Paracord is pretty marvelous stuff. It’s notoriously strong, has many uses and is a relatively cheap material to play around with. But with hundreds of different knots to choose from and a gazillion different combinations to put together, getting started creating things with paracord can be a wee bit intimidating. So for those of you who are quite new to the noble art of paracord tying (or just want to have a pretty neat looking cheat sheet) we put together a beginner friendly guide to making a DIY Paracord Keychain for the keys of your adventure rig.
What you’ll need to tie your DIY Paracord Keychain
1. Create a loop in one end of your paracord. Make sure your working end (the part you’ll mostly be feeding through other parts of the knot) overlaps over top of the tail end.
The tail is mostly going to be dormant and doesn’t need to be long. Five or so centimeters is enough.
2. Create a second loop by crossing the working end over top of itself. This little loop is going to be the loop your keys will hang of when we’re done.
Once you’re happy with it’s approximate size, pass the working end underneath the tail end.
3. Now take the bottom part of the top loop and tuck it underneath the top part of the bottom loop, creating an eye shape.
We’re going to feed the working end through this eye shape by coming in from the bottom of the bottom loop. Pass the working end over, under and over the next 3 sections of rope you come across.
4. Feed the rest of the working end through this section until your knot looks nice and symmetric.
More seasoned knot tiers might recognize this stage as a Carrick Bend with and extra loop at the top.
5. Take your working end and lay it over top of the top loop. Then pass it through the center of the Carrick Bend coming in from the back of the knot.
6. Feed your working end through. This is the point where things start looking a little bit messy and confusing, but it’s actually quite easy. Stay strong!
7. Take the tail end over top of the top loop. Then pass it through the same hole as you used in step 5, approaching from the back of the knot.
8. Your tail and working end should be laying next to each other at this point and coming out of the same hole in the center of the knot.
9. Loosely grab the entire knot in one hand and the tail and working end in the other and carefully push the knot up whilst pulling on the two ends. Don’t tightened the knot all the way just yet, because we’ll be revisiting it at the end of tying our DIY Paracord Keychain. You’ll need enough space to pass the paracord through the entire knot once more.
10. Your top loop (this is where your keys will hang of) should be the size you want it to be in the end. You can feed a little more or less rope through to the center to adjust its size if you want. Whatever tail you have left now will get trimmed off at the end and shouldn’t be longer then a few centimeters. If yours is too long, feed it through the knot until you have a short length left.
DIY Paracord Keychain Phase 2 – the Monkey Fist
1. Turn the paracord around your fingers 4 times. Keep the turns as close to the lanyard knot as you can comfortably manage. Once the Monkey Fist is tightened, you have plenty of rope between the two knots.
2. We’re going to change direction. Grab the working end and lay it over top of the first 4 turns creating a 90° angle. You’ll notice there’s 4 turns on 3 sides of the knot and 5 on the front where your working end and lanyard knot are.
3. Create another 4 turns with your working end. Overlap each one over top of the section of paracord that changed direction.
4. Once you’ve made the second lot of 4 turns, tuck the working end between the first 4 and the second 4 turns, again changing direction and creating a 90° angle.
5. Pass the working end through the two sets of turns on the other side as well and keep doing this until you’ve finished a third set of 4 turns. Each time, make sure to pass the working end over top of the section that changed direction, same as in step 3.
DIY Paracord Keychain Phase 3 – the Finishing Touch
1. We’re almost there!
At this point, you should have a loose Lanyard Knot with a loose Monkey Fist dangling of it.
Only a few more steps to go!
2. Carefully open the Monkey Fist a little bit. It’s easiest to this where the working end and Lanyard Knot meet.
Place your bead or small ball of choice inside.
3. Tighten the Monkey Fist. It’s easiest to start at the tail end (that has your Lanyard Knot in it) so you can see how long you want the section between the knots to be. Once you’re happy with the length, pull each strand tight in order. This way, you’re working the slack towards the end.
4. Feed the working end through the lanyard knot once more. Start where you’re small tail is poking out and follow it through until your working end exits the knot on the other side and you have two strands laying flat next to each other all around the knot.
Pull the Lanyard Knot tighter if desired. Trim off the excess paracord and carefully melt the ends so they don’t fray and… TADA! You’re all done!
If we inspired you to tie your own DIY Paracord Keychain, make sure to send us a photo on Facebook. We’d love to see how you went! If you get stuck at any point, make sure to leave a comment below and we’ll try and help you out best we can!