By Erik Laing
As waterfowlers, we are often the do-it-yourself types. After all, when it really counts our equipment needs to simply enough, work. It's important when you're trying to trick the wariest of opponents, protect us from Mother Nature, and keep us comfortable. It's no wonder why most people don't make or maintain a lot of their gear, because most just don't know how or have the time. By making your own lanyard, you can save a lot of money and get something that is completely customizable to your needs. There's nothing wrong in this day and age to show some pride for your dedication to waterfowling, rather than buying the latest, shiniest gear off the shelf.

Lanyard Instructions

Lanyard making can be quite easy for your calls with some time and good lanyard instructions
When making your first lanyard, a good supply of quality parachute cord and a willingness to learn a couple knots are all you need. Parachute cord goes by a few different names - paracord, p-cord or 550 being common as well. A good quality cord will look better and last longer in lanyards. A typical cross section as shown has 7 strands inside a braided sheath. While cord doesn't always look exactly like this, it can be a good example of decent cord.
When selecting cord, figure around 50 feet for each color for a total of 100 feet per lanyard. This is overkill, but for your first one, its good insurance to make sure the final length is correct. Paracord will shrink when it gets wet by about 10%, so either pre-shrink it, or plan for it to shrink a bit during use. I typically just make it and deal with the shrinking.
For your first lanyard, cut four section of parachute cord 25 feet long. Two should be your first color, and the other two your second. For the pictured examples, I used olive and black. I also use three different knots or stitches, but many will work. Since this is 100% custom, don't be afraid to try new things. For a good resource, check out - this site deals in flat plastic lace, but the stitches will often cross over just fine to paracord. For the neck band, most lanyard makers use a Cobra Stitch (also known as the square sinnet) - I like it because it creates a wide neck band that supports a number of calls comfortably. On either end of the neck band, I use a standard 3-braid. For the center drop, I use a spiral or diamond braid. With those basic knots, you can begin to make a lanyard - here's how it breaks down.

Lanyard Instructions Steps

I make a six-drop (3 double-drops) lanyard. One central set of drops, with another on either side. Additional drops can be added as extras after making the lanyard, or with other stitches. This basic design is intended to hold 3 calls, but can hold up to six. It can also be used to hold fishing tools.

Lanyard Instructions

Directions on how to make a beaded lanyard are about the same as braided lanyards
1. Take 3 of the 4 strands, match the ends, and measure 20 inches off. Secure them together with a twist-tie, or a loose knot.

Lanyard Instructions
2. Using the 3-braid stitch, braid a section 5-6 inches long and secure with another twist tie. I do 5 inches, but more will help the bottom call be lower if you prefer.

Lanyard Instructions
3. To continue, a fourth strand must be added, or it can be looped in. This is basically a half hitch knot, and can be done by placing the 4th strand along side, wrapping it over the next strand, and looping it around so it points out to the side (like the number 4).
NOTE: The dropper knot on this has been pre-tied, or you can leave a tag end of about 10 inches to ensure enough when you come back to tying the droppers.

Lanyard Instructions
4. This is where the work starts, but first some considerations:
- For best results, consider the side you looped the 4th strand in to be the bottom (side closest to your shoulder or chest) of the lanyard. This makes the drops hand the best in the long run.

- With top and bottom in mind, decide which color you want to be primary. As you will see in the next picture better, I chose green, with black being the sides. One color must always stay in front.

- As you may notice, the cord attached to the dropper becomes one of the standing lines - it works best to not move it from there.

Begin your Cobra Stitch - remembering to keep the same strand going in front of the standing lines at all times. Start your first few stitches tight, then loosen to create a smooth taper from your 3-braid.

Lanyard Instructions
5. You can see this starting to develop, with the olive being the main body and black being the sides. If you turn the piece around, you will see this reversed.
- At this point, make sure your stitches are even and tensioned to your preference.

- If it looks uneven it is easy to slide the stitches back and forth and this will generally even them out - tugging on loose parts and working the loose end down also helps.

Lanyard Instructions
6. Depending on your tension, it takes 3-5 stitches per inch, so for a 19.5 inch neck band in this case, it ended up being 64 stitches. To count stitches, count the side loop (6 stitches shown here).
A looser stitch results in a softer neck band, but too loose will make the strands in the middle easy to see.

A tighter stitch will hide this, but too tight makes the lanyard feel like a tight rope.

By focusing on keeping one side of stitches even, the back side should come out correct as well.

Lanyard Instructions
8. Once you have the neck band to the desired length, you will need to loop out one of the four strands. I recommend you use one of the shortest at this point, and for style points, use a different color than the last one you looped in.

The process is about the same, but in reverse. Tighten the last two stitches of the cobra stitch well. Take one strand and half hitch it out off one of the standing lines in the middle. Pull this tight and secure.

*Make sure this happens on the same edge as the looped in strand so the drops come off the same side.

Lanyard Instructions
At this point, a break is a good option since the piece will not come undone easily. When you begin the final part, it's best to do it in one sitting - it doesn't take long, but if you lose track, you will have to undo it to this point and start over most likely. Take this chance to read ahead as well.
9. Again, begin a 3-braid that will match the length of the first section you did.

Here you see the front and back of the piece, before beginning the final 3 braid.

Lanyard Instructions
10. Admittedly, joining the two ends is the trickiest part, but worth it since the finished product will make anyone say "how did they do that?"
To start, hold the lanyard in one hand, and you should have four strands to work on. In this case, 2 black, and 2 olive.

The stitch you will use is the spiral braid, so have it handy if you don't already know it.

When doing the spiral braid, make sure you do it tightly - if you do not, the Y will be sloppy and loose sections will show.

Lanyard Instructions
11. The spiral continues - you can tighten this as you go by working one strand at a time. Be sure not to lose your place here or you will need to start over at the junction.

This is the final section, and should be about 5 inches from the junction to the bottom. As before, it can be longer or shorter as needed.

Lanyard Instructions
12. In this case, I used a call key chain that I had lying around as a bead. You can use any stitch, or finish the bottom anyway you want to; in some cases I have wrapped or "whipped" the strands.
To finish, loop out two strands 9 1 of each color, and tie a basic overhand knot in the remaining two.

Lanyard Instructions

If you have anything you'd like to add on our how to on making lanyards, please let us know!
13. For the droppers, many knots will do. You can tie a hangman's noose or you can do what I do and loop the cord around and tie half of a double fisherman's knot. This and other slip-knots allow you to tighten the cord down to secure the call. The tighter the tension on this knot, the harder the slide will be to move, making it more secure. Tie slip knots on all droppers.

Lanyard Instructions

Lanyard making is quite easy and is why there are many now selling discount lanyards
14. Keep ends from fraying by heating the end with a lighter until it is soft, and then touching it to a hard surface such as the metal part of a lighter. CAUTION: Be careful not to touch your skin with the cord when it is hot as it sticks AND burns.

Lanyard Instructions

Directions on how to make a beaded lanyard are about the same as braided lanyards
The final product should look something like this.I hope you will take this lanyard making skill and a little bit of free time and give it a try. With practice and creativity, you can create lanyards for all kinds of calls, keepers for fishing tools, game haulers and even gun straps. The p-cord you most likely have left over can be used as zipper pulls, to make key chains, or as a good boot lace substitute. Heck, the night before opening morning, when you're lying awake in bed, you could be doing something useful. Get up and make something you can actually use tomorrow!