Introduction: Paracord Breast Cancer Awareness Keychain

Picture of Paracord Breast Cancer Awareness Keychain

My Aunt beat breast cancer not too long ago, and that makes two cancers that she's beat (yay!) Since then every woman in my family has gone 'pink ribbon crazy'. And when my mom found out that I'd recently taken an interest in paracord projects, she requested a pink ribbon that she found via Google images. So here is how I made it.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Picture of What You'll Need

- Paracord
- Scissors/Knife
- Lighter
- Key Ring
- Ruler/Tape Measure
- Perma Lok or an Awl or similar tool

Step 2: Starting Out

Picture of Starting Out
To start out, I used two lengths of paracord, each measuring 5' 10". It was longer than I needed, but better to be too long than too short.

You'll want to use the 'box knot', like I did here, and in order to make a 2 1/2" ribbon, you'll need to start out with 15 layers.

Here is a video to better understand certain steps.

Step 3: Adding the Ring

Picture of Adding the Ring

Now that you have your 15 layers, you'll need to add the key ring or other hardware. The first one I made has a clip so that it can be easily removed and placed somewhere else. To add the ring or hardware, pick a corner, and thread two ends through as shown.

Then continue with the box knot until you have 23 layers.

Step 4: Bending

Picture of Bending

Now to bend your chain to make the ribbon shape.

Bend the chain in on itself making sure that the ring/clasp is on what will be the top, and, depending on which corner your thread is coming through, thread as follows.

On the end that butted up against the chain, the piece that 'points towards you' ended up at layer 6, so that's where I threaded through.

After that, you need to see where your next one is closest to. Thread through there.

Pull both ends as tight as you can, then flip.

Step 5: Bending Pt. 2

Picture of Bending Pt. 2

To do the reverse side, you'll also need to reverse the order. This time, the end that 'points towards you' will go through layer 7.

After you pull that one all the way through, strand the next one through layer 6.

Pull both tight.

After all four ends are threaded through, pull all four tight until it is tight up against the other side.

Step 6: Matching Tails

Picture of Matching Tails

A ribbon wouldn't be a ribbon unless it had matching tails, so to make ours, we need 5 more layers of the box knot.

Hold the ribbon with the top pointed towards your fingers, and the bottom towards your thumb. Then take the end on the bottom and bring it to the top, and vise versa.

Then you'll cross the two on the side, just like a regular box knot. The one on the left goes to the right, and the one on the right goes to the left.

Pull tight, and repeat four more times.

Step 7: Tying Up Loose Ends

Picture of Tying Up Loose Ends

The finishing up process is different depending on what you're using. I used a lighter, so it won't look as clean as if I were using a perma lok.

To use the perma lok, simply thread back up through the chain and un-attach the perma loks and you're done.

If you do it the way I did, with scissors and a lighter, then follow these steps.

After you've finished your five layers, cut about 1/8" away from the ribbon, and melt, then squish flat with your lighter. Continue with the remaining three ends.

Step 8: Admire Your Handiwork

Picture of Admire Your Handiwork

Congratulations! You're done. Now admire your handiwork. Hang it on your key ring. Put it on a chain and hang it on your rear-view mirror. Give it to a friend or family member. Whatever you want to do with it.

Once you've finished, feel free to upload a picture of your ribbon. And they don't have to be pink, they can be any color you want, even two colors. This is just a different way to be unique.


TheCureOfIt (author)2017-11-02

They are so much fun to make and so easy, I've made about 20 and sold 15. I even figured out different sizes too. Thank you so much!

Hal4884 made it! (author)2017-03-12

In all fairness it wasn't my first one, just need a reminder on the layer count when I found it here. I loved it that you put the numbers on the photo awesome; very helpful it was.

TheGeek1984 (author)Hal48842017-03-13

Nice ribbon! I'm glad my 'ible was helpful.

GregoryS53 made it! (author)2017-01-10

This was a fun and easy project to make

TheGeek1984 (author)GregoryS532017-01-10

Looks good! Careful, now your friends and family will hound you for some! ;)

AlieN3 (author)2016-04-03

I am so excited to try this. Thank you in advance. I will post a pic when i am done

Camoboy06027 made it! (author)2016-01-29

I made it

TheGeek1984 (author)Camoboy060272016-01-29

Very nice! Glad you were able to follow it!

BobC16 made it! (author)2015-12-29

I've made several for some special people with different afflictions. This one was different and was greatly appreciated.

TheGeek1984 (author)BobC162016-01-29

This looks amazing! Would this one be for autism, or something else?

Countrygirl27 made it! (author)2015-10-13

It's a small one and not very good as this is my first time trying one , but thought it turned out okay even though I didn't have a key ring or pink paracord so I just used the camo I have and made a handmade loop through it

It doesn't have to be pink Countrygirl27, besides now it matches your name! I think it turned out great, especially for your first one, glad you were able to follow my 'ible!

Brookeulese93 made it! (author)2015-10-12

One mistake, but overall I think it turned out okay!

Not a mistake, now it has character! And now you can tell it apart from all the ones your friends and family will ask you to make!

StacyR6 made it! (author)2015-10-03

it took a while, but one I got the hang of it, it was smooth sailing.

TheGeek1984 (author)StacyR62015-10-13

I'm glad, and your ribbon looks great! Cheers!

ladawns505 made it! (author)2015-08-29

Thanks so much for making this instructable. This is one of the better looking ribbon keychains i have come across.

TheGeek1984 (author)ladawns5052015-10-13

Thank you! I'm glad you were able to follow my instructions! :)

JaneN4 made it! (author)2015-06-12

I made my ribbon teal representing PTSD and PCOS awareness.
Thanks so much for sharing these easy-to-follow instructions.

TheGeek1984 (author)JaneN42015-10-13

This looks awesome! Good job!

SAWS1992 (author)2015-03-04

jkorolchuk made it! (author)2015-02-18

I wanted to make one with teal/pink for my wife, having beaten thyroid cancer, but these are the next best colors I had to choose from. I made mine very tight and rigid, therefore I put the key ring at the 18th layer to get the shape to look right, then I fed the outer solid pink strands through the center instead of over the front/back faces.
Great instructable, thanks. It's my first attempt at the box knot or anything shaped.

TheGeek1984 (author)jkorolchuk2015-02-18

Well congrats to your wife! Survivor stories are always the best! And your ribbon looks great, when they're two colors it is better to try and feed the stands through the middle so as not to "break the illusion"...If that makes sense...good job!

yamaharider00 (author)2015-01-22

i actually decided to make a key fob because i didnt have enough paracord to make a ribbon

That's fine, it still looks good. As long as you're happy with it. And you could always make a ribbon next time. :)

yamaharider00 (author)2015-01-22

i found it quite hard at first because i couldnt figure out how to tie the first knot then i was having trouble with the next five knots. it took me 45 minutes for five knots! but now that I've got the hang of it i can tie five knots in two minutes.

In a few days i will buy 325 paracord to make a lapel pin for my mom. She lost her twin sister to breast cancer on February 22 2013. Thanks for the great instructions and pictures.

hipoweredhacker0 (author)2014-08-07

I made one, but for a different purpose, in a slightly different way...

Thanks! And to TheGeek1984, your instructable is being featured in mine :)

Sorry I didnt get around to responding earlier, I did see your 'ible and thought that it looked familiar, nice job repurposing the ribbon!

Dutch56 (author)2014-10-08

My wife is a Thyroid Cancer Survivor and since their color is purple, I made this for her.

TheGeek1984 (author)Dutch562014-10-08

That looks awesome, and congratulations to your wife, I'm glad that you two get to spend many more years together!

WandaWood (author)2014-09-11

I changed the color to yellow for Spina Bifida. Loved it was easy and quick. I'm trying to download the instruction and can't download.

jtamminga (author)2014-08-18

great tutorial.

spini112 (author)2014-08-15

I love this one not for what it can stand for but how hard it is for a first-timer thanks. the two color mix for me stands for bio Chemical or zombies but that's just me

LeatherandInk made it! (author)2014-06-10

I found your instructions easy to follow and detailed. I was able to make this on my first try. Thank you.

You're very welcome, and your ribbon looks great!

angiedj62 (author)2014-06-23

Thanks for easy to follow instructions. I've now made18 ribbons. I'll b glad when I can do one under 30 minutes but that'll happen as I get use to doing them. I gutted the inner strands so that they would have a less round appearance and eventually I narrowed it down to 4 feet of cord. That still allowed me to make larger ribbons with only a few inches of scrap left over.Thanks for your help. Here's what I came up with.

TheGeek1984 (author)angiedj622014-06-23

Those look great! I love to see how everyone's projects come out, because they're all unique.

marlanadalton (author)2014-02-13

Can you be more specific on what size to cut the paracord

Two strands at 5' 10" for a ribbon this size. Using more or less will result in a larger or smaller ribbon, although the 'knot count' will differ with each.

How I figured out my initial measurement was to make a 1" long chain of box knots, then I cut the paracord right at the end, un-braided, and measured. I then figured out which dimensions would look good on a keychain, figured out how long of a chain I would need and applied that overall length to the ratio that I got from experimenting. If I had the numbers here in front of me I'd give them to you as a guide, because that is all it would be good for. It really comes down to you...or your hands. I've got fairly dexterous fingers and tend to pull really tight when I braid, some people may not. Even my measurement of 5' 10" may or may not work exactly the same for everyone, but its a good place to start. Because as I stated in the 'ible, its better to have too much rather than too little.

I realize this is much more of an answer than you probably wanted, but I hope it helps. Best of luck, and thanks for taking the time to read my instructable.


bman2011 (author)2014-01-20

Success Success old chap, Make them mini by using 350 cord

TheGeek1984 (author)bman20112014-01-21

Those both look great!

bman2011 (author)2014-01-17

Oh hell yes! I will do all the awareness ribbons I can and make donations to the organizations they supports,this one is the patrictic awareness

TheGeek1984 (author)bman20112014-01-17

Very nice! Great job!

bman2011 (author)TheGeek19842014-01-20

thanks, stay tune, going to try to make a purple ribbon but out of 350 cord will snap a pick and send if success.... Ben

paulgarcia00 (author)2013-06-22

This was great. Thanks for the page. Made use out of it.

aqua 12 (author)2013-06-22


yollabergh (author)2013-06-20

Looks great but could you show step for step how to start the plaiting?

TheGeek1984 (author)yollabergh2013-06-21

I have added a link to another instructable that shows how I did the box knot. Here you go! 

TheGeek1984 (author)2013-06-20

The joining part is a little difficult to explain. The next one I make I'll include a video to demonstrate how it's done.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to cook, I like to edit videos, and I like to make props and other useless time consuming things.
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