Have you ever seen paracord woven into a ball, and wondered how it’s done? Making a simple knot lanyard is easy enough, but creating a sphere from a single strand of paracord is much less intuitive. These spherical paracord formations are often called monkey fist or monkey paw knots, and they can be created using cord alone or with a round stone, marble, ball bearing at the center.

Here's one traditional method for tying a monkey's fist knot.

Here’s one traditional method for tying a monkey’s fist knot. Other decorative methods are also available.

These ball knots have a variety of potential uses:

  • Making the end of a rope easier to throw across gaps, such as those between a ship and dock. This is called a heaving line, and often contains an added weight at the center of the knot.
  • Anchoring a line during rock climbing by jamming the knot in a crack. Rarely used by modern climbers due to safety concerns.

Paracord ball keychain weave knot 6

  • Serving as a button closure for a bracelet, by passing the knot through a loop. See this guide from Paracord Forum for more details.
  • Easy-to-grab zipper pulls or keychains.
  • Decoration or ornamentation on the end of a line.
  • With a heavy metal weight at the center, for swinging use as a self-defense weapon.
Paracord ball keychain weave knot 2

The loose formation of a paracord ball knot. See video below.

There are a number of variations on the monkey fist knot. In the below video from Paracord Knots on YouTube, the host shows a silent demonstration of how to tie a small paracord ball keychain. This version contains no weight or marble at the center, but it would be possible to add one before tightening the knot.

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