Parachute Cord Belt





Introduction: Parachute Cord Belt

Update 3/21/10 Forgot to say why I even wanted to make the thing!  Silly me...

Here's a custom belt made from a few "D" rings, some webbing, and a single length of parachute cord. The idea was sparked by a customer of mine who noticed the bit of cord that I keep around my neck for tying things out of my way, keeping baby toys from falling out of the stroller, etc. He was an ex- special forces soldier, and mentioned that they used to make belts and all kinds of things out of paracord so that, in addition to being useful, the item could be unraveled in an emergency. When I got home I found only a couple of designs for such a belt, the best of which were published on I found that I had some preconceived notions of what I wanted such a belt to actually do:

1) It must hold up your pants. It's a belt. Preferably it should be able to do this even if you need a piece of cord.

2) It must be able to unravel quickly. Paracord is certainly strong enough to retrieve a friend who has fallen through the ice, so time is a concern (a la Slatt's Rescue Knot which can be very difficult to untie).

2.5) It would be nice to be able to make it quickly, just so that there is no subconscious, "is it gonna be worth it? I mean, I spent 3 days locked in a room to make this thing- how good a friend are they?...)

3) Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Neither would you expect to need to rescue someone from thin ice, so it must be something you can fit through your everyday belt loops (usually 1") and still look good enough that you will actually wear it.

Here is my answer. Looks good, can in fact be made in 15 minutes, unravels without binding in less than 15 seconds, and can be used a bit at a time while still holding up your pants. It can even be assembled with multiple lengths of cord, allowing any piece that you needed to be put back without making a whole new belt!

Step 1: Materials


While this can in fact be done without tools at all, I'm going to use a couple of nails, a hammer, a tape measure, and a needle and thread.

Here's what we'll use:

1) 50-100' Paracord (in case you forgot)

2) 16" of 1" webbing

3) 3 - 1" "D" rings

Step 2: Measure!

Don't lie about the measurement, nobody needs to know that you can fit 100' of cord into a 1" belt unless it saves their life!

Subtract a couple inches so that if you use a bunch of cord your pants will still stay up.

Step 3: Set Up

 Put a couple of nails at your measured distance, then put two rings on one nail and one on the other.  

Step 4: Wind the Warp

 So now the fun begins.  Take one end of the cord and pass it under one "D" ring, and over the other.  Continue this until the flat side of the "D" is used up, usually resulting in about 6 strands on top and 6 on bottom.  Tie the end with a couple of half hitches and work the slack out.

Step 5: Weave the Rest

 Here's the secret, a combo of Native American Fingerweaving and crochet.  Put your finger between the top and bottom strands near the end with the two rings.  Take your other hand and switch each strand from bottom to top or top to bottom, keeping them in order.   The crossing of the cords is called the shed.

Next, pass a loop of the running end through the shed, leaving the loop about 2" long.  Switch the shed, and pull it snug.

**Update 2/4/10: It seems that some people are having trouble with the actual weaving process.  Most likely it is the shed itself which is confusing, and since I've been weaving like this for a long time now, it's just second nature for me.  We are merely doing plain weave, where the strands begin with every other one being up, eg. up-down-up-down, etc.  A "weft" is pulled through, in this case a loop, which holds the warp threads in that position, and then the order of the warp threads is switched, eg. down-up-down-up, etc.  This is the same process as used in many baskets.

Pull another loop through, and pass it also through the loop from the previous step.  Pull the slack out of the first loop, and continue 

Step 6: Finish Up

 When you reach the half hitches, take them out and use the end as part of the nearest strand.  This will keep the knot from making a bump in the belt.

 Weave as close to the end as possible, then cut the cord and pass the end through the last loop.  It can be woven backwards or looped around the threads at the edge.  

Sew the webbing around the single ring, and you're done!

Just so you know, I timed the unraveling of this belt (45' of cord) at 14 seconds.



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    19 Discussions

    you know what would be a great use for this? as a rifle sling. that would be great forsurvival.

    1 reply

    Random question... What breed of cat is that? We adopted our cat from a shelter (not a breeder) and it looks almost exactly the same as yours! Same grey hair, and shaped head. Even down to the long hair on the tail. I thought I was looking at a picture of my cat!

    1 reply

    Great guide and nice Nebelung cat you have there he/she looks adorable.

    Maybe it will be clear once I make it, but - how do you take off some, and keep the rest of the belt intact?

    1 reply

    Just undo the final knot and pull- once you've got the length you want, put the end through the remaining loop and pull tight which will lock the weave again until you need another piece.

    i like the idea, but need to come up with another method of making the end without the black piece of nylon.  like i said i really do like the idea.

    1 reply

    The webbing is a compromise for function, since I wanted it to still be a belt as it unravels.  This can be easily done with a standard belt buckle, much like Jake22's version, although once you begin using the cord for things that particular buckle will not hold anymore.  If you calculate the weave really well, it can be done with a side press buckle but again, as you use the cord it will begin to lengthen (20% longer once you get to the warp section) and it will not hold up your pants.  Webbing was the only way I thought of to be able to adjust it, and of course webbing comes in a ton of colors- black is what I had laying around.

    If you started with 32" what was the finished length of paracord part that you did.I am wanting to make a non-adjustable rifle sling and would like to know what you lost in length.They call this the SLATTS rescue weave,I think it is because that is the name of the guy that first did it.I have searched the web for quite sometime looking for info on how to do this,yours is by far the best I have come across.Great job!!

    1 reply

     Slatt's rescue knot is in fact a very different knot, and is not useable as a belt once it begins to unravel.  I thought I put a link to the story, I'll fix that in a minute.  I believe I lost 2-1/2" total, it ended up at around 29 in the end.  In this type of weaving, adding 20% to your desired length will get you the length you're looking for once you're done.

     In this step the measurement is 35 inches, on the next step it looks like it is 32 inches, were these measurements for two different belts?

    Do you set the nails the same distance as the measurement or do you add some in to compensate for the "shrinkage" due to the vertical weave?

    1 reply

    Even though the length will shrink due to the weaving, during "use" (as you cut bits off to make a shelter...) the belt will lengthen.  Once it's just warp threads again, if you were to cut the belt to the exact measurement the rings would hit together and your pants would fall off.  There has to be some room to cinch the thing down...

     Could you post some pictures illustrating the part about taking out the half hitches and finishing the belt?
    The description is adequate for ending the loops but not for what to do with the end.
    I've found some other Instructables that show different ways to finish the end but having it here would be better. 
    Also could you show the sewn webbing end. Thanks

     Could you offset the yellow boxes in the third picture so we can read both of them? Thanks...

    Nice looking belt. I havent tried it yet but I wonder if a video on youtube might help explain the weaving better.