DIY Coiled Paracord Lanyard to Retain your Valuables - ITS Tactical

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DIY Coiled Paracord Lanyard to Retain your Valuables

By justin spindler

DIY Coiled Paracord

After a winter slumber the Knot of the Week is back in full force! Today with the help of contributing author Justin Spindler, we’re going to take you though the steps to create your own Coiled Paracord Lanyard.

You may have seen these before from places like TAD and wished you would have gotten in on one while you could have. Now you can learn how to build your own out of a few simple materials.

Coiled Paracord Lanyard » Misc.

DIY Coiled Paracord Lanyard 01The Coiled Paracord Lanyard is simply  a plastic expandable coil key chain with a 550 paracord sheath. They can be used to secure lights, small knives and wallets; because of their expandable capabilities they allow you to use your items without detaching them from the lanyard or having an excess amount of cord hanging from a pocket.

You might ask why go through the trouble of sheathing the coil in 550? It certainly looks much cooler than a pink plastic key coil and does add some strength to the coil itself.

(Strength: n/a/Secure: n/a/Stability: n/a/Difficulty: 3)

Please refer to our Knot of the Week introduction post for a description of what these ratings mean.

Materials and Tools needed

  • Expandable key coil (you’ll need the type with metal crimps at each end)
  • Paracord
  • Two small split rings (two larger split rings come with most key coils)
  • Heat shrink tubing  (3/16″ is a perfect size for this project)
  • McGizmo steel clips or any other small clips
  • Scissors
  • Heat gun or hairdryer
  • Lighter
  • Any type of pliers, I used a Multitool


  1. Take the key coil and remove any split rings or clips that may be attached to it.
  2. With the pliers bend the flat portion of one the metal crimps (one end only) so that the paracord will easily slide over it.
  3. Stretch the coil out to get an idea of it’s length when expanded.
  4. Cut a length of paracord approximately 12-18 inches longer than the expanded coil
  5. Remove all but one strand from the paracord’s inner core.
  6. Tie one end of the remaining strand to something stable like a chair, desk or table.
  7. Tie the other end to the bent metal crimp on the key coil.
  8. Now stretch the coil out and affix the other end to something stable as well. I recommend something like a heavy chair as you can slide it back further if you find that you need to stretch the coil longer.
  9. *With the coil expanded you should now be able to work the 550 cord sheath over the the key coil without too much trouble*
  10. Once you have worked the paracord sheath completely over the key coil relieve the tension on it.
  11. *This process tends to deform the coil a little, so the faster you can relieve the tension on the coil the better*
  12. Trim any frayed ends on the paracord sheath and melt them down with a lighter, just be careful not to melt the plastic key coil.
  13. To finish off the ends, slide the heat shrink tubing over the metal crimps and the ends of the paracord
  14. Heat with a hairdryer or heat gun until they shrink up tightly.
  15. Attach your split rings and metal clips and you’re done!

DIY Coiled Paracord Lanyard 10If the coil has been deformed or expanded too much you can try recoiling it around a pencil and taping it in place for a few hours to let it reform.  I’ve only made two of these so if anyone else has a better method or suggestions please feel free to throw up a comment!

Editor-in-Chief’s Note: A big thank you to Justin for providing the instructions and photos for this Knot of the Week, I’ve added a YouTube video below going through the process as well. Justin and I both came to the same conclusions separately for how to best create the Paracord Coil Lanyard, but as he mentioned be sure to add your thoughts and suggestions for making it better!

Video and Photos

Click here to view the images on Flickr.

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  • Since I’ve been in the gear making mood here recently, what if you were to leave a bit of paracord (say and inch or so) longer than the plastic, and sewed it to a small section of 3/8″ webbing and attached 3/8″ buckles to that. You would have a dummy cord that would easily slide through MOLLE/PALS webbing and secure and release quickly.

    Great write up, I’ve been eyeing things like this recently for other projects.

  • Awesome vid guys. I don’t know if I’d consider this a knot or not but it will definitely give me something to do 😛

  • Echo 63

    You can also make these with the plastic weedeater line.
    here is a howto i did for EDC Forums

  • Mike

    I made this same thing about a year ago as a cheap pistol lanyard.

  • docbrady

    Nice, never thought about it like that, Never though about making it. I have been raiding issue IFAK cases. Been using a modified version of that to keep my trauma shears on my aid bag.

  • Mike

    As mentioned in the video, I have seen these in Home Depot and Lowe’s. Look for the spare key section. WalMart also has them in at the tire service center counter with the keys.

  • MuayThai

    Made one last night. Cool. Thanks for the video.

  • I love this idea for making gear. I wanted to contribute a way to get the plastic key bungees for free!!!
    Next time your in Vegas or any casino they give them out for players club cards to clip on your shirt. Every time I go to Vegas my kids always ask me if they can grab some on the Players Club counter.

    Thanks again ITS

  • leeenricoso

    Like Echo 63 said you make the coiled para lanyard using weedeater lines. Alternative to that you can use mono fishing line. The process of creating the coiled lanyard is a bit different, and in my opinion, much easier – gut a length of paracord; insert mono lines; wrapped it on a dowel, use either tape or in my case I used zip ties to fasten them to the dowel; fire up you stove and boiled some water; when the water is already boiling, submerge the dowel with the wrapped cord for at least 5minutes; after 5 or more minutes run it to the tap to cool off the cord; then let it dry; when dry attached the attachment points. Here’s some that I made with said process –

    • Reddog

      Your results look great. Are those with the monofiliment fishing line, or with weed trimmer line? Also, you used the plural with the mono fishing lines. If they are from fishing lines, what size and how many? And finally, where did you find those great little carabiners? Those are really nice.

    • leeenricoso


      Those are monofilament fishing line. Weed trimmers lines are hard to come by on my neck of the woods. That’s why I used the mono lines instead. The one one I made I used two lines instead of of just one piece of mono lines. The monofilament lines are Sufix branded Mono leader, rated for 200lb, 1.40mm diameter. With regards to the clip, they are commonly known as McGizmo clip. A number of site carries them. Just google for “McGizmo clips”. But the one I have I got it from EDCForum.

    • Echo 63

      Nice work, those look awesome.
      i have been trying to get some more weedeater line that fits the paracord a bit better before making any more, the stuff i currently have is star shaped, and a bit too thin.

      Weedeater line is much easier to find locally for me than the thick Monofilament, and in smaller packs too (20m of weedeater line is 5-10 bucks, i cant find thick enough monofilament without buying a massive roll of it.

      I am not sure how this works, but the boiling the line for 5-10 mins then rapidly cooling it (and ice water bath works best) causes it to take a set in the coil shape.

  • Thanks to Echo 63 for the weedeater line link! Tried both ways, gave my daughter one for school and 6 of her friends have been hounding her for one every since. Great write up!

  • Tim

    Thanks for this diy. These go on eBay for $25. Crazy. Time to flood the market.

    • leeenricoso

      Tell me about it. Bought one 2 years ago from a guy who make them as a hobby. Cost me only $17 per lanyard. Fast forward to today and people on ebay are selling them almost twice the price. Totally crazy! One of the reason I tried doing it myself instead of buying one.

  • Tightey Whiteys

    I prefer the method outlined in this article, primarly because it’s the only way to get coyote brown, olive green, etc., but for those that are not picky and are fine with tan or black, for about $2 each you can get the same functionality using coiled shoe laces. Check which sells them at a good price, and for the advertised price, it’s in pairs (so you get two). I bought a few as a test to see if I liked them and they work fine (and they are springy!) and have similar thickness.

    Only the tan and black are the common tactical colors, and the hot pink is a hot neon pink! Crimp a lug on the end of the hard lace ends part and heat shrink over and your good to go.


  • Thanks for the DIY! I noticed that from time to time the metal crimp somehow makes its way off of the split rings whilst in my pocket. This happens on two of the lanyards I’ve made. Maybe I need to reform the crimp a bit.

    Either way, I posted my experience and pictures on my blog, if you guys care to check it out.


  • Andy Jacobs

    Just found this page and gave this a try. It was extremely difficult to inchworm the paracord over the plastic coil, but in the end, it turned out pretty darn well. If I had a way to upload a pic here I would show the final result.

    BTW, what type of wallet do you have attached to the lanyard in the first pic?

  • jonatahn

    Awesome idea but I don’t like the metal clips


    old phone cord will work to and now you have wire for a sneer cord or can jump a cell phone bat to start a fire maybe ?

  • sirpolygoon

    What size clip are you using?  I think we have the same wallet and I’d like my clip to fit in the grommet as well.

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