Control the Cord Kudzu - Martha MacGyver Style

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Introduction: Control the Cord Kudzu - Martha MacGyver Style

About: Pay it Forward. You Get what you Give.
All the many cords around our phones, i-devices and computers seem to grow like Kudzu!
If you are not familiar with Kudzu - it's a really aggressive plant which can take over - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudzu

To kill the Kudzu, here's a few variations of a cord tie that I have been using a great amount lately,

I say that this is done Martha MacGuiver style because this combines two often unrelated genres:
  1. Martha Stewart - crafting - "It's a good thing."  (that is her famous line)
  2. Macgyver - improvising under pressure with testosterone

These Cord Ties have proven to be REALLY useful.

Step 1: Simple Concept: Elastic and a Keeper

All the variations you may see here are the same principle:
A closed loop of elastic is used to stretch around a bundle and then are held in place by some sort of keeper. 

Elastic
You could use a simple rubber band.
Elastic with a cloth component works nicely.  See the round varieties as well as various widths of flat ones.
At the fabric store, it's sort of like pasta - you can get the really thin vermicelli or the broad lasagne noodles.
One thing that I found which works great:  ELASTIC HAIRBANDS
You can get them in multi-color packs.  Some heavier than others.
Wally World is a good place for them.

Keepers
I have used buttons, dowel rods, pennies, nickels, wood beads, rings, plastic beads etc... 
The rings (like a keyring) are really nice because they are really easy to hang. 
After the cord is bundled up, just hang it by the ring.
Dowel rods are a nice source too.

Step 2: Tweaking the "Keepers"

Usually the "Keepers" needs a little tweaking.

In order to insert the elastic into buttons, I usually had to ream the holes a bit to make them larger.
You can also drill them - but be careful.  When drilling plastic, you may end up welding as you drill.
A slower speed can help reduce the heat and avoid that problem.

With dowel rods, I used a larger diameter dowel (1 inch) and just sliced off a really thick piece.
Then drilled right down into the center of the ends. 

When using smaller diameter dowels, I used 2 inch pieces.  Then I drilled a hole into the side.
These are like the toggle fasteners you might see on some vintage coats (maybe new ones too?)

When working with wood items, I found that it was nice to also drill a fairly deep countersink into one end of the given hole.
This allowed a knot to seat nicely in position.  This worked well for the dowel pieces as wells as the larger beads.

Also notice the shower curtain hook - you can get those at wally world too.
Those can be really useful.  I believe they should be stainless - or something that does not rust.
(they are not aluminum)

Step 3: Trick to Threading the Keepers

Sometimes it's difficult to get the elastic into the keeper. 
Using a very thin piece of wire can be VERY helpful.
I used some ties from breadbags.

All you have to do is bend the wire in half and use it to "thread" the keeper.

Another note:  To reduce fraying, you might want to melt the ends of the cut elastic.
I know the rubber is not really going to fray - but you probably have a nylon fabric encasing which will fray.

Step 4: Examples

Here's some examples of the mini-bungee cords in action...

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    4 Comments

    PS - I am so stealing the "Martha McGyver" name......

    Jeez - I love this. I have millions of little things in my classroom and home that need just this type of attention. And Martha McGyver is whom I feel like frequently, given the need to create on the fly and on the cheap in the classroom. Well done!

    Good idea, great tips. Making some of these for stocking stuffers for holiday along with some other cable keeper ideas from instructables. :)

    Always looking for cable management ideas around here. Thanks!

    Here's a tip: go find some old landline phones, or just their "pigtail" bouncy cords. Cut ten inch section of that cord, then wrap it around bundles of small cables. It's great for 5 or 4 USB cables.