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Steve Smith's Army Blog

Paracord Square Weave Braid Rope

I learned how to do this from another LT here in Iraq, who said he learned how to do it in the Boy Scouts.  I'd seen a few of them on friends' key chains but they'd been given to them as gifts by folks they knew in the Army, so they didn't know how to do it.  I tried to find how to do it on the Internet, but couldn't.  Once my buddy showed me how to do it, though, it was pretty simple.  To share it with others who may be looking for how to do it, I'm putting together this article.

To start, you need two pieces of paracord.  In this case, I'm making a pretty long braid, starting with two 4 foot long pieces of 550 cord.

Next, you need to gut the rope -- pull out the strings from inside.

Now cross one piece over the other.

Pull one end of the bottom piece over the top piece.

Then pull the other end over the top piece in the opposite direction.

Now pull one of the side pieces over, then under, the crossed lines.

And repeat for the other side piece. That's one iteration - the rest is just repeat.

Pull it tight, and it looks like a little square.

When you're just starting it, if you want a loop at one end, it's best to tie the end around something, like a pencil.

Another view before the next tie.

Flip two ends across over the top (without crossing them).

And now the other ends, over then under, forming the weave.

After a few iterations...

It helps to use a lighter to melt the ends so they don't unravel.

Complete, the two 4 foot ropes created about 6 or 8 inches of braid.

When you're done, you'll want to use the lighter to burn the ends down to nothing.  If you do it right, the melted parts will cool and fuse to the end, so it won't come undone.  Tada, you now have a handy little rope to attach to a key chain or use to hang your earplug case from your uniform, or use as a base for a pistol lanyard.

Published Friday, August 06, 2004 1:09 PM by ssmith

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ssmith said:

I want one for Christmas. What colors do they come in? Only green? Martha Stewart would be proud. Seriously, be safe. We miss you.
Love, mom
August 7, 2004 9:27 AM
 

ssmith said:

while i dont think martha will be wearing one
because it wouldnt match her orange jump suit those are cool im going to try it.what kind of chips do you want the most
August 7, 2004 4:28 PM
 

ssmith said:

LT - I check your webpage daily - good stuff! I also tell others to check it out for an interesting perspective. Say hey to 1LT Mcrae for me too!

Keep safe,

MSG Kurt Wahl
August 8, 2004 4:32 PM
 

ssmith said:

What, you weren't a boy scout? If you send me your address, I can send you a small book on how to make a whole bunch of different landyard-type things. Also let me know if there's anything else you need.
August 9, 2004 10:37 AM
 

ssmith said:

yes in the cub scouts they do a lot of braiding with gimp. This page seems to list most of the ones that I ever learned:

http://www.cam.com/gimp/
August 10, 2004 11:59 AM
 

ssmith said:

Good job, Steve! Looks just like the one my brother made me when he was in the army. But you didn't have to go to Iraq to learn that, I could've had him show you here in Kent. :)
Take care & stay safe,
Jen
August 10, 2004 12:53 PM
 

ssmith said:

Just ran across your site, I had forgotten how to make the 550 cord lanyard from when I was at lovely Ft Bragg, I want to make one with my son who is a new Cub Scout. Thanks for the info! Take care of yourself and yours!
Airborne!
September 19, 2004 9:17 AM
 

ssmith said:

DOES ANYBODY HAVE THE DIRECTIONS TO MAKE A PARACORD SURVIVAL BRACELET?
October 27, 2004 2:15 PM
 

ssmith said:

DOES ANYBODY HAVE THE DIRECTIONS TO MAKE A PARACORD SURVIVAL BRACELET?
October 27, 2004 2:16 PM
 

ssmith said:

Hey Joe, I just made a tutorial on a paracord bracelet
you can check it out here http://bns-code.org/?view=pages&id=4

Hope this helps.

Regards,
Dui Sigurdsson

P.S. Stay safe Steve.
October 31, 2004 10:28 AM
 

ssmith said:

I think it's pretty neat that someone took the time to detail the steps like you did. I'm always braiding 550 cord on deployments (on my third one now in three years...gotta love active duty) in my down time. My kids even know how to do it now. ;)
March 9, 2005 7:10 PM
 

ssmith said:

Let's just say I had some time on my hands...
March 9, 2005 8:48 PM
 

ssmith said:

Thanks so much for having good instructions. I made one for my keys 10 years ago while stationed in Hawaii, finally needed to replace it and forgot how. One thing I used to add was a twist. Instead of running the cord over itself during the weave, cross it at 45 degrees. After about 3 weaves, it changes the direction of the square, or run it all the way up for a spiral.
Thanks again!
June 26, 2005 1:04 AM
 

ssmith said:

We looked everywhere on the web for the directions on how to do this...imagine our surprise that we went all the way to Iraq! My daughter and I thank you for the details....she is starting one right now. And we thank you for EVERYTHING else you are doing for us there....You're in our prayers tonight.
August 1, 2005 10:39 PM
 

TrackBack said:

August 7, 2004 4:28 AM
 

Ron said:

Thanks for the great page.  I had a bracelet given to me in Iraq but lost it in a firefight.  Now I can make as many as I want.  THANKS.
July 29, 2006 1:14 AM
 

Bruce said:

Great tutorial.  I want to try it without gutting the paracord, though.  I want the 8 ft of paracord as a survival item to unravel if/when I need the cord.

August 18, 2006 10:46 PM
 

T.D.B. said:

What you're making is simply a square sinnet. Good pictures are here:

http://www.animatedknots.com/crownsinnet/index.php?LogoImage=LogoGrog.jpg&Website=www.animatedknots.com

If you go caty-corner instead of straight back and forth, you end up with a round sinnet. You can alternat for a decorative effect.

A really good way to end the sinnet is to loop the ends around and up through the center and pull tight, trim and fuse.

If you want a long piece of paracord cord for a survival item, another good decorative is the Portuguese Sinnet or Solomon Bar found here:

http://www.layhands.com/Knots/Knots_Decorative.htm

You can use those small plastic buckles with the later to make an attractive bracelet that you can wear all the time. It lies flat and will give you about 7 to 10 feet of paracord - length depends on your wrist size and how tight you pull the knots.

January 5, 2007 3:37 PM
 

SPC Prentice Hill said:

Hey, great instructions!  I had forgotten how to do these and searched all over before I found your site.

A good survival item is the ranger bracelet that I saw earlier in the posts.  I learned how to make those as well.

Thanks again.

January 9, 2007 3:50 PM
 

GPFarls said:

Great comments, ideas and recipes from you all. Thanks so much and God bless.

February 17, 2007 11:53 PM
 

nomen nescio said:

I was googling for paracord braids out of sheer cuirosity and came across this site...thanks for posting the information! I hope that you and your brethren stay safe out there, this American is proud of what you're doing!

April 15, 2007 3:18 AM
 

maricar said:

I am into selling the bracelets and in any color, contact me if you want any?

May 18, 2007 3:33 PM
 

Jeanine McKee said:

Thank you SO much!!! My son is a Tiger Cub, and just finished his first Scout Day Camp. I tried to watch the staffer show the boys, but couldn't get how to start it. (he explained the start a little different). Now I can better teach the boys how to do this!!

thanks for this, and thanks for ALL you do!

July 21, 2007 5:58 PM
 

Jeanine McKee said:

Thank you SO much!!! My son is a Tiger Cub, and just finished his first Scout Day Camp. I tried to watch the staffer show the boys, but couldn't get how to start it. (he explained the start a little different). Now I can better teach the boys how to do this!!

thanks for this, and thanks for ALL you do!

July 21, 2007 5:58 PM
 

Papawolf said:

And in survival school they teach you how to take the strings from the inside and make a fishnet, snares and to basically think of different ways to use this very usefull cord.  

It takes patience, but the hungry are willing to do things like this.....

August 12, 2007 7:45 PM
 

k.singh said:

i learned how to make a bracelet

August 17, 2007 8:04 PM
 

Dan said:

Lt.

If you don't pull out the nylon inner cord, and just braid it all, you'll have a nice piece of survival gear.  The inner nylon cord can be used for sewing, emergency sutures or fishing line. You should be able to braid it as one piece.  check how with Ranger Rick - http://www.therangerdigest.com/

Dan

HM1/PMT

FMF/SW

USN/RET

September 3, 2007 11:34 AM
 

David Beckham said:

Great instructiones, but do you know more sites with  this info

October 20, 2007 2:05 PM
 

Bechtel said:

Use a solder iron to fuse the ends so that you do not have a burnt look after all that work to make it look neat

December 16, 2007 5:25 PM
 

a navy boatswain's mate said:

All you had to do was ask a Navy Boatswain Mate, we do all kinda cool stuff with lines (what you call rope). Peace.

February 23, 2008 6:51 AM
 

Gunner75 said:

Worked Great!

March 15, 2008 12:26 AM
 

MSG EDWARDS said:

Do make and sell a product? Or, better yet, will you?

Your brother in arms

Master Sergeant

May 24, 2008 9:16 PM
 

MSG EDWARDS said:

If you can't or won't, will you refer me to some sites that make authentic "buddy bracelets", lanyards, key chains...etc, with authentic 550 cord. Thanks for your professional assistance and at most your service to our country, brother.

MSG

May 24, 2008 9:22 PM
 

StevenB said:

Hi, MSG Edwards...I bought a few from Jumpmaster on CPF.  Here is a link where I found them before.  They're good stuff really well made.

http://www.cpfmarketplace.com/mp/showthread.php?t=119849

June 3, 2008 7:07 PM
 

123456789 said:

thanx i forgot ,then remembered after i saw this :)

July 17, 2008 7:37 PM
 

unknown said:

I cant understand your instructions for the bracelet, or the laynard really, i follow the words but it wotn work right...

Pics with each step in detail would be great.

July 24, 2008 12:25 AM
 

Super Dave said:

Just learned how to do it myself. Looks really cool in two colors.

Be safe.

August 28, 2008 10:17 PM
 

C.J. aka sinbad said:

this was great.  I'd learned to do this from a 19 YO, 24 INF reg guy who was out at FT. Irwin back in 90.  He was deployed to the first Desert Storm.  Forgot how to do this, now I can do it again.  anyone know how to do the round weave?

October 17, 2008 9:37 AM
 

Ellen Imhof said:

Thank you and thank you for risking your life to protect me and mine.  May God bless you wherever you are.

October 22, 2008 2:41 PM
 

julia riddle said:

my dad used to make these when he was in the army and couldn't remember how to do it. we searched it and found your site. great directions! and the pictures to go along with them were very helpful. thank you! and as an army wife (my husband is in the 82nd airborne...and also did his basic at ft. sill!) i just wanted to thank you for your prior service and am happy to see that you made it back home safely. thank you!

November 17, 2008 5:40 PM
 

skyler said:

i made this, and formed it around a tiny flint rod and a hacksaw balde striker. just in case.

January 25, 2009 1:34 PM
 

Rose said:

Came across your page by sheer accident and, am I glad I did!

Didn't realise I needed one of these until now... your pictures are so big and detailed.

Thank you - will try it out if I can highjack a parachute.

Glad you made it home.

March 26, 2009 11:27 AM
 

Smity said:

thats gay

May 13, 2009 5:32 PM
 

skiingbear said:

I learned to do this 50 years ago in the Boy Scouts. They make good key ring flobs. Also knife flobs. Or any thing else you don't want to lose.There is a way to make a spiral model. Just cross your  cords at a  angle.

June 26, 2009 10:35 AM
 

skiingbear said:

<<paracord.com>>    has ready made flobs. And the material to make them  

June 26, 2009 3:01 PM
 

Aaron said:

where can I get a book or directions on how to do more paracord items like this and with more than one color

June 30, 2009 10:36 PM
 

domhix01 said:

Pretty good for a ground pounder Army Steve! You've got the makings to be a Boatswain's mate!

July 20, 2009 8:14 PM
 

ATF INVESTIGATOR JIMMY DAVIS "JEDTHEFED" said:

I WAS LOOKING ON THE INTERNET TO FIND OUT HOW TO END THE SQUARE BRAID WITH THE ENDS COMING OUT OF THE MIDDLE AND I FOUND YOUR WEBSITE.  I JUST WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT YOU DO TO KEEP ME AND THE REST OF MY FAMILY SAFE AND "FREE".  I REALIZE THAT FREEDOM HAS A PRICE - BUT I HOPE AND PRAY THAT YOU DON'T PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE.  PLEASE STAY SAFE AND RETURN HOME TO THOSE WHO LOVE YOU.  AND AGAIN - I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR ALL THAT YOU DO FOR THIS GREAT COUNTRY IN WHICH WE LIVE.     MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU SAFE.  SINCERELY - JIMMY DAVIS (EX-AIR FORCE)

July 24, 2009 10:59 AM
 

Kim Davis said:

I saw a couple of people inquiring about different colors and such. If any of you are near an Army Surplus. The one here where I live has about eight or ten different colors. And, it is 8 cents a foot. Thank you for your instructions and for your service in the armed forces. Kim Davis

July 27, 2009 8:09 PM
 

clint said:

been wondering how to do this. Lot easier to carry an emergency length of 550 this way. Thanks

August 3, 2009 1:27 AM
 

cathy said:

Just surfin and ran across your websight. fantastic pictures. trying to learn the grandkids how to make knots for a 4-H project and your tutorial is great. We will be using baler twine on our project. Trying to teach the 4-H kids to recycle stuff this is a great project for them tonight. I have 48 kids in our club for a rope brading project tonight.

Sorry you had to go to iraq to learn to do this. You will be in our 4-H club prayers tonight as we work on this project. Thanks for all you do to keep us safe here in the USA.

August 17, 2009 9:16 PM
 

John Poltrock said:

Thanks for this post! This is exactly what I was looking for and am going to try to make one... right now!!  :)

October 12, 2009 8:06 PM
 

Bryan Smith said:

Thank you for this post. I was looking for a nice handle for my zippered 3 ring binder. This is perfect! I'm in the Air Force and appreciate the Army for helping keep our nation safe. Just keep your head down...perferably at home with your girl. ;-D

November 5, 2009 3:29 PM
 

Shakema said:

Hey im going to do a demonstration speech on this in class. Its very easy, I even know how to do it with multiple strings. For instance, you did two strings across and two up and down, try doing it with 3 or 4 across and only 2 up and down, its amazing. To further your results, try the 45 degree angle twist with it, even better. It just takes up a lot of string. mzkemacat@yahoo.com

November 11, 2009 6:28 PM
 

Merredith said:

Just what I was looking for!!

December 9, 2009 1:49 PM
 

b.j. said:

That Is So Fun To Make Key Chains I Use These Colers Green & yellow

This Is My first Time Doing It

P.S(Its Not Gay Smity)

December 16, 2009 5:11 PM
 

Quadra Diggs said:

Those Are Fun To Make I Used Wild Cats Colers purple & White I Was

The QB #10 Are recard was 10 - 2 We lost to Santa Fey & Brenham

(P.S My Pal Henry Jhosey

December 16, 2009 5:19 PM
 

PEE Soup said:

gosh gosh gosh how did yal get atached to it

(So lame Pue got togo)BuBy

December 16, 2009 5:24 PM
 

Pee soup said:

I Love Them I'm Going to Faint

December 16, 2009 5:33 PM
 

ar said:

Coooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool

December 24, 2009 11:28 AM
 

marc m said:

Good to see the Army still does art's and craft's.  When will you be making wallets.

I taught a lot of people how to do these while I was in.

January 2, 2010 2:38 PM
 

Joe Ranger said:

Did this back in the early 80's while in a Ranger Battalion!  Since that time this is my 3rd Keychain braid!  So I guess they will last about 15years or so.  We would tie off the ends with the parachute guts then melt it all together.  I learned from my fellow Rangers.  I'm curious on where it originated, probably the airborne units of WWII.  Found your website after not being able to quite remember how to weave.  Little embarrassed about that but thankful you took the time to post!

Great job!  Thanks!!

January 7, 2010 7:52 PM
 

Chuck said:

Probably originated with Grandma's macrame class. But, "airborne units of WWII" does sound cooler :)

January 31, 2010 2:37 AM
 

Astrid said:

My husband made me one of those as a key chain attachment during his tour in Iraq

he deployed 3 weeks after we got married, going in right behind the first wave (sig corp)

February 4, 2010 11:03 PM
 

cmunn said:

I learned how to make these from your instructions. I actually left a loop at the end to make a bracelet. This worked really well and looks awesome. Thanks for the instructions. I am also thinking about joining the army in a few years. im in 9th grade and have done quite a bit of research. It would be nice to have somebody in the army talk to. It would be very inspirational.

Thanks

Connor Munn

NY

February 10, 2010 8:39 PM
 

christopher said:

outstanding page! you've saved me hours of squinting at youtube videos trying to see past people's fingers while I figure out what they're doing

February 26, 2010 11:39 PM
 

Rome (Navy LtCmdr and Scoutmaster) said:

I'm teaching my Boy Scouts this weave.  It also makes for a great strap or handle.

June 2, 2010 7:59 PM
 

Jeff said:

Thanks man, just finished mine up. I just melted the end without the loop to keep everything together.

June 24, 2010 12:20 AM
 

Anna said:

love your site!  It's the 5th of July here now and we are still celebrating our independance thanks to you and all the others who keep us secure!

I am an artist and regularly do art shows.  If you would like, I am willing to sell your keychains/bracelets an donate the money from them to whatever cause you request.  Just let me know!

July 5, 2010 7:07 PM
 

Anna said:

love your site!  It's the 5th of July here now and we are still celebrating our independance thanks to you and all the others who keep us secure!

I am an artist and regularly do art shows.  If you would like, I am willing to sell your keychains/bracelets an donate the money from them to whatever cause you request.  Just let me know!

July 5, 2010 7:07 PM
 

Anna said:

love your site!  It's the 5th of July here now and we are still celebrating our independance thanks to you and all the others who keep us secure!

I am an artist and regularly do art shows.  If you would like, I am willing to sell your keychains/bracelets an donate the money from them to whatever cause you request.  Just let me know!

July 5, 2010 7:08 PM
 

Neita said:

Thank you so much I have been looking for the square braid for years!

My grandfather had taught me this years ago but over time I had forgotten how! let me say you can use leather strips or even baling twine.

I just used rawhide shoe laces to refresh my memory! thanks for such a clear detail!

now I can make the square braid halter for my horse I have wanted for years!

July 17, 2010 1:22 PM
 

baby girl is for usa said:

i need directions to make a keychain

August 24, 2010 3:22 PM
 

Jag of Night said:

WOW! Now that looks like a professionally made braid and it's ULTRA strong! I've got some cord right here about to start my own mini-project...

Lastly, I too would like to THANK YOU with all possible sincerity for your service to this nation; laying your LIFE and mental sanity on the line for US ALL! EVERYONE OF YOU needs to thanks this true man; a HERO to us all for his courage!

THANK YOU!

August 25, 2010 11:28 PM
 

Jimbo said:

Use a lighter gauge line, such as heavy braided fishing line, and instead of a pencil, run the ends through the hole on the tang on your coat's zipper.

Three inches of braid makes it very simple to adjust your zipper up or down with your mittens on, during those times when you are working in the cold, and need to loosen the layers, as you work up a head of steam.

I also use attached to the hole on my folding hunting knife, that is several feet long, and attached to my belt, next to it's sheath, when I am deer hunting.  It comes off the knife as needed (field dressing an animal, for instance, or using it on a boat, while fishing...) but otherwise allows me to use it for simple things like cutting off a slice of cheese or sausage, without worrying about dropping it in a foot of snow, or the drink.

Thanks for the great pictures, you made it very easy for me to teach my kids this useful braid (sinnet?)

Thanks for your service.  I hope civilian life has been treating you well the last 6 years.

June 23, 2011 1:14 AM
 

Rana Imran said:

Dear Sir/Madam,

                              Hope all will be fine. I want to introduce our company. We are manufacturer and supplier of all kind of Tassel Cords,Bullion Fringes,Uniform Cord,Shoulder Cords, Shoulder Board,Key Chain,Sword Knots, Cord & Knots,Lanyards Cords,Epaulettes,Aiguillettes,Cap Cords and Wire Cord. We can also make customized designs according to demand. We also welcome Large quantity orders such as 1,2 pieces. We manufacturer and send our products on lots if you directly buy from us we hope it will be cheaper for you.

So If you are interested and have some custom designs please send us with information.

We are also making all kind of hand and machine embroidered badges, militaries supplies, insignia, shoulder boards etc...

Looking to hear from you.

Send your designs for pricing.

www.magfaint.com ,

All The Best,

Rana Imran Ramzan,

March 11, 2013 11:14 AM
 

Wizzardofarc said:

Thx. very helpful! best of luck! :-]

April 9, 2013 1:01 PM

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About ssmith

Enlisted in 1995. Basic at Ft Sill. AIT at Ft Jackson (75F). Served in Ohio National Guard. Went through ROTC program at Ohio State University and received 2LT commission in 1997, Engineer branch. Spent about 4 years in 16th Engineer Brigade in Ohio National Guard, then moved far from nearest unit and went into Inactive National Guard, and eventually Individual Ready Reserve. Called up from IRR in 2004 for duty in Iraq (Engineer Platoon Leader with 1st ID). Made it home in 2005. Resigned commission as a CPT in December 2005.