This is my first instructable. Please forgive any mistakes and be kind in your comments.
After searching for a way to secure head phone / ear bud cords I came up with this. I my case the cost is zero dollars and since I have lots of laces I have all I need to make as many as I need.
The materials used were:
a shoe lace
3 mm heat shrink tubing
.3 mm plastic
The tools used were:
duck bill pliers
2.9 mm knitting needle (could be sharp toothpick or even a sharp pencil or the small end of an embossing tool)
Step 1: Make a Better Cord Tie
If you only intend to make two cord ties, you can skip using the heat shrink as the end of the shoe lace has two finished ends, Cut it in the middle and then cut each end to the length of tie you want to make. However, if you do this, you will not have the benefit of being able to make the heat shrink into a point which may be easily passed through the material of the lace when you are ready to thread it through. If you try to do this with the blunt end of the shoe lace you may find it very difficult. I suggest you save yourself the aggravation and just use the heat shrink. Of course, if you do not have access to a heat shrink you can do it with enough patience and time.
Before I go any further, I should mention - DO NOT use a torch unsupervised if you are not old enough to do so. DO exercise extreme caution when the torch is lit. If you have one, keep a fire extinguisher handy just in case. Probably the safest place to do this may be in a stainless steel sink.
Begin by cutting a length of heat shrink just shorter than the finished end of the shoelace. Cut off one end of the shoelace and thread the finished end through the heats rink. Work the heat shrink down the length of the shoelace until your are close to the other end. Where you stop will determine the length of the finished tie wrap.
When you have positioned the heat shrink cut the lace even with it.
The next step requires you to position the heat shrink so that the lace does not go all the way to the end. Be careful! If you pull it off or too far there is no going back. You will have to start over with a new piece as it will be impossible to get the lace back into the heat shrink. I find the safest way is to grip the lace at the base of the heat shrink and bend the heat shrink sideways. This will cause the lace to be withdrawn from the heat shrink and you will have full control of just how far.
Step 2: Make a Better Cord Tie
Pinch the shoelace in the pliers with the heat shrink snug against the pliers. When you shrink the tubing, the end that does not have any shoelace in it will shrink further than the part that does. While the heat shrink is still hot give this small part a squeeze with the pliers to flatten it. Cut this little tip on an angle to make a point which you will be able to thread through the lace later.
Step 3: Make a Better Cord Tie
Cut a piece of the plastic to make an insert. Cut it about the width of the lace and punch a hole in the center. This hole should be big enough to allow the finished lace to pass through but no bigger. The tighter it is the better it will grip. As I write this I am wondering if it would be better to cut an "x" shape for the lace to pass through. I am wondering if the points of the plastic formed by the "x" cut would offer even greater resistance.
Once you have the hole centered in the plastic trim the sides and ends. The final width of the plastic will determine the finished width of the end. Keep it relatively short. If it is too long, you will find that it makes it more difficult to secure small diameter items.
Insert the plastic piece in the end of the lace until is it flush with the end. Grip the lace with the inserted plastic piece with the pliers and trim it even.
Melt the end with the torch. Let it burn down even with the pliers. Once the end is fused do the same with each corner. I found that while the material is hot, it helps to rub it down even with the pliers with a piece of wood in order to achieve a more even finish.
Step 4: Make a Better Cord Tie
Insert the knitting needle through the hole in the plastic, Carefully withdraw it and insert the tip. Finally, you can now cut off the angled tip. Note that the end of the heat shrink opposite the tip is somewhat flared. This will help prevent accidentally pulling the tip back through the hole.
That's it. You are now the proud owner of a better cord tie.
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