This Christmas’s diversion: paracord bracelets

Every Christmas, to assuage the holiday stress and overwhelm, I pick up a small hobby. Novelty makes a great distraction. This year, making paracord bracelets accidentally became my project. My almost-11-year-old daughter came home from school a few weeks ago with a paracord bracelet craft kit she’d picked up at her school’s book fair. “Aha!”, I thought. “That’s what I’ll get her for Christmas!” I bought her three bags of paracord, a book, a wooden device for making bracelets, and some shackles. I hid it all in my office.

A couple weeks later, I ask how the paracord craft kit she bought is working out, and she tells me that it was fun for a couple days, but it isn’t something she can see herself doing as a hobby. I laughed out loud, which brought a look of confusion from Beth. “It’s just…..” I said, “……I might have based a few Christmas gifts off of that idea.”

She laughed with me, and then clearly wasn’t sure what to say. She’s such a sweet kid. I could tell she didn’t want to appear disappointed, but at the same time, I imagine she wasn’t looking forward to getting a bunch of supplies for something she wasn’t into. I said, “No worries, Boo! I’ll figure something else out for Christmas!” And I did!

Meanwhile, although I knew I could send it all back, I thought why not see if I could make one myself. None of it was crazy expensive. I opened it all up last night, and after watching a few YouTube tutorials, ended up making seven of them. My son and husband are wearing one, and I have a bunch more that are sized to my own (big) wrist, although I’d be happy to give a few away. How many paracord bracelets does one person need? I’m about to find out.

It’s a colorful, tactile activity, that doesn’t take take a lot of concentration, and unlike my knitting, if the cats try to join in, their potential for destruction is much less (I worked the bracelets last night while wielding a squirt bottle). And the finished product, especially the fishtail weave, is very pretty.

How I got started:

I didn’t like the book I’d bought, Paracord Outdoor Gear Projects: Simple Instructions for Survival Bracelets and Other DIY Projects. It assumes too much prior knowledge, and the diagrams weren’t complete enough for me. I went online and found YouTube videos, instead.

The best one I found for doing the basic bracelet is this:

But after I’d done a few of those, I wanted to learn how to do a fishtail weave, so I ended up on this video:

And there I stayed, making fishtail after fishtail.

I now have several:


Blues, purples, and greens are my favorite, although I need more pink in my life (the pink one pictured is a little too pink, so I’ll probably give that one to someone else). The silver shackles look big and clunky, but they’re surprisingly comfortable. Last night I accidentally wore a bracelet to bed, and I didn’t notice until I woke up this morning.

Next up: I want to try a belt. And maybe a dog leash. And a monkey’s fist:

If you want to try playing with paracord, I highly recommend YouTube. A few channels to start you off (between these four you have hundreds of videos to peruse):

Go forth and knot things! And have a lovely, stress-free holiday season!


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