Picture of Multi-Color Paracord Can Koozie

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

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.

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JRKORTH8 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!5 months ago

in pink for my granddaughter!

can koozie.jpgbottom can koozie.jpg
n_d_hanks made it!8 months ago

mine doesn't look nearly as neat as yours

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.

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

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
paulijames3 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.
2010-12-16 11-29-58.351.jpg2010-12-16 11-30-16.478.jpg
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 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.
You can find Parachord at [ ]. 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.
Thank you for this info~~~ :-)
craftydan (author)  urbanwoodswalker4 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!!
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?
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)  picklepie1594 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.
GIJohn4 years ago
very nice work
Thanks for the detailed info on what paracord is.
Stormdrane4 years ago
Nice instrucable, thanks for sharing!
Cotb4 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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