working strands.” Begin tying square knots at the swivel hook end and work your way back to the key ring.
*This photo shows one square knot completed.
The next photo shows how to make the square knot. If you are adding beads, slide one onto one of your working strands before tying the knot.
**When making the square knots, alternate which side you start on each time. If you don’t, your finished strand will have a twist to it. If your key chain starts twisting or not laying flat, take a couple knots out until it’s flat again and then re-do. Unless, of course, you want it twisted! The twist does look cool too!
When you get to the key ring end, trim the ends and melt them for a few seconds with the lighter to fuse. You can find more photos of the square knot process and of fusing the ends in my parachute cord bracelet post.
Here is the finished key chain! Owen discovered that he can also hook it around his stuffed dog’s neck to be a collar. So many uses for this accessory!
To make a two color key chain/zipper pull with only a key ring:
Step 1: Cut two pieces of parachute cord to 2.5 ft. long each.
Step 2: Fold up the ends and hold them in place with a little strip of masking tape, as shown.
Step 3: Put both strands through the key ring, and fold over so that the finished length will be 4 inches (or however long you want it to be – just cut longer pieces if you want it longer than 4 ft.).
Step 4: Using the two long ends as your working strands, begin tying square knots at the key chain end. When you get to the taped ends, remove the tape, and carefully tie your knots around the folded ends. You could probably do this same process without folding the ends and just melt the ends to fuse, but I thought it looked cool with the folded ends!
When you get to the end, trim the excess and melt to fuse.
Isn’t this fun? When you flip it over, the colors are reversed and it’s mostly rainbow with purple on the edges. The boys wanted to know who the rainbow and purple was for, and I said for ME! Sometimes it’s fun to do something girly in this house FULL of boys!
If you liked this project, click here to see all of our Things to Make category!
Mark Nov 18, 2013
I like the purple/rainbow combination the most. Check a few of my tutorials on keychains at Paracord central. I show off a few interesting variations of the paracord keychain.
Caroline Nov 19, 2013
I have been looking for a tutorial that incorporates beads! I need to make a fidget toy for my son, and the paracord fidget belt clips are expensive and don't ship to me in Canada easily. Thank you!!!
Stephanie Dec 8, 2013
Thank you for these instructions! I plan on making some for Christmas gifts. I have a question though... How do you melt the ends so they don't come undone easily? When I melt them, it melts the ends of the cord but it can still can unbraided easily. Thanks for any suggestions and Merry Christmas!
Sarah Dec 8, 2013
Yes, I know what you're talking about! To finish it off, I make sure that the side of the final cord is being melted as well as the side of the strand next to it so that they fuse together. It's gets easier after the first few that you make... I burnt one bracelet and had at least one that came apart, but now I have the hang of it better!
Stephanie Dec 8, 2013
Awesome. Thank you! I'll keep trying. :)
Tab Feb 2, 2015
About what does it cost to make one of these?
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