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Picture of Multi-Color Paracord Can Koozie
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Ah, Paracord! 
The manliest of cordage.  So compact and tough that it's the cord of choice for nuts who like jumping out of airplanes.

Looking at the guides available, though, you might start to think it's only useful for lanyards and fobs.  Today I'll show you the steps to turn it into a snappy looking can koozie sporting your two favorite colors.


I stumbled on this idea on Stormdrane's Blog.  While Stormdrane's instructables are thorough, this one is only on his blog and he only hints at the how -- enough to figure it out, but not everything. 

Once I'd sorted out the how, adding the second color was a simple change.

In the following pages, I'll show you what you need, How to stitch from start to finish, and suggest some ideas for creating your own variation on the theme.

 
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Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
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For this project you'll need:

- two strands of paracord - 23-25ft each - you'll need at least 45' total to finish a typical can.  When selecting your length keep in mind that it's better to have more than less. You can always trim off 2' of cord, but it's hard to add on an extra 2'.  For this Instructable, Cord A will be played by popular and soothing "Blue" and Cord B will be played by the bright and energetic "Orange".
- cord-lock or lanyard bead  - I've selected a Glow-in-the-dark Key fob I bought recently. 

Required tools:

- A can to use as a form - don't plan to drink it anytime soon (your last soda is OK, but  for goodness sake, don't use your last beer).
- Sharp Scissors
- Source of flame - hand torch, lighter, gas stove, candle (or matches if you're very quick) - used for dressing the paracord ends.
- Measuring tool - a yard-stick is ideal, but a ruler will do.

Optional tools that could make your life easier:

- blunt pointy tool - a substitute for a Fid or Marlinspike, which is used for "dressing" knots. A knitting needle, embossing tool, or small Phillips screw driver will do.  It just needs to be thin, strong, and able to poke into the knots to pull tight strands loose and loose strands tight -- moving the slack around the weave.  you can use your fingernails as a substitute, but it's really hard on them. 
- tool for stitching (not pictured) such as:
    + bent needle-nosed pliers or hemostat - useful for pulling the cord through the stitch.  See Step 5 for an example of use.
    + 2 jumbo permalock needles - allows you to push the cord  through the stitch.
- a small rubber band - used early on for marking the cord.


Finally, Knotting geeks tend to use some basic terminology.  If you're unfamiliar with any terms I use check out the wikipedia article on knots.



Step 2: Prep


Measure and Cut:


If you haven't done it before hand, measure out your selected length and cut to size.  As mentioned before, it's better to err on the side of too long than not long enough.

Dressing the ends for work:

Once your cord is cut, now would be a good time to dress the ends to keep them from fraying badly.  There are three ways you might want to dress these:  Simply melting the end, gutting and sealing the end, and trimming and melting the end for a permalock needle (not pictured).

Before I discuss these, I just want to emphasize: DO NOT TOUCH THE MELTED END.  Not only will it look bad, liquid nylon can cause very nasty burns.  It's tempting, but just don't do it!

- Simple melting -- it's just that. A controlled melt of the cord's end. 

Light your torch/candle/burner and slowly move the end near the side of the flame.  As it gets close enough you'll see the end start to melt.  Hold it there and let the nylon slowly melt.  If you see it darken, it's getting too hot, so back away a little.  Once it's melted to your satisfaction, either let it air cool to form a nice rounded end, or press it against a flat piece of metal (like the side of your lighter or a piece of silverware) to form a flat look. 

- Gutting and sealing the end -- useful for threading ends through tight openings. 

Simply pull out 2-3" of the core cord and snip.  The remainder will shrink back into the sleeve.  Trim up the end to a point and seal the end using your flame source.

- Preparing for a permalock needle -- a permalock needle is a brass shaft about the same size as the cord with a hollow threaded opening in the back.  A jumbo sized permalock needle is just big enough to work with paracord.

To prepare, cut the cord at a steep angle (45-60 degrees).  Gently melt the cord, trying to keep the angled point on the top. Fit into the needle's end and twist -- trim if necessary.  


Put on the rubber band and bead:

If you've chose to sacrifice a rubber band, now is the time to use it.  Wrap it loosely around the cord and slide it ~1.5' down.

Put on your cord lock or lanyard bead.  Slide it down far enough that you have the cord you need for the finishing knot. I tied a Knife Lanyard knot, so I needed about 1'. If you want to be frugal about the cord, you can tie this knot now and move the excess over to the koozie side.


With the lanyard bead and rubber band in place, we're ready to mark, tie and tighten our first knot!

Step 3: The first knot


The first knot is an easy one -- a simple fixed loop knot.  You can pick and choose your own, but I'm going to show the "overhand loop", since it's small and oh-so-easy to do.  Before we tie it in, we'll need to find where.


Mark the knot:

Simply wrap the cord once around the can starting from the lanyard bead toward the working end (the "working end" is the long end from here on, with the "standing end" being "fixed" to the lanyard bead).


Tie the overhand loop knot:

Remove the can and grab the rubber band from the standing end side (the side attached to the lanyard bead).  Take about 6" of color A cord and make a 3" "bight" -- that's where the cord loops back on itself without crossing. 

1. Grab the rubber band, Cord B and Cord A + bight between your thumb and the first knuckle in your for finger. 

2. Wrap the bight loosely around your index finger. 

3. once it is all the way around the finger move your thumb up to hold the bite in a loop. 

4. slide your index finger out of the way and tuck the end of the bight in the loop.

5. Pull the loop all the way through and you've tied your first knot!!!

Tuck the lanyard bead and the extra cord through the loop this should form a  nice, almost can-sized loop.


Adjustments:

The first knot is too big, however, so we need to tighten it down to where the two strands.

pick one of the cords at the bottom of the knot. using your fingernails or blunt pointy tool, pull on it.  if the loop above tightens in response, you're pulling on the right cord.

pull on it until the loop is just big enough for both cords to easily slide through. 

push the excess slack around the curve of the knot and pull it tight by holding onto the cord with the bottom half of your hand and pushing on the knot with your thumb and for finger. If it doesn't move with modest force, make sure you're pulling on the right cord (try the other one).

Wrap it around the can with Cord A on top and pull the lanyard fob tight.  If you haven't already, cut off the rubber band -- we're done with him.

Now we're ready to stitch our first row!

Step 4: The first row


Tying the second knot is easier than the first -- it's a simple half hitch:


The Half Hitch:


[1] We'll start with cord B.  Slip your blunt pointy tool between cord A and the can just opposite the lanyard bead. 

[2] Slip cord A's end UNDER Cord B going from the bottom to the top.

[3] Looping back toward the standing end,  go back OVER Cord B.

[4] Finally loop UNDER the standing part.  You've tied a half hitch.  All that's left is to pull the slack out.

[5 & 6] pull all 20+feet of slack through the knot and out of the standing end under then over cord B, then under cord A.

[7] Pull it tight and check that it's still centered -- 2 down, Oh so many more to go.


And the next knot . . .

That's Knot #2, let's move on to #3:

[8] UNDER, [9] OVER, [10] UNDER and [11]pull tight -- and that's three!

[12] Make sure you keep a little slack between the knots.  We'll tie the next row of half hitches into this slack then pull the slack out when we no longer need it.

Tie a total of 9 half hitches in cord B, spaced evenly between the midpoint and the first knot.  Why 9? We need a total of 18 around the can.  20 is too many -- the weave won't fit tightly around the can. that leaves 9 per cord.  8 is acceptable, but the weave will be a little looser - it's up to you. 


Dressing the knots

Before we move on to cord A, we need to dress the knots -- the process of evening out the slack in these knots. 

[13] first insert your blunt pointy tool (or grab it with your fingernails)  into the middle of the knot.

[14] gently pull up to draw the slack out from the standing part between the knots until it's at the desired tension. 

[15, 16 & 17] Insert the tool into the standing part and pull down to tighten the hitch. Keep working the slack down the line.  Once you reach the end, it's time to repeat with cord A.

[18, 19, & 20] For cord A, start with a gap that's twice as wide.  This will allow us to constrict the top a little.  

Make a total of 8 half hitches from cord A. 


Wait . . . What?  8?  What happened to 9?


So why 8 instead of 9?  Where did the missing stitch go?  We need to skip one so we can constrict the top.  If you chose to tie 8 hitches of cord B, tie only 7 of A. Make sure the hitches are spaced evenly around the can when your done


Start the next row and off we go . . .

[21]  To start the next row, switch back to cord B.  Tie two hitches in the large loop.

[22] From now until we start the bottom, tie one hitch into each gap.  Keep tying hitches until you reach the loose end of cord A, dress the hitches in cord B (we don't need the slack in the loops anymore), and start tying hitches on cord A until you get back to B again. 

Wash.

Rinse.

Repeat.


Step 5: Dress for success


As you tie, a few useful observations:


Travel:

first, this takes a LONG time.  It's worth it, but it takes a while.  what do you do when you need a break? wrap it up and go!  Just wrap the excess around the can and when you get a spare minute or two, unwrap and start again.

Dressing:

As I mentioned before, you need to dress your knots.  This is the process making the knots consistent by moving the tension down the weave toward the working end.  In picture 2, you'll see where I last left off dressing cord A.  You see even, tight hitches on the right, loose hitches on the left.  Since we've tied on cord B, we need to pull all the slack down toward the working end.

As before, start at the first loose knot and pull the slack around the knot.  Keep pulling the slack around the knot, and on to the next.  As you move it down, you'll pick up more slack from each knot. 

Twists and Tangles:

It's not going to take long and your working end is going to twist up.  If you don't do something about it, before long, it will tangle.  When it twists up, pull the twists out by pulling on both sides of the twist  

Separate the two cords and push the twist down the working end.  To move the twist, grab the cord between your hands, gripping tightly on the standing end and holding loosely on the working end.  pull your hands apart letting the cord slip through one hand.  you should feel the cord slowly turn below your hand, pulling the twist toward the working end.  Move your gripping hand up and repeat until you get to the end.

Using bent needle-nosed pliers or hemostats:


Slip the pliers through the loop backwards and open it up. 

place the cord end into the jaws and close.  Pull back on the pliers.  Don't let it go yet.  pull all the slack and then slip the pliers back under the standing end.  release the pliers, grab the end with your hand, and pull the slack again and you've finished the knot. 

Get a good rhythm going and you can stitch pretty fast with the pliers.

Step 6: Coming to an End


After you've been at this for a while, you're going to wonder:  "When is enough enough?!?!?"

Pick your end from your beginning:

After you have about 10 rows, slide the weave up to the top of the can and decide how high you want it to be.  Too high and the cord is too close to the lip of the can -- makes it hard to take a sip.  Slowly slide it down until you're happy with it.  Once you like it, pull the first knot tight using the lanyard bead

Nearing the end:

Keep tying knots until you get within a row of the end.  From here, stop tying knots when your cords are opposite each other. From here on, tie only one knot before switching to the other cord. 

Turning the corner:

when a full row folds over the end, you're ready to start dropping stitches.  In the same way we added a stitch around the first knot to make the weave expand, we'll drop a stitch to close the weave.  You drop stitches by skipping a loop with each stitch. ONLY MAKE ONE STITCH PER CORD AT A TIME.  It won't take many skipped stitches before the next place to tie can be confusing.

Eventually, tying one knot at a time, one cord will catch up with the other and you've got no where else to go.

Finally there!!!

You've just tied the last stitch!  Dress the stitches to finish forming the flat bottom. 

Slip the can out of the koozie and put it away for a good long rest. 

Take a look at the bottom and look for the smallest gap next to where your working ends are poking out.   slip the working ends into this gap and pull the slack through. 

Turn the koozie over.  tie a loose overhand knot with both cords -- we need to push the loop down to the base but the koozie is pretty deep, so we'll bring the bottom closer to the top.

Turn the koozie back over and push the bottom inward toward the top.  You don't have to push so far that the koozie inverts.

Flip it back over again and pull the overhand knot down and tight. 

Trim and melt the end. This one doesn't need to be pretty -- you'll never see it again.

Pop the bottom back out and you're finally finished!

Step 7: All done -- What's next?

Picture of All done -- What's next?
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Well that was fun, and you're Cold Ones will take longer to become cool ones! 

But Wait . . . What about all your friends?!?!?  Do you DARE let them drink a not-so-cold one?!?!?  What kind of friend would you be?  And why not make something a little different?


3 cords?


If you've done two, three is easy!  Instead of tying 9 knots, of each cord, tie 6.


4 Cords? are you Crazy?!?!?


Why knot?  4 cords might be a bit much pulled around the top, so only pull cord A through the first knot and tie off the remaining three strands dividing the gaps by four.  Again, instead of 9 knots, tie 4 of these.  yeah, the total isn't up to 18, but its close (and 18 doesn't divide evenly by 4). 


Changing the color as we go?  but I thought you said we can't add on cord?!?!?


No, I said it was hard to add on cord.  Check out this instructable with hints about splicing in other colors. With a little bit of care and creativity you can make some really unique patterns -- just be gentle on your splices.


What? More than just cans?!?!?

yup, you can do this around almost anything that needs a small case.  The trick is to find how many stitches around you'll need, and tie the first row with half as many stitches.  On the second row add a stitch for each loop, and off you go!


And all this from overhand knots and half hitches!  With a little bit of creativity and a lot of cord, you can make some great things with paracord!
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JRKORTH12 months ago

could you please explain the first starting knot on getting started I don't understand the steps or follow the pictures. I am really confused. the tying of the first know and putting the fob through the loop and how to get started. I really like the look of this can koozie but don't understand the directions. need either a video to talk throught it or need a phone call or better instructions. I can be reached at 920-410-3162 after 5 CT or via e-mail TBlanchette@NEW.RR.COM. Trying to make one for a veteran. Also have been making bracelets and giving money to military organizations. Recently donated money to Old Glory Honor Flight

Did u get any extra help w this step I epic failed getting this made for my bro in law and drove myself half crax y tryin to figure it out!!!!
katherine.hotchkiss1 made it!9 months ago

in pink for my granddaughter!

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n_d_hanks made it!1 year ago

mine doesn't look nearly as neat as yours

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Pixel Donkey Creations made it!1 year ago

Loved The Instructable...

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khill202 years ago
awesome thank you so much this is just what i was looking for! great details!! oh and GO GATORS!!! i need this for FLvsFSU!!
jwa7652 years ago
I love this. Could it be tweeked to make a cell phone cover?
furthuron2 years ago
wouldnt you want to boil the paracord in water first? since it will be holding a moist beverage, wouldnt it get the koozie wet from the condensation and distort it? This is an awesome ible though. Thanks alot for it. as soon as i can stock up on some paracord i will be making myself 1 or 2 or maybe some for everybody :)
craftydan this was a great instructable i saw this on stormdranes blog and went looking for better instructions. yes that one step is a little messy. i spent about twelve hrs total three four hr sessions. red and tan color what i had available at the time.
jimjobe3 years ago
I made a derivative of this (just one color) so I could reuse an aluminium energy drink bottle as a water bottle without everyone asking me why I drink so many energy drinks.

Thanks!
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Too Elaborite for me. But great idea and it looks really cool!
jchase124 years ago
Ok I think i figured something out that wasn't clear to me and may not be clear to others. You tie your 9 x 1/2 hitches from the opposite of the lanyard bead in the direction of the lanyard beard (towards it) YES?

Any idea how many half hitches to tie for an nalgene bottle?
craftydan (author)  jchase124 years ago
Jchase,

I'm not sure, but I don't think so.

To use the given color scheme, the orange cord and blue cord do not begin with knots at the same point and move away from each other. The cords don't run in counter rotations, they tend to chase each other around the can.

At this step you're starting 2 spirals that travel around and down the can - one for each color. To keep the spirals even, you start knotting one on opposite sides. In this case the blue cord starts from the lanyard bead wrapping 1/2 way around, the orange starts from 1/2 way around wrapping to the lanyard bead -- IN THE SAME DIRECTION. When the blue reaches the orange knots, it continues on the orange loops and the orange continues on the blue.

Keep in mind, you still have to leave out one of the blue knots on the first pass and put in an extra orange stitch in the first blue loop (so keep that first loop loose).  This allows the top to constrict.

As for other bottles, you could wing it, or . . .

18 stitches for a 2..5" diameter can = 7.2 stitches per inch of diameter (a ratio is a powerful tool).

If you're using paracord and want the same density in your mesh, measure your bottle's diameter in inches, multiply by 7.2, and round to an even number. (then divide by 2 to find out how many per color on the first trip around)

Beyond that you're off the map, but they're plenty of neat things to see that aren't on maps.
"Beyond that you're off the map, but they're plenty of neat things to see that aren't on maps."

Did you make that up, or are you quoting/paraphrasing that? Either way I'm stealing it. :) Thanks. for that and the instructable.
Thanks the math and explanation were very helpful
paulijames4 years ago
I just finished this. Very nicely written and easy to follow. Thanks for a great i'ble.
terryatch24 years ago
Thanks for the great instructable. Easy to follow and a great idea. I posted pics of the one i have made. I think mine turned out just a little bit better due to the colors ;). HOW BOUT THEM DAWGS.
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craftydan (author)  terryatch24 years ago
Nice Job! Maybe not as nice by the colors, but at least 31/34ths as nice
LOVE this!  I am more apt to crochet a can koozie, but I love the macrame sticth shown here...gotta try it!!!!  Where can one purchase "Paracord? "

I can buy various color cords at hard wear stores....is it the same thing?  What is the thickness of this rope shown here?
You can buy the same paracord at your local hardware store. It is the same. I get mine off eBay though. I find better prices and a larger color selection online.
Tabatha
You can find Parachord at [ http://www.armysurplusworld.com ]. They start at 6.99 for 100'. The parachute cord has a 450lb. test. Also, The parachute cord is available in 100ft shanks 300ft rolls and 1000ft rolls in most colors.
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Thank you for this info~~~ :-)
craftydan (author)  urbanwoodswalker5 years ago
Paracord is not quite the same as cord you'd pick up at the local feed & seed (or bolts and plumbing for the more urban among us). 

Type 3 paracord
is a 1/8" mesh nylon tube with 7-9 strands of twisted nylon string down the middle.  Mostly what you'll find at a hardware store will be sold twisted or braided nylon rope.  It's my experience that they tend to have a fair supply, but the selection of colors is limited.

1/8" Solid Nylon rope won't have the same handling charicteristics as paracord (which is VERY forgiving), but that doesn't mean it won't work.  You'll have to be very careful with the cord twisting (or untwisting), and you might need to be a little longer since it won't stretch as much.  You should be able to get away with it with care and patience. 

For a source of paracord, most better outfitters will carry some (mostly in a single color, prepackaged) and a choice few will sell a small variety by the foot off a spool.  I live quite a ways from the any good outfitters, so I order mine online. Supply Captain has a good selection at one of the better prices per 100'.  There are others who sell purely by the foot, but the cost + shipping can rise sharply. If your shipped cost is much more than 0.10$/ft, your probably paying too much.
TabbyDeAnne4 years ago
Thanks so much!! This is amazing! I just made one and I LOVE IT! I am going to make all my friends one to keep our beers nice and snug during the football games!!! You are pretty awesome and I look forward to more from you!!
Tabatha
Love your stuff crafty Dan. The Orange and Blue is Awesome. That is because my alma Mater also uses the same colors. GO BOISE STATE!! I am going to try to make a couple of these myself before our first home game. Love the Gators Colors and your Team!
kaitlyn.4 years ago
the coulers remind me of butter menthols
wolfsden4 years ago
Can you do this *without* removing the inner cords? I'd much rather use this as a way of keeping extra paracord on my person, and without the inner cords, it drops from 550# tensile strength to about 35-50#. Thanks, David
craftydan (author)  wolfsden4 years ago
If you mean the step about gutting and sealing the end, only the end is gutted. In this step (which is one of three options) you pull out only a few inches, trim it, and let the inner strands slip back inside. the inner core will continue unharmed 2-3 inches from the melted end. 

Keep in mind, the process of knotting up all that cord will weaken it. If you chose to undo the koozie, the paracord will be twisted and kinked but more or less whole.  It'll still be better than nothing, but I wouldn't lift 500# with it.
china candy4 years ago
I am a Chinese girl, you do great, good I love it, the time difference because China and the United States is different, so no one reply to my words ... ...
Wow! great tutorial! U really broke it down and made it easy. I was thinking of making a book cover or case for a dear book of mine. Any ideas?
craftydan (author)  westcoastdsh4 years ago
I was thinking about the cover:

This method makes tubes, so a flat rectangular object is (if you pardon the pun) stretching it. It could make a fair slipper case, but if you're looking for a "heavy duty dust jacket", it probably won't fair well.

Also, dunno what your "dear book" is, but for most people the REALLY valuable books are often leather bound.

This method works well for rigid objects -- I wouldn't recommend it for something flexible.
shmuley954 years ago
You've inspired me. I'm gunna make a drawstring bag and make an 'ible about it, thanks!
craftydan (author)  shmuley954 years ago
Good for you! I look forward to seeing it!
anyone know if this'll work for a us army 1 quart canteen? If the bottom is very wide and the neck really narrow, when i tighten the draw strings will it look wierd? http://www.uscav.com/Productinfo.aspx?productid=7537&TabID=1&CatID=58
P.s. the whole thing is irregularly shaped- it's got that "hip flask" curve on the back, and the bottom's shaped like a sort of crescent.
craftydan (author)  picklepie1595 years ago
I know what you're talking about. Had one when I was a kid. I loved feeling like I was in the Army by having one of these on a belt, but modern Hydration packs are much more useful.

Should be able to do what you want -- within limits: First of all let me state the obvious. This mesh likes to follow convex shapes. It's probably going to have a gap along the concave edge on the back.

Second, If you haven't guessed, the stitch counts and lengths are going to be way different because of your larger perimeter. Be prepared to play around with it.

Third, keep in mind a can is going to have the same perimeter over most of it's length, while this canteen has a sharp increase in perimeter followed by a slow decrease as you move down. You will probably need to add stitches as you put in the top then drop a stitch when the mesh starts becoming too loose for your taste.

If you want this to be removable and extend all the way up to the neck, it can be done, but it will be tricky to lay out. a removable sleeve will be much easier if you start just above the bend rather than starting at the neck.

On an oblong object like this, I wouldn't recommend working the bottom like a round one. Here I'd let the mesh extend just below the canteen, ending with each string on opposite sides of the canteen. then, instead of skipping stitches to close, I'd change the pattern entirely stitching through the loops going from the front to back of the canteen. when your two strings meet in the middle, finish off with a knot inside and your done.

You may end up with a "corners" on the bottom and a gap on the back, but you shouldn't have any puckering. If you don't like how that looks as your finishing up, back out the last row and drop a single stitch on each side as you round the sides. when you put that last row back in and stitch it together, it should tighten up how the mesh follows around the corner.

If you decide to take this on, post some pictures here (or write up the differences as your own instructable). I'd love to see how this would come out.
GIJohn5 years ago
very nice work
Thanks for the detailed info on what paracord is.
Stormdrane5 years ago
Nice instrucable, thanks for sharing!
Cotb5 years ago
As a Gator this cozy is decidedly relevant to my interests. Great job and I look forward to giving it a try. Thanks!
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