Control the Cord Kudzu - Martha MacGyver Style




Introduction: Control the Cord Kudzu - Martha MacGyver Style

About: Pay it Forward. You Get what you Give.
All the many cords around our phones, i-devices and computers seem to grow like Kudzu!
If you are not familiar with Kudzu - it's a really aggressive plant which can take over - see

To kill the Kudzu, here's a few variations of a cord tie that I have been using a great amount lately,

I say that this is done Martha MacGuiver style because this combines two often unrelated genres:
  1. Martha Stewart - crafting - "It's a good thing."  (that is her famous line)
  2. Macgyver - improvising under pressure with testosterone

These Cord Ties have proven to be REALLY useful.

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Step 1: Simple Concept: Elastic and a Keeper

All the variations you may see here are the same principle:
A closed loop of elastic is used to stretch around a bundle and then are held in place by some sort of keeper. 

You could use a simple rubber band.
Elastic with a cloth component works nicely.  See the round varieties as well as various widths of flat ones.
At the fabric store, it's sort of like pasta - you can get the really thin vermicelli or the broad lasagne noodles.
One thing that I found which works great:  ELASTIC HAIRBANDS
You can get them in multi-color packs.  Some heavier than others.
Wally World is a good place for them.

I have used buttons, dowel rods, pennies, nickels, wood beads, rings, plastic beads etc... 
The rings (like a keyring) are really nice because they are really easy to hang. 
After the cord is bundled up, just hang it by the ring.
Dowel rods are a nice source too.

Step 2: Tweaking the "Keepers"

Usually the "Keepers" needs a little tweaking.

In order to insert the elastic into buttons, I usually had to ream the holes a bit to make them larger.
You can also drill them - but be careful.  When drilling plastic, you may end up welding as you drill.
A slower speed can help reduce the heat and avoid that problem.

With dowel rods, I used a larger diameter dowel (1 inch) and just sliced off a really thick piece.
Then drilled right down into the center of the ends. 

When using smaller diameter dowels, I used 2 inch pieces.  Then I drilled a hole into the side.
These are like the toggle fasteners you might see on some vintage coats (maybe new ones too?)

When working with wood items, I found that it was nice to also drill a fairly deep countersink into one end of the given hole.
This allowed a knot to seat nicely in position.  This worked well for the dowel pieces as wells as the larger beads.

Also notice the shower curtain hook - you can get those at wally world too.
Those can be really useful.  I believe they should be stainless - or something that does not rust.
(they are not aluminum)

Step 3: Trick to Threading the Keepers

Sometimes it's difficult to get the elastic into the keeper. 
Using a very thin piece of wire can be VERY helpful.
I used some ties from breadbags.

All you have to do is bend the wire in half and use it to "thread" the keeper.

Another note:  To reduce fraying, you might want to melt the ends of the cut elastic.
I know the rubber is not really going to fray - but you probably have a nylon fabric encasing which will fray.

Step 4: Examples

Here's some examples of the mini-bungee cords in action...

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    4 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 2

    PS - I am so stealing the "Martha McGyver" name......


    7 years ago on Step 2

    Jeez - I love this. I have millions of little things in my classroom and home that need just this type of attention. And Martha McGyver is whom I feel like frequently, given the need to create on the fly and on the cheap in the classroom. Well done!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea, great tips. Making some of these for stocking stuffers for holiday along with some other cable keeper ideas from instructables. :)

    Always looking for cable management ideas around here. Thanks!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Here's a tip: go find some old landline phones, or just their "pigtail" bouncy cords. Cut ten inch section of that cord, then wrap it around bundles of small cables. It's great for 5 or 4 USB cables.