Introduction: Paracord Bracelet With Monkey Fist Button

Picture of Paracord Bracelet With Monkey Fist Button

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

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-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

Picture of 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

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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

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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...

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Complete the three horizontal fraps...

Step 6: Wraps, 2nd Time.

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Make three more vertical wraps, passing inside the first set of wraps and outside the fraps.

Step 7: Dressing the Knot

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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.

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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

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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

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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

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Now repeat the previous step, alternating sides , until the bracelet body is completed; then snip and melt ends.

Step 13: Weaving the Bracelet

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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.

Picture of 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

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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

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A photo highlighting the skully.

Step 18: Herd of Bracelets.

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All colours, etc...!


dogma26 (author)2017-01-29


charles.e.benoit (author)2015-04-11 All sizes and colors of paracord and lots of beads including skulls. Like this bracelet very much. Thanx for the posting.

vemven made it! (author)2015-02-04

I made this for my guy thank you for posting it

BrennenI (author)2014-12-29

I keep getting stuck on the part where the loop is formed. Anyone have any pointers or maybe a video i could use? Any help would be greatly appreciated

datamonk (author)2011-09-25

Strangely enough, I just found a site that sells nothing but 550 paracord AND skull beads. Is there a particular symbolism with the survival bracelet, the monkey fist and the skull bead? :)

BrennenI (author)datamonk2014-12-29

just so you know, that link is either incorrect or the website no longer exists,

kwebber321 (author)2012-12-13

where did you get the big roll of paracord? and how much did it cost?

you can get them on ebay and most 100 feet rolls cost around $10.00

Don't you mean 1000 ft?

Well yes and no, it all depends on who you get it from and if they know a thing or two about common scene.

rbollong (author)2014-08-05

kept me busy for a while. used a nut instead of a skully bead, I think it makes it look more rugged.

ndally (author)2014-07-31

I widen the bead hole with a drill. Clear monkey ball diagrams. I've wanted to learn this for a while, but the first tutorial I looked at was not digestable.

clax1227 (author)2011-03-05

why does it need to be gutted? I mean I've done plenty of bracelet's with the core in.

N3dnarb (author)clax12272014-06-28

It doesn't need to be gutted, some people probably just find it easier or think it looks better.

As you can hopefully tell from this picture, I did not gut mine.

jon3laze made it! (author)2014-02-28

I made this about 6 years ago, didn't have the skull bead so I used the end of a screw on gauge.

mistahkool (author)2013-03-19

cool project! thanks!

mistahkool (author)2013-03-19

cool project! thanks!

fatboy07 (author)2012-08-24

very nice! I wish I can have one, :D

jrv411 (author)2012-08-08

Another buckle alternative, I too don't care for bulky buckle.

SuperCoPilot (author)2011-02-04

I'm doing alright until this step, then my knot gets really messed up, any tips?

Unless you put something inside the knot to create some bulk, the knot is going to be a little messed up and not as nice as some of the larger monkey fists you will see. The whole idea to using this knot is to secure the bracelet.

scistone (author)evilspacemonkey2011-06-22

go to this link:

Pickles5000 (author)scistone2011-10-19

Very Detailed Instructions! Great site that I immediately bookmarked after seeing just this page.

scistone (author)Pickles50002011-10-26

I did too :D

datamonk (author)2011-09-25

Awesome instructable, Tommi! I'm now on my fourth run through, almost ready to teach it to my kids.

shadow wave rider (author)2011-06-25

where did you get the bead from

EGT1984 (author)2011-05-09

I think this is the hardest part, I always loose the right spot and the bracelet is too small.

nail face (author)2011-03-26

if anyone is confused about the weave, you can go here for another tutorial

shilohjim (author)2008-02-06

Great idea to use a button knot instead of a bought fastener. I have to wonder though, why not start with the loop and end with the monkey fist? BTW nice graphics showing the monkey fist tying.

Tommi Potx (author)shilohjim2008-02-07

It had never actually occurred to me to start with the loop. I don't think The monkey fist would tie well, as you need two running ends to tie it.

starthorn (author)Tommi Potx2011-02-16

Just a note, you don't need two running ends to tie a monkey fist.  You can tie a knot in the end of a rope, and then build a monkey fist around it.

However, I agree with another poster that they're very difficult to size out and get located right.  Every time I've done a rope project with a monkey fist, it was always easiest to tie that first, then do the rest of the tying.

srilyk (author)Tommi Potx2008-02-08

it's a good thing you didn't - anyone who's tied a monkey fist should know that they're a *pain* to try to get in some sort of exact position...

For extra weight (or size), you can also put a wooden bead or a steel ball in the monkey fist before tightening...

Syncubus (author)srilyk2009-06-09

While I agree they can be fidgety to tie, in a specific location, I think it would be a slightly neater look for both the bracelet and the monkey fist. Start with a small turks-head knot or something in the center of your cord, bring the ends up, just as you did before for the loop, do the ladder weave back down, then tie your monkey fist knot around the turks head (using the turks head for the traditional 'filling' for the moneys fist. Also, beautiful pictures on this instructable! I can tell you took your time making it. Thank you for it!

snickarn88 (author)2010-12-31

thanks for the instructable! really nice to learn how to tie a cobra bracelet whitout buckle etc. as fastener. I tried to do it with two colors. was a bit tricky to get the colors symmetric in the monkey fist, but I'm still pleased with the end result.

Have a happy new year!

embercity (author)2010-11-19

is there a way to make multiple colors?

There's a multi-color monkey fist at this instructable.. I think you should be able to simply use a couple different strands to create the bracelet (rather than trimming them all down into the Monkey's fist). It's a thought anyway!

chemman (author)2008-09-04

Sorry, but as anyone who has ever been in boy scouts knows "fraps" is a common lashing term.

ChrisDaniell (author)chemman2010-12-04

Yup, it's how to secure a square lashing

Patent Dragon (author)2010-10-27

My first attempt, after several reties of the monkey fist. Suggestion: find the centre of your cord, then "backtrack" 10 inches along the cord you're NOT using to make the monkey fist, and start the button knot there. I managed to get myself two almost even ends to use for the bracelet itself!

My first success from an Instructable - great work, people!

embercity (author)Patent Dragon2010-11-20

thanks for the tip, it really helped me, usually i have to work the long end of the cord back through the knot to make the ends even.

rogerrabbit321 (author)2010-08-06

Do you have to have the skull bead? cause i don't really want a skull bead on my bracelet. all i want is para cord

OrtBoy (author)rogerrabbit3212010-08-08

no the skull bead is just to add decoration and hold the loop tighter

rogerrabbit321 (author)OrtBoy2010-08-11

ok thanks!

Rotbeyondthem (author)2010-02-10

 Yeah, the ladder weaving has brought me to a slight halt.

ndinitz (author)Rotbeyondthem2010-02-14

the ladder weaving is done by leaving two strands in the center as a core and the other two do the weaving.

the weaving is accomplished by taking one side strand and placing it over the two center strands leaving a gap. the second side strand goes over the first side strand, behind the two core strands, and out from behind through the gap that was left by the first strand. pull the two outer strands to tighten.

by the way: if you use the same side strand you get a flat weave, and if you alternate strands then the braid twists into a double helix shape.

hope that helps

bill goryca (author)ndinitz2010-05-05


Rotbeyondthem (author)ndinitz2010-02-14

 Yes, that sounds much clearer and I will give it a good sit down at some point, thanks!

 Thanks again lego, big help.

jimmy19963 (author)2010-05-05

Like the instructable but having a problem with the ladder weave. Could you post a video of you doing it please?

grimshade (author)2010-04-27

 Is it possible to make one of the wider variations of weaves after making the  monkey fist closure? 

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