This is a derivative of the Box Knot Keychain that I learned a couple of decades ago from a friend in the Army. So, if you already know how to make the box knot, you can skip down a ways and get going. If this is your first game, let's get started.
Step 1: Collect Your Materials
Materials are very simple. I'll be using two different colors to better show the way to run the cords, but also, as you may have seen in the picture above, it makes a really cool spiral.
For this particular project, I've grabbed two cords at about three feet each. Make sure you have something sharp to cut with, your fire making device to finish the project, and any additional swag (key rings or carabiners) that you wish to attach at the end of the project.
Step 2: Prepare to Tie
At this point you're going to make a decision. You can decide for either a nice tight keychain or go with something a bit larger. If you're like me and don't like a lot of bulk on your keychain, go ahead and gut the paracord. Otherwise, leave the innards in the paracord and carry on. You'll still end up with a quality product, it'll just be a bit thicker.
Once you've either gutted or not gutted, find the center of each cord. This is easily done by draping it over your finger and touching the ends together. Stretch it tight and you have found the center.
Now you're going to run the cords perpendicularly to each other - right angles, 4-way intersection - however you wish to describe it. Once you have this accomplished, squeeze the cords between your finger and thumb and flip it over.
Step 3: Start Tying
Now the fun begins. The first couple of knots are the hardest, so if you're having difficulty, don't give up. It gets a whole lot easier in just a couple of minutes.
As I've tried to show in the pictures above: I started with the 6 o'clock strand and ran it to 11 o'clock and laid it over. This differs from the Box Knot in that we are off-setting the knot to get the round shape. Next, I moved to the 9 o'clock strand and ran it to 2 o'clock and laid it over. Next, the 12 o'clock strand is run to 5 o'clock and laid over. Finally, the 3 o'clock strand is brought across and tucked through what was originally the 6 o'clock strand.
Step 4: Tighten It Up!
Ok, now that that part's done, tighten up that first knot as best as you can. It's probably not going to be pretty from the go, but don't worry, it'll clean up later.
Once you're satisfied with the tightness, continue on with the knotting from the previous step. It really doesn't matter which strand you start from as long as you always go the same direction and remember to do the over, over, over, through as we did in the previous step. You should also be able to see from the above pictures that we are not going directly over the previous strands. We are off-setting as before so that we get the round shape to this knot.
Once you've done a few knots, you can safely pull the whole thing off your blood-deprived finger and take a break, tighten the top, or just admire your work. You can already see the beginnings of the spiral at this point.
Step 5: Finishing It Off
And here we are at the home stretch. Notice that from two three-foot strands of paracord, we got about a 4-inch key fob. This is nice and tight. Go ahead and clip the extra length and fray it a bit so it burns more evenly and quicker. Once that is finished up, add on the swag you decided on and enjoy your new creation.