Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Ultimate Paracord DIY

The Ultimate Paracord DIY
How to make your own fids, jigs, and spools

Paracording can be an expensive habit. Aside from the cost of paracord itself, there are additional expenses for fids, jigs, spools, books, and even more accessories that will elevate your crafting to the next level. When I first started crafting with paracord, I didn’t think I needed any additional accessories; only paracord and buckles. Once I started working with more complex designs, I realized how wrong I was! Jigs, Fids, and more soon became less of a benefit and more of a necessity. Although we offer all of these paracord tools for sale on our website, I also wanted to make you aware of some DIY projects for making your own paracord tools. For the big do-it-yourselfers, these projects will help save a few pennies, and will prove to be fun projects for you to undertake. Check them out:

Do-It-Yourself Paracord Fid

Fids are an essential paracord crafting tool as they allow you to navigate your cord through tight loops, and also help you when you go to tie off your ends at the end of your weave. Most recently, I have found fids to be an asset when it comes to getting paracord through the small hole in a 3/8" buckle. Ultimately, the fid is an asset when it comes to expanding your craft. To see how to make your own DIY Fid, click here.

(via Instructables)

Do-it-Yourself Paracord Jig

If you've been eye-balling your paracord projects for sizes: the jig is up. (Sorry, I had to). The Paracord Jig comes in handy when it comes to sizing and weaving your projects (especially bracelets, belts, and collars). Whether you need a jig that is longer than the standard one sold in stores, or you just want to save a few bucks, you'll love this project. To see how to make your own DIY Jig, click here

(via Instructables)

Do-it-Yourself Paracord Spool

Now, the easy project. Although a spool might seem unnecessary at first, once you start collecting your paracord in bulk quantities, you'll be begging for one. The paracord spool not only helps you keep track of your cord in all of its untangled glory, but it also makes for an easy way for you to dispense the amounts of cord that you need for a given project. To see how to make your own DIY Spool, click here.

(via Instructables)

Do you have any DIY paracord tool projects that we didn't touch on in this blog? Tell us all about it on our Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram page. We would love to hear from you about what creative projects you have been working on! Until next week... #HappyCording

Written by: Jackson Yakowicz
Contact at

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Easiest Paracord Bracelet Ever

The Easiest Paracord Bracelet Ever
A tutorial and design for the adjustable paracord bracelet

Before you can swim with the Shark Jawbones, and even before you can tread with the Fishtails, you need to be able to master a simple design. An easy paracord design is a great way for beginners to master a few simple knots, become familiar with the crafting qualities of parachute cord, and build their confidence so they can go on to try out more difficult designs. This is one of the first designs that was introduced to me (special shout-out to Chris Jensen for this one). What I love about this design is not only its ease, but how great it looks and its adjustable quality which allows me to easily take the bracelet off before I step in the shower or go to sleep. The adjustable quality also allows for one-size-fits-all, so if you feel so inspired, you can start a little group called "The Sisterhood/Brotherhood of the Traveling Paracord Bracelet." Alright, I've gotten ahead of myself. Let's just introduce you to the simple design.

Step 1: Collecting your Materials

For this design, you're going to want somewhere between 1-2 ft. of paracord (depending on the size of your wrist, and how much cord you're willing to cut off at the end), a pair of scissors, and a lighter (optional, but recommended for aesthetic reasons once the bracelet is complete).

Step 2: Creating your Structure

To begin crafting your bracelet, you want to get down your structure. Simply make a loop around your pinky and index finger with the cord as demonstrated below.

Step 3: Making your First Inside Loop

In order to make your first inside loop, you have to take the strand on the right side of your structure and loop it around the back of the bracelet and through the middle hole. Keep this loop in place! You will be running cord through this later. See below.

Step 4: Making your Second Inside Loop

Take the strand of cord that you just pulled through the inside hole and make a loop around the back of the bracelet again. Pull it back through the middle hole, and keep the second loop in place, too. Next, you will be pulling the strand of cord through both these loops.

Step 5: Pull Right Strand Through the Two Loops

Run the right strand of cord (previously pulled through the middle hole in the bracelet) through the two loops at the top of your bracelet. Pull tightly.

Step 6: Flip the Bracelet and Repeat First Loop

I suppose it's not necessary to do so, but I prefer to flip the bracelet so that I'm making the next set of loops on my right side, too. Make your first loop of this set again.

Step 7: Make your Second Loop

By now, you probably know the drill. Take the strand of cord that you ran through the center of the bracelet and make another loop around the backside. Remember, keep enough room in your loops to run a strand of paracord back through.

Step 8: Pull Strand Through the Two Loops

Take the strand that's currently sitting through the center of the bracelet and run it back through the two loops (from left to right) and pull tightly.

Step 9: Cut your Ends

Now comes the time for the finishing touches. Begin by snipping the ends off both sides of the paracord bracelet. Maybe you'll have enough excess cord left to make another bracelet! In the meantime, feel free to cut as close as you want to the knot. Those knots will (k)not come loose ;)

Step 10: Light and Fuse the Ends

If you don't have a lighter, this step is not entirely necessary. Lighting the ends near the knots and fusing them to the knot just makes the bracelet look better. Nobody wants to look at frayed ends, right?

Step 11: Enjoy your Design!

Congrats! You are all done. Adjust the bracelet by pulling on the knots. You can make it bigger by moving the two knots closer together, and make it smaller by moving the two knots away from each other. Put the bracelet on your wrist and enjoy.

I wear these two bracelets every day. I think that you will love this design, as well. Show us your completed project on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram.

Written by: Jackson Yakowicz
Contact at

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Fishing for an Answer

Fishing for an Answer
Pictorial or Video? Which to use for the Double Fishtail Weave?

For those of you who have been keeping up with our social media, we have started creating and posting both videos and pictorials for various weaves every week. Our most recent design was for the "Double Fishtail Weave," which we uploaded to our YouTube page last Friday and posted a pictorial for on our social media pages yesterday (you can find both the video and the pictorial below). As I have merely been the content poster for these designs, and not actually the man behind the weaves, I figured I ought to put my skills to the test by trying out the Double Fishtail by watching both the video and the pictorial. Every visual learner has their own preference between video and image, so I wanted to see which worked best for me and put silence to the debate: which is better?

Pros and Cons of the Pictorial

  • The pictorial allows you to dictate the pace of your weaving, without having to readjust the video to catch up.
  • The pictorial, in my opinion, is more aesthetically pleasing to look at. Each step is laid out plainly and cleanly.
  • You are able to see the finished project at the same time that you see the early steps. This helps you keep a fresh idea of what your design should be looking like.
  • You are not able to hear vocal instructions. Sometimes just looking at a picture doesn't help, and you need that voice in your ear to talk you through it.
  • Pictorials often make the weave look a lot easier than it actually is. It doesn't show the aches and pains that a video might.
  • The first and last step are harder to see. Which side should you go through the buckle? How do you get the cord through the backside of the bracelet when your weave is finished? For experienced crafters, this isn't a huge issue, but if you are new (and have no idea what a "fid" is) then you may run into some difficulties.
Pros and Cons of the Video

  • You are given much more thorough instruction, both through vocal commands and behind-the-scenes footage of how you set up the base of the bracelet, how you use the fid, etc.
  • It seems much more personal. With a pictorial, you are not given any words of encouragement or helpful pointers. With a video, those are available (and, quite needed on difficult weaves).
  • You are able to follow along with your "teacher." I say "teacher" for lack of better word, but when you are learning a new design, the person that is instructing you is exactly that--a teacher. You may have to hit pause a few times, but you are able to make your bracelet in sync with the person on the video.
  • I hate clicking pause. I hate rewinding video. I hate feeling like I am going too slowly! With a tricky weave, it is sometimes unfortunate to see how easy your teacher makes it look.
  • If the teacher ever moves their hand out of focus, you don't get as sharp of an image as you would with a pictorial. This can complicate matters, or just become more of a nuisance to look at.
  • You are not able to see the finished product simultaneously. Sometimes it feels like you are just aimlessly weaving, and this can make you worry that your project won't look as great. You will eventually get there, but it can trip you up mentally at times.
You will have to decide for yourself which works best for you! I found that the video was the best to use for starting and finishing the weave (getting the cord on the bracelet, and using the fid to finish off the pattern), but the pictorial was most useful for the middle steps. To be honest, this design was a little bit more difficult than expected. Because the original Fishtail Weave is so quick-and-easy, I expected this one to be the same. However, I found that it was a lot tougher to keep the weave tight and symmetrical, and I also thought that getting both pieces of cord on a single buckle was pretty time-consuming. I would suggest using a larger buckle and/or thinner cord (275, 325, 425, etc.) for this design. It's worth a shot! I'll be interested to hear what works better for you: the pictorial or the video.

Tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram. If you have any future ideas for a blog, let us know! #HappyCording

Written by: Jackson Yakowicz
Contact at
To read Jack's full blog, visit here.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Five Lessons I Learned From Paracord Crafting

Five Lessons I Learned From Paracord Crafting

When I first started at Paracord Planet, I had never touched paracord before. Actually, I had never heard of paracord before, much less had the opportunity to try to make a bracelet. There was a definite learning curve from the time of my first (attempted) Fishtail Weave to where I am now: an adequate paracord crafter with a handful of monkey fists, dragon’s tongues, and lightning bolts in his arsenal. My successes—and more importantly, my failures—have helped me compile this list of five lessons learned from paracord crafting. Enjoy.

Lesson #1: Patience is a virtue.

This lesson comes in to play many times during one’s experience with paracord. For one, you must have the patience to realize that your first designs are going to take you a while to master. The Cobra Knot Weave was the only design that I mastered on my first try. Everything else had its difficulties. It’s important to remember that you are not alone in this regard. Nobody picks up twenty feet of paracord and crafts a Modified Sanctified Weave on their very first trip to the paracording room. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

I found that the best way to tackle a weave was when nobody else was watching. Follow a YouTube tutorial, or a pictorial, and familiarize yourself with each step. Then, go through the process slowly and allow yourself enough time to complete it. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Practice truly makes perfect, and good things take time. Treat learning new weaves in the same way that you would treat a research paper for school. It is not expected to make sense right away. If you’re patient, and give the weave the right amount of time to learn, you will get it. Trust me.

Lesson #2: Readjust as you go.

Once you get in the swing of things, it will start moving quickly. It is easy to get lost in this fast pace and keep going with your weave without looking back at what you’ve done. I think this is a fitting allegory for life too: if you’re too focused on what you’re doing right now, and fail to look back at what you’ve made, the end result won’t be pretty.

Take the time to pull the base ropes, push your weaving ropes in, and make sure everything is tight and aesthetically pleasing. You should see my first Corkscrew. I spent the entirety of my time focusing on the weave that I was currently on, that I never took any time to readjust. The result was evident. Keep it tight.

Lesson #3: Add some (matching) color.

Paracord crafting is truly an art. The evolution of paracord somewhat mirrors the evolution of film. We began by only using simple colors, such as black, white, and olive drab, just like film was only produced in black-and-white. Now, however, there is an abundance of colors to choose from. What will separate your bracelets, lanyards, and keychains from other crafters’ projects will be your color choice.

Make sure you are choosing the right colors for the job. Not every color goes great together. For example, our Pink Lemonade cord (pink and yellow), probably wouldn’t work too well with our Lightning Cord (black and blue). Make sure that color choices make sense and bear in mind that you are making a piece of art. Art is supposed to be pleasant to look at. I would suggest Pairing complementary solid colors together (greens with reds, blues with oranges, purples with yellows, etc.), or using one solid color with a multi-color that incorporates said solid color (Royal Blue with Bucky Blue Camo, for example). Be creative, but make sure it still looks good.

Lesson #4: Mess with fire, you could get burned.

One guy in our office wears gloves while crafting. At first, I was weirded out by it. Now, I question if he’s a genius. If you are using multiple colors on the same weave, odds are that you are going to have to melt the ends of your paracord to bring the two separate ropes together. I would also advice melting the ends of your cord before putting it through your buckle so that you can pull the cord through more easily. Again, you will use a lighter once your weave is completed in order to stick the ends to the back of your bracelet. Basically, you’ll need to use a lighter pretty frequently. And if you mess with fire, you could get burned.

Keeping that in mind, I would advise you to be cautious when using your lighter while crafting with paracord. My fingertips are burned, I’m constantly pulling wax off of my cuticles, and I’ve yelled “OW!” too loudly in the office on a number of occasions. Be careful when you are using your lighter. Try to keep the damage to a minimum.

Lesson #5: Don’t be afraid to try new things.

My girlfriend recently told me that I need to try new things. So, I made my first monkey fist (if you’re reading this, babe, I’m just joking, don’t hate me). On a more serious note, don’t be afraid to dabble with designs that you haven’t tried before. As comfortable as the Cobra Knot may be, experiment with something new. After a while, you may even start coming up with designs of your own. Paracord crafting is supposed to breed creativity—don’t become too complacent.

Again, here I would advise that you use the internet for inspiration. There are all kinds of places to start looking for new designs—YouTube, Pinterest, Instructables, etc. If you are looking for something today, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, or Instagram and we can send you a few ideas!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you found this helpful!

Written by: Jackson Yakowicz
To read Jack’s full blog, visit here.