How to Make a Paracord "David's Sling"

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Posted in OutsideSurvival

Introduction: How to Make a Paracord "David's Sling"

About: I make because I'm a maker. It's what I do.... even if it's not perfect... even if it's not pretty... even if it cost me triple the money and time to do it myself. I can make that.

Israel's king, David, forever memorialized the true "underdog" story when he used an ancient weapon common to the poor folk to slay the Philistine's 10 ft. giant named Goliath. How can a braided piece of string be so lethal as to slay a seasoned warrior? Read along and follow this instructable, and you can find out! The following steps outline how to construct and make a 4 cord, split-pouch sling.

*CAUTION* Slings are weapons! Each maker is responsible for their own safety and all damages occured as they recreate their own classic battle scenes. Please do not use this weapon to throw things at very tall people with grimacing smiles. Also, please do not use it to throw things at neighborhood animals.

*DOUBLE CAUTION* This is my FIRST INSTRUCTABLE! Feel free to leave comments and pictures of your very own rock slingin' weapon! Also, a vote in the paracord contest would make me the happiest rock slinger in Texas! Thanks for reading.

Paracord Challenge

First Prize in the
Paracord Challenge

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this project, you will need:

  • about 60 ft of paracord split into four, 15 ft long strands.
    • I will be using...
      • three 15 ft strands of "dragonfly" green #325 paracord (choose fun colors!)
      • one 15 ft strand of black #550 paracord (choose a color for your pouch!)
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • a lighter or matches (I prefer a lighter!)
  • an "anchor" to hold your string at one end. (I use a wooden mallet. Dowel rods work. Toes work great, too.)

HINT:

  • If you are especially long limbed, you may want to use longer increments of cord so your sling can be longer!
  • You can use any "weight" paracord for this project! I prefer #325 for the down and release cord and #550 for the pouch. EXPERIMENT AND POST YOUR THOUGHTS!

Step 2: Measure Your Paracord

You need to measure 3 strands of paracord at 15 ft. to make the "down cord" (also known as the "hold cord") and "release cord". You will use the #325 paracord to braid this section of the sling.

Measure 1 strand of paracord at 15 ft. to make your "split pouch". You will use the #550 paracord to weave this section of the sling.

(When you unravel your paracord, it will easily knot if it's straight out of the bag. Try to smooth out the string as you accomplish this step.)

There are two ways to measure your string.

THE FAST WAY

By using your "arm-to-arm" wingspan as a 5 ft. estimate, take the end of the string in one hand and pull the string to the other end of your wingspan (shown in picture above). If you do this three times, you should roughly have a 15 ft piece of cord. Clip the end and use your first 15 ft piece as a guide to cut the rest of the string. (If you have long arms... beware. Your wingspan will MUCH larger. Be smart about it!)

THE MORE ACCURATE WAY

Stretch your string out on the floor and whip out your measuring tape. When it stretches to 15 ft., give it a snip and use it as your guide to measure the others.

***If you purchased a 50 ft. ream of paracord to make this portion of the sling, you will have a piece of string that is longer than the others. Don't freak out.... you'll have plenty left over for the project.

Step 3: Finger Loop

Take your 3 strands of #325 paracord and find the middle of your 15 ft. bundled cords. You will begin braiding your sling at this half-way mark.

A few inches above your half way mark, tie a temporary knot so you can "anchor" your three strand braid.

Braid a about 3" inches (length depends on how big you want your loop to be). Release your anchor knot once your finished, then take both ends of the braided strand and put them together. The braided portion should "loop".

Check to make sure your loop is big enough for your finger!

All 6 strands should be dangling from the braided loop. Pair off the strings in two's and begin braiding the down cord in a "rounded" braid.

Step 4: The Down Cord

This is either called the "down" cord or the "hold" cord.

Begin by anchoring your loop to something stationary.

Begin braiding by using a "rounded braid" for this cord. As you wrap two strands into your braid, fold them into the braid instead of keeping the strand side by side (side by side makes a "flat braid"). The more aerodynamic, the better! Try and keep the braid tight!

LENGTH
Braid the down cord the length of your arm.
****To find length: Measure from your extended fingertips to mid shoulder joint. If you're skilled, make a longer sling!

(On average, I usually make my slings 30" from loop to the beginning of the pouch. For kids, I make them around 26"-28" and for long limbed folks, I make them around 32"-34".)

Step 5: The Split Pouch

When your down cord is of the proper length, stop braiding and divide the six strands into two bundles of three strands each.

Grab your #550 paracord and find the middle. Place the middle of the #550 cord on 3 of the divided cords and tie off an easy knot.

1ST HALF OF SPLIT POUCH
Spread the three strands of string flat. Weave the #550 strong through the three strands using an "over - under" pattern. After each weave, pull the string tight! A loose pouch is bad!

*its easiest to hold the three strings in one hand, make a small bend in the #550 cord, push the bended string over and under, and pull the remaining portion of the bend through the weave.

POUCH SIZE
Split pouches are versatile which is why I choose this style of pouch, opposed to a fixed weave. I make my pouch size about 5" in length. You can throw objects as small as rocks all the way up to tennis ball size objects. 3" is a good size for golf balls. The sling pouch must be big enough to cradle the projectile.

2ND SIDE OF SPLIT POUCH

When you finish weaving one side of the split pouch, tie it off using the #550 cord and put it to the side. Return to the remaining three strands and repeat this process. Make sure you undo the original "hold knot" you tied at the beginning of this step. Remember: keep it TIGHT!

When both sides of the split pouch are of size, overlap the ends of the pouch on the OPPOSITE side. Both sides of the pouch should bend in the middle as they pass by each other.

POUCH / RELEASE CORD JOINT

At this point, you'll have eight strings: six are from the down cord and two are from the pouch. Divide them into three bundles. As you begin braiding these three bundles of strings, make sure the pouch joint stays VERY tight. If in doubt of it being too loose, re-braid it!

Step 6: Release Cord / the Taper

Now that you've braided your split pouch joint (and its a TIGHT joint), it's time to braid your release cord. This cord needs to be as thin as possible so it's aerodynamic and FAST when you throw your rock! This is why we taper, or "braid-out" strands of cord as we go.

Using the "round" braiding technique, braid all eight strands for about 4" or so. Begin to taper your release cord by "dropping" a strong every few inches of braid. It is best to drop the #550 cords first.

Eventually, you will have three strands left. Braid the rest of the release cord to match the length of the down cord.

Your last stopper knot needs to be big enough so that you can hold it tight. I tie a pretty simple knot, but there are a few more fancier knots (like a globe knot) that are prettier to look at.

Cut the remaining cords about 3 or 4 finger widths from the knot. If it's too long, it will whip your hand mid-sling. (This hurts!)

Step 7: Burn Off Ends

Using a lighter or matches, burn off each loose end. There are tons of techniques to burn cord. I set it on fire, let it burn down to the braided cords, and the press out the fire using the flat side of my scissors.

Be careful! I burn myself often. Liquid hot plastic tends to stick to your skin and burn deep! I suggest caution and care, or fingers beware!

Step 8: GET TO SLINGIN'!

Now for the fun part!!!! GET TO SLINGIN'!!!

The best object to practice slinging is a tennis ball. It may not break a window and/or make your little brother or sister cry as much if you hit them.

Place the finger loop around the ring finger of your "throwing" hand. Let the string hand from your open palm. Now take the the release cord knot and hold it between your thumb and pointer finger. Both the down cord and the release cord should be hanging from your open palm hand.

Place the ball in the pouch. You may need to "open" the split pouch a bit to cradle your object.

Hold the pouch in your "non-throwing" hand extended out in front of your body. Keep the tension tight in the cords and toss the pouch behind your head. As the pouch/ball slings around, use your throwing arm to sling the ball out in front of you. Just as you would release a baseball to your target, release the knot held between your thumb and pointer finger.

For further information on different types of slings and techniques to throw them, visit this website!: www.slinging.org

THANKS FOR READING! Please post your comments and pictures of your slings! DON'T FORGET TO VOTE!

7 People Made This Project!

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Tips

2 Questions

i'm fairly new to using paracord, but i'm assuming that the number is the number of pounds it can support?

and if that's the case does it matter if you use paracord with a higher weight limit? say 650 instead of 550

75 Comments

I make slings all the time!
your instructable is pretty good, I've used basicly the same method for making jute and cotton slings.
if your interested, I wrote an instructable my self on a different (lighter/pocket size) sling. I like how you tapered yours on the release end, I will have to try that sometime.
I noticed you used 325 cord for the main braid, have you used regular 550 cord before?

I've made 3 of them. one using your technique for the pouch, the other 2 I just braided the pouch similar to the finger loop. I plan on trying with different materials (wool for a more traditional look). Thanks for such an awesome Ible

What's the reason for all the braiding? Wouldn't a single line of paracord be lighter and cut through the air better?

I've been wanting to make a sling like David's for over a decade. I saw a show about Bible science a while back and they were trying to prove or disprove things mentioned in the bible ... kind of like Mythbusters. David's sling was a topic and they had all kinds of charts and slo mo cams and sling experts. It was pretty cool. The size of the hole in the sling shows you that this was no pebble slinger. The stone was a decent sized projectile.

Paracord is cool and I weave and use it all the time but I want to make this project with a natural fiber like jute or hemp. I also want to make a bola. This sounds like the makings of a fun weekend project.

2 replies

WE HAVE A SIMILAR BUCKET LIST! I've been wanting to make a bola as well, but couldn't master the monkey fist fast enough to feed my crafting heart.

On another note, I need to look up that tv program! The details behind David's feat are all but overshadowed... it really was a LETHAL weapon used by God to topple ole' Goliath.

I've seen many slings made of jute and hemp, but have not attempted to make my own in this method. LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES AND POST A PIC! If there's any troubleshooting while using jute or hemp, add to the conversation! Thanks for reading!

Starts at around 9:20 on this video

And continues on in this one.

Does the braiding do anything?

Finally made my own. just got done wit hit. Took a few attempts as I'm not very skilled with braiding (no hair). I used my arm span for measurement. I'll admit I strayed a bit off of your instructions. Instead of weaving the pouch I just split the strands into threes and made smaller braids like the finger loop. also once I was done I put a monkey fist knot on the end of the release cord to give me a better grip and more energy on my release. I'll post picks once I get a chance.

Me again. No Rabbits yet but I took the one I made to the woods to practice. Shortly before my friend threw it off a cliff I demolished a golf ball off a granite boulder. Note to others. Do not use camo paracord. If you lose it it's gone.

Alright, I said I would make this like 3 months ago. I bought 100' of green 550 paracord today, and was pleasantly surprised that this project runs under ~$6! Now off to braid this up...

Well after a few months, I finally got down to business and made my first one. I tried one a month ago with all 550 cord, didn't even know how to braid and messed up a few times on it, didn't have the hang of round braiding. I decided to go with the recommended cord size this attempt. I'm not as skilled with melting cord, hopefully the dropped cords hold up when I get some time to practice with it.

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3 replies

This looks fantastic! Great job! This looks just like the ones I sell! How the slinging process coming along?

Actually we just had snow here the other day so it's been a bit sloppy out (not even good snowball snow) so I haven't been able to test it yet (I live in a small house, so slinging indoors will be a nono). I'm thinking of trying my hand at making a smaller one with #95 cord, maybe #325 for the pouch and a bit shorter length in all so I could try tossing around something like a pingpong ball or something indoors friendly. Thoughts?

I love the idea! Great minds think alike... I'm about to make a "short sling" version myself. I'll probably braid the pouch as a "closed" pouch instead of a "split pouch". I've also began using a smaller size paracord as of lately. #325 is great, but the strength of the rope really isn't necessary. We have a store that sells #225... it's perfect for the "hand sling" or "short sling". I think the short sling will be great for kids and chunking little stuff like acorns and whatnot! I'll try and post once I have a final product.

Also... these short slings would be pretty sweet egg slingers. I may be giving Easter gifts this year!

Mine is a little sloppy too but looking forward to trying it out in the morning.

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1 reply

Not sloppy at all! Did it work out for you? We just had a snow day (here in Texas, that's a rare holiday) and I used mine to slay a Goliath snowman with snoballs. Epic win for slings! Let me know how it throws. Thanks for making!

This is great. This is the first sling build I've seen that didn't use thin leather strips for the pouch. The leather never seems to last long.

Very good and detailed Intructable! I have made some David slings out of leather but I bet paracord would last much longer. Great idea to launch tennis balls for the dog! Keep creating!