Parachute cord is carried by the military and people who participate in extreme sports. A lot of cord may be needed and keeping it simply wrapped up takes more space than is available. So, people braid it into bracelets and lanyards and other smaller, easy-to-carry items. This practice has crossed over into the mainstream and more and more people are wearing these items, and some even make leashes for their dogs out of parachute cord.
Preparing the Cord
Purchase the color of parachute cord you are going to make your jewelry with. "550" is the norm, but "450" (both numbers pertain to the weight they can hold) has more color choices and the strength is not needed, making it a fine option.
Cut two pieces of parachute cord to the desired length. A good rule is, whatever you want to end up with in inches, start with that number in feet.
Soak the cut cord in hot water for at least five minutes and then lay it out to dry on a towel in order to prevent shrinkage after the product is made and gets wet from rain, a shower or swimming.
Braid Your Cord
Fold each cord in half so all four lengths are equal. Attach or knot the middle (folded) part to whatever clasp you need for your particular project.
Place all four lengths of cord lying next to each other and tape or clamp them down so they do not move as you are braiding.
Take the very left cord and wrap it behind the middle two cords, leaving a loop open. Then wrap the left cord over the right cord.
Grasp the bottom of the right cord and bring it up and over to the left, threading it through the loop made by the original left cord. Pull both the left and right cord, which have switched spots from Step 1, into a knot.
Continue tying knots, keeping the tension the same throughout for a uniform, straight piece of jewelry or whatever you may be making.
Finish Your Braiding Project
Stop knotting at the desired length and cut each piece of cord, one at a time, so all four are the same length -- again, this will depend on your project.
Use a lighter to melt the end of each cord separately to avoid fraying. Be careful. Use your scissors to flatten the end of the cord.
Finish the project as is, for a lanyard, or attach the other ring or hook to complete a dog leash, clasp bracelet or the like.
Instead of braiding with the cords side by side, you can also braid them with the two cords crossed (see Resources for instructions).
As stated in the article, use scissors after using the lighter (or other flame source) to prevent fraying of the cord. Do not touch the cord directly with your skin because you could get badly burned . Also, be careful with the scissors -- the cord may be thick and you want to be careful not to squeeze the scissor handles too hard and possibly cut something else.