Introduction: Homemade Paracord

Picture of Homemade Paracord

 Here is a fun craft project that will give you a basic understanding of how paracord is made. Here we are going to make an eight strand casing with a three strand core. Real military grade paracord has a 32 strand casing & a seven strand core. But the process is the same for both. 
 For this Project we are going to make a kumihimo wheel & eight bobbins out of cardboard this is going to be the jig to braid the outer casing. 
 For your fist time get two different colors of thread this will help you from getting to confused as you braid.
For this braid we will use green & purple.

Step 1: Making the Kimihimo Wheel & Bobbins

Picture of Making the Kimihimo Wheel & Bobbins

 To braid up the casing for your paracord you will need to make a kimihimo wheel & eight bobbins out of some thick cardboard.

 Step 1.  draw out two circles one within the other one. The  outer around 6-7 inch. & the inner 1-2 inch. then 16 marks on the outer circle in equal distances from one an other.
Step 2. cut out the two circles & make 1/2 inch cuts on the 16 marks.

step 3. Then draw & cut out the bobbins out with 1/2 inch. cuts on each end.


Step 2: Loading the Kimihimo Wheel With Thread.

Picture of Loading the Kimihimo Wheel With Thread.

 You will need four threads in one color & four  in another color each around 3ft . This is for the outer casing in this example we are using four green & four purple. Then three in some other color for the core threads here we are using white thread.

 Step 1. to load the eight threads of purple & green thread on the bobbins by first wedging one end of a thread in one of the notches on the bobbin. Then wrap the thread around the bobbin then wedge the other end in the other notch.

Step 2. take the eight treads of green & purple that you just put on the bobbins, plus the three white threads that will be used as the core & tie them together.

Step 3. put the knot in the center of the kimihimo wheel & wedge the eight threads of green & purple in the slots cut around the wheel alternating colors. then just leave the white thread free.

Step 3: Braiding the Paracord

Picture of Braiding the Paracord

The braid is simple to do. Just take your time & enjoy.

 Step 1. all the green threads jump over the purple threads moving counter clock wise.

Step 2. all the purple threads jump over the green threads moving clock wise.
step 3. repeat steps 1 & 2 as needed. The white threads do nothing.

Step 4: Example

Picture of Example

 This is a fun craft project to as you watch T.V. As far as kimihimo braiding goes this is just the tip of the ice berg.  Hope you give it a try, it is always fun to have a tactile experience on what goes into something.


irethia (author)2016-03-11

I LOVE kumihimo-braiding, I just discovered it last year and have big plans for future with that (jewellery making etc). I didn't even realize that paracord has the same idea, heh I should've :D! This will be interesting, making my own paracord for future use!!! Thank you for sharing!

Pure Carbon (author)2014-02-13

someone should make paracord out of paracord

whenever something needs s tee ing or yarn, I use paracord. th sea t stuff is so awesome, because you can make almost anything out of it, so I'm gonna give it a try with a LOT of paracord, and make 32-strand casing. its gonna be really thick!!

You should do an instructable on that and share with us how it works out.


that sounds interesting... I might give it a try if I have some free time;)

ruben.tan.10 (author)2015-01-30

How much of the coloured wire do you need to create a given lenght of wire? I'm thinking about using this technique to cover wires. But I'll need to have an idea of what length to use.

markthepotatoguy (author)2014-02-04

I use this to wrap my ear buds cord and it is working so far I haven't finished yet though

Rambo556 (author)2013-04-17

or u could use nylon like real paracord

TREX ZoaR0K (author)Rambo5562013-07-03

thats not what they mean they mean how to improve this with the same amount shown above with different types of thread if they made military grade paracord with kevlar string that would be way stronger

denanderen (author)2012-05-08

this seems like a fun thing to do with headphone cables, to get a vintage look (replacing the center thread with the cable.

thanks for all the hints and tips, by the way.
i've been wondering how to do this for a while.

czyoyo (author)2011-06-15


joehudy (author)2011-05-09

make a video

shellyscorner (author)2011-03-05

For anyone can go to your local Hobby Lobby store and in the craft dept. you can purchase a "kumihimo" disk VERY cheap. They are made of a light weight foam and maybe slightly smaller than the one here. It has 32 slots as mentioned above. But they are made by Toner Crafts, and are sold in a package containing four (4) disks and the findings to make key rings and lanyards...kit also contains plastic lacing. ALL sold for just under $6! YOU JUST CAN'T BEAT THAT!!! ;-)

rimar2000 (author)2011-01-07

Very interesting instructable!

I just see it, do not understand how I missed it when was published.

Foaly7 (author)2010-04-10

And how would you finish the cord, so it's one length, and not frayed-looking at the ends?

erik_mccray (author)Foaly72010-04-11

 how you finish the cord is dependent on what you use to braid it. I just use a drop or two of supper glue before I cut if its cotton or hemp. 

Broom (author)erik_mccray2010-10-15

Ooh! Good tip.

fireruler12 (author)Foaly72010-04-10

i think that you could like burn the end of the cord and it wont be frayed

dutchypoodle (author)fireruler122010-05-01

First off: fabulous 'ible! Well done, sir!

Fireruler, burning the cord to seal it won't work on natural fibres-- only synthetics will melt under heat, thus sealing the end.

fireruler12 (author)dutchypoodle2010-05-01

oh ok thanks

RaNDoMLeiGH (author)2010-10-10

not to be a spelling nazi, but it's kumihimo, not kimihimo. Might help people who are trying to google it.

Foaly7 (author)2010-09-12

I just tried this, and i couldn't understand the directions for braiding. i think that perhaps a video would make it easier to understand.

globogym (author)2010-08-22

I'm having a lot of problems doing this and I don't know why. Everythings getting tangled and it doesnt even shape up into anything. help>?

erik_mccray (author)globogym2010-08-22

I may need more info, but some things that may help is to tie a weight to the braid to help keep tension as you work, hold the core fibers in your teeth to keep them out of the way & if you have an understanding of how the braid is moving try crossing two strands then cross two on the opposite side. This is not the easiest cord braid out there so you may what to try an easier one like this one then come back to this braid.

Saturn V (author)2010-05-24

Do the bobbins need to be exactly that shape, or just close

If they do need to be that shape, can you give me the dementions?

erik_mccray (author)Saturn V2010-05-24

 nothing here needs to be that exact. there are many ways to make them & buy off the shelf options to.

Saturn V (author)erik_mccray2010-05-24

Thanks! I can't wait to start making paracord!

hardlec (author)2010-05-03

I see a clear advantage in being able to choose the colors used.  You could do the colors of a sports team, or some spiffy custom colors for a costume. 
What kind of threads have you used?

What is the longest cord you have made?

erik_mccray (author)hardlec2010-05-04

I have used all kinds of line. You can also get some great effect with using different thickness in the same line. I tend to make 5 to 10 yd at a time. 

Foaly7 (author)2010-04-26

Thank you, but where would I get Kevlar thread?

PKTraceur (author)2010-04-10

 This is so awesome!!!

I don't really understand the directions though, is there a video for this? How expensive is this in comparison to real paracord?

erik_mccray (author)PKTraceur2010-04-11

 it is hard to find a video for this kind of braid on the internet. I will see if I can figure out how to make a video & post it. 
 I have not done a cost comparison so I don't know for sure, but I would guess
to do it your self is more expensive.   

Foaly7 (author)2010-04-10

Can you use this process to make military grade Paracord?

erik_mccray (author)Foaly72010-04-10

No, military standards are to high for a hand crafted rope. 

Foaly7 (author)erik_mccray2010-04-10

Okay, how close to military grade can you get? (Like, what kind of thread, how many strands, etc.)

PACW (author)2010-04-09

Please help me here.  I was so taken with this idea that I immediately had to try it.  The first two days of not getting it right was strictly my own ditzyness.  I finally got the bobbins all going in the direction they are supposed to and jumping the proper threads but I still have a few problems.  

When I move my A bobbins to the right do I put them in the slot taken by the next A bobbin or do I put it in the blank slot directly next to the B bobbin?  When I tried the empty slot approach since it made more sense I kept getting a traffic jam of bobbins!

When I finish a round of A jumps and a round of B jumps do I start the next round with the same slot I started with before or the same bobbin?  

Also, when I ignored the center threads they ended up next to my cord instead of inside it.  I finally solved this by lifting the center threads and hanging them from my kitchen light but this is not a perfect solution.  

And lastly, my cord is somewhat uneven, should I hang a weight from it as I go along?


erik_mccray (author)PACW2010-04-09

 This method of braiding is the easiest for someone new to it to understand & get started with. But you are having to deal with the traffic jam problem & it does get an uneven look. I picked this method as a way for someone to get started.
 If you think you have a grasp on how the two groups are jumping try crossing one A over one B then cross the A & B at the opposite side of the wheel, then turn do the two groups of A & B at 90deg. Then in the next set of crossings B will now cross A. I would start the first way then after the braid is going try the new way. The jumping to the opposite side will get you better faster results. As far as the center strands I just hold them in my teeth to get them out of the way as I braid the casing. 
 Also there is a ton of stuff on line about kumihimo braiding. To be honest the second method was so hard to see what was going on that I was doing this braid for about a week before I realized that I was just making fancy looking paracord.
 Here are two diagrames that may help that I pulled off the internet. the first shows the start of the second method described above the other one shows the four steps to do the same paracord braid a third way. 
I hope this helps if not please write back.

guitarmonk15 (author)2010-04-06

 I might have missed it, but what kind of thread do you use? Embroidery floss?

erik_mccray (author)guitarmonk152010-04-06

Yes, I did use embroidery floss but any thicker string will do. Yarn is another good  cheap material to start with.

craig3 (author)2010-04-06

i wanna use this thing with full paracods already, make a super one, I would be invincible with it

MattGyver92 (author)2010-04-05

Any way to mechanize this weaving rig?

erik_mccray (author)MattGyver922010-04-05

  There are many forms of mechanical braiding. From turn of the century hand crank machines  to modern CNC machines. Also there are more elaborate kumihimo looms. But you should try it by hand. After you get the hang of it, it has a very relaxing effect. I use it as a stress release.  

MattGyver92 (author)erik_mccray2010-04-05


erik_mccray (author)MattGyver922010-04-06

 from what I have seen all the braiding machines seem to basically be a planetary gear  set up.

lemonie (author)2010-04-05

This is good stuff, I'm sure I can use it for something. What do you estimate your speed to be in e.g. cm per hour?


erik_mccray (author)lemonie2010-04-05

When I first tried this I think I got 3inch or so. Now,I can do about 6-10 inch or 14 cm in an hour on this kind of braid. But there are other kinds kumihimo braids that I can do much faster say a 1ft or 31cm in an hour.  

erik_mccray (author)erik_mccray2010-04-05

 also the method that I showed to do the paracord braid is the simplest but not the easiest or fastest way. But for doing this type of kumihimo braid this is the first method I could understand & do. 

About This Instructable




Bio: I am an ex-fabricator that is now a stay at home dad. I love my new job but I do miss making stuff. I love ... More »
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