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.
kamalk626 days ago

wanna try this on my old skull watch

rodgeratkin5 months ago

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!7 months ago

i made a breast cancer awareness paracord watch/ bracelet.

dewanm8 months ago

thanks a lot i will try it definately

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

Thanks Master, greetings from Romania.

christinacovert made it!1 year ago

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

Cbear041 year ago

I Like it Very Much Good Job

the bull4 years ago
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.

d-ring shackle.jpg
I think the watch pins will break or pop out before the plastic buckle breaks.

true I had my brother's almost break

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.
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,
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.
your not going to break that shackle.........
i dont use the d-ring shackle but the buckles are pretty good
thanks , i have 2 watches think i will try both,
Stormdrane (author)  the bull4 years ago
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.
jgavales1 year ago
#550? or #425?
Stormdrane (author)  jgavales1 year ago
I used 550 paracord for this project, but you can use various sizes/types of cord you want when tying a project. ;)
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.

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
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)  southpaw07272 years ago
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. ;)
Rambo5562 years ago
Great 'ible! This is the easiest paracord bracelet i've seen. 5 stars. :)
Vincent VD2 years ago
Very nice post! I get a lot of compliments on my watch!!
Thank you :)
aesquivel2 years ago
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)  aesquivel2 years ago
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... ;)

Thank you for those wonderful instructions, made my first bracelet with them. ^^
lazydave543 years ago
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)  lazydave543 years ago
I just did a quick google search for 'medic alert tag' for one example that sells the tag alone, there are certainly others. ;)
Grnguy13 years ago
This is great kid friendlly project. All sorts of items come to mind, watch bands, ID bracelets, pet collars etc. thanks for sharing

jamesjames13 years ago
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
waykno3 years ago
A cloth measuring tape.
JohannDB3 years ago
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)  JohannDB3 years ago
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.
What type of measurements to take for different sizes?
Stormdrane (author)  Lou_453 years ago
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.
Thank you for the tip. I'll give it a shot tonight while watching Monday Night Football.
is it possible to make is 2 colors? and by the way nice instruct
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! :)
tbcross4 years ago
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.

bracelet blurr.JPG
Great handmade holiday gift idea for returning military, from their loved-ones.
JQ2470 tbcross4 years ago
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,
TubaJ4463 years ago
Wired, that's the length of my wrist. I'll try this,I have a lot of old watches,
Do you take orders if I send you my watch ? Hand eye cordination isn't what it use to be.
Stormdrane (author)  Kevin J. Stoll4 years ago
I rarely take orders to keep from getting burned out on my hobby. I recommend folks tie their own paracord bracelets and watchbands, to make sure they get the perfect fit that they want, since they can easily untie/retie the work until it's just right, before finishing a project.

For those that want to pay someone, there are knot tyers that do custom work by requests on sites like ebay, etsy, artfire, and in some of the buy/sell/trade sections of various online forums. So, if you search around you should be able to find someone to help you out. But, there's always the risk of having it not fit as you'd like, the color not being what you expected, quality of materials used, being too loose or tight, having the added expense of mailing it back and forth, etc...

do you have a way of knowing how much paracord you need depending on how big your wrists are. I dont like waisting paracord, and i have 6 inch wrists and i like 6 and a half to seven inch bracelets.
Stormdrane (author)  ~•SMART•~4 years ago
How much cord is used can depend on many variables including what size buckle is being use, how tight or loose you make the hitches, etc... For this bracelet with the alternate half hitch, I used about 1.25 inches of cord per inch of finished bracelet length the way I've shown it made. So for a 7 inch finished bracelet size, you'd use approximately 8.75 feet of paracord.

You may end up using more or less, but it's always better to over estimate what you need, because it's easier to trim off excess than it is to continue tying when you run out of cord...

Thank you, I just finished mine, and 8.75 feet was perfect for my wrist!
They should have a like/dislike bar like youtube
the star rating system is more accurate
They should have both
its good to keep it simple.
i would have to agree with you. the star system is good enough and actually is better since you have 5 options and not just a binary like/not like.
ccrawford24 years ago
can u do a post of the cobra weave to me it looks cooler
Stormdrane (author)  ccrawford24 years ago
The 'cobra' weave is also known as the Solomon bar/Portuguese sinnet/square knotting. If you look at my other instructables, you'll find it already posted.
joey994 years ago
can u also do a cobra weave
Stormdrane (author)  joey994 years ago
julin-14 years ago
Took a little over an hour because of trial and error on sizing and how to do the back of the watch. Great Instructable!
Tizaro4 years ago
just made this
didnt have a connecter bit
so i used a key ring
turned out alright, little big though, but otherwise i wouldnt be able to get it on
jdickinson14 years ago
Used this tutorial in combination with youtube videos to create a dog collar :D
Photo 78.jpg
Darthscout4 years ago
Where do you get you watch faces???
Stormdrane (author)  Darthscout4 years ago
You use an old watch that you already have or buy a new one and remove the band to add a paracord version. The particular model watch I used was purchased over 10 years ago, so it may not be available anymore, but you can always search around ebay, amazon, etc...
tracyv4 years ago
Could you show us the bottom?

Stormdrane (author)  tracyv4 years ago
The underside of the buckle is visible in the first photo of the instructable. The working ends of the paracord are simply pulled around the 5/8" buckle ends a second time, to fill up the space on the buckle, so that the cord doesn't slide around.
q335r494 years ago
Damn commenting system won't let me upload images >:-( But check out this variation:
1) Adjustable!
2) Looks pretty neat
3) Uses one of those slide locks (get them off a bag, or you can buy them at Eastern Mountain Sports type places)

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5310/5598578756_b49de6d63b.jpg http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5309/5598582350_57cc114c4e.jpg

It's a pretty simple variation, just start with a loop that you can put your hand through.
mrelement4 years ago
were do you get the actual watch part?
Stormdrane (author)  mrelement4 years ago
When making a paracord watchband, most folks use a watch that they already have. You can use an old watch or buy a new one, and remove the the band that came on it, keeping the pins to work with the paracord band you make.
OK thanks
jmonty4 years ago
that watch is AWESOME!!!
joseph554 years ago
Great instructable! Thanks a lot ! and I will try one !
magic19694 years ago
vwer very nice thanks
shveet4 years ago
any ideas on how to remove the battery once it dies?
Stormdrane (author)  shveet4 years ago
Remove one of the watch pins, remove and replace battery at the now accessible backside of the watch, Then replace watch pin back under paracord. You can also remove both watch pins to change to a different watch, using the same paracord band. This applies to the other patterns of paracord watchbands too.
mikroGanesh4 years ago
simply wonderful
kmpres5 years ago
Very nicely done!  I am perpetually breaking watchbands.  They never last as long as the watch itself so I am forever replacing them. I also wear a Suunto watch that has a special molded band that must be replaced about every three years with an identical one -- from Suunto.  And they're not cheap, about $45 each.  So this is perfect for me.  I will try it when my current, and now last, molded band breaks.  Thanks for the great write-up.

One question though; How comfortable is the band to wear?  If it itches could the skin side be lined with a more comfortable cloth, perhaps?
which suunto do you have? I have the core, which came with a black band and your right, the polymer broke down super easily, I bought a band at my local scuba shop for c-tech, its super sturdy with stainless hardware, also, I have a survival bracelet that I made of 550 and wear, its not uncomfortable at all.
I have a Suunto Observer. I just found out that I have a very narrow space between the watch studs and the watch body, only about 1mm. If I remove the stud and force it back on over the paracord I can get two cords in the space. I doubt very much whether I can get four in there. I don't want to have to trim some metal off my $300 SS watch housing to make more room for the paracord.  Which brings up a question:

None of the pictures show the watch back side after the band has been assembled.  Are there two, four, or no cords running underneath the watch after the band is fully assembled?  Because my watch is quite thick, I would prefer a band that had no paracord running underneath it.  Is there a paracord procedure that can accommodate this?
You can "gut" the 550 cord, that should make it much thinner, or as I said I just bought a 1" thick watch band from c-tech, it was about 15 bucks, I think it should work with the observer as well...go to dolphinscuba.com to order one I think
Stormdrane (author)  kmpres4 years ago
I don't know if this will work with a Suunto, but paracord watchbands can be done in two pieces, like a regular watchband, without any cords running under the watch as is done with a paracord bracelet watchband.

Here's a link from my blog, with a couple of different watches with two piece bands. If you have limited space between lugs and watch pins, you can use gutted paracord sections between the side release buckles and pins, and then knot over that with regular paracord.

It's very difficult to get the sizing right, as every watch is different, so it's a lot of tying and untying, until you get it right kind of project.
Stormdrane (author)  kmpres5 years ago
I've found the paracord bracelets and watchbands very comfortable to wear.  Some people have found that if they sweat a lot and the band gets dirty, that it can irritate their skin.  I frequently wash mine with a little liquid soap/water and scrub with an old soft bristle toothbrush to keep 'em clean. 

When they wear out, it's easy enough to make a new one, and they're still inexpensive to make.
N2L4 years ago
Used this to add a handle to a bottle I wrapped from your blog. Can't upload photos sadly. The sites not too phone friendly...


Stormdrane (author)  N2L4 years ago
Looks good! :)
rhaubejoi5 years ago

A measuring tape works well for this too.

sparrowmict5 years ago

Master Stormdrane i am humbled at your feet.   have followed your blog and your instructables and now have a paracord addiction.  My wife thanks you.  just finished my first watchband looks great.  big pain getting the size right but looks good and now everybody wants me to do it for them.  i will post some pictures of the bracelets, crosses and watchbands that i have made.  i do have a question.  when does the pain in your hands go away?

Stormdrane (author)  sparrowmict5 years ago
Blisters eventually turn to calluses, but I've yet to find a solution to remedy hand/finger/joint pain... ;)
I really like your steps and very easy to follow. I do have a question though where is the best place to buy a watch faces for this project? If you can help me it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
Stormdrane (author)  cutiesweetie086 years ago
You can use any watch that you like, as long as there is enough room for the paracord strands to fit between the body of the watch and the spring bars(pins) from the original watchband. That means about 1/2"(inch) wide between the lugs(the parts where the spring bars(pins) are placed) and about 1/8" of space between the watch and spring bars. Timex is a good, inexpensive watch brand, with a variety of styles, and they've held up well for me with some rough treatment over the years. Victorinox, Wenger, Casio, Seiko, Citizen, and Luminox are other watch brands that I've owned and made paracord watchbands for. I"ve bought a few online from ebay and Amazon with no problems. So as long as there's room for the cord, just a watch that you like.
how to you get to the battery cover? HMMMMMMM?

and w007 paracord
Stormdrane (author)  R4Man185 years ago
To access the battery cover(snap on type or screw down), you just remove one of the watchband pins and the watch flips up for access to the cover.  Remove the cover, replace the battery, put the cover back on, then hold the cords down to re-insert the watchband pin into the lugs. 

I've done this with all the knot variations I've used for paracord bracelets with no problems.  If you have similar sized watch bodies, you can switch them out as well.
just decided to make one today out of some of the paracord in my camping stuff and an old buckle i had laying around. very easy once you get started. 10 feet of cord ended up being an 8 1/8 inch bracelet, which was just the right size. any shorter and it would have been too short, so i may advise starting out with a couple of feet of excess cord. maybe i tied the hitches a bit tight...
doobuzz8 years ago
Very cool! I'll be making this one as soon as i can find out where to get my hands on some paracord. This would be a great project for the guys down at cadets
JMan5 doobuzz6 years ago
www.armysurplusworld.com has tons of different colors, and they sell it lots of different lengths, too.
go to countycomm they sell for $7 for 100 feet. this is were i get mines. best deal
Google 550 cord. you can find places that sells different colors.
Try looking at an Army Navy store, its like 5 bucks for 50 feet.
mph196 years ago
Nice site. When I was in Iraq, a friend made me a paracord bracelet with my dog tag in the middle. I'd like to know how he did it, but he never got around to showing me. Do you have any ideas? It's like it was 2 separate bands and was latched with a button from my uniform through a loop at the end of the band. Thanks
Stormdrane (author)  mph196 years ago
Here's a link showing the 550 cord bracelet made without a buckle and using the button/loop method.

Without seeing the bracelet with the dogtag, I'm not sure how it was incorporated into the knotwork. I just would imagine that the knots would just be expanded over the dogtag keeping it in place... maybe done with a second layer of knots(king cobra stitch)... just guessing.
constant-C6 years ago
i'm so happy to find this watch band. my son is a cpt. in the Marines and very hard to buy gifts for. i'm going to make this very cool gift for him for Christmas. he will actually be here this year. the last 2 he was gone. he has served 3 tours in Iraq and we will have him home for a month and 1/2.
Wonderful Work! Congratulations!
clarissa2k67 years ago
Very nice instructable. I have the buckle and the paracord, but I'll have to buy a new watch, because there isn't enough space between the watchband pins and the watch itself... Shit
benhudson8 years ago
This is awesome... need some paracord :) I could make it with sisal, but that would itch like hell :P
sam noyoun8 years ago
Great instructable! Thanks.
Wow, this looks awesome. I was wanting to replace the metal bracelet on my Traser watch for something more comfortable. If my paracord is long enough, this will do the trick!
awoodcarver8 years ago
Very nice work , I have lots of old watches that dont have bands and i dont like many they sell
This is cool! But how comfortable is it? It seems like it should be very flexible and move well with your wrist, unlike a leather band. But I wonder if it would chafe if you start sweating.
Stormdrane (author)  benjamenjohnson8 years ago
I find the alternate half-hitch to be more comfortable than the cobra stitch paracord bracelet, it also has a slightly wider footprint. The feel of the paracord can be softer if do the half-hitches without making each one tight, but you have to pay more attention if you tie them that way or you won't get a nice uniform look to the knot pattern. I have never had a problem with paracord chafing when wet with water or sweat, YMMV.
admanrocks8 years ago
sweet! im gonna have to do this