ESSENTIAL SKILLS

Paracord Keychain DIY Project: Learn to Make Your Own

Keychain parachord with knot
Bradley Page
Written by Bradley Page

Preparing for a backpacking adventure? Then it’s a good idea to learn how to make your own paracord keychain. This type of keychain looks cool, you can personalize it in your favorite colors, and it’s extremely useful during backpacking trips.

It’s durable, you can wear it on your belt loop or on your backpack, and it allows you to safely carry different items: your keys, obviously, but also a small knife, a bottle opener and a lighter, for example.

Parachord wrap on pen

Also, in case of emergency, the keychain gives you quick access to some rope.

Cobra Weave Keychain

Supplies you need to make the keychain:

  • About 10 feet of paracord;
  • A carabiner and a key ring;
  • Scissors and tape measure;
  • A lighter;
  • A paper clip;

Steps:

  • First, fold your paracord in half and place the folded end through the key ring.
  • Take the loose ends of the paracord, make sure they are at the same length and get them through the folded loop. Pull tight to create a cow hitch.
  • Put the loose ends through the carabiner and leave about four inches between the key ring and the carabiner.
  • Fold the paracord and bring it back until it meets the key ring again. Secure it in place with a paper clip. Repeat the process, bringing the loose ends next to the carabiner again.
  • Take the loose ends and start forming loops on each side of the main rope. The loose end from the left goes underneath all the ropes and through the loop on the right. Vice-versa, the loose end on the right goes through the loop on the left, but on top of all the ropes. You’ll obtain regular, double sided knots. Adjust each knot with your thumbs, by pushing it against the carabiner. Make sure you squeeze tightly for a nice-looking chain.
  • Repeat the process until all the length of the rope between the key chain and the carabiner is covered in double knots. Adjust and tighten with every knot.
  • When you reach the end (near the key ring) take the paper clip out, make your final double knot against the key ring, then cut the cord and use the lighter to melt the loose ends. Press the melted ends against a firm surface to create a so-called “mushroom head”. The mushroom head will keep the cord from slipping out of the braid.

Check out below YouTube video to find out more about the Cobra Weave keychain.

Snake Knot Keychain

Supplies you need for the keychain:

  • three feet of paracord;
  • keys;
  • a nut or another object with a hole;
  • scissors;
  • lighter;

Steps:

  • Put the keys on the paracord, making sure the two parts of the rope are of the same length;
  • Take the nut and get the two ends of the paracord through the hole, keeping the ends of the rope at the same level.
  • Depending on how long you want the keychain to be, leave one to two inches between the keys and the nut;
  • Take the strand on the right side and make a loop, getting the end of the rope to the left, around all the string. With the left strand, make a similar loop around all the strings beside the right strand. The loops should intersect one with the other. Try to imagine the shape of a pretzel: this is the type of interlinked loops you are going for.
  • Tighten both loops, pushing the knot toward the nut. Keep doing the same type of weave, until you reach the keys. Make sure you make the knots tight and regular, for a durable, nice-looking chain.
  • Cut the ends of the paracord with the scissors. It’s very important to secure the ends in place, otherwise your keychain will fall apart pretty fast. The most efficient way to prevent that is to melt the ends of the paracord with the lighter, then to press the ends against a firm surface, creating a mushroom-like shape.

Alternately, if you prefer, you can use two different colors for the keychain: take two pieces of paracord, equal in length but in different colors, and fuse them together at one of the ends.

Making a snake knot keychain

You can fuse them by melting the two ends and sticking them together. For extra strength, you can add a few drops of crazy glue or you can saw the ends together. You can then start weaving your keychain following the steps above, laying one color on the left and the other on the right.

Check out the above YouTube video to find out more about making the Snake Knot keychain.

Ball Keychain

Supplies:

  • Four or five feet of paracord;
  • A small, round object (a marble is perfect for this project)
  • A key ring;
  • Scissors;
  • Lighter

Steps:

  • You will be using three fingers of your left hand. With the palm of your hand opened and your index, middle and ring finger distanced from each other, take the rope and set one of the ends over the front of the palm.
  • Next, wrap the paracord vertically around your fingers three times. Start at the base of the fingers with the first loop and advance toward the fingertips with the next two loops.
  • Pinch the rope together with your thumb and forefinger and carefully remove the loops from your hand.
  • Shift the loops on your index finger and your thumb, keeping the rope vertically. Take the loose end of the rope and wrap it around the first loops three times, horizontally. After the third loop, get the loose end through the inside of the first set of loops.
  • Take the loose and wrap it around horizontal strands three more times. Get the paracord over the horizontal loops, but between the first three vertical ones.
  • Continue the process described above three more times. The wraps need to be loose. The shape of the ball keychain should be visible by now. Insert the marble in the middle and tighten the loops. Start with the vertical ones, then the horizontal loops and in the end tighten the last set of vertical loops.
  • Take the loose end of the rope and attach it to your using a hangman’s noose or any other type of knot you prefer.

You can find out more about the Ball keychain in this YouTube video:

Grenade Keychain

A grenade keychain is a very practical object, because it allows you not only to have easy access to your keys and other small items, but also to store some extra survival stuff: a fire starter, a fishing kit, a small wire saw.

Grenade keychain paracord

The „grenade” has a hole in the middle that’s perfect for hiding small things.

Supplies:

  • A 12 feet long, single piece of paracord 550;
  • A carabiner or a key ring;
  • Tin foil;
  • The things you want to store inside the grenade;
  • Scissors and lighter;

Steps:

  • Get the items you want to store inside the grenade and wrap them well in tin foil. If you are storing pointy objects, such as fishing gear, make sure you wrap it very well, to avoid accidents.
  • Attach the paracord with a simple noose knot to the key ring or the carabiner, depending on want you prefer to use. The carabiner is more practical, as you can attach it to virtually anything and you can also put a key ring on it.
  • Push the small package of things wrapped in tin foil toward toward the knot and place the two ends of the paracord on each side of the package.
  • Start weaving from the other end of the package, using the cobra weave explained in our first project: interlinking double loops, which you tighten carefully to obtain a nice-looking grenade.
  • Keep going with the cobra knots until you cover the entire tin foil package and reach the carabiner.
  • Cut the ends of the rope and, using the lighter for a few seconds, melt the tips of the two loose ends.

Press the ends against a hard surface to create a mushroom-like shape that will keep the rope in place and your grenade keychain from falling apart.

Check out more on how to make your own Grenade keychain in below YouTube video:

Keychain with A Secret Compartment

This is a really fun project to make, and you’ll end up with a cool accessory that allows you to stash  your valuables (some cash, jewelry and so on) when you don’t want to carry your wallet, bag or backpack with you.

For example, at the beach or for a short hike.

Supplies: 

  • three pieces of paracord, 5 feet long each; You can get each in a different color, if you prefer;
  • Scissors;
  • A lighter;
  • A pencil;

Steps:

  • Intersect two of the cords in the middle, forming a cross.
  • Take the horizontal cord and form two loops over the vertical one, in opposite directions;
  • Weave the vertical cord into the loops of the horizontal cord and start tightening a little bit to form a cross knot. Don’t make it to tight: it needs to be a little bit loose.
  • Now, get the third piece of rope and pass it through the cross knot. Make sure that the cross knot is placed at the middle of the third piece of paracord. Tighten the cross knot around the third rope.
  • Now, you can start weaving the secret compartment keychain. Basically, you have to take one of the cords and cross the next cord, going clockwise. When you reach the last cord, you have to insert it into the arch of the first cord and tighten the entire structure. This type of knot is known as a crown knot.
  • Keep doing the same type of weaving two or three more times. Insert the pencil in the middle of the pattern, to help you work easily. Keeping the pencil in the middle allows you to tighten each knot equally and to obtain a regular net.
  • Make the last crown knot slightly loose, then insert each rope end in the arch next to it. All the rope ends will pop from the center;
  • Take the pencil out, cut the cords at the preferred length then singe them with the lighter.

You can check out how to make a Secret Compartment keychain with some help from YouTube below:

Uses for Your New Keychain

Well, you just made a durable and nice-looking keychain, ideal for outdoor activities. Now, buy some gear to go with it. Paracord is heavy duty, so you’ll be able to carry more than just keys on the chain. You can attach a mini knife, a lighter and a bottle and can opener to it – all the essentials one needs when preparing dinner in the middle of the forest.

If you use a solid carabiner and a larger key ring, you can even wear a small flashlight on it. The carabiner is a perfect solution for this type of chain because you can attach it to pretty much anything: to your belt loop, the belt itself, your backpack, your jacket and so on.

Uses of paracord keychain

Of course, you are allowed to use the keychain during your daily activities, not only when backpacking. Since it’s a rather bulky accessory, it’s easy to find it in your bag or in your pocket, which means no more 10 minute desperate searches for your keys while panicking that, this time, you really lost them.

Besides the obvious uses of your keychain, it also provides you quick access to some rope when you need it most. All you have to do is unbraid the keychain, which literally takes only seconds, and you can re-use the rope:

  • To secure your tarp to the trees during rainy, windy weather;
  • Instead of shoe laces;
  • Instead of a belt;
  • Instead of backpack straps;
  • To repair ripped clothes and backpacks;
  • Instead of a leash;
  • To secure items on top of a vehicle;
  • To secure items on your backpack;
  • To hang your food on tree branches, away from wild animals;
  • As a pulley system, to move heavy objects such as fallen trees or rocks;
  • To secure a boat of a raft;
  • To tie up an animal (or a person);
  • To make fishing line by pulling the rope’s strings;
  • To make a sling for a dislocated or broken arm;
  • In extreme circumstances, you can use paracord as a tourniquet to control bleeding;

When backpacking, especially in remote areas, it’s important to take all safety precautions necessary.

Paracord uses

Beside good-quality camping gear, including your DIY keychain, you should also make sure that friends and family know where you are and when you are planning to get back. This way, they will be able to alert authorities if you don’t make contact for longer periods of time of you don’t get back when you were supposed to. What are you going to store on your keychain?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bradley Page
Bradley Page

With several decades of experience as a backpacker and outdoor adventurer, Bradley is an open encyclopedia when it comes to gear, clothes, and other items that matter on the trail. He tested hundreds of shoes, pants, jackets, and backpacks in his long career and is always up to date with the new appearances in the niche. His experience makes him one of the authority figures in backpacking and he can help anyone to get prepared for a great adventure!

  • John Robinson

    Hello! I’m so happy that I found your article about paracord! I like so much how it looks. This is very stylish and useful for people who love to go camping. Today I made my first paracord keychain. I am so glad that I made it by my hands! Thank you!

  • Bradley Page

    You’ll find it quite addicting John – so watch out! Just like me, you’ll find yourself making a lot and giving it to your buddies and family. No worries, though, the recipients will be so pleased with your gifts, since the paracord is handy – in or out of the house. I have a number of these inside the house, inside my bag, in the glove compartment and inside my desk at work. Yeah, these inexpensive tools are the best.

  • Deborah Cooper

    Hi there! I made a lot of nice paracord bracelets but I never tried to make something different. I have a lot of keys, so paracord keychain is exactly what I need. I am going to make it in the near future. Thanks for the inspiration! Hope, it will be beautiful!

  • Bradley Page

    You are only limited by your imagination, Deborah! You can even make lanyards and belts, isn’t that cool? There are DIY videos on how to make other projects that you can make with a paracord. You can even make some for your buddies and family members to use. These babies are not only limited to outdoor use but also suited for the home or workplace.

  • Chad Halco

    I am going to try to make the cobra weave you talked about above. That looks awesome. I did buy the Paracord Firestarter Survival Bracelet just because it is so versatile (whistle, firestarter,etc.) but I am definitely excited to make my own next time after reading this!

  • Bradley Page

    Thanks Chad for that heads-up. You’ll find the tutorials very easy to follow. It can be addicting – I know, I made a lot and can’t seem to stop! So, those extra keychains? I gave it away to friends, families and some boy scouts. 🙂
    I assure you they were so happy with their surprise gifts!

  • Bradley Page

    Have you seen the videos yet? There are tons online and I’m pleased that my nieces and nephews are having a blast making these and giving out to their friends. It’s a great way to introduce the outdoors to these kids who would rather stay home and face the monitor. Balance is still important – for both the young and the old.

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