How To Get Started With Paracord

paracord knots

Making things from paracord can be a very enjoyable hobby and many people find ways to turn the hobby into a profitable small business. Getting started can feel a little overwhelming because the number of different sizes of cords, knots, patterns and hardware options.

We've written this as a brief guide to help you get started. Don't hesitate to ask questions. We are happy to help and most of the paracord enthusiasts we know love to give tips.

  • Learn about the styles/styles of paracord. Most projects are made using regular 550 cord, but larger and smaller cords may be appropriate for some projects. See our paracord size chart. Standard paracord fiber core made from nylon fibers that provides most of the cord's strength. Some manufacturers use a nylon sheath those cords feel soft and pliable. Other manufacturers use a polyester sheath and that feels rough and stiff. Both are high quality and have loyal followings. Look for nylon/nylon or poly/nylon in product titles and descriptions.

  • Look for paracord made in the USA. US manufacturers conform to military standards and product high quality cord. Some imported cord is great but some is inferior. Stick with US-made and you will be safe.

  • Assemble the some basic tools like scissors and a lighter (for melting cord ends). Some people love jigs that hold paracord and make it easier to braid particular patterns. You can start without a jig but if you get serious about paracord you will probably want one sooner or latter.

  • Buy a small amount of cord to get a feel. Choose a cord you think will work well for projects that interest you and then buy 10 or more feet. You never really know what a cord will be like until you get it in your hands.

  • Start learning basic knots. Knots are key for bracelets and most other paracord projects. Most are easy to learn. Start with the cobra, square, and fishtail knot. There are plenty of tutorials online that give step-by-step instructions on how to tie these knots.

  • Start simple and then progress to more complex projects. Choose an easy pattern for things like keychains, bracelets, and lanyards. These are great for practicing knot-tying skills and getting a feel for working with paracord.

  • Follow tutorials. We have dozens of paracord tutorials on this website and there are thousands available on YouTube and other sites. Video tutorials can be very helpful. Choose a project that interests you and start following the instructions. Follow the tutorial closely as you get started. Later you can experiment and create variations. 

  • You'll know when you are ready to experiment and get creative: When you feel comfortable with the basics, don't be afraid to experiment and come up with your own designs. When you mix different colors, knot patterns, and weaving techniques you can create your own style and you will soon develop favorites.

  • Practice, practice, practice. Take your time, be patient, and don't get discouraged. This isn't a race. Make it fun.

  • Associate with other paracorders. Many veterans centers, rehab facilities and other organizations have groups that do paracord projects. Look for local enthusiasts and also consider joining online groups. 
Most importantly, just keep it fun. Happy crafting!