Introduction: Softball/Baseball Themed Paracord Bracelet
I coach my daughter's U12 softball team and as sort of a fun thing for her I made her a softball themed bracelet out of pararcord. Well, the first day she wore it to practice every girl, all 14 of them, said seemingly in unison, "I want one!" So naturally I was obligated to make 14 more. There are many tutorials out there for making a stitched solomon bar bracelet, but I only found one regarding this particular type of look. I guess you could consider this just an addendum to those other (and likely far better) tutorials/Instructables out there.
Step 1: What You'll Need
For this project I used about 4 feet of red paracord and 3 feet of yellow paracord. Should leave you with about 6 inches of extra material.
• scissors or a utility knife to cut the paracord to length
• a tape measure
• a lighter or other source of flame
Optional, but really helpful if you're making a lot these:
paracord jig - I made and used this one. Cost me about $4 to make from things bought at the local hardware store: https://www.instructables.com/id/Yardstick-Paracor...
Th jig isn't really necessary but it sped up my production time from about 40 minutes per bracelet to 20 minutes per bracelet.
Step 2: The Trick: Splicing Colors
This was the part that had me confused when I first wanted to make one of these... how to get the one intersecting strand of color going down the length of the bracelet without seeing that color anywhere else. Splicing! Turns out it was pretty easy. Here's how:
Pull out the interior strands of your red paracord about 1/2 inch and trim them off. Hold the opposite end of the paracord between your index finger and your thumb. While holding it in this fashion, use your other hand to squeeze the paracord casing and then run your fingers down the length of it so that the casing now overlaps the internal strands. Spread the ends of the casing to flare them out.
Take the yellow cord and melt one end of it and roll it between your finger to narrow its tip. BE CAREFUL! The melted cord can be very hot!
Re-melt the end you just shaped and push it into the hollow end of the red cord. Once its in, roll it between your fingers to help secure the two cords together. There will be a little bit of red fringe around the outside of the splice, use your lighter melt these down and then roll them between your fingers again. You should now have a fairly strong connection between the two pieces of paracord.
PLEASE NOTE: This type of splice significantly weakens the tensile strength of the paracord making the single, two color piece unsuitable for anything other than decoration. Not really a suitable design for a survival situation.
Step 3: The Core and the Jig
The core is the easiest part of this process. To be exact, you'll want to measure the circumference of your wrist either using a measuring tape or a piece of paracord, but a fairly good rule of thumb is that the average adult male's wrist is about 8 1/2 inches around. If you're a bigger person, add an inch to the length of the core, if you're a smaller person, take away a half inch - better to be slightly too big than too small!
I used the knot and loop method for making these bracelets, but you could certainly use clips if you prefer.
Once you have the core to the length you want, tie a simple overhand knot as shown in the picture but only tie it semi tight. Loose enough so that you can undo it if necessary. We'll come back to this part later. You ought to have a couple of inches of cord beyond the tied knot. Leave it for now.
Clamp your jig to a solid surface like a table or workbench as shown. Take your loop and place it on the jig. You want it to be fairly taut.
Step 4: Starting With a Cobra Hitch...
Place your spliced cord on the jig but under the core and align the splice right under the middle of the core.
Pass the red cord over the core. Cross the yellow cord over the red on the same side of the jig. Bring the tip of the yellow cord under the core and through the loop created by the red cord when it was passed over the core.
Cinch it tight while maintaining the position of the splice at the center of the jig/core.
Leave a top loop of about 1/2 inch above the cobra knot you just made. Adjust and tighten as necessary to get it positioned and tightened but be aware that if you pull too hard on opposite sides of the splice there is a very good chance that the paracord will split at the splice! Okay, you've got your cobra knot all set, time to move on to the solomon stitch.
Step 5: ...Moving Into the Solomon Stitch
This is very similar to the cobra knot with just one small change. This is the stitch that will be repeating the length of the bracelet but this is how to get it started.
Start with your red paracord and pass it between the strands of the core, going under the strand closest to the red and over the one farther away. Leave a little excess cord behind to make a loop to pass the yellow cord through. Cross the yellow cord over the red on the same side of the jig. Pass it under the red, under the core, and through the loop the created by the red cord and then pull it tight. Cinch it up toward the first cobra knot if you need to, adjust it as necessary. Again, be careful as the splice is still vulnerable to being broken if this is pulled to hard.
Repeat this process, but from the opposite side: again, leading with the red cord pass it between the strands of the core, going under the strand closest to the red and over the one farther away. Leave a little excess cord behind to make a loop to pass the yellow cord through. Cross the yellow cord over the red on the same side of the jig. Pass it under the red, under the core, and through the loop the created by the red cord and then pull it tight. Cinch it up toward the first cobra knot if you need to, adjust it as necessary.
Step 6: Solomon Stitch, Repeat. Solomon Stitch, Repeat.
Repeating the previous process about 15 to 18 times should fill the length of your bracelet and leave about a 1 inch section near the over hand knot empty. You will terminate the solomon stitch pattern with another cobra knot as shown in the pictures: take the red cord, pass it over the core. Lay the yellow cord across the red cord on the same side of the jig. Pass the yellow cord under the red cord and under the core through the loop on the loop on the opposite side crated when you passed the red cord over the core.
Cinch this as tight as you can and your stitching is done!
Step 7: Finishing With a Cobra Hitch, Trimming and Sealing the Ends
With your stitching done, remove the bracelet from the jig.
It will feel a little stiff from your knots being tight and that's what you want. You need to trim the excess cord from the solomon stitching from the bracelet. Using a pair of scissors or a utility knife and cut the red cord so that there is a nub of cord about 1/4 inch long at the end of the bracelet. Using your flame, melt the cord for a good 5 seconds so you get a molten blob on the end of it. Use the side of your scissors, the blade of flat screwdriver, or the handle of a utility knife and flatten that blob of molten cord down flat. DO NOT USE YOUR FINGERS FOR THIS PART. Trust me, it hurts. Try to make it as smooth as possible as this will be against your skin. Repeat with the yellow cord.
Step 8: Almost Done!
Pass the overhand knot through the loop you left at the top of the bracelet and you have your nearly finished bracelet-loop! This is the part I said we'd get to when you first tied that overhand knot and why we left the extra cord at the end of that knot: adjustability! Undo the bracelet and try the bracelet on. Is it too loose? Too tight? Take it off and undo the knot and make it again either closer the bracelet or closer to the end of the strands. One you have it set where you want it, tighten it down on itself as best as you can. Trim both ends of the paracord off, leaving about 1/4 inch nubs at the knot. Heat them up for about 5 seconds, get them molten, and flatten them down to the knot. Your knot is now permanent and your bracelet is done!
Step 9: The Finished Product(s)
After doing about 20 of these in total for my team, the other coaches and a couple of parents who liked them I got my time down from the first bracelet I made of 45 minutes to about 20 minutes start to finish. I wound up making all the spliced cords and cores first then assembling them and this seemed to help move the process of making many of them along a bit faster.
I hope you have fun making these for your teammates or friends or for yourself. I can pretty much guarantee that if you know someone who plays baseball (white cord instead of yellow!) or softball that they will love having one.