Paracord must be directly next to duct tape on the list of the world’s most useful products. Also known as 550 cord or parachute cord, it is lightweight, flexible, soft, and as the name implies, remarkably strong. It was developed for military use, but has come into popular use by civilians in all manner of outdoor and other utilitarian purposes. Rumor has it that paracord was even used in repairs to the Hubble Space Station!
We’re not going to get as fancy as fixing anything flying about the earth’s orbit, but this cord is perfectly useful for more practical purposes to the earth-bound types, as well. This is the type of lanyard I use to hold my keys, and since I don’t have to call AAA when something wrong happens to the Hubble, it seems far more purposeful.
Here are the things you’ll need for this project:
- 10′ of paracord (pick your color)
- A snap hook or carabiner
- A lighter
Step 1: Fold your paracord in half, and pull a loop through the end of the snap. A 6″ loop will be perfect for 10′ of cord, and is just the right length for most folks to reach from belt loop to pocket bottom. You will make all your “tying” moves around the loop.
Step 2: Using the two long pieces of paracord, tie a simple overhand knot around the loop, so that the ends point out in both directions with one strand under the long loop, and one strand over the long loop.
Step 3: Tighten the knot against the hardware.
Step 4: Take the strand is lying across the top of the loop. Pull it back across, and use the strand on the underside to trap it. Pull it through the little loop you just made. This is the same as the first knot you made, but in the opposite direction.
Step 5: Tighten that last knot, and do the last step in reverse. Don’t make these knots too terribly tight yet.
Step 6: When you tighten this knot, you will start to see your pattern taking shape. Keep repeating steps 4 and 5 until only 1 ½” of loop remains.
Step 7: When you get to that point, turn your project around, and we’ll start working back on top of our braid, using exactly the same moves. Just tie that overhand knot over the top of the braid now.
Step 8: Tighten tightly, and keep working back toward your snap.
Step 9: When you get to the snap (this lanyard stops one knot short, making a nice, rounded profile), cut your strands, leaving a tag of only ⅛” – ¼”. Longer than that is a hassle, and shorter is not secure.
Step 10: Use your lighter to singe the ends until they reach the braid, then use the flat side of your scissors or the metal tip of your lighter to flatten the melting paracord into the braid. Do this quickly!
Step 11: Put your keys on the loop. I prefer a larks-head knot for this.
Step 12: Quit worrying about your keys.
There are many snaps that you can use, including lobster clasps, boat snaps, pull snaps, carabiners, and these trigger snaps, and dozens of colors of paracord. You are only as limited as your imagination!