A few years ago I discovered paracord crafting and I loved it! It combined my passion for making things with a love of the outdoors. Furthermore, it’s perfect for creating beautiful and practical dog collars. Crafting, outdoors and dogs – that’s my perfect trinity!
What is Paracord?
Paracord is a nylon cord originally used for parachute suspension lines by the USA Army in WWII. Because paracord is strong, lightweight and extremely versatile, over the years it has become a staple of outdoor and survival enthusiasts as a general purpose utility cord. There are different types of paracord, but I use Type III Paracord 550, which is able to hold a weight of 550lbs! The cord consists of several core strands (the ‘guts’) inside a nylon sheath. It is often fashioned into items such as bracelets which can be unravelled for emergency use.
Why choose paracord for dog collars?
Not only is paracord a strong yet lightweight material, but because it’s made of nylon, the cord is resistant to rot and mildew. It also dries quickly and doesn’t retain odours like some natural materials eg leather. This makes it ideal for dogs who love to explore and get dirty – just wash your paracord dog collar in some mild soapy water and allow to dry! Paracord is available in a vast range of colours and, just like macramé, there are a variety of decorative knotting techniques to create beautiful, unique yet practical items.
Having a paracord dog collar and lead offers a huge supply of emergency cord on hand whilst adventuring with your dog. Whilst I hope you will never need it, an unravelled medium sized collar will offer at least 15ft of cord.
Emergency paracord uses include:
- Making a splint, sling or tourniquet
- Guy lines for tent or tarp shelter
- Pulley system
- Securing items together
Of course paracord collars and leads are as beautiful as they are functional. They make a stylish everyday dog walking essential for your dog to wear whilst exploring woodlands, at the park or to your local dog friendly pub!
Wide Solomon Bar knot – work in progress
Making a paracord dog collar
Your dog is a one-of-a-kind, and I custom make all of my paracord dog collars for each dog. I use 3 traditional knotting techniques (Cobra, King Cobra and Wide Solomon Bar) and use genuine USA paracord 550 for strength and durability. This is matched with tried and tested hardware. If you have the time and inclination to make your own I do encourage this and there are a number of great tutorials to follow online. The Paracord Guild for example has some great tutorials for beginners and experienced paracord crafters. I would however urge you to consider 3 things:
- How strong is my hardware? I have road tested a number of different clips and buckles to ensure your dogs safety. (Bosun the 34kg boxer dog is my chief product tester!) Not all hardware has made the grade. Some buckles have snapped or come apart under strain. Make sure the hardware you choose is strong enough to handle your dog.
- How much paracord will I need? Paracord is typically sold by the foot length and you may be surprised by how much you will need to craft a dog collar. You will first need to measure your dogs collar size. There is no specific calculation to work out exactly how much cord you will need, as with any handmade item there will be variations and the amount required will depend on how tight or loose you make your knots. However as a rule of thumb a cobra knot will use approx. 12” of paracord for every 1” of your craft. Add at least another 6” to aid finishing and always over estimate the amount you will need as there is nothing more frustrating than running out of cord before you have finished knotting your project! (If you have several inches left over you can always make yourself a matching keyring.)
- Creating a perfect finish: Your dog collar will need to be finished carefully to prevent the knots from unravelling. To prevent fraying the cut ends of any length of paracord must be melted (the paracord is made from nylon so will melt against a flame) and this can be done with a simple lighter however take care not to accidentally melt the outer sheath of the surrounding knots, as this may compromise it’s integrity and spoil the overall appearance!
Practice makes perfect and if you have the time and patience to learn I am sure you will enjoy creating paracord collars for your dog. Alternatively, if you want a beautiful and practical paracord dog collar without the hassle of sourcing your materials (and burnt fingers!) check out my classic designs ready to order now!
Until next time…
Julie & Bosun
Where shall we go next?
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