Introduction: Paracord Keychain, Survival Keychain With Carabiner

Throughout this Instructable, I will demonstrate how to make a paracord keychain, or a "survival key chain". You can create almost anything you put your mind to with 550 cord, and today we will be making a key chain. Follow closely and learn how to make a cool key-chain that could come in handy someday. Check out my other Instructables and learn how to make other cool paracord creations.

If you enjoy my Instructables, consider browsing my personal shop online:

Step 1: What You'll Need

What You'll Need
  • 550 Paracord. About 7-8 feet
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Tape Measure
  • Carabiner and key ring - On Amazon!
  • Binder clip- Optional

Step 2: Starting With a Basic Cow Hitch

In this step, we will start by creating a simple cow hitch.
  • Start by folding your cord in half.
  1. In part one of the diagram you will take the midway point of your folded cord and place it through your "O" ring.
  2. Now take the loose ends of the cord and place it through the midway point like shown in part 2 of the diagram.
  3. Pull tight and you now have your cow hitch. Make sure the two ends are equal lengths. If not, simply adjust accordingly.

Step 3: Prepping Your Inner Cords

The numbers correspond to the parts in the diagram. Follow closely! The pictures greatly help the description.
  1. Place your loose ends through the bottom of the Carabiner and give yourself about 4 inches from the "O" ring to the carabiner.
  2. Fold the cord over and bring it so it meets up with the "O" ring.
  3. Attach the paper clip to hold the cord in place right up against the cow hitch.
  4. Fold the cord back up and bring it towards the carabiner.

Step 4: Starting Your First Cobra Braid

Follow the picture closely as it is difficult to explain via words what is happening in the follow parts of this particular diagram. 
  1. Take your left loose cord and make a loop like shown in part 1 of the diagram. Then bring the cord underneath all the other cords and onto the right side of everything.
  2. Bring the right loose cord under the cord you had just brought over.
  3. Continue that cord over the inner cords and through the loop created in part 1 of the diagram. 
  4. Tighten everything and get adjusted appropriately so the braid is nice and tight and up against the bottom of the carabiner. 

Step 5: Completing Your Second Cobra Braid

The numbers in the diagram correspond to the number in the description. Follow closely as the diagram greatly helps to understand the step properly. 
  1. Take your right loose cord and bring it underneath your inner cords (the cords you're braiding around). 
  2. Bring your left cord underneath the cord you just brought over from the right.
  3. Continue the left loose cord over the inner cords and up through the loop created in part 2 of the diagram.
  4. Tighten accordingly. 

Step 6: Tightening Your Braids

  • Hold the body of the keychain (or even the "O" ring) with one hand and take your other hand and push up on the braids using your thumb. 
  • This should tighten up everything and allow for more cord to be used in your keychain. 
  • More cord = better survival tool. 
  • You can do this periodically during your braiding process. 

Step 7: Completing Your Third Braid

  • The numbers in the diagram correspond to the number in the description. Follow closely as the diagram greatly helps to understand the step properly.
  • This step is practically the same as step 5 only reversed. 
  1. Take your left loose cord and bring it under your inner cords (the cords you're braiding around).
  2. Now take your right loose cord and bring it under the cord you just brought over from the left.
  3. Continue this cord over the inner cords and up through the loop created in step 1.

Step 8: Cutting and Lighting the First Remaining Loose End

  • Alternating, continue the braids all the way to the "O" ring.
  • The numbers in the diagram correspond to the number in the description. Follow closely as the diagram greatly helps to understand the step properly.
  • There's multiple ways to finish off your paracord gear. This way is simple, and effective, if done correctly. 
  • You are looking for a "Mushroom Head" shape on the end of the cord. This shape will LOCK in the cord from slipping through. 
  1. Your keychain should look like this.
  2. Cut the remaining cord off with your scissors. Leave about an 1/8 of an inch.
  3. It should look like this once cut.
  4. Using your lighter, light the end of the cord for 4-5 seconds. Once done lighting, use your thumb to smoothen over the molting cord to form your "mushroom head", which will lock in the cord from slipping out from the braid. This is a vital part and, if done incorrectly, will make your keychain fall apart during use. 

Step 9: What the "Mushroom Head" Should Look Like

The mushroom head is a little confusing. Hopefully this helps.
Notice in this part of the diagram the melted part of the loose end is overlapping the braid and locking itself in place.
If you were to take it out the "mushroom head" would look like this. It's shape enables it stay locked into the braids and keeps the keychain from coming undone.

Step 10: Tightening the Last Braid Before Cutting/Burning Last Part

This step is to insure your loose ends do not slip out when using your keychain. 
  1. Use your thumb to smoothen over the molten cord and form a "Mushroom Head" shape with the end of your cord. This will insure your loose end stays locked in, and will not come undone. 
  2. Pull your remaining loose end tightly. This should tighten up the braid around the "Mushroom Head" you made while burning the other loose end. 

Step 11: Cutting and Lighting the Last Loose End

Keeping everything as tight as possible, you are going to cut and light the remaining loose end. 
  1. Cut the loose end leaving about 1/8 of an inch. 
  2. It should look like this.
  3. Light the loose end for 4-5 seconds and then using your thumb smooth the molting cord over the braids forming your "Mushroom Head".

Step 12: And You're Done!

If you have any questions, please feel free to message me or comment on the particular step that is giving you a problem.

If you enjoy my Instructables, consider browsing my personal online shop.



polloparatodos made it!(author)2016-05-18

Pulled my ends through the second pass by the o-ring so it's a tad more sturdy, then seized the ends a little longer cause I think it looks nicer. Will be upgrading the carabiner to a load-rated, and will throw on my utilikey to the o-ring side.

JohnE4 made it!(author)2015-10-31

I made this one a little bit different cuz I wanted to double keychain

bananite made it!(author)2015-10-22


JulsM1 made it!(author)2015-10-15

I couldn't get the first braid at first and then I finally figured it out and I've made 3 out of the 6 I'm going to make for Christmas presents!

2015-10-15 16.34.34.jpg
MrVortex+ made it!(author)2015-06-14

And whenever I pull the first cobra braid it just moves to the o-ring

MrVortex+ made it!(author)2015-06-14

Is the paper clip holding all the cords because I can't really tell with your pictures

bhagan88+ made it!(author)2015-02-28

Your tips on how to finish / burning the ends really helped! Thanks!

the.paul.lyons made it!(author)2015-01-27

Great instructable! Very easy to follow!

StevenG2 made it!(author)2014-12-09

I am more than likely going to make one of these, but shouldn't it have a way of taking it apart for survival use?

beljar4 made it!(author)2014-10-23

I guess it worked this time. }:-/

beljar4 made it!(author)2014-10-23

love this keychain. I use it at work and clip keys to the carabiner side and clip the keyring to a key clip on my belt. however the keys would bounce up and down a few inches with every step. so I unravelled it and made it about 1.5 inches long. it isn't so bouncy now. this is now not a "survival" key chain, but it works for what I need. thanks for the instructable.
tried to post a picture but it's not working for me.

awhite50 made it!(author)2014-07-21

i can't tell anything

eamarille made it!(author)2014-06-16

instead of clamping, I ran the cord back through the cowloop. the twist ended up being a nice touch. added skulls on both sides just cuz I had them laing around.

facklere made it!(author)2014-02-08

This was my first paracord project. Thanks! :)

AnthVale made it!(author)2014-02-10

Nice job! Looks great. You are very welcome.

cgriff1430 made it!(author)2013-07-22

How do I prevent it from twisting around instead of staying straight

parabuilder made it!(author)2013-05-04


trisomy21 made it!(author)2013-03-24

Nice, little thing I've been doing lately is pushing some heavier test fluorocarbon fishing line through the core before sealing it. It's not too hard to push a couple strands through provided the paracord is straight. Makes it an even more valuable survival tool :)

AnthVale made it!(author)2013-03-27


Fabulous! Thank's for the idea!

Lethrwolf made it!(author)2013-02-25

Just FYI... The knot you are using is a MACRAME basic knot, called a 'SQUARE KNOT'
But you can call it what you like.
These are great ideas though.

audreyobscura made it!(author)2013-02-11

Another great post! Thanks for the share.

AnthVale made it!(author)2013-02-11


About This Instructable




Bio: I went to school for Architectural Engineering for two years and ended up getting a degree in culinary arts (long story). I have great passion ... More »
More by AnthVale:Settlers of CatanHow to Make a Settlers of Catan Board out of PlywoodInterchangeable Herbs & Spices Necklace
Add instructable to: