Saturday, April 14, 2012

DIY Tutorial: Cobra Stitch Lanyard Bracelet with Chain

Read on to find out how to make these beauties :)

Hello everybody, this is a really fun tutorial that I haven't found yet on the internet, so I hope I am the first and I hope this is helpful! If you are on Pinterest, Etsy, YouTube, etc...then you have probably seen these bracelets.  Most of the time they are made with a chunky gold chain, which is what I wanted to do as well- but I didn't have much luck finding gold chain at any craft stores, so I am still on the hunt! (Gives me an excuse to make more of them anyway :)) Anyway- if you want to buy them you can find them on Etsy, helloberry is a popular seller of them, but there are multiple sellers.  BUT- if you want to make it yourself (which is way cooler anyway) stay tuned to get some helpful hints of how to finish the ends, and put it together, etc.

As for the actual stitch itself, it's called the King Cobra Stitch, which is actually just two Cobra stitches on top of one another.  Instead of trying to take pictures of the stitch itself, I thought it would just be easier to post the links to the youtube videos that I used:  Cobra Stitch and King/Super Cobra Stitch.  These videos are very helpful and I started my bracelets exactly how the instructor did in the videos.  However, I finished mine very differently, because I wanted loops on both ends to connect the chain to.  Figuring out how to do this was a bit tricky...

What you need:
Plastic Lacing/ Lanyard/ Gimp (I got 4 different colored spools of 10 yards each at Michaels for $.99 apiece)
Chain (I found mine at Michael's a few months ago, didn't have luck finding it again :/ try Ebay!)
Needle Nose Pliers
Lighter or a Hot Glue Gun (for finishing)

Determining how much lanyard you need is all personal preference.  I wanted my lanyard part of my bracelets to be more than half of the bracelet, so I would measure that much and pretty much triple it (there is a reason for this) for the first string.  I'd say it was about a foot long.  Then you need about 6.5 to 7 times the length of the first string for the longer string, and you DO need this much. I tried to skimp one time and it didn't work out so well-  I had to do the whole thing over.

As the video demonstrates- you then fold both pieces in half and get started on the Cobra stitch.  This is actually relatively easy, and you get the hang of it really quickly.

Getting started with the basic
Cobra Stitch
When you get relatively close to where you want the length of the lanyard to be- I'd say about half an inch from it, is when you have to start thinking about how to get the other side to have a loop to hold the chain.  I found a solution to this.  Basically, what you have to do is take the shorter pieces of lanyard and fold them upwards to where there are two loops at the bottom, and continue stitching over the pieces that hang out.  It sounds complicated but it's really not bad.  Hopefully the picture will do a better job of illustrating what you have to do. The ponytail holder helps keep the extra lanyard out of the way while I am finishing up the first layer of stitches.

I took the pieces from the inside and folded
them upwards to create two loops, then
continued the cobra stitch on top of that.
You continue to stitch until there is just enough room in the loops for your chain to fit through.  Then, you turn the whole lanyard upside down to begin the King Cobra stitching.  The King Cobra stitch is just continuing the Cobra stitch on top of what you have already done, to create a thicker look.  The video posted earlier is very helpful in figuring this out as well.

Starting of the King Cobra stitch
In the picture above you can see that the extra lanyard strings from where you folded over are still hanging out, but this is completely ok.  You are just going to continue stitching right over these strings, and they will eventually be completely covered up.  Plus, it helps with the thickness as well!

Those strings are about 2 stitches away
from being completely covered!
From here you just continue to stitch until you get back to the other looped end.  Then you have to figure out a way to finish it as 'prettily' as possible.  What I did for the first 2 was tie a couple knots in the lanyard, then lightly move a lighter over the knot to try and get it to melt together.  This was tricky because it would easily burn and sometimes the knot would even break apart.  Still, it worked on the first two pretty well.

You can see where the lighter touched the
lanyard at the top near the loop. It helped
secure the ends in place.
On the last bracelet I made, I ended up trying a different approach.  Instead of burning the ends, I just used a hot glue gun to secure the ends on the inside of the bracelet.  I would probably recommend this technique over the flame technique because the hot glue dries clear (vs. the charred look that can happen with the flame), and I think it will hold up pretty well.  The only tip with this is that you want the ends to be a little longer to glue them down, so maybe about a half an inch or a little bit less (about the width of the bracelet itself).

The last step is just adding the chain.  These bracelets are supposed to be big enough that you can slip them over your wrist without a clasp or closure, remember that when you're measuring for length.  I used about 9 links of my chain for my green and pink bracelets.  For the turquoise (which was my first one) I had to use a few more links, because I mis-judged the length of the lanyard part.  Installing the chain is super simple, just slip it through the loops and use your pliers to close the link of the chain.

Slide it through, then clamp it closed.
Repeat with the other side to connect the bracelet.
The finished product is really pretty fabulous.  It's very similar to the bracelets that helloberry sells for $25 apiece, and these probably cost about $.75 to $1.00 apiece.  I absolutely love the way they stack together, and plan on making a more neutral set (black, white, tan, etc.) when I am able to find a gold chain that I like. If you know of any places with a great selection of gold chain, please leave me a comment below and let me know!  I really hope this tutorial was helpful, and honestly they really are a lot of fun to make.  Brings me back to my elementary school days, making boxed lanyard keychains for all my friends.  Please comment/share/pin/subscribe! I really do appreciate it!

Stay tuned for more tutorials, and maybe even a fashion type post in the next couple of weeks! Here are a few more pictures of the finished products...

The backside of the bracelets
Still using my monogrammed dish :)
Stacked with other accessories
The neon is perfect for spring/summer!



  1. You have a very creative mind. What you made is so wonderful. I'm actually looking for lanyards stuff that can be personalized. Luckily I saw a site where I can also purchase online.

  2. I just started following your blog & i love it!
    This year I am trying to make my dreams come true

    follow back?!
    please & thank you :) <3

  3. What kind of clasp? How do you get it on and off?

  4. how to make it thats what i want to know because i already have the lanyard....?

    how to make it?

  5. Nice collection you have i like that! thanks for sharing! cheap wristbands

  6. this was looking really better then the watch even.. i was shocked when i saw these.. cheap wristbands thanks for the post :)

  7. Hi..I know I'm a little behind on this, but I love it.. I believe this a project that will never get old! I was glad to find this post