Step 7: Trim the excess cord and melt the ends

Picture of Trim the excess cord and melt the ends

You can now use your scissors to trim off the extra cord close to the last knot that you tied. I trim one at a time and use my lighter to quickly melt the end I cut. Wait a second for the melted cord to cool just a bit and then use my thumb to press the melted end onto the surrounding cord so it hardens as it attaches. You must be careful with this step. The melted cord is extremely hot, and it's possible to get burned, so you might also try using a soldering iron or wood burning tool for the melting step if you wish. Or even use something like a butter knife, the side of your lighter, or the knurled section of a tool to flatten out the melted end of the cord to finish it.

An alternative to melting the ends, is to tuck/pull the ends under the last couple of knots (I have used hemostats to do this on the inside of the bracelet) then trim them to finish. It does work, and is just barely noticeable as the cords add a slight bulge at that end of the bracelet.

jarnney6 months ago

Took me a minute to get past steps 2 and 3. I didn't realize you weren't cutting until I saw the last pic then I understood. Very happy thank you!! I have an Army watch my wife got me when I left service and the Parcord watchband will be perfect for it!! Hoorah!!

sgale24 years ago

Great instructions! been wanting to make one for a while now. just need to get supplies. what is a store you can get the supplies at?
MrsHill sgale22 years ago
I got my paracord at a local sporting goods store. They had the buckles right there with the cord. Ebay also has big lots of buckles pretty cheap if you plan on making a bunch of them.
ashzimm sgale24 years ago
you can get the rope in walmart but the buckles at joann's
Stormdrane (author)  sgale24 years ago
Paracord can be found online from numerous sources, including the Supply Captain. You might find some at a local Army/Navy surplus store. Side release buckles can also be found online, or scavenged from dog/cat collars, old bags/backpacks, etc...
ArtByNancy3 years ago
When joining two colors, do you just melt them? I worry they will come apart. I melted some together, made a bracelets, sold them...and now I'm worrying about them. :/ I tried super glue one day, but hours later it was still sticky.
Stormdrane (author)  ArtByNancy3 years ago
If melting or super glue do not work for you, use needle and thread and just sew them together.
macgyver713 years ago
Thank you for the "nudge" I needed...been wanting to do these in our Philly team colors to sell, and black/white "Pow/Mia" ones I make to give to gift to returning vets we escort home thru our motorcycle group. Not to take away from any others, but your blog and 'structables have been the most comprehensive I've found. I Do have 2 followups for you if you could answer:

1.On the finishing knot, do you make any finishing knot before the trim & burn, or is it just "over/under, over/under, over/under, trim burn" (ie; no special knot needed)...I'm worried my last knot will work loose :/

2. You (and others) have said the variance between one's knots and another prevents a solid chart, where a 9" would use 9 feet....but does YOUR own knot stay consistent? Such as, if my 7.5" uses 6 feet of cord, do you find it stays consistent enough where you can keep a chart? I find myself burning through 10 feet for a 8 or 9", with a decent amount left over, but I have yet to do many repeats of the same size (I have been keeping notes on each....my neurotic side).

Again, thank you Stormdrane!
Stormdrane (author)  macgyver713 years ago
When using melting to finish, no special knot is used. A wood burning tool or soldering iron can be used for a precise melt that will insure a secure hold. Sewing can also be done on the finish, or a drop of super glue, or you can also tuck/pull each of the end strands under the last couple of knots using hemostats, and that offers a secure finish without the mess or time of the other methods.

If I were tying a lot of paracord bracelets with the same cord(off a spool), consistency is there, but because paracord from different manufacturers can vary slightly in diameter/thickness, you can end up using different amounts for the same size/style of bracelet, so it would have to be a fairly comprehensive chart to keep track of the differences.

Some paracord may have a solid round feel, others a loose outer sheath that flattens out, and some are somewhere in between. Colors can vary by batch, even from the same manufacturer, so I've even seen distributors mention buyers purchase spools of cord to get consistency that you may not get with buying shorter hanks of paracord.

Some paracord bracelet sellers use jigs to help make consistent and accurately sized bracelets(example).  
I didn't think about different manufacturers...Planned on sticking with SupplyCaptain, maybe I'll as if they use multiple venders... I've been over estimating (usually up to the next ft), so hopefully I dont jinx myself LOL, I should be safe, as I've been using your method of the underlying cordage, as well as the knots, are all one peice (rather than cutting a seperate loop), so unwrapping and readjusting for a smaller one is still an option.
My b-i-l made me a jig, absolutely love using it!

Thank you again! I'm off to try your knot challenges on your blog :)
shveet5 years ago
the small one i made almost a year ago and almost wore it everyday since, it was made of some sort of plastic twine or something i got from the dollar store. and the larger one i made about an hour ago and its about  1" and a half thick and made out of something similar to paracord, seems like a cotton core and skin,\ i like it better.
Picture 5.jpg
Just finished my Paracord from bits I had in my desk draw! This is a great instructable - Thank you Stormdrane! 

sockless5 years ago
With real paracord you can't melt the ends of it. Or at least with the stuff you get from parachutes in New Zealand you can't melt the ends.
Stormdrane (author)  sockless5 years ago
The paracord(parachute cord) made and sold here in the U.S. is typically synthetic, made of nylon/poly type materials, and does melt at high temperatures from applying a flame, soldering iron, or wood burning tool.

If you use something like cotton, hemp, or leather for cordage, which burn instead of melting, you can alternatively finish a knotted bracelet or lanyard with sewing, glue, or tucking the ends of the cords to finish.  The same finishes can be done with paracord for those that don't want to use the melting method.
mjursic6 years ago
When I use my thumb to smooth nylon cord, I always lick it first and slided it over the end. That way it doesn't stick and makes it nice and smooth with no fingerprints.
Yoooder6 years ago
Did you try using a knot to tie the loose ends to avoid having to melt a portion of the rope (aside from just the ends)? I would think a sheetbend or slipped sheetbend would work, but the tradeoff would be that it would stick out a bit.
I'd try using a belt welder to not only sear the ends, but attach them to make a continuous, and smooth loop. You can then trim the excess with a razor knife.
Stormdrane (author)  Yoooder6 years ago
For the cobra stitch/Solomon bar/Portuguese sinnet paracord bracelets, I have tried a few knots to finish, but wasn't happy with the results and usually still melt the ends in place. I have used hemostats to pull the ends up under a couple of knots on the inside of the bracelet, then trim them to finish, instead of melting. It does work, and is just barely noticeable as the cords add a slight buldge at that end of the bracelet.
tomtom886 years ago
i just made one myself! it was very easy to follow the directions, its a bit too big though... but bravo!
before you push it with your thumb, lick your thumb. that way the heat will have to get rid of the water first. works really well!
dhopper1226 years ago
I have found two different methods of terminating the paracord. First is using a butane torch to heat a general utility knofe blade. The heat will seal the end of the cord and then you can melt the end to the surrounding cord. Second, you can use a soldering iron, if you dont like open flames. You get the temp to about 650'F and you can seal and terminate that way too. Both allow for shaping the molten plastic for a smooth finish. You can buy the butane at any 'Radio Shack'. It comes with both a soldering tip and torch tip. I tend to use the button method for terminating my bracelets and the torch heating the cord works nicely. Then I use the flat side of a blade to push it flat and clean it up with the same knife. Repeat as needed until a smooth, flush surface is acheved.
Stormdrane (author)  dhopper1226 years ago
Good tips, thanks. I sometimes use a battery powered solderning iron(from Radioshack - 3AA batteries) that works especially well with smaller diameter nylon/poly cordage I use for knotwork.
usafa20126 years ago
I didn't think just melting the ends into the surrounding cord would be very durable, so I pulled both ends through the loop that holds it to the buckle, in opposite directions. Once through, I tied them with granny knots and melted the ends. They'll stay in place, but, if I want to pull them out for my emergency paracord, I can.
bettinger7 years ago
what type/size of cord do you recommend and where's a good place to buy the different colours and sizes p.s. the knots on you website are amazing
Stormdrane (author)  bettinger7 years ago
550 mil spec Type III paracord which is about 1/8" diameter in size is usually the best to use for a paracord bracelet or collar. I recommend the Supply Captain as a good source though there are others out there.
Instead of your thumb, I would suggest that you use the metal corner of your lighter to push the melted end of the cord against the surrounding cord so that it attaches. Even the cheap plastic lighters have a rounded metal edge that works well for this purpose.
rsybuchanan8 years ago
I can say, based on recent experience, that in the absence of a lighter, the flame of a gas cooktop will suffice. You have to show a bit more care or you end up with bracelet flambe, but it's workable.