I started making paracord bracelets back in 2005. I learned the basics while I was stationed in Iraq. While there, I looked for better ways to do this. Many different appoaches, until one method came out as most simple to me. I had seen MANY different ways to do make this items. No, I do not think mine as best, but I do think it to be rather easy to start and finish. The original method I started with was the BDU/ DCU button and loop method of closure. I learned the buckle technique from reading an instrutable from Stormdrane. I give him full credit for this and this is only what I have done as my method only.
Step 1: Bringing Together What You Need.
To start I suggest doing a single color, until you can do this technique. Multi-color bracelets are not that much harder, just a couple added steps.
Step 2: Threading the Buckle End.
Fold the paracord in half and thread it thru the face side of the buckle. Pull it so the end of the cord are even. Once even pull cord tight against itsself.
Step 3: Melting the Cord Ends.
At this point I like to take and sear the ends of the cord closed. I use the butane torch at a medium flame setting to melt the ends of the cord. Once melted, roll it between your finger tip to a conical shape or you can just pinch it too. The tapper on the end aids you in threading the ends of the cord thru the buckle slots. And also, prevents the cord from fraying.
Note: all that has to be done is heat the ends enough to melt it, not catch the cord on fire.
Step 4: Measure Circumferance.
When you measure for fit, please remember to add an inch to the overall leangth you measured. Reason is, that the bracelet is linear, but when you bend it the leanear measure stays in the center of the bracelet, not the skin side. The bend takes up about an extra inch of leangth. To correct for this bend, you need to add back that inch. And that inch is just so it fits, add more (1/4"-3/8) if you like bracelet to have a loose fit.
Step 5: Threading Other Buckle End.
Looking at the buckle you notice there is a curve to it. You need to ensure you are working with the proper side. Thread the cord on the right side, front to back. And thread the left side cord, back to front.
Step 6: Transfer Measurement to Bracelet.
A majority of any info I had here has been transfered to the pictures. I will say here is that the reason I chose to off set the threading of the cords is two fold. First it helps set up for your first knot. Second is, after that first knot is tightened, if it wasnt off set, it would want to twist. The method I make mine corrects for that twisting effect and aids in creating the first knot.
Step 7: Start Making the Rest of the Knots
After you are satisfied with your measurement, you can start making the rest of the knots needed to make your bracelet.
I tend to tighten each knot VERY tight. When my bracelet is complete, you would not believe it was only made out of soft cord. As when it is tapped by another bracelet, they click like metal.
Step 8: Last Knot.
Ok, once you have gotten here, you are ready to terminate the cordage.
Step 9: Cutting the Left Over Cord.
CAUTION: At this point you can destroy what you made if you try to terminate the ends of the cord too fast!!
Please take your time. Look at what you want to do. Practice what you are going to do. You will be working with an open flame and metal heated to about 1000 - 1200 deg F. I never take less than 2 cuts to do what I want to do. Pull on the loose end of the cord as you cut, to keep it from re-adhearing to the main body of the bracelet. And if you need to, you can heat the blade and use it to fuse the cut end under the knot to the inside of the knot. This, I will say is an advance technique. Look at my next step for other methods that will work also.
Step 10: Alternate Method to Finish Bracelet.
Another method of ensuring you braclet doesnt start to unravel, is to use glue to the cut ends. I am showing what I started to use. I first use crafters super glue, as it has a pleasent scent and doesnt have that superglue, white haze that developes over time. Plus, I also used the E-6000 to limit skin contact with any rough surfaces caused by cutting or the superglue.
Notice: As with any chemical, please check to see if you have a sensitivity to either glue before you place it on your bracelet and placing the glue against your skin.
I have noticed that the E-6000 cures in a fairly short time frame and is very flexable.
Step 11: Finished Product.
At this point you have completed your Bracelet. I will say this, my last rotation to Iraq in 2008-2009 I ran into only one other buckle bracelet. It belonged to a Chief Warrent Officer in the Army at Baghdad. He told me his wife made it for him, via instruction she got from this site.
I also would like to thank you all for supporting the troops, as I am one of those that was blessed by the generousity of others.
I will be adding more to this to discribe how to do 2-4 color bracelets. Its so easy you wont believe it. God Bless.