Introduction: Molten Paracord Pendant

Picture of Molten Paracord Pendant

Here’s a fun and different to way to use paracord. The basic of it is that you make a wire design and fill it with molten paracord. I was happy with how well it shined up. If your going after a completely smooth finish use polymer clay instead.

Safety First: Molten anything can cause severe burns. Anytime you use a flame make sure you’re in a well ventilated area and that you’ve taken fire safety precautions. As always, be careful and work within your experience.

Step 1: Cut Some Rings

Picture of Cut Some Rings

I picked up some 16 gage galvanized steel wire from the hardware store, 200’ for about 7 bucks.

Use your desired size socket bit to wrap wire around it. Snip a full circle out of the coil and file the edges so the ends fit together nicely.

For the pendant I’m making do it twice.

Step 2: Solder, Drill, and Cut

Picture of Solder, Drill, and Cut

Arrange the rings on a piece of sheet metal. I’m using 22 gage again from the hardware store. Solder the rings on.

Use a drill bit and rotary tool to remove the material from the center of the pendant. Use metal shears to remove the material from the outside ring. File away any sharp edges.

Step 3: Fill the Pendant

Picture of Fill the Pendant

Since the wire is round the bottom curve against the sheet metal will hold the solidified cord in place. This is where you have to be extra careful. Light the cord enough so it become molten and begins to drip. Make sure you do this over a non-flammable surface.

Once you have the pendant filled let it cool off.

If you’d like to make the wire appear more prominent, file it down a little.

Step 4: Smooth and Shine

Picture of Smooth and Shine

File away the melted paracord until your down to the wire. Use progressively finer sand paper to smooth out the pendant. I’m using 400 grit, 1000, and 2000.

Finally use buffing compound with a polishing wheel to make it shine. Attach it to a chain by making a jump ring out of the same wire.

Thanks for reading.


msutton1 (author)2012-02-28

Finally finished mine (after melting the paracord over 5 times because it kept breaking from the metal haha). This is my very first metal working project so I am happy how it came out despite lacking the professionalism that yours has! Also, I put a coat of hard clear nail polish to give it a nice shine and seal it all together. Awesome project though!

Mrballeng (author)msutton12012-02-29

Looks great! You'd laugh at all the projects I've done that don't turn out at all. My hat off to you for keeping at it until you got it right. Good work.

Mudslag (author)2012-02-27

Just got done making this, thanks Mrballeng what a fun project

Mrballeng (author)Mudslag2012-02-28

Cool!!!!! I like the design. Thanks for posting a photo.

Shadow Ranger (author)2012-01-11

Cool project! We had fun with our own version of molten paracord after seeing your project and we came up with a few interesting ideas. If you use an oven that can reach at least 450*F (that is the minimal temperature and, in fact, would be better if it could reach a higher temperature!) then it will not only melt the cord but save most of the color. We had fun doing it and at the end we created a rather interesting survival bracelet with our "parabead" as the main focal point. Plus, this gives you something to do with the leftover lengths from your paracord projects that are too short to do anything else with! (We used the same color paracord as the bracelet for this experiment.)

Ooh, rainbow paracord! Must get some. Great idea to make a button with it!

Mrballeng (author)Shadow Ranger2012-01-13

Cool!!! Thanks for posting photos.

Ryhorn12 made it! (author)2016-12-23

I was trying to make a wood veneer ring a little bit before, I had seen this instructable a while ago, and I was going to fill the ring with a band of broken up sea glass. green sea glass with walnut. would've looked amazing. the ring didn't turn out before the glass was added, so I got bored of that, didn't clean it up (usual thing with me) and tried my hand at this pendant. I tried a lower gauge wire as I couldn't find a sufficient backing piece so the paracord just cracked out. I had a moment of genius, so I epoxied in the glass. I haven't sanded it yet, any advice whether I should leave this look or go far a flat look?

wcgems (author)2016-06-03

Want to thank you for the years of inspiration and to show you my take on this pendant. Only difference is I used some small emeralds that I had found, crushed them and mixed with epoxy rather than using the paracord.

Mrballeng (author)wcgems2016-06-05

Very cool. Thanks so much for taking the time to write that!!

Cadet Park (author)2014-02-01

How bout you use paracord instead of a chain.

kweh (author)2013-08-07

How creative!
who would have thought of using molten paracord to make jewellery.
I am extremely impressed, well done :)

Mrballeng (author)kweh2013-08-07

Why thank you :). Glad you like it.

tomsmac (author)2013-07-08

excellent! i have over 5000 ft roles of paracord...alot of pendants!

Ijsbeer (author)2013-03-10

The air bubbles make it look kinda like basalt. Which is awesome.

controlledwrinkles (author)2013-02-08

This looks awesome, I have been playing around with homemade Micarta, but have yet to publish an Instrucatble on the process yet, but here is someone elses:

You might want to try this, it's messy but fun.

I am going to try to combine your rings template with the fabric Micarta to create something cool, I'll keep you posted.

WouterZ (author)2013-01-23

Very nicely done!

RCBro (author)2012-09-12

As part of RRR I made this with key rings, one small key ring in the middle, and a larger one surrounding it.

Bekah09 (author)2012-04-19

Since I doubt my landlord would appreciate me soldering things in my apartment (and my dog probably won't like it, either), I was hoping to be able to purchase one from your store... Is there any particular reason you don't sell these?

Mrballeng (author)Bekah092012-04-23

No problem. Send me a PM if your still interested. PS sorry for the delay.

aoag516 (author)2011-12-20

Does it matter what kind of sheet metal is used, if so what are you using here?

Mrballeng (author)aoag5162011-12-22

As long as it's not aluminum or stainless steel it should work just fine.

Mudslag (author)Mrballeng2012-02-26

Why not aluminum or stainless steel?

Mrballeng (author)Mudslag2012-02-29

Those metals don't take very well to this type of soldering.

msutton1 (author)2012-02-26

Okay, so I have tried 3 times now on this step. I have melted the paracord (after removing all the white strands inside) over my template and let it cool. Problem is, when I go to file and sand it, it cracks and breaks away from the metal. I can not get it to stay in the metal! Not sure what I am either doing wrong of what I can change to make it stay...

Mrballeng (author)msutton12012-02-26

When I did it I left all the white strands inside the cord. The only place I had any issue was at the very top where the crescent is the thinest but all I did was drip more on that part and resanded it. Hopefully that makes the difference. Let me know.

msutton1 (author)2012-02-24

I am working on making this right now but there is one step I have never done. Soldering. Should I get just a simple 30w soldering iron? And what else do I need?

Mrballeng (author)msutton12012-02-24

Go to the plumbing section at walmart and buy some silver solder and a container of flux. You can also find this at home depot or lowes but they have a higher price for it. You'll find a plumbing torch in the same isle. It costs about $15. Of course you could also use a mini jet lighter. Check out my "how to solder amateur jewelry" instructable. That should take out the mystery of soldering. About soldering irons I've never used one to solder jewelry but I've heard you can use one for very small areas. Good luck.

msutton1 (author)Mrballeng2012-02-24

So awesome! Just watched the other video and I learned everything I need to do! Can't wait to experiment and try some stuff tonight and see how much more I can do on this pendant! Thanks again!

black hole (author)2012-01-26

Just saw you made it to the finalists. Good luck!

pheenix42 (author)2012-01-16

Molten paracord? Now I HAVE seen everything!
Been collecting a few small tools, should be able to work on one of your projects pretty soon now!

Edmundo096 (author)pheenix422012-01-16

Its nice to finally begin.. I have been collecting the tools needed too, hard to find them where I live, also the material, specially a good normal sheet of steel metal..
Im still unsure if there is a difference if I use a Non-lead 95% tin Solder than on with Silver.. If someone knows, it would be nice to know the info..
Anyways, hope to make my first instrutable or video about how I try to do some pendants..
Thanks Mrballeng!

jbounce (author)2012-01-02

Love the project! What size chain did you use? 18"?

Mrballeng (author)jbounce2012-01-04

The chain is a silver box chain I got from my daughter's jewelry box. I'm not sure what size it is but it came from target. Hope that helps.

hechao (author)2011-12-30


sparktech (author)2011-12-27

not having a metal back for it doesn't work...i tried it and it fell apart don't waste your time just have it use a metal back

sparktech (author)2011-12-19

if you used a different color of paracord would it still turn out the same? like if you used red paracord would the paracord have little wisps of black from it being burned or would it be solid red?

sparktech (author)2011-12-19

to go off what eschneck said, could you just lay the two rings on a piece of sheet metal that has been lubricated in some way so that the melted paracord doesn't stick but it still allows for a space for the paracord to go?

Mrballeng (author)sparktech2011-12-19

I'm not sure how hard that would be to do but it's worth a try.

Ray from RI (author)2011-12-15

The above web site is about toxic zinc exposure from Galvanized steel!

vanmankline (author)Ray from RI2011-12-15

The minute amounts of zinc burned off from heating won't cause huge problems for the hobbyist. If your job consists of heating galvanized metals, then OSHA has required safety precautions/regulations in place.

You should also note that most solders people would use for this type of work melt below 840 degrees centigrade, zinc boils at 900. Besides, soldering should be done in well ventilated location so fumes can't accumulate.

I'm not saying to throw all caution to the wind, but look at all sides of a debate. Only then can one make an informed decision.

Too much of anything can be dangerous, but the only toxic chemicals you should make all efforts to avoid are dihydrogen monoxide, hydroxic acid, hydroxylic acid, and hydrogen hydroxide. Don't get me started on how hazardous those things can be! The worst part is we are surrounded by them...

P.S. Great job Mrballeng!

Ray from RI (author)vanmankline2011-12-19

what you say is true, but if anyone decided they are going to constantly use metals for jewelry making other than gold or silver because they are cheap then you shoukld at least be aware of some of the dangers involved in doing so. Also if you decide you can make and sell a lot of cheap jewelry to make extra money or a living then you should make sure of ALL the dangers involved.

People DO develop sensitivities to copper, brass and zinc and if someone that you sold this jewelry comes to you demanding to know whay they had to spend a lot of money at the ER to treat an unknow sensitivity to zince what are you going to do if they demand that you pay for the expence???

TO be knowledgable and understand about these issue is a good thing for more than just one reason. I have several books on jewelry making and the Better books go over some of these issues. But none of the jewelry books I have deal or talk about making jewelry from galvinized wire or its possible safty issues.

serpensphile (author)vanmankline2011-12-16

No Doubt! I can't believe Obama hasn't regulated those dangerous chemicals you listed above. THOUSANDS of men, women, and children die EACH year because of them! Where is the OUTRAGE?!?!?

Ray from RI (author)2011-12-15

Nice project but I would stay away from heating Any Metal that is Galvinized!!!
Galvinized metal is iron/steel that has a coating of zinc metal on top to keep it from rusting.

Heating ANY Galvinized metal WILL Create Toxic FUMES that can KILL YOU!!!
See the below web site citation!!!

Or just do a search using the words " heating galvinized metal/steel"

You are better off using copper/brass or any plain steel that is NOT coated with Zinc or any other protective metal!!!!

Zinc oxide makes a good sun screen but the fumes from heating Galvinized Metal will and has Kill Others!!!!

black hole (author)Ray from RI2011-12-18

Anyone killed by zinc fumes was probably running a torch over galvinized metal, working in a small, airtight closet. With the kind of work Mrballeng is doing, it's unlikely that you would get anything more than a slight case of 'metal fume fever', a condition that is similar to the common flu but rarely lasts more than 24 hours.

Ray from RI (author)black hole2011-12-19

What you say is true, but to me I would Much Rather Err on the side of Caution!

And enven inhailing fine zinc particle via filing down the rings exposes you to the zinc. Also if you or anyone decided to use zinc coated wire to make a lot of objects / jewelry to wear thant means a lot of flame soldering/ filing not to mention wearing your own creations. Just like people have skin sensitivity to copper and brass they can also develop a skin sensitivity to wearing items make or coated with zinc...

And say you sold of give this to someone and they end upn developing a bad case of skin sensitivity what will you do then..? What if They decide they want recomensation SP? for the time and expence it cost them to go to the Dr or say the EM Room at the local hospital???

I have taken some jewelry making courses, and the teacher did go over some of this... Long term exposure to certain heavy metals is Not a good thing! Most how to jewelry books go over making itens out of gold, silver and there is a reason for this there is little if No toxicity cause by these metals. Certainly jewelry made of copper, brass and modern lead free peweter are alson talked about by older books and some the the better newer books do talk about toxicity and sensitivity issues...!

No one ever talk serriously in the classes I took, or in the books I own about making jewery from galvinized wire. Certainly makeing jewelry from galvinized wire/ metal is an attractive and cheap alturnative to silver, copper and brass but people should at least be aware of the possible dangers of using, open flame soldering and wearing such jewelry.

To be warned and to be aware of dangers is a Good thing, and that is my purpose

AntonioMDC (author)2011-12-18

socket bits! thank you--this was just the solution I needed for making various size rings.

anke-art (author)2011-12-16

Extremely cool! I'd love to try this, but I've never soldered before... I'll put it on m "techniques I want to try" list :D

Mrballeng (author)anke-art2011-12-17

Check out "how to solder amatuer jewelry". It's really not hard to do.

eschneck (author)2011-12-15

Is there enough structural integrity to do this without a sheet metal backing, thus making it double sided?

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