Instructables

Break-Away Lanyard Knot

Picture of Break-Away Lanyard Knot
It's easy to buy hardware to attach to a lanyard that will break away if snagged accidentally. My work requires that I wear an ID badge around my neck, and my employer supplies simple neck lanyards with plastic break-away clasps.

That's OK...I guess. I'd much prefer a solution that is cord only, using a break-away knot. A search of the internet didn't yield exactly what I was searching for, so I tried my own design.

Here's how I did it.
 
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Step 1: Start with about 60 inches of cord.

Picture of Start with about 60 inches of cord.
I used 1/8-inch diameter cord, similar to paracord, but a bit more stiff. Paracord would probably work even better.

Step 2: Make a bight 24 inches from one end.

Picture of Make a bight 24 inches from one end.
The length of the bight is not critical. After experimenting, 24 inches seemed a good way to start, but the knots will need dressing, and exact lengths will be adjusted later.

Also, the diameter, and the stiffness, of the cord you choose to use will affect cord length. Be prepared to be flexible and innovative!

Step 3: Tie a decorative knot.

Picture of Tie a decorative knot.
break-away-lanyard (7).jpg
Tie the knot about 1-3/4 inches from the bight. Dress the knot, leaving one cord of the bight short, about 17-1/2 inches long. When the length of the loop and short cord are about right, tighten up the decorative knot.

I chose to tie a Diamond Knot (Boatswain's Whistle Knot). Stormdrane recommends this page to help learn the Diamond Knot.

Any decorative knot will work. The Celtic Button Knot is another favorite of mine. Tie it along a single strand of cord and feed the bight back through, following the original strand back out, to form a loop.

However, the Diamond Knot is much simpler, and makes a smaller, more compact knot than the doubled Celtic Button Knot.

These dimensions were designed to fit a split ring with a diameter of 1-3/8". If you'll be attaching the lanyard loop to a ring of a different size, adjust the loop length as needed.
gpavlovsky7 months ago
Cool idea! Any time the break-away feature is "activated", you have to retie the whipping anew, right?
MiltReynolds (author)  gpavlovsky7 months ago
Yep, the knot needs to retied after activation. For some that's an unnecessary inconvenience, but for me, it's part of the reason I didn't want a store-bought plastic release. I enjoy tying knots, and this break-away lanyard provides practice for that! Thanks for your comment.
Good point. I find that when I learn some knot but not practice it, I tend to forget it.
Silverknife2 years ago
I have a tip for your step 4 that I've used for years with nylon cord.

Before cutting your synthetic cord from the spool or hank, wrap a small peice of masking tape tightly over the section and cut through it.

With a match or lighter, light the tip of the cord while it's still wrapped in masking tape. Hold it upright and watch it fuse for a moment, then blow it out. Wait for it to cool (1-2 minutes), then peel off the masking tape. You should wind up with a fused end that's the same diameter of your cord.
MiltReynolds (author)  Silverknife2 years ago
What a great method! That would be ideal for this project. My technique required me to endure painful finger tips as I tried to mold the still hot melted cord to the right diameter. Thanks for the suggestion!
When using finger tips, it helps to have a little bowl of water nearby, keep your fingers wet and you can mold the cord almost just as well without any pain.
MiltReynolds (author)  gpavlovsky7 months ago
That's a good idea. I've recently started licking my thumb and finger immediately before molding the fused end. (But I don't tell that to the recipients of gifted lanyards!) I like your idea better!
Browncoat2 years ago
Where you're showing how to tie the knot, if you could make one end a different color somehow (duct tape?), it would be easier to follow. Just a thought for future 'ibles. :)
MiltReynolds (author)  Browncoat2 years ago
Thanks! Such a simple thing and it didn't even cross my mind! Definitely will do that the next time.