OUTDOORS

Paracord Watch Band: How to Make and How to Use One

Paracord watch band making
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

The Paracord watch band frenzy has hit the market some time ago, along with other DIY products, fashionable items that became so popular thanks to their traditional manufacturing style and their uniqueness, provided by manual labor as compared to standardized factory items.

It became very cool nowadays to improvise with anything you’ve got and recycle materials, shifting their purpose and integrating their qualities. When this trend meets a functional purpose, it goes past its superficial show-off status and becomes a must-have / must-make object.

That’s why it may look extravagant to see a businessman wearing a Paracord watch band popping out from underneath the sleeve of his elegant, sober costume – but it may only be there because it became so naturally attached to his hand during his weekend travels through the wilderness, that he actually forgot it’s not part of the quotidian gear.

The Paracord is something that you’ll always find in the backpack of a wilderness explorer, be it a hunter or a camper, as it’s one multi-functional string, extremely appreciated for its resistance. It was originally used in parachute manufacturing and as a standard piece of equipment for soldiers back in World War II, used for securing their gear, their tents, their nets and so on.

From then it made its way into consumers market fulfilling all sorts of casual demands.

Paracord

Its actual name, the 550 cord, comes from the weight measure that it can hold – 550 pounds (250 kilos). The Paracord is itself woven, out of 32 nylon strings on the outside and 2 ply-nylon strings on the inside (these the conventionally called guts), which grants it elasticity, durability and resistance to all sorts of weather conditions, as well as to rotting, mildew or friction.

Considering its qualities, it appears to be the perfect band material for a shock and waterproof watch.

The campers use the Paracord more or less in the same ways as the soldiers did more than half century ago, to secure their gears and tents, to hang their wet clothes, for rescue missions and an infinite number of other situations that you can’t even conceive until met with the necessity of being creative with what you’ve got.

One main advantage of this type of cord is that it is very easy, so it will only put a bit of an extra charge on your luggage.

How to Use A Paracord Watch Band?

The catch to the Paracord watch bracelet is that if needed it can be unwoven into about 10 feet of cord that can be useful if not vital in survival contexts. But for this, you have to weave it yourself from a single cord or be sure to buy one made like this, instead of the more appealing mixes of different color strings, that most surely will leave you with few short fragments of Paracord, when unwoven.

Tying them into one piece will diminish the resistance of the ensemble, no matter how strong knots you can make.

Watch band made from paracord

Besides the evident purposes, this special string can cope with a whole array of urgencies that can take you by surprise when remote from all modern facilities:

  • When unwoven the approximate 10 feet of cord is able to sustain 550 pounds. But then again, if you unweave the cord itself you get thinner strings that if you neatly tie together can end up with 80 feet of long cord and the possibility to hold about 70 pounds, which is still a considerable resistance level;
  • If unwoven till the thinnest nylon from the inside, the gut, you can use this string for sewing and even fishing;
  • The unwoven cord can also be appropriate for the construction of bow or a trap – this way if you find yourself secluded in the wilderness you can improvise tools to hunt and feed yourself;
  • It can come handy if your shoelaces have deteriorated to the point of losing your shoes – you can even find it as a better option and replace the old ones for good
  • A wide variety of clips to buckle the cord on your wrist, has been developed to integrate a lot of other small gadgets into the simple watch band, so as to expand still further its performance – nowadays it can be equipped with a compass, a survival whistle, a blade or flint, the savior ingredient when trying to light a fire while raining.

What You Need to Make A Paracord Watch Band

You only need two main ingredients and a few tools:

  • The watch, obviously
  • Approximately 10 feet of Paracord (this would normally be more than enough, but it’s always better to have more to spare than not enough to finish)
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Lighter
  • Marker
  • Hemostat
  • The buckles (usually 5/8 inches)

How to Make A Paracord Watch Band?

And here are the steps to follow in order to complete your first hand-made watch band:

  • To measure the entire length of the band, simply wrap the cord around your wrist and mark it.
  • Get the lighter and melt both ends of your cord. Immediately after firing one end, press to flatten it – with the bottom of the lighter or another object better than trying with your fingertips; it’s not the common synthetic fiber like the one used in sweater or shoe lace that you sometimes burn in order to stop it from unraveling itself; it’s basically condensed plastic material that is, at least, inadvisable to touch when incandescent. In any way, flattening the ends will make it easier to get them through the watch metal loops and also to weave altogether.
  • Introduce both ends of the cord through the female buckle and then through their own loop, draw and re-dimension one of the ends at to be about 20 inches. Draw tight. The short end will be fixed, the other longer one will be the one you actually work with.
  • Pass both cords through the pins of the watch, of course, placing them underneath it. Then loop both of them through the male buckle, only this time twice. You will want to see if it fits the original measurement of your wrist and readjust the way you want it, but do take into consideration that the whole size will shrink with about 1 inch when it will all be done, as a result of the looping and tightening.
  • Pass both ends all the way to the other side, through the pins of the watch again and through the female buckle. You’ll have 4 strings that will be your main weaving base.
  • Leave the short cord be, take the longer one. It is now that you actually start to weave: pass it over the exterior one (on its lateral side) and then underneath the two interior strings; loop it over the exterior string (it’s now opposite from where you began weaving), come up over the two interior ones and then go underneath the exterior one. You’ve just made a complete weaving cycle, ending up in the same point. Loop over the exterior, dive again underneath the two interior strings and keep going in the same pattern. Remember to constantly pull and tighten the weave.
  • Weave and weave till you get to the watch, get the string through the pins, so as to come out as a third interior string that can afterward loop over the exterior one and re-start the weaving pattern, tightening as you go along.
  • When you get to the male buckle you’re weaving is finished. Loop it on the buckle, being sure to take it out on the bottom side of the watch.
  • Check if it fits your wrist the way you want it. This is your last chance to re-adjust before closing the weaving.
  • And this is the moment when you’ll make use of the hemostat, same procedure for both cords, now onto separate parts of the watch band, the stable and the working one alike – place the watch bottom up, introduce the hemostat through the last three loops of the cord, grab the end and pull it through.

Cut it close, burn it, flatten it and place it underneath the fourth Then do same for the other string and your watch band is finished.

This is the conventional way in which the Paracord watch band are woven. Of course, you can get creative and improvise in numerous other pattern designs. This one method though is efficient  because it is really simple to make and this means that it’s also easy to unravel when necessary.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRe7ddxi0N8

Other more complicated methods, especially ones that make use of knots, may appear more funky looking but most definitely demand much more strenuous work to unweave, respectively to unknot, thus depriving your watch band of its most desirable survival functionality.

Cleaning It

Simply take an old toothbrush, soak the watch band in water and soap and start scrubbing it. It will clean up easily, won’t suffer any damage from the scratching and in no time will be clean and fresh as it was when you first wore it.

Obviously, this method is to be used only if you have a waterproof watch, otherwise, you’ll end up with a clean watch band and an overly cleaned watch. If it’s not safe to emerge in water, then use plain baking soda powder, the toothbrush and scrub it. If you haven’t left it with too many levels of accumulated dirt, it will come off pretty easy.

Other Ways to Use The Paracord

You can integrate the Paracord in almost any possible way, you can even weave an armor out of it if you put your mind and hands to work. But some other ideas that will keep the Paracord on you at all times, so it will be there in reach when it’s time to shift to an existential function – would be to weave a bracelet or a belt from it.

We’d be delighted to hear if you have other ideas for its use – but when you think about it do keep in mind that it needs to be integrated into an object that will not lose its utility altogether when the Paracord gets unwoven. Read our expert review on the best paracord bracelets that you can use for outdoors.

For example, you can’t replace your backpack’s straps with Paracord ones and still use the string by itself if necessary because you’d otherwise have to carry the rucksack in your arms or drag it along through dirt and weeds, all the way home. So be careful what you fantasize – the weaving activity can mesmerize you into losing your main focus.

Weaving to Pass The Time

There are moments when you’d do anything to pass the time more quickly or just want to get in an activity that will absorb your energy. It’s probably hard to imagine such a context in the wilderness when the information that nature provides you with, is overwhelming and incomparable to any casual entertainment.

But let us propose that you’re stuck in a dangerous remote place, it’s night, you’re alone and have to wait for the daylight to continue your journey, can’t sleep because the forest is wide awake, swishing, howling and constantly murmuring.

It’s that kind of mind state of alertness that won’t let you close an eye, let alone count sheep and the sky itself is so cloudy that you can’t even count the stars to pass the time.

You have the Paracord, a knife instead of the scissors, the lighter, you can improvise some other instrument for the hemostat and start weaving. You may feel like a frightened old grandma, but it’s safer to keep your mind busy and use your time and wakefulness in a practical way. And this how Paracord can surprisingly save even your brain, by diverting your panic attack. To learn more useful paracord uses, check out our article on this popular topic.

The paracord watch band

The Paracord watch band is essentially a veritable manifestation of man’s creativity. Probably the first man that first invented such a method to use the Paracord is either the poor frightened soul discussed above or another one in a similarly scary situation, in desperate need of a strong string and in an absolute absence of such an item, as he probably forgot to pack it.

Just think of a blistering wind and the nets that keep your tent in place being torn apart or another similar and not so rare event, when everything you have is on the edge of being scattered and taken away by the full force of nature – this will make you understand why, when safe and sound after surviving such an experience, you would come up with a strategy so as not forget a crucial item again, by attaching it to something you most probably instinctively have with you all the time.

It is when in extreme need, that we create the most optimal solutions for problems, that after all are human and affect all of us at one point or another. And it is of course, these creations that become hit products on the market.

What the DIY culture is reminding us, is the core purpose of the item we’re manufacturing.

For more information on the different types of outdoor ropes, check out our article on this informative topic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.