Quick & Easy: Make Your Own Dog Leash with Fabric Scraps and Nylon Webbing

Want to make something fun for your dog or for a gift AND use up fabric scraps at the same time? Learn how quick and easy it is to make your own Dog Leash!

DIY Dog Leash using Fabric Scraps and Nylon Webbing

Dog leashes are a great way to use your fabric scraps to create something fun.

Once you get the hang of it they stitch up quickly – they'd be great to make for gifts at the dog park, to sell at craft fairs or online or for your own special four legged friend(s).

I used fabric scraps from my Homestead Life fabric collection manufactured and sold by Riley Blake Designs.  See more projects here >

Dog Leash materials

SUPPLY LIST:

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  • Fabric Scraps: 1.5″ wide strips
  • OR 5/8″ ribbon
  • Nylon Webbing*
  • Swivel Snap Hooks with 1″ opening for leash strap
  • Heavy Duty Sewing Machine Needle

OPTIONAL (but recommended):

• Nylon Webbing is stronger than Polypropylene Webbing so if you have a larger dog that pulls, definitely go with nylon!

STEP 1: Cut your Nylon Webbing

Dog leashes come in a variety of sizes.

  • Standard: 6 feet
  • Hiking, Training or for larger dogs: 10 feet
  • Hiking, backyard, beach, outdoor play: 15 feet

The best way to decide what size to make is to measure the leash you love! (Or find out what length the person you are making a leash for likes)

Calculate the length of fabric and nylon webbing you need:

Desired Leash Length + 10 inches

STEP 2: Prepare your Fabric

Grab your stash and CUT STRIPS that are 1.5″ wide.

TIP: Put your darkest fabric at one end for the handle – it will keep your leash looking fresh and clean longer than if you use a light colored fabric that will show more dirt.

SEW them together to form a piece as long as the nylon webbing.

PRESS seams open.

DIY Dog Leash using Fabric Scraps
sew strips of fabric together

Next you will transform your 1.5″ wide fabric strip into a strip that has the raw edges pressed under and now measures 3/4″ (1.9 cm) wide.

There are two basic ways to do this – with a bias tape maker or just using your iron.

Here is how to do both ways, and why I think the bias tape maker is worth investing in the tool if you don't have it already!

spray strips with starch

For both methods, I recommend spraying your fabric generously with spray starch to help the creases really hold. You will be working with a large length of fabric so stability for sewing it onto the nylon webbing is desired.

  • Put your fabric strip in a pile on your ironing board.
  • SPRAY generously with starch.
  • ROLL the fabric around to saturate it with the starch and soak up any wetter areas.
  • REAPPLY as you iron if the fabric begins to dry and the folds don't stay crisp.

METHOD ONE: PREPARING YOUR FABRIC WITH JUST YOUR IRON

If you don't have and don't want to get bias tape maker tools, that's ok!

  • IRON the full length of your fabric in half.
  • OPEN the fabric
  • IRON each long, raw edge in to the center line you just created when you ironed the fabric in half.
  • TURN over and iron again to remove the center fold line.

PRO: You don't need to buy any equipment (bias tape maker) you don't already have.
CONS: Takes longer.
A lot of heat and steam coming at your hands!

press strips in half
press raw edges to center

METHOD TWO: PREPARING YOUR FABRIC WITH A BIAS TAPE MAKER AND YOUR IRON

I'm a huge fan of using a bias tape maker for this as it will save you time and over-steamed fingers, totally worth the investment and you will find other uses for the tools for other projects.

Usually sold in a set of 4 or 5 sizes prices can range from about $7-25 dollars depending on what accessories come with the tools and whether it comes in a storage case or not.

While I use a bias tape maker, I take a few liberties with the process for this project.

  1. I don't cut my fabric on the bias.  I simply use the tool to press the fabric more quickly and efficiently.
  2. I don't use the standard size fabric strip for the bias tape maker tool.

Normally you use fabric that is twice the width of the bias tape maker tip.

For a dog leash using 1″ nylon webbing, we want our fabric to be 3/4″ wide.

bias tape maker fabric size

Bias tape makers are made in mm – using the 18 mm tool you will end up with bias tape that is 5/8″ wide (that extra 1/8″ makes a difference – see photo)

I played around and discovered that I could use fabric a little wider – 1.5″ – to get the result I wanted. You will need to take a little care to make sure the fabric is folding evening and going into the bias tape maker evenly but it works like a charm!

STEP 3: ATTACHING THE FABRIC TO THE NYLON WEBBING

press strips in half
  • CENTER the fabric on top of the nylon webbing.
  • FOLD the raw end under and stitch across the top – leaving about 1/8 – 1/4″ of nylon webbing beyond the fabric.
  • STITCH 1/4″ from the edge of the webbing down one side, across the bottom (also folding raw edge of fabric under to secure) and up the other side.

STEP 4: FINISHING THE DOG LEASH

DIY Dog Leash using Fabric Scraps!
  • Seal the ends of the Nylon

    To finish the ends of the nylon so they won't fray, carefully run the edge over a flame – making sure not to set your fabric on fire! I usually do this over the kitchen sink so I'm by water just in case.

    Create the Handle

    • If you have a darker fabric at one end of your leash, use it for the handle. (It will show less dirt)
    • FOLD over 8″ and STITCH in a square, with an X in the middle for the strongest bond.
    • If you have a dog that really pulls, reinforce by stitching over the square and X twice.

    Attach the Swivel Snap Hook

    Slide about 2″ of the other end through the snap hook and stitch in place with a square and X as well.

melt nylon so it won't fray
create handle loop
add hook

Voila – you are done!

I will warn you – these can be addictive. I was so excited with my first leash that I started thinking of all the people I could make them for for gifts.

You could really go to town and make your dog a leash for every holiday or season – maybe even a special birthday leash – the possibilities are endless!

If I had a dog I'd be making them holiday leashes, birthday leashes, they'd have more leashes than I have shoes.

If you make and post any on social media using these instructions I'd love to see – be sure to tag me!

🐶 Tara Reed

P.S. Want to make a Dog Collar too? CLICK HERE for the tutorial >

 

Materials Used in this Project:

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  It’s one of the ways I support my site.

Bias Tape maker
1 in nylon webbing