Introduction: Paracord Watchband/bracelet With a Side Release Buckle

Picture of Paracord Watchband/bracelet With a Side Release Buckle

This tutorial will show how to make a paracord watchband with a side release buckle using the alternate half-hitch. It can also be made without a watch for use as a paracord bracelet, or on a larger scale as a dog or cat collar. More projects, links, knot references can be seen on my blog page, Stormdrane's Blog.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Supplies needed: 10 feet of paracord, scissors, torch lighter, tape measure, a watch with the watchand pins, and a 5/8 inch side release buckle. The 5/8 inch curved buckles can be found at Creative Designworks or ITW Nexus brand ones on ebay, either will work fine. I use paracord with the 7 inner strands from the Supply Captain, but other similar types/diameter of cord will work as well.

Step 2: Measure Your Wrist Size

Picture of Measure Your Wrist Size

Measure your wrist size by taking the end of the length of paracord and wrapping it around your wrist. Take note of where the end meets the other part of the paracord and lay it out along a tape measure to find your wrist measurement.

Step 3: Attach the Paracord to One End of the Side Release Buckle

Picture of Attach the Paracord to One End of the Side Release Buckle

Attach the paracord to one end of the side release buckle by finding the center of the length of core and putting that end thru the buckle and run the free ends of the cord thru the loop. Because this 5/8 inch buckle is wide, you need tor run the free ends around the buckle one more time and back thru the loop again so you have four loops showing inside the buckle.

Step 4: Attach the Watch

Picture of Attach the Watch

Attach the watch by sliding the two free ends of cord over the pins, under the watch, and back out over the other pins. Slide the watch to about what will be the halfway point between the two parts of the buckle once the other buckle is attached.

Step 5: Loop Onto the Other Part of the Side Release Buckle

Picture of Loop Onto the Other Part of the Side Release Buckle

Loop onto the other part of the side release buckle, and loop it a second time so there are four loops filling the gap in the buckle. At this point you make sure the length is your wrist size and no more than a 1/2 inch more than your measured wrist size. The length tends to stretch out as you tie the half-hitches, so before you trim and melt the ends, try it on. You may have to untie it and reset the length making it longer or shorter depending on if it's too loose or tight.

Step 6: Now You'll Start Tying the Alternate Half-hitches

Picture of Now You'll Start Tying the Alternate Half-hitches

Now you'll start tying the alternate half-hitches by taking the working ends of the paracord, start with the left piece. Take the left cord under the two center cords and then back thru the loop of the left cord and tighten. Now take the right side cord going under the two center cords and back thru the right loop and tighten. Again with the left, under the two center cords and back thru the left loop, etc.. continuing alternating the left and right cords.

Step 7: When You Get About Halfway, Run the Working Ends of Cord Along Side the Center Cords Under the Watch

Picture of When You Get About Halfway, Run the Working Ends of Cord Along Side the Center Cords Under the Watch

When you get about halfway, run the working ends of cord along side the center cords under the watch and slide the watch tight up against the finished portion before you continue the half-hitches on the other side of the watch.

Step 8: Keep Tying Until You Reach the Other Buckle

Picture of Keep Tying Until You Reach the Other Buckle

Keep tying until you reach the other buckle, then you can trim off the excess cord with scissors. Take your torch lighter and melt the ends and press them so they attach to the surrounding cord. *Be careful not to burn yourself on the molten cord, you may use superglue instead of a lighter if you prefer.

Step 9: You Can Make the Alternate Half-hitch Without the Watch

Picture of You Can Make the Alternate Half-hitch Without the Watch

You can make the alternate half-hitch without the watch for use as a paracord bracelet, and on a larger scale as a dog or cat collar. You may also use two colors of paracord. If using two colors, instead of one 10 foot piece of paracord, use 5 feet of each color and melt or sew the two ends together and go from there.


the bull (author)2011-08-12

are the buckles pretty strong, how hard are they too break. i would like to see and use the d-ring shackle . has anyone used these.

Hawkeye300 (author)the bull2016-10-31

I have made several using the shackle. never had a problem

SandLizard (author)the bull2013-07-28

I think the watch pins will break or pop out before the plastic buckle breaks.

true I had my brother's almost break

aesquivel (author)the bull2012-12-07

The plastic buckles are strong enough for most applications. Keep in mind that you don't want something attached to your wrist that is stronger than your wrist itself: if it gets pulled it with enough strenght to break a plastic buckle you will always want the buckle to break first rather than your skin and flesh. That will not happen with a steel shackle.

kathyb910 (author)the bull2012-02-11

I have bought buckles and d-ring shackles from the supply captain and they are great.Very strong,Friend them on facebook,they have great sales around all the holidays,

silverassassin3 (author)the bull2012-01-16

i have used the shackles, no complaints, the buckles would probabley break if you fell on them. plus you can get the shackles at home depot.

bigdaddy0 (author)the bull2012-01-08

your not going to break that shackle.........

jade1234 (author)the bull2011-08-20

i dont use the d-ring shackle but the buckles are pretty good

the bull (author)the bull2011-08-13

thanks , i have 2 watches think i will try both,

Stormdrane (author)the bull2011-08-12

The plastic buckles hold up well, I've never had one break on me, but being plastic, they will eventually break if enough force/stress is applied to them. Some folks like to use the bow/D shackles for paracord bracelets, but they are more expensive, heavier, and harder to get on/off than using a side release buckle, it's just a personal preference to use them or not.

scott33 made it! (author)2016-08-31

This was the very first instructable I made years ago, and it was fun to make it again.

Avey901 (author)2016-01-14

My first attempt thanks for the input

ccarr17 made it! (author)2016-01-06

For my first one its not that bad, Thanks!

DouglasS12 made it! (author)2015-11-02

Thank you for the great instructions! I'd wanted a watch strap like this for a while and here's the great result! Thanks again.

kamalk6 (author)2015-08-03

wanna try this on my old skull watch

rodgeratkin (author)2015-03-05

didn't like the finish at the end so have modofied it by starting off with step 3 picture one and not taking the two turns around the buckle. When finishing run the ends from the back through the buckle to make 4 cords and bring down under the cord which goes across, then tuck them down through the bracelet, cut off and finish with a small soldering iron or a hot craft tool used for cutting plastic or leather. It is much easier and neater to handle

joyce.hicksmattingly made it! (author)2015-01-19

i made a breast cancer awareness paracord watch/ bracelet.

dewanm (author)2014-12-23

thanks a lot i will try it definately

julius.cbrn (author)2014-08-06

With a little effort and improvisation, I made a watch strap using a common cord.

Thanks Master, greetings from Romania.

christinacovert made it! (author)2014-07-31

I made one with a watch in a pink came. Love this tut. thanks.

Cbear04 (author)2014-04-14

I Like it Very Much Good Job

jgavales (author)2013-10-06

#550? or #425?

Stormdrane (author)jgavales2013-10-06

I used 550 paracord for this project, but you can use various sizes/types of cord you want when tying a project. ;)

jgavales (author)Stormdrane2013-10-25


southpaw0727 (author)2013-01-23

I am really excited to try this out, but I need a watch that has enough room between the pins and the watch body. I bought one watch and even after Dremeling away a little bit of plastic molding, there is no way that I can get 1 let alone 4 strands of 550 between the pins and the body. Do you think that this watch will work?

This is the one I bought that didn't work out.

Rambo556 (author)southpaw07272013-03-23

you don't have to use 4 strands,just 2. It will hold less paracord, but if u can just attach the paracord to the pin and the buckle without putting it under the watch. Then u can use a 1/2 in. buckle. Also , try to take the pins out to get the paracord in. Hope this helps

Rambo556 (author)southpaw07272013-03-23

you don't have to use 4 strands,just 2. It will hold less paracord, but if u can just attach the paracord to the pin and the buckle without putting it under the watch. Then u can use a 1/2 in. buckle. Also , try to take the pins out to get the paracord in. Hope this helps

Stormdrane (author)southpaw07272013-01-24

You can't really tell from photos if paracord will fit, even when they do give the watch dimensions. Paracord can vary slightly in size, from one manufacturer to another, so where one might fit, another may not.

If possible, look for the watch you like at a brick/mortar store, where you can handle it and get a good look at it before buying one just for a paracord poject. ;)

Rambo556 (author)2013-03-23

Great 'ible! This is the easiest paracord bracelet i've seen. 5 stars. :)

Vincent VD (author)2013-01-14

Very nice post! I get a lot of compliments on my watch!!
Thank you :)

aesquivel (author)2012-12-07

I have a question: the 10ft of paracord are for a 8" bracelet like the one pictured, right? So if I want to make a 7" bracelet should I just do the proportion (10ft x 7"/8" = 8.75ft)?

Stormdrane (author)aesquivel2012-12-07

There are many variables with making paracord bracelets that affect how much cord is needed/used. Paracord can vary from one source to another in diameter/thickness, some feeling more solid/round and others flatten out, as well as how tight or loose any particular knotting pattern is tied by each person.  So I recommend using more that you think you'll need so that you don't come up short on a project. 

If making many of the same type projects, you can narrow down the exact amount of cord needed, based on your own tying style and supplies used.

Leftover bits of paracord can be used for short fobs and zipper pulls, so they don't have to go to waste.  Lengths of just a few inches can be tied with a lanyard knot, wall knot, Matthew Walker knot, snake knots, etc. and shorter pieces can be used with cord tips/ends... ;)

enemysniperspotted (author)2012-09-09

Thank you for those wonderful instructions, made my first bracelet with them. ^^

lazydave54 (author)2012-06-16

I was really lucky in that my size estimations and knot tightness produced a perfect fit the first time! I doubt I'll be able to pull that off again, as I plan to use this great tutorial to produce more watch bands and bracelets. Do you know of a source for medic alert tags that can be purchased without having to buy whatever bracelet they come on? Thanks again for posting this!

Stormdrane (author)lazydave542012-06-17

I just did a quick google search for 'medic alert tag' for one example that sells the tag alone, there are certainly others. ;)

Grnguy1 (author)2012-06-17

This is great kid friendlly project. All sorts of items come to mind, watch bands, ID bracelets, pet collars etc. thanks for sharing


jamesjames1 (author)2012-04-11

wanted to say thanks for this, i spend alot of time away from everything, and this is the first instuctable i ran across and i have to say you nailed it,

its well done and very easy to understand i made one for my step father he loved it
so thanks

waykno (author)2012-01-26

A cloth measuring tape.

JohannDB (author)2011-10-24

I like the idea of ths instructable. I would like to make it out of two different colors. Does anybody have any suggestions?

Stormdrane (author)JohannDB2011-10-24

Sew, melt, or glue two colors together and follow the instructions from there. For example, if you use 10 ft of cord for a one color bracelet, you would use two 5 ft lengths attached for the two color version.

Lou_45 (author)Stormdrane2011-12-06

What type of measurements to take for different sizes?

Stormdrane (author)Lou_452011-12-06

The measurements for two colors are done the same way as for a single color, just attach the two colors and then treat the length of cord just like you would a single color strand.

JohannDB (author)Stormdrane2011-10-24

Thank you for the tip. I'll give it a shot tonight while watching Monday Night Football.

#OccupyInstruct (author)2011-12-06

is it possible to make is 2 colors? and by the way nice instruct

Molly_smiles (author)2011-12-02

This was awesome! I wanted to get my boyfriend a paracord watch for Christmas and hated all the ones I ordered... after I made this, I can say that he will (hopefully!) LOVE his Christmas present! It looks great! Thanks for the great instructions! Took less than an hour on the "real one"... made a mini version as a prototype with only took 1/2 hour or so! :)

tbcross (author)2010-11-15

Here's my take on it. I found my future hubby's old dog tag out in the garage on a lawn mower keyring. So I thought I'd make something a little nicer for it to hang out on.

chrisbonheur (author)tbcross2011-11-11

Great handmade holiday gift idea for returning military, from their loved-ones.

JQ2470 (author)tbcross2011-03-22

Hello tbcross,
Thats a awesome looking dog tag paracord braclet, what type of weave did you use? and how do you get the dog tag on?
Im going to attempt to make one using the cobra weave! I just hope it turns out the way your's did, I just can't figure out how to weave the tag onto the braclet.

Hope to hear from you,

TubaJ446 (author)2011-10-14

Wired, that's the length of my wrist. I'll try this,I have a lot of old watches,

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