I always manage to get myself wrapped up in anything remotely tied to the idea of recent trends in handcrafted items, and the popular knotted jewelry fashion simply referred to as "paracord" necklaces and bracelets is no exception, or so it seems.
When first told these seemingly basic bracelets - in the hands of even an average person - were capable of much more than being a pretty trinket when it comes to an emergency requiring a section of strong rope to be resolved successfully, I could not have been more skeptical.
I needed proof.
Basic items needed to make a paracord bracelet include paracord, clips, jump rings and hooks.
It was about this time a package containing a kit of all things needed to make a paracord "survival" bracelet landed in my mailbox at home.
The mission instructions were clear: I was being asked to make a paracord bracelet.
The request came straight from my husband, who is known among his family and friends as a person who is usually very well prepared to deal successfully with many of life's everyday challenges - and not a guy prone to wearing much jewelry.
He now has a custom made black paracord bracelet.
The idea is a good one - you have a piece of rope strong enough to rely on but not so long it will be a pain to manage using for a small task - and it literally is available at your fingertips, which is really all you will need to employ should it ever be necessary to take the knots out and utilize it as some sort of tie-down, closure, hanger, stringer, etc.
After using the cord in its emergency solving role, remember to return it to its previously knotted form so it will be available the next time it is needed.
If you ever attended a summer camp with an arts and crafts class, or if you happen to be among those of us who were teens in the 1970s, you are in luck as you may find the basic knot for these highly popular items is the square knot.
There is nothing hard about a square knot.
The only real pitfalls to be found in paracord projects come from not paying attention to the reality that most closing clips have two pieces, but only fit properly together in one way, and cutting sections too short is never a good idea.
The point: double check which directions your two clip ends are facing before you finish off the last part of the bracelet. Chances are if you made a mistake with one of the ends and it is basically upside down, simply undo the work and turn that half of the clip in the right direction before getting back to your finishing details.
If you don't have a local resource for paracord and you just want to give these projects a try, grab some narrow macrame cord and get practicing.
The internet offers countless sources for instructions on how to make these bracelets, necklaces and anklets, so before starting your real project take time to check measurements - if possible, put the bracelet on the wrist of the intended wearer.
This lets you snug the last few knots and gives you a good fit.
The easiest way to finish these pieces is by using a small flame to melt the end of the cord, pushing it flat against a piece of cardboard for a few seconds and then letting it get fixed in place as it cools.
Charms, stones, dogtags, and more can be added to a finished bracelet with the help of a sturdy upholstery needle and some doubled or heavier thread. Use the heavy needle to move the holding thread into place and tie knots on the backside of the bracelet as an anchor - all without having to push the needle through a section of cording.
FYI - if you would like to make a special bracelet for a firefighter, the center section - the spine - should be red, and for someone in law enforcement, it should be blue.
Enter the phrase: paracord bracelet instructions in the search area of your search engine.
And, yes, paracord is short for parachute cord.