I saw the paracord bracelet by Stormdrane a couple of months ago, and had to make some; one night, while insomniacking, I was inspired, and had an epiphany: why not make a paracord bracelet, using a Monkey fist and loop as a closure, instead of a buckle or button?
So, here we go: a paracord bracelet with a Monkey Fist knot acting as the button.
Step 1: Ingredients
-Approximately 7 to 8 feet of gutted paracord; more depending on your wrist size. I measured the ratio of cord to weave once, and promptly forgot it.
-A pair of scissors or sharp Swiss Army knife.
-A lighter to melt fraying ends.
-A marlin spike or similar pokey object, used when dressing the monkey fist knot; it should be as tight as possible.
-A skully bead, available at craft stores near you; all kinds are available online, too.
-Time: 2 hours for first attempt
Step 2: The Skully Button
The hardest part of the project, after procuring the skull beads, will be the monkey fist. It was intended for use as a weight on a heaving line, in order to get larger, non-throwable hawsers from ship to jetty. I think it is a nice looking knot, and also resembles a head with a turban on it.
Take the inner strands out of the paracord, as this reduces the bulky look
Step 3: Wraps and fraps
Hopefully these pics and diagrams will help; if not, there are lots of good knot-tying sites online.
Begin with your single, long piece of paracord; while tying the Fist, try and get it as close to the center of the piece of cord as possible; this will save a lot of cursing and swearing later on when dressing / tightening the knot.
Using the fingers, make 3 turns around the hand; as part of Mountain Ops training, we called these verticals 'wraps'
Step 4: Fraps
Start the turns passing outside the middle of the first three turns; these horizontals we called 'fraps'. I do believe this terminology is particular to military mountain ops.
Step 5: Fraps continued...
Complete the three horizontal fraps...
Step 6: Wraps, 2nd time.
Make three more vertical wraps, passing inside the first set of wraps and outside the fraps.
Step 7: Dressing the knot
Dressing the knot (tightening) is the process of using the knot itself as a 'standing' or anchored end [clumpy bit], and taking the 'running' or working ends [dangly bits] and running them 'through' the knot.
With the marlin spike / pokey object, tighten the Fist accordingly. I made two or three of these before I got it right. This is where getting the knot centered on your piece of paracord is important; there's less waste, as well. Be careful not to stab yourself with the pokey object. You will really get to understand the knot dynamics as you tighten it.
Step 8: Sizing the bracelet.
Now that the hard part is done, making the bracelet portion out of ladder weave is next.
Firstly, take a measurement of your wrist, from the Fist, and loop the two running ends around the knot for a basic length.
Step 9: Sizing the closure loop.
The next step is to size the end loop that the monkey fist will attach through; this is just a matter of starting the first ladder loop, and fidgeting around with it, so both lengths from knot-to -loop are the correct size for your wrist; check the size frequently as you tighten, as paracord can be deceptive!
Step 10: Ladder weaving
Ladder weave is simply opposite side half hitches around two strands of paracord. Once you have the single loop closure fidgeted out, make a bight on the left side;
Step 11: Ladder weaving
Now bring the other cord under the running end of the bight, across the front of the two starnds and through the bight...then tighten.
Step 12: Alternating hitches
Now repeat the previous step, alternating sides , until the bracelet body is completed; then snip and melt ends.
Step 13: Weaving the bracelet
Now you can go to town on the ladder weave / half hitching, tightening as you go, and frequently checking the wrist size. If these bracelets are too tight, they are very uncomfortable, and paracord will shrink a tad over time; I darn near had to cut my first one off, as it had tightened up while I wore it.
Step 14: Finishing up.
If you've got enough cord, take your half hitches down to the monkey fist; tighten the weave, and try to get another hitch or two in, as close to the knot as possible. After a final size check, cut and melt the running ends, and seal them to the main weave.
Step 15: Add the skully bead.
The skull beads I use were too small to fit over the loop closure of my bracelets; so, I used an awl from a Swiss army knife, and carefully bored out the existing hole, until, with a lot of effort, I got the bead on. Other beads may fit better. A bead really helps tighten the loop, so that it's not too sloppy, and really enhances the overall look of the bracelet.
Step 16: Final Product Photos
Congratulations! If all has gone well, you should now be the owner of a Headhunter Paracord Bracelet. Allow a couple of hours for first attempt.
Step 17: Skully
A photo highlighting the skully.
Step 18: Herd of Bracelets.
All colours, etc...!