Introduction: Paracord People

About: Born by the Tyne, lives by the Thames.

Learn some knotting techniques and create your own 15cm paracord person. You'll be able to to add swords and shields,helmets and hairy bits, tails and other trappings as you see fit.

Step 1: Overview and What You'll Need

This is the original paracord person, crafted one icy spring round a campfire in Sussex. After the first one was made, my kids eagerly took up the knotwork challenge and quickly became adept at making and customising their own.

This person is made from 3 different knots - a Turks Head (not a Monkey's Fist), a Switchback Strap (for arms and legs) and a Solomon Bar (for the body).

You will need:

  • 3m assorted paracord - start with 4mm as it's easier to work with.
    Use approx 1m each for head, for arms, for body. There should be enough left over to make the legs.
  • Scissors or knife.
  • Matches to flame the ends when you cut it - this melts the paracord and stops it fraying.

Step 2: Making the Head (i)

This is how to make a Turks Head - in the next step you collapse the flat bagel shape around the knot in the shorter cord.

Step 3: Making the Head (ii)

It's hard to explain how to do this. Crush the flat knot around the small knot you made in the short cord and gradually ease the rope through the knotting tighter and tighter, extending the longer cord. You have to locate the piece of cord that's coming from the knot in the middle, and pull it bit by bit round the rest of the Turks head.

You should end up with 2 cords hanging down - these will form the centre of the body.

Step 4: Making the Arms (i)

The arms are Switchback Straps. This design involves wrapping one longer length of cord around two shorter pieces.

Step 5: Making the Arms (ii)

This is kind of what it should look like. We made the arms around 5cm long and used different colours for this blue-eared guy.

The picture on the right shows the difference between a Solomon Bar (used for the body) and a Switchback Strap (for arms and legs).

Step 6: Making the Body (i)

Step 7: Making the Body (ii)

Your Solomon Bar should look something like this.

Notice you can create different effects by using different colours for [E] and [F] - our character on the right has a special extension with extra strong Solomon Bar arms that have hooks and fists. He was inspired by Doc Ock.

Step 8: Making the Legs

Step 9: Finishing Touches

Tuck in all the loose ends and snip the cord quite close to the tuck. Use a lighter, candle or match to flame the fluffy end for a couple of seconds to melt the paracord and stop it fraying. You can spit on your fingers and put out the flame if you're feeling brave.

Don't forget to flame the other end you cut off if you want to use that piece of cord later.

Step 10: EMF 2018 Workshop

We ran a Making Paracord People workshop at EMFCamp 2018. These are some of the people who were created that afternoon.

I hope you have as much fun making and playing with your own!

Credit to:

  • Clyde and Linton for inspiration and refinements
  • Our first reference book - Paracord Fusion Ties Vol.1 by JD Lenzen - ISBN: 978-0-9855578-0-5
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