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 DIY Dog Leash!
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 >
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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):
- Fabric Bias Tape Maker (5/8″)
- Spray On Starch (available by laundry detergents in most stores)
- 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.
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!
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!
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.
- I don’t cut my fabric on the bias. I simply use the tool to press the fabric more quickly and efficiently.
- 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 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
- 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 DIY DOG LEASH
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.
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