Introduction: Paracord Monkey Fist

Picture of Paracord Monkey Fist

The Monkey Fist knot has a long history since 1800's, main purpose as a weight at the end of a rope or  just for decorative use.
The monkey fist was also used as a melee weapon among sailors  and gangs.

In this guide I will show how to make the Monkey Fist using a marble inside the knot.

The first few attempts could go wrong - this knot needs a LOT of patience so take your time and especially the final tightening part, do it slowly and you will get a cool Monkey  fist.

Everyone are welcomed to vist my blog for more paracord guides and projects:

Step 1: Option 1, Monkey Fist Guide

Picture of Option 1, Monkey Fist Guide

Step-1 Many objects could be used inside the knot preferably round or square, I chose to use a marble. The marble is light weight and you can get it in different sizes. It is possible to use metal balls but they are heavy and will  "upset" metal detectors. 
For this project you will need 4-5feet paracord , scissors, lighter, pointy object and a bit of  
In this guide I used a small marble so 3 times around every side is enough to cover the marble.

Step 2:

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Step 3:

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At this stage insert the marble into the center.

Step 4:

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Before you start the thightening process just count that you have even cord on every side.
In my example I should have 3 times marble cover on each side.

Step 5:

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This is the last step, from this point you will have to start  tightenings the cord. Just remember, do it slowly dont pull to hard on the first few tightenings. When the cord is getting hard to pull use the pointy object.

Sometimes its trail and error to find out  how many time we have to wrap the paracord around an object to get the right cover.
It can also depend on the thickness of the paracord.

Step 6:

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At this step you have  few options to end the monkey fist, you can make a simple knot, snake knot, diamond knot or any other finishing method, you can find guide for Diamond knot and more at my blog:

Congratulations on your first monkey fist.

Steps For Diamond Knot:
1. Create the diamond knot (see guide image).
2. Before tightening the knot slide in the 2 end cords. (see marked image).
3. Cut the 2 end cords close to the knot.
4. Lighter, water to dip your finger in (when fusing), pointy object to push warm cord into the knot.
Start by fusing together the 2 end cords, try doing it neat and carefully to get nice finishing. When both ends are fused warm them with the lighter and push them in the knot. Now you can attach a ring to it (or before) and pull the ring and the bottom 2 cords to get the final tightening.


Step 7: Option 2, Monkey Fist Guide

Picture of Option 2, Monkey Fist Guide

In this guide I am  just  showing another way how to hold the cord between the fingers.
Try both ways and  you will find out which way is more comfortable for you. I find this method easier for bigger marbles.

I also recommend using some sort of pointy object I chose my nail punch.
Once the knot is finished the pointy object will aid you when pulling the cord to tighten the knot around the marble.

Step 8: "Easy Monkey Fist" Guide

Picture of "Easy Monkey Fist" Guide
I was just thinking that not everyone finds it easy making the monkey fist knots between 2 fingers so I made this DIY aid I call it the "Easy Monkey Fist". All that is needed is to wrap the cord correctly in the monkey fist knot then take it off and tighten it.

It's made from scrap timber (L-shape screwed together) and 4" nails. I drilled nail sized diameter holes so the nails could be removed / pulled out easily.
The small gap on the base is for holding the start cord.
3 screws (optional) to fix it to a solid bas.
It is optional to drill a few more holes to fit different marble/small ball size.
I tried it myself a few times and it only took me a few minutes to make a perfect monkey's fist.

Just remember, do it slowly dont pull to hard on the first few tightenings.
In this guide I used a large marble so 6 times around was enough to cover it.
Also remember the bigger the core object is the more paracord you will need + extra cord for final finishing: snake knot, cobra knot etc'.

Step 9: Golf Ball, Tennis Ball Monkey Fist

Picture of Golf Ball, Tennis Ball Monkey Fist

Got some 8mm  cord today so I made a Giant monkey fist using a golf ball as the core. It's actually easier to make a monkey fist from thicker cord.
Getting bigger with tennis ball.

Step 10: Gift Exchange - Paracord

Picture of Gift Exchange - Paracord

Here I made a few paracord knots for my Gift Exchange match nepheron.
From the left:
1. small monkey fist, marble as core combined with snake knot.
2. Snake knot  with diamond knot.
3. Square knot  with diamond knot.
4. Cobra and knig cobra knot with diamond knot.
5. Survival bracelet, cobra knot. I left the end cord loose so nepheron can adjust it to his wrist size.
6.Large monkey fist (big marble) and Giant monkey fist from 10mm paracord, golf ball as core. The baby in the image was not included....  ;-)


HelenaTroy (author)2018-01-15

question: Can one put a monkey's fist around a non-spherical object? I have a plastic sword that I'm trying to "prettify"; the pommel is sort of the mid-section of sphere with the ends cut off; rounded horizontally but flattened at top and bottom. Would it take a monkey's fist? Thanks!

Schmidty16 (author)2012-08-07

where do u get paracord at

Peekaboo5 (author)Schmidty162017-07-26


MarkD110 (author)Schmidty162016-05-02

paracord galaxy or paracord planet

abutton3 (author)Schmidty162016-01-18

Walmart, auto section, and or the arts and crafts section to.

OrionP (author)Schmidty162015-09-19

walmart has 18' pieces for 2 bucks and 50' for under 10

also good prices on ebay. i recently bought 100" neon pink for 9.00 for breast cancer awareness paracord bracelets

in the us, hobby lobby or other craft store, bot you can find 550 on the Web for better quality and cheaper.

Jonnie Green made it! (author)2017-06-06

It actually has a fishhook and some line inside of the knot. I thought it would be too difficult, but guess what? It's knot.

_tErMiNaLlYcApRiCiOuS (author)2017-04-18

HoNk :o)

wardenjtkj made it! (author)2016-02-28

I know I'm coming to the party a little late, but I wanted to post my rendition. I'm still a bit perplexed how to hide the ends... so I just made it part of the design.

Thanks for posting all the good info, it was helpful.

Nanox (author)wardenjtkj2017-02-21

Awesome! :)

Mrs-Orca-72 (author)wardenjtkj2016-07-13

That is awesome!! Great idea, my daughter wants one like yours. Thank you!

gideongr20 (author)2016-09-26

I made it and it is awesome

u971 made it! (author)2016-02-02

Made x2 with little marbles and a small cobra weave handle turned out cool looking,badly want to do the golf ball ones but tried weaving 6pass fist by hand seriously its to difficult,make a monkeys fist jig next on my to make list.

JohnP120 made it! (author)2015-09-11

Tried a few other tutorials - this one was the best. Here's my end result. Used a small bouncy ball for the core and 3' of leftover paracord without the core in it.

Arawynn made it! (author)2015-08-31

nicely written. was easy to understand and follow.

mthz1201 (author)2015-08-27

خیلی زیبا بود ممنون از آموزش خوبت

WendiH (author)2015-08-05

great tutorial

tkäkelä (author)2011-07-30

I keep messing up the whole knot because I cannot figure where the loose end here goes, the one which is now topmost on vertical axis. The next picture is a bit obscure since we cannot see how it turns "inside" the knot - which way it comes out?

GarrasP (author)tkäkelä2015-05-23

It's simple, I use something to mark the end that goes on the inside so I can tell where it is while tighteneing. On black paracord, I use a spot of liquid electrical tape of a different color.

trazodone (author)2011-08-17

This is really cool. I made mine without a marble or a center and it came out perfect!

GarrasP (author)trazodone2015-05-23

It comes out just fine BUT it comes out the size of a pea.

jade1234 (author)trazodone2011-08-20

hmmm... never tried it with out a core

zazu_247 (author)2014-09-28

I wonder if it is possible to make a bolas out of this.

GarrasP (author)zazu_2472015-05-23

Of course you can. Just make another with a marble then a third with something of lighter weight to make it wrap around the target.

if you do I would like to see an ible on it.

Thatguyyouthinkyouknow made it! (author)2015-01-25

thank you for your time.

hottie_mchottson (author)2012-01-04

Monkey Fist in action: Check out the movie Inception when the Eames character is skiing away from the badguys towards the end of the movie. There is about a one second shot where Eames throws a rope weighted at the end with a monkey fist and catches it between the branches of a tree thereby creating a taut line that the bad guys ski into. It could totally happen.

And btw, I always make my Monkey Fists without a core.

Do you have a tutorial on how to do a paracord monkey fist without a core? I'd love to try it!

Omarsibles (author)Averageglory2014-12-08

It is done in the exact same way as you see here except, you will tighten it up a bit more to compensate for the lack of a solid core. Using thicker cord will work better when not including a core simply because the thickness of the cord will somewhat compensate for the empty center space.

First of all: EPIC MOVIE
Second of All: I think they look different when they don't have a core... Idk

Donnyroger001 (author)2014-11-04

Use a golf ball with 550 paracord. Takes about 9 to 10 wraps.

sandy.mactavish (author)2014-09-23

I got a lot of paracord in a surplus store and it was 550. If someone is in Edmonton try Staff Sergents in the West Edomonton Mall. Craft store have 325 and Michaels is now getting 550 cord.

frenchkisser (author)2012-08-07

can I use yarn for this? instead of paracord :)

you can, but it will require at least: double materials and ALOT more patience :) Good Luck!

iAmTheWalrus 678 (author)2014-07-16

The wood plan is brilliant! If you don't have wood, with a little ingenuity ( which I'm sure you have ) you can use the same plans on other mat. such as plastic or even duct tape :)

cvezina1 (author)2014-07-15

I completed my best monkey fist knot yesterday using quarter-inch poly-fill rope (the cheap crap with the blue paper core) with a sand filled tennis ball in the knot. It turned out to be a little over half a meter long. When testing it, I smashed it against a two liter bottle of water, unopened, and it compressed the bottle so quickly that the cap split in two.

Thanks for the awesome tutorial! :D

Bobey (author)2014-03-11

Did not get it

mishmash25 (author)2013-08-14


Arch Angel 42 (author)2012-09-24

will 3.7 feet work?

frollard (author)Arch Angel 422013-04-04

"For this project you will need 4-5 feet of paracord"

It will work but you will have nothing left on the loose end to attach the fist to anything else.

TP-LINK (author)2012-09-24

love it.....try,,,,,,,,

triumphman (author)2011-08-08

If the ball or marble shows through after tightening, do I need to make the wraps 4 strands instead of two ? Sounds logical, yes

djackson25 (author)triumphman2011-11-27

There is a video on you tube that tells you a very helpful piece of advice, heres the URL. I think you will recognize what you are doing wrong when he mentions it.

watch the whole vid. athough two wraps may not be enough :/

triumphman (author)2011-08-07

Oops, forgot to ask, what is the size of the boards, how far apart are the nails, what size nails, just so I can obtain some accuracy! Thanks again!

venom1539 (author)triumphman2011-10-11

I made a monkey fist before and i don't think it really matters how far apart they are.

koby_elian (author)2011-10-08

it is like the same way they used to make volleyballs, sort of...

jc88 (author)2011-08-28

Does anyone know how to adapt one of these for a cub scout neckerchief slide? I would assume you add a short tube in the middle.

triumphman (author)2011-08-07

Very nice!

freakyqwerty (author)2011-07-22

What size paracord did you use for the demostration pictures?

About This Instructable




Bio: Couple of years ago I created my metal casting blog and over the years I uploaded many projects, my main goal is to increase the ... More »
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