Paracord, by nature, is meant to be durable and sturdy, which also means it is pretty thick. Because of this, you cannot exactly tie it in a knot when you reach the end of your project and are ready to wrap things up. Attempting to do so would result in a bulky knot that is rather unbecoming, not to mention the knot will likely detract from your streamlined finished product. Loose edges are also prone to fraying. With that in mind, what is the best way to secure the loose ends of your paracord project without having to worry they will come undone?
The answer is to kill it with fire, of course! First of all, be forewarned that when you take a flame to paracord, it will melt. Melted paracord is extremely hot to the touch as well as very sticky. If you accidentally get it on your skin, some of it will stick to you and burn mightily until you are able to remove it, or for a few agonizing seconds, whichever comes first. If you happen to drop a melted paracord end on your shirt, it is best that you prepare immediately to part ways with that shirt or at least expect to wear that shirt with a big, black blob of melted goo on it. You may choose the later, of course, but do note that trend will probably not catch on and you\'ll be left rocking your melted paracord goo shirt all by your lonesome. Take it from those who know.
Your standard cigarette lighter will work fine for melting paracord, but it does take a little longer than other methods to get the desired effect. Don\'t let the lack of speed concern you, however, for what you lack in speed, you make up for in accuracy. It is much easier to hit your target area with a slow burning lighter. A fast burning lighter sometimes works too fast and makes for problems with melting too much paracord or areas you did not intend to melt.
That brings us to torch lighters, which are extremely effective for melting paracord. They burn with a beautiful, blue, butane flame and do so quickly. If you are an impatient person, then the torch lighter is perfect for you, but only if you are able to pay attention to what you are doing and have good aim. It is easy to overshoot your target area with a torch lighter because the flame can be large in addition to hot enough to melt paracord almost instantly. How hot is it? Well, if you want to see paracord actually bubble, hit it with a torch and prepare to be amazed! Also, while in the process of being amazed, remember to keep hair, clothes, and other fingers out of the way of the flame; a torch lighter flame can and will ruin your day without even touching, or appearing to touch, flammable or heat-sensitive parts of your body. Another issue worthy of mention is that when burned, paracord can discolor slightly, which is harder to control with a torch lighter.
Once you\'ve settled on a heat-sealing method, simply cut off any excess paracord about 1/8 of an inch from the point of project completion and apply heat. As soon as you have achieved a good melt to work with, use a cool steel object, such as a knife to press the melted area down flat for about a second or two and then slide it off slowly. This creates a smooth surface that generally will not poke or scratch skin (such as in bracelet wearing) or snag on clothing (such as with a rifle or shotgun sling). If you desire to bond two colors together, such as in a bracelet, burn one end of each color until melted and then press together. This will make a bit of an ugly bond, but if you cautiously melted the edges and roll the same cool steel object mentioned above (scissors are also great), you can create a rounded bond that will feel less abrasive against your skin.
The burn method is highly effective but safety and caution should be exercised at all times. When done correctly, it will create a long-lasting hold that is durable enough for everyday use but can still be pulled apart with a little muscle power if needed in a survival situation.