how to shrink paracord

How to shrink paracord and why

Shrinking paracord has some interesting benefits.

You may have stumbled upon the issue of shrinking paracord. Some people advocate doing it, some say it is irrelevant. In this article I will show you why it is a good idea in some cases and why it is not is others.

Why shrink paracord?

There are two major reasons why one would go about shrinking paracord:

  1. Paracord that is shrunk will not shrink after exposed to moisture and heat. This means that shrinking paracord will ensure the item stays the same size.
  2. Shrinking paracord after you have already made something out of it also has a nice benefit. It grips the item firmly, which is useful for items such as knife/axe/tool wraps. Also, if you happened to make a too large bracelet, this could be a way to shrink it a bit.

Does it work?

Paracord does indeed shrink. But it is important to be aware of the fact that different manufacturers of paracord have different products. As such, some claim that paracord can shrink up to 10-15 percent, while others claim little change in length.

Original, military grade paracord for example shrinks fairly little (almost not worth it).

How to shrink paracord?

The process for shrinking paracord is really straightforward. You simply put the cord you want to shrink into hot/boiling water and wait 10-15 seconds. After that just wait for it to dry and the process is complete.

Is it worth it?

I do not use this technique often. But being aware that it exists may come in handy. Naturally it works great with tool/knife wraps!

What are your thoughts on shrinking paracord? Do you do it and when?

Do you use any other methods?

About Markwell

I am a defense science graduate. I like to create beautiful things out of paracord.


  1. So if place cord around some handle that is tight already, it should grip even better when shrinked?

  2. What are your thoughts of shrinking the paracord after wrapping? Shrink to size.

  3. At what temperature does it shrink without melting it?

    • Hey!

      Hot water will do fine. It won’t melt in boiling water either, as long as it does not touch the surface that is heated (meaning the pot you are heating the water in).


  4. I like to make turk’s head wiggles for my Boy Scout’s. When finished I put them on a piece of 1/2″ copper pipe and place in a 250* oven for about 10 minutes. Not sure how much it shrinks, but it does set the shape nicely.

  5. Shrinking works awesome when you want/need it to stay that size. I use every time when I make a handle wrap or monkeyfist. Good way to keep knots nice and tight.

  6. I use a heat gun if the item is too big or awkward to get in a pot of boiling water. After boiling and drying I will use the heat gun to melt parofin wax into the handle for better grip

  7. So if I made a bracelet out of paracord but I made it just a little big how can I shrink it without burning my wrist lol

  8. I purchased a paracord wristband for my watch. It needed shrinking about an 1/8″ – 1/4″. I placed into boiling water and it shrank perfectly! Thank you!

  9. An Alternate Method of Shrinking to Avoid Color Contamination:
    I used the boiling water to shrink a multicolored bracelet but the dyes on the paracord used ran in boiling water and ruined the entire bracelet. So to avoid this problem, I soak the bracelets for a few secs in cold water just to get them wet then I dry them with a temp controlled heat gun set to 250 Deg F . Nylon does not melt until approx 475 F. This process accomplishes the shrinking without allow the colored dyes to run. Paracord is generally not supposed to have water soluble dye but some cheaper brands do.
    Cheers, Murray

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *