In May, Aidan went on a trip with my parents, and came home with a bracelet made out of parachute cord (also called paracord). He happily announced to us that you can take it apart if necessary and have several feet of usable rope! Since then, we’ve been seeing these bracelets EVERYWHERE! All of the boys have been wanting one, but the ones in stores are too big for their little wrists. In fact, Aidan doesn’t really wear his because it’s so big. So when I saw the supplies to make these at Michael’s, I decided that it would be a fun project for our trip to Colorado!
We have two bracelet versions to share with you: a one-color bracelet made from one long piece of cord, and a two-color bracelet made from two pieces of cord.
Parachute cord bracelets are a great project for ages 8 and up, or a younger child who is especially coordinated. Aidan (age 10) was able to easily master making a bracelet.
Product links in this post are Amazon affiliate links. We bought our supplies at Michael’s with a rare 40% off your whole purchase coupon! They do a 20% off your whole purchase coupon fairly regularly – I’d watch for that one! It doesn’t look like you can purchase from Michael’s website, which is why I linked to Amazon.
To make either bracelet, you will need:
- Parachute cord (550 or 325) – This is the brand we used. This is an Amazon affiliate link, but I think it was cheaper at Michael’s with a coupon. The 325 is lighter weight. We used 325 for the camo bracelet below, and 550 for the others. 550 is the standard size.
- Plastic buckles.
- A lighter – for melting and finishing the cut ends of cord. This is an adult job, obviously.
How to make a bracelet with two colors:
We purchased the book Parachute Cord Craft, but it didn’t have the type of bracelet we wanted to make! We also did not have internet on our trip, so I had to improvise. So this is the method I came up with.
First, find an inspiring spot for bracelet making. Isn’t this porch awesome? We were so happy to be at Horn Creek family camp for the week! If you don’t have a porch in the mountains, any outside spot will do! (Or inside, if you live somewhere where it’s too hot to be outside!)
Step 1: Cut two strands of parachute cord. One color will be the core of the bracelet. This piece should be about 4 inches longer than you want the finished bracelet to be when doubled over. The second piece should be about 3 times longer than the first piece. Double over both pieces, and attach them to the buckle like you are putting on a luggage tag.
A close-up of how the strands are attached to the buckle:
Keep making square knots until you are about halfway to the finished length that you want.
When tying your knots, be sure to start on the opposite side each time! If you don’t, your bracelet will twist. The twist looks cool, but it won’t end up looking like the picture!
Step 3: To finish off the bracelet, fold over the two center stands. Trim them so that they overlap with about 2 inches of the core strands. Use the lighter to melt the cut edges to fuse them. Then, continue making square knots over the two core strands, plus the two folder over strands. If you make your knots nice and tight, the bracelet will be very secure and the ends will not come out.
Step 4: Trim off the excess and melt with the lighter to fuse the cord ends to the bracelet.
Here is what the fused part looks like: (Sorry the pictures keep switching colors! I kept forgetting to take pictures, so the steps came from different bracelets!)
Here is how to make a one-color bracelet with one big long piece of cord:
Step 1: After we got home, I found directions on the Michael’s website to make a bracelet with one big piece of cord, and it’s super easy. Personally, we liked the two color bracelets, but the one-color design looks better with patterned parachute cord. This design is also the same as what you see in stores.
Cut one long piece of cord. Michael’s says 9 ft., but that’s too long for a kid-sized bracelet. Maybe 6 ft. Attach one end to the buckle:
Step 2: Thread the other end through the other end of the buckle. The distance between the buckles should be a little longer (1/2 to 1 cm longer) than you want the finished bracelet to be. We lost a little length on ours and it was too short the first time, but the good thing is that it’s very easy to take out the knots and do it again.
Step 3: Use the two excess strands to tie your knots. Tie square knots starting at the second end and working your way back to the end you started with.
When you get to the end, trim the excess cord and melt to fuse!
Here’s the finished bracelet! This one is 325 cord with a smaller buckle.
I love how these bracelets turned out! They are fun to wear, or you can do what Owen (age 4) does – he’s been using his bracelet to loop through his belt loop and around the neck of his favorite stuffed dog so that his dog is always with him. 🙂
If you want to branch out from here, I would recommend getting the book Parachute Cord Craft, especially if you have girls. It has several fun “girly” projects – headbands, bracelets with beads, etc. Aidan wants to make a lanyard, a belt, and a dog collar from the book. We’ll see how far we get! We’re also going to need to save up our pennies for more parachute cord!
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