Introduction: Double Cobra Knot Paracord Belt

Picture of Double Cobra Knot Paracord Belt

My husband used to wear braided leather belts, but had trouble with them wearing out after only a few months. He tried a solid leather belt, but was unhappy with the rigidity. In searching for a solution for him, I came across Jake22's instructable for making paracord belts. Every other belt instructions I had found were either too complicated for me or used an odd buckle. Jake22's was perfect.

I made my husband a solid black belt with a tongue-type buckle and a blue and black belt with a buckle that was his grandfather's. After seeing his, everyone around me wanted one. I made one for my sister-in-law, my father-in-law, and a few for friends.

I only used the instructable on the first one, but after a year or so, needed a refresher before starting on more belts. Much to my dismay, Jake22 all but deleted his instructable. He removed all of the instructions and in their place simply put a single sentence. In spite of the outcry from fans, Jake22 has not reposted his instructable.

Working from my own memory and the frustratingly difficult to use internet archives, I have attempted to create an instructable here for making belts using Jake22's method. This instructable is entirely my own content, but I want everyone to know that I learned to make these from Jake22. I hope my instructions are at least half as clear as his were.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools

These belts use a lot of paracord. I bought a 1000 foot spool of black military-grade 550 parachute cord from my favorite military-surplus supplier, The Sportsman's Guide. There are lots of places to buy it, but I have used this site for other purchases multiple times, and have always been treated well.

Amazon is a good source for colored paracord, but does cost more than the "standard" military colors of black, green, and beige.

Belt buckles can be as expensive as the moon, or you can do what I do and buy a belt from Goodwill. I spend an average of $3.00 on a belt, cut the buckle free, and get rid of the belt. Both the single-tongue pass-through type and the big flat buckles with the prong underneath work. If you use the flat one with the prong, though, you will need it to have a long prong. My husband has a lot of trouble keeping his fastened because the prong is too short.

Other things needed that bear less need for in-depth explanations:
heat for melting/sealing paracord ends
small needle-nosed pliers for pulling cord through tight spots
measuring device (ruler, tape measure, etc)
cutters (scissors, sharp diagonal cutters)

I also recommend either masking tape or rubber bands for making long lengths more manageable.

Step 2: Paracord Lengths

Picture of Paracord Lengths

Any formula for figuring out how much paracord you need will be slightly wrong for some people. How tight you make the knots will affect the length. Working from trial and error, I have come up with a formula that works for me, but if your tension is different from mine, you may need more or less cord. The difference should be small, so you shouldn't need a lot more than an extra foot or two per piece, but you may want to experiment a bit on a small scale to figure out it if works for you.

The belt consists of five strands of paracord. There are two core strands, two working strands, and an extra strand for the loop the goes next to the buckle.

For the two core strands, you need to measure your waist, double the number, then add twenty-four inches. You need to cut two of these.
waist *2 + 24 = length of core strand

For the working strands, you need one foot of cord for every inch of your desired length of belt, plus an extra twenty-four inches. You will need two of these.
length of belt *12 +24 = length of working strand

The last piece should just be thirty-six inches long. I suggest taking the white strings out of the cord before sealing the ends on this one.

You have a 38 inch waist, and want a 43 inch belt.

38 *2 +24 = 100
You need two 100 inch (8 foot, 4 inch) pieces for the core strands.

43 *12 +24 = 540
You need two 540 inch (45 foot) pieces for the working strands.

You need one 36 inch (3 foot) piece with the white strings taken out for the catch loop.

Step 3: Hitch Knots

Picture of Hitch Knots

Belt buckles have a front and a back. The front is the part that is away from you when you wear the belt, the back is the part that is against you.

Fold a core strand in half, and, holding the buckle with the back facing you, pass the loop of the core strand through the buckle to one side of the tongue. Pull the ends of the core strand through the loop to make a cow hitch (lark's head, tag knot, ring hitch, whatever).

Do the same thing with the other core strand on the other side of the tongue.

Turn the buckle over and repeat the process with the working strands, placing them around the core strands.

Pull all of the strands so that the hitches are tight.

You may want to wind up the long ends of the working strands so that they don't get tangled. Both rubber bands and masking tape work well for this. I like to loop masking tape around the bundles with the sticky side out, then put another piece of tape over that sticky side in so that I can just slide the loop of tape off and on as I need more length.

Step 4: Cobra Knots

Picture of Cobra Knots

The cobra knot is little more than a series of square knots tied around a core strand. This belt is simply two of these running parallel and trading a working strand after every square knot.

Place the buckle on a table with the back facing up.

Pass the inner right working strand over the inner left working strand. Push the outer left working strand, the left core strands, and the inner right that is now the inner left working strand to the side a bit.

Pull the outer right working strand outward a bit, then pass the end in front of the right core strands perpendicular to their length.

Bring the now inner right working strand straight down across the outer right core strand, then behind the right core strands, and up out through the loop of the outer right core strand.

Pull the working strands tight.

Repeat the process in reverse with the same strands. This completes the first right square knot.

Push all of the right strands to the side so that you can work with the left strands.

Do the same thing on the left that you did on the right, but reverse the sides, so that you start by passing the outer left strand across the core strands to start.

Once you complete the first left square knot, pass the inner right working strand over the inner left working strand as you did before.

Repeat making square knots until you reach three inches less than the desired length of the belt.

Step 5: Tapering

Picture of Tapering

Cut the inner two core strands (one from each side), and melt the ends.

Continue with the square knots and the exchange of the inner working strands in the same way as before until you have added three inches.

Tie the two outermost strands in a square knot around all of the other knots.

Cut all of the strands so that you have about an inch and a half long.

Using the pliers, Weave all of the strands backward through the stitches on the back of the belt.

Step 6: Catch Loop

Picture of Catch Loop

Decide where you want your catch loop, and pull the 36 inch strand through the v-shapes stitch on the back of the belt at that point.

Placing the center of the strand under the v-shaped stitch, pull the ends through the side loops on either side of the v-shaped stitch.

Pull the strands directly across the front of the belt and through the side loops on the side opposite your starting point.

The loops across the front of the belt created this way need to be loose enough for the belt to pass through, with a little extra room since they will thicken in a moment.

Treating the loops across the front of the belt as the core strands and the loose ends of the strand as the working strand, crate a series of square knots that lead back to the place where you first inserted the strand into the belt.

The method here is identical to the one used to make the belt except that you are only doing one cobra knot instead of the two parallel.

After tying your last knot, trim the working ends, melt them, and weave them into the back of the belt.

Step 7: Two-Colored Belts

Picture of Two-Colored Belts

Two-colored belts made with the double cobra can be incredibly attractive, but they look quite silly if you just do the working strands on one side a different color from the working strands on the other side. To get a nice pattern with two colors, you just have to set up the working strands a bit differently.

Instead of making one working cow hitch over each core cow hitch, place one working cow hitch between the core cow hitches, and place the other over both core cow hitches and the centered working hitch.

Everything else after the hitches is exactly like making a single-color belt.

Step 8: Paracord and Emergencies

Paracord, if you are in fact using parachute cord, is for parachutes. That is what it is made for.

Paracord is not made for rappelling. The 550 pound test weight does not account for shear, knots, or rubbing.

Paracord is not made for getting out of a burning building. Heat plus paracord equals melty-melty.

Please don't put your life at risk by using paracord for things it was not designed to do.

Paracord is, however, pretty good in survival. The inner strands of paracord can be used as fishing line or mending thread. You can use the cord to lash together branches to make a lean-to.


hohum (author)2014-03-09

I wanted to tell you your math for all the cords was --spot on--- i had a foot extra, per cord, which was fine, once i got the weave working was like meditating, almost any way., your pictures where a big help, using the colors sure cleared up my questions.

it took me about 5 hours to weave a 40'' belt, a few restarts, some fixes of knots done bad, as i worked on the belt, i went really slow, checking what i did, i bought a really nice buckle from Tandy # 1525-00, stainless, 1 1/2'' roller buckle-heavy duty, i made my belt in 550 paracord, burgundy color, looks good with the stainless buckle. Tomorrow, I'll finish the belt with back tacking all the cords, add the keeper, find a box, take the belt to my friend.

I wouldn't change a thing with your instructable - to other folks, buy the same colors - do exactly what is shown in the picture.. GO SLOW - you'll get it.

I sincerely appreciate your taking your time load this instructable

Thank you


I made a paracord belt for me about 4-5 years ago, been wearing it every day, the only problem, it stretches a little with wearing, so i readjust it, no biggie, every leather belt i have every bought has just died, not the parachord one.

Slim49 (author)2017-12-11

You have saved the day!
Nicely done

nzahn made it! (author)2017-01-31

I just wanted to say that you're instructable was very informative three years ago I made a solid color one then I finally went back and did a double color this year finally just got done with a Sanctified knot pattern and it turned out really really nice your math is spot-on

sararoshani made it! (author)2016-12-20

Thank you for such a thorough and wellwritten tutorial. Easy to follow and easy to understand, even without the pictures. I am very pleased with the result, hope my boyfriend will be happy with this for Christmas :)

dplesovskikh made it! (author)2016-02-18

5-6 hours, calluses on both hands and a belt of parachute cord ready. It turned out, at least not worse than . :-)

robynamillwright made it! (author)2015-12-18

Thanks for this instructable, the measurements were great! I'll be making one for everone in my family now.
I have a fair bit of experience with paracord, so I went ahead and made this more complicated for myself. I divided 1/2 of the longer length with red and glow in the dark.
If you fold the paracord in your hand, layering it, then secure it with ouchless hair elastics, you can slide out a loop at a time easily.
The buckle, I bought online. It's an alchemy buckle from England. I see what you meant about some buckles being expensive.
Finding glow in the dark paracord is difficult, (and twice the price) but worth it.

StevenJ5 (author)2015-08-12

Well I don't know about Jake22 but I just finished a belt using your Instructable andit looks great if I say so my self the only that I find hard to do is thread the cord back through at the end ( I made mine extra tight) so I brought all my ends together and melted it to a nice hard point so thanks and please don't take yours down man will find it very helpful once again thanks.

WAourhome made it! (author)2015-05-29

After a few "false starts" where I had to go back, untie and start over, I was able to finish the belt that goes with my awesome buckle. Thanks for the great instructable!

rdev5 (author)2015-05-10

Here are pictures for the one I made. Could use a couple extra inches on the belt size and I'm almost positive I did preshrink the cord before starting. Tension was pretty firm throughout because I think I had just barely enough to finish it with exact measurements.

jbaldwin11 made it! (author)2015-04-09

I made 2, one was the USMC dress uniform colors for a Christmas gift for my Dad with his old brass USMC belt buckle and the other is OD green and tan with a plain buckle that I use every day. and I did the extra colors different, I did stripes down each weave.
I am planning another but need to decide on color.

Lilworm337 (author)2014-12-18

I used some of your tutorials from here and some from another post. With that being said, i am on like my 17th belt. Takes only 2 hours or less

JeremeyG (author)2014-11-12

Here is a link to the cached version of Jake22's original belt. What gets put on the Internet, stays on the Internet.

bongodrummer (author)2014-10-06

Made one for a friends Birthday. Thanks so much for the clear instructions and taking the time to write them.

It took me quite a long time, but it was a good excuse to sit down and listen to an audiobook. I want to make one for myself now ;)

Franz BalthasarG (author)2014-09-21

Finally an instruction how to make the popular "rattlerstrap paracord belt" on your own! Thanks :-) Anyone knows of a similar design which is quicker to untie if you happen to need the cordage badly?

I think this is what you are looking for.

Silver2107 (author)2014-09-16

This instructable has inspired me to attempt to make a belt. 50' lengths of paracord are available at Walmart for about $5 so I will go that route. FWIW, I found two other similar instructables and will study their images also in order to prepare for the task. Links below:

There are so many color combination possibilities. I hope I don't get hooked on doing this :0

Peabodylan (author)2014-04-11

So after carefully looking through your pictures. I made my self one. I have to say I am really proud of myself because it only took me about 2 days. I would show you a picture but I don't know how to post on a phone. Oh yeah I didn't have any paracord so I went to hardware store and found some glow in the dark polypropylene rope. it ended up being a little wider than hoped. But I can still barely fit it in my loops. :)

dojers (author)2014-02-11

Hope you see this:

I'm just getting into paracord jewelry/items (like a day into it :) ) and I'm doing a belt (yeah, I know - bad first choice when you've no idea what you're doing - but he had some paracord and wanted a belt and I did some knot-tying a bazillion years ago, not macrame - made key chains, necklaces, that sort of thing with hemp and other types of "string" so I thought I'd give it a go - wow -might have been a mistake LOL)

I love the pictures - that helps with the difficulty of trying to explain how this part goes over this part while the other part goes over that part then under then through the hole stuff :)

But one thing I didn't notice and if I'm right, you might want to clarify that a little bit, is that the inner strand (not the core) changes each set - I mean, you do the right side with the left inner cord, then you do the left side.

However you don't say (and I may just be having a blonde moment which wouldn't surprise me) that you need to grab the left inner cord again once you start the next round and I'm assuming you have to? I did it that way when I started but the next set I just did like the right inner strand was still the correct one to choose and after about 2 rounds, I noticed they weren't right. That's when I noticed the hole. So I'm guessing you need to always grab the inner left cord as your inner right cord for each round?

Thanks for any answer I may get. My son REALLY likes your pictures so he's going to be real happy with that knot provided I can get it right LOL But I think you did a great job with your explanation even though I got/am a little confused. I'm probably one of only a few who didn't catch that you need to grab the left to use as the right in order for the 2 sides to stay together but it still might be a good idea to just adjust that little bit.

When I get it finished - I'll take a picture of it and post it here so you can see the end result (hopefully it'll be good enough that I'm not embarrassed to post it LOL)

hohum (author)dojers2014-03-09

dojers, you can make this belt, get the same colors as the instructable, follow the colors, you can do this, i believe in you. j

dojers (author)hohum2014-03-09

I did end up making one - ended up a bit short because my son, for whom I made the belt, told me the WAIST size, not the length of the belt so it was ALMOST too short - he was lucky I put a couple extra inches on it and that his belt was big on him (it was for a 40" waist and he's only a 34-36" waist) so it was close but it does fit. Didn't turn out too bad - made some mistakes but for a first time it was good - he's super thrilled with it - and it is made with 850 instead of 550 (that was fun....not!! ;) )

Now I'm making a Slatt's Weave belt for my husband with a 3 loop weave. He needs a "skinny" belt for work as he's a carpenter in construction and wider belts cut into him, especially when he has his work belt on. So keeping fingers crossed on that one. Looking pretty good for the most part tho so I'm happy.

Thanks for a great instructable!!

dojers (author)dojers2014-03-09

Oops - guess that should have said Thanks Rodneybones for a great instructable :) It's what I get for not paying closer attention to whom I am responding lol

rodneybones (author)dojers2014-03-05

After each round, the inner working strands swap sides. I am not entirely sure if that is what you are asking, so I apologise if not.

dojers (author)rodneybones2014-03-05

Yep!! That was exactly what I was asking. Thanks so much!

dojers (author)2014-03-05

Here is my belt...didn't turn out too bad.

rodneybones (author)2014-03-05

It has been almost three years since I made my first belt in this method. My husband has worn it every day since, and it shows almost no wear. This belt is made to last.

michaelwtc (author)2013-06-30

How wide is the buckle you used in the example?

rodneybones (author)michaelwtc2014-03-05

About an inch and a half, I think. I have long since misplaced it, so I can't check. :S Sorry about that. I should have added that to the instructions.

HEH (author)2014-02-11

What length of paracord per inch do I need for this belt?

rodneybones (author)HEH2014-03-05

Roughly 30 inches of cord per inch of belt. This is based on the formulae in section 2, but is not exact. The catch loop is 36 inches regardless of the length of the belt, and there are things that can affect the overall size such as tension, compression of the cord, etc.

jbaldwin11 (author)2013-11-21

My Dad is a former Marine and I found his old brass belt buckle, so I used it and made him this belt. I researched the dress blues uniform colors for it. I used a midnight blue as the working strand color, and added a scarlet red stripe and a white stripe into it. I have to say, the first half of the belt is a real PIA with cord management but comes out beautiful. Now I'm making one for myself with OD green, two desert tan stripes and a black nickel single prong buckle.

rodneybones (author)jbaldwin112014-03-05

That sounds absolutely lovely? Any chance of pictures?

jesse2292 (author)2014-01-09

very nice I made 2 already the only thing is they take a lot of time...

dojers (author)jesse22922014-03-03

Jesse, how wide did yours turn out? I'm looking to see if I can make one that's only an inch wide and while I did make one for my son, I made his in 850 paracord and not 550. My husband is in construction, carpenter, and he bends over a lot and he says the wider belts "bite" into him. His current belt that's about to disentegrate is 1" wide so I'm trying to make a belt that's as close to 1" as I can get (even if it's 1.125 or 1.25). Thanks :) I love this pattern for belts. Would be nice if the 550 is closer to an inch than not.

rodneybones (author)dojers2014-03-05

Using 550 cord, the belt ends up about an inch and a quarter wide.

aliengolf50 (author)2014-02-12

Love the black one, great look and great workmanship. I'm going to give that a try.

deavesteve2015 (author)2013-12-26

very nice design I'll have to try it out sometime

Leticron (author)2013-10-23

Great Tut! easy to follow. I found the multi colored belt to be easier to construct. (No need to constantly check if you knot the correct strands :) I made a single color belt first and ended up unraveling a couple feet here and there to fix my oversights. I love this belt because it's really comfortable, flexible yet sturdy.It's a great rehab exercise to regain control over my hands (stroke survivor). Thanks a lot for this tutorial.
BTW my buckle is 2" width (1+3/4" inner width) by1+1/2" hight. The finished belt is ~1+1/2" wide and fits pretty much all my trousers :) I'll add images later

mike1919 (author)2013-04-02

Good job. Enjoyed it. But for paracord, check out county (yes two Ms) less of a selection. But cheaper.

hohum (author)2012-10-22

good looking belt you made, i really like the way you looped the single strand, for double colors,,,pretty darn smart of you.

I made a belt like this 2 years ago, no problems at all, still looks good, i wear this belt every day, with jeans and suits, its a belt, i have made 3 of these type of belts, I didn't see jake 22,, but found your instructions, thanks for posting,

I truly like the double color belt, now I have to make one..

thanks again for the post

cvfd1326 (author)2012-10-11

Good directions, a little hard to follow at first. Took a couple tries for it to come out right. Managed to have it turn out backwards. I think it looks good. Time to try a multicolored belts. Thanks again

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