This project can be a bit monotonous but well worth it. Monotonous only because once you get started you are repeating the same knot over and over and over again until you get to the end.
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Step 1: Gather and Prep Your Materials
First things first. Get your materials. I ordered a plain brushed steel buckle from eBay for about $2. The lighter and scissors you probaly have around the house. I always keep a spool of paracord at the house but for this belt you are gonna need about 120 feet of cord for a belt for someone with a 32-34 inch waist.
You have to cut 5 lengths of cord. Double the measurement of your waist and add 24". (34" + 34" + 24" = 92")
Cut 2 lengths this long. These will be your "core" threads which run down the middle of your braids.
Your braiding threads need to be 12" long for each inch of waistline. Then add about 6 feet. (34"x12= 34 feet + 6 = 40 feet). You need 2 cords this length.
Your final cord is 3 feet long. This is used to make the loop you tuck the end of the belt into after it's buckled.
So, 2 at 92", 2 at 40 feet and 1 at 3 feet.
Use a lighter to melt the tips of the cord to prevent them from fraying during the braiding process. Exclude the 3' cord from this step. You have to remove the inner white strings later.
Step 2: Attach Your Cords to the Buckle
Once your cords are cut to length, you have to attach the 2 core lines to the buckle. The knot is called a Lark's head.
Once the core lines are attached, the braid lines are attached over the core line knots also using Lark's head knots.
Note in the pictures the directions of the knots. The knots on the braid lines are in the opposite direction of the core lines.
Step 3: Start the Braiding
Now that the cords are attached to the buckle, bundle up the excess braid lines and rubber band them. It makes braiding easier because you don't have to pull all 40 feet through after each stitch.
Now, the cobra stitch... Very easy to learn. This belt is 2 cobra stitches, side by side. After each set of braids, the center braid lines are swapped from one side to the other. This holds the 2 sides together.
On each side of the buckle, you have 2 core lines and 2 braid lines.
Take the outside braid line and pass it behind the 2 core lines. Pass the inner braid line under the outer braid line, then up and over the core lines and through the loop made by the outer braid line. Tighten that knot. Now, on the same side of the buckle you have to do the mirror image of the first knot. Loop the inner braid line behind the core lines. Then pull the outer braid line behind the inner braid line, over the core lines and then through the loop and pull tight.
Now do the same set of steps on the other side of the buckle starting with the outer braidline.
Once you've completed 2 knots on each side of the buckle, you have to criss-cross the inner braid lines.
Step 4: Continue Braiding
Now comes the monotony. Repeating the same knots over and over.
Ensure that you are pulling the knots tightly, but not so tight as to distort the straightness of the belt. Every so ofter, grab the core lines and push the braids up to the buckle to keep everything tight.
Release the braid lines bit by bit as needed. Just keep braiding until you get to the desired length.
Step 5: Finishing the End of the Belt
Once down to the desired belt length, you have to cut the outer core line on each side of teh buckle an trim it down to about 1.5 inches past the end. I use a pair of hemostats to reach under one of the braid loops and puul the core line back through. Repeat this until the core lines are tucked under 5 or 6 loops.
Step 6: Knot the Belt Tip
Pay attention to the pictures, I hope I can explain this well enough for all to understand.
The 2 inner braid lines now become your core lines (the ones you braid around)
Start by taking the 2 remaining core lines and do a double stich around your new core lines.Pull these knots good and tight and push them up toward the buckle.
Then take the 2 outer braid lines an do a double stitch around your ne core lines and pull everything tight.
Step 7: Trim Up the Ends
Trimm the reamining cords, one at a time, to about a 1/4 inch long. Then melt them with the lighter unitl the small molten ball of cord fuses into the braided portion of the belt. This will keep the braid from coming undone.
Repeat on all the cords unitl it's all trim and clean.
Step 8: Start the Belt Keeper
Take the 3' cord and remove the inner white strands. This will make the braid lay much flatter and thinner.
Go down about 5 loops from the buckle and open up the loop using hemostats or even a screwdriver.
Fold the cord in half and pass it through the loop and form a Lark's head.
Open a loop on the opposite side of the belt and pass the other ends of the cord through.
Using the end of the belt as a spacer, pull the cord taunt. Leave a bit of slack.
Step 9: Braid the Keeper
Now, using a cobra stitch, finish braiding the keeper.
Ensure to push the braid tight as you go.
Once finished, trim the lines as before and melt them in place.
Hope this works out your you. I've been wearing one of these belts everyday for over a year an it has held up amazingly. The one in the photos is one that I just finished for my Dad for Father's Day.
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