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Make a Custom Camera Strap

Sep 26, 2018

by Katie Hawley

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Every family and friend group has its resident shutterbug. A designated or self-appointed someone who shows up to every special occasion—a backyard barbecue, birthday bash, or Sunday brunch bonanza—with their camera in tow, and spends much of the day stealthily shooting away. In the moment, we might find ourselves rolling our eyes or feigning exasperation when asked to “smile!” for yet another group shot—but the memories captured are truly priceless, and we know we’re lucky to have them.

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Whether your personal photographer-in-chief is your dad or your best friend (or if you’re the one behind the lens!), every photog deserves a stylish camera strap to keep their most prized possession safe and secure—and within arm’s reach. There are tons of great options available on Etsy of course, but if you’re up for a simple DIY project, you can create a custom one at home in a snap. Using a length of vintage-style trim, a couple scraps of durable leather, and a few hardware pieces to hold it all together, we’ll show you how it’s done.

At a glance

Time: 2 hours

Difficulty: Intermediate

You will need:

Hands cutting fabric trim with steel shears at desired length

Step 1: Determine length of strap

Drape the fabric trim around your neck to determine how long you want to make your strap. Add 4 inches to this length and cut.

Folded end of trim is slid through swivel clasp

Step 2: Slide trim through swivel clasp

Take one end of your length of trim and fold the corners in, toward the center. Slide the folded end through one of the swivel clasps so about 2 inches of trim are poking out.

The short end of the trim that's through the swivel clasp is folded over and basted onto the backside of the strap near the edge

Step 3: Stitch end in place

Fold the short end of the trim onto the backside of the strap and baste stitch near the edge to secure it in place. Repeat all three steps for the other end of the strap and set it aside.

Steel shears cut rectangular strip of leather

Step 4: Cut leather strip

Cut a rectangular strip of leather that’s about 3 inches long and 1/2 inch narrower than the width of your trim.

A pen marks the width of the D-ring on both sides of the folded leather strip

Step 5: Measure and trim leather to size

Fold the piece of leather in half. Center your second swivel clasp above the folded edge and use a pen to mark the width of the D-ring on both sides of the leather fold.

Steel shears trim leather along an angled line from one bottom corner of the strip to the pen mark at the top
Edges of leather strip are rounded using steel shears

Keeping the leather folded, cut an angled line from one bottom corner of the strip to the pen mark you made on the nearest folded edge. Repeat on the other side, then use scissors to round the outer edges.

A pen traces the cut leather shape onto a second piece of leather

Step 6: Trace and repeat

Trace the cut leather shape onto a second piece of leather and cut an identical piece for the other side of your camera strap.

Cut leather piece slides through the D-ring over the fabric trim

Step 7: Add leather to trim

Grab your strap and, holding one of the sewn ends, slide one of the cut leather pieces through the D-ring and fold it over the trim.

A mallet and leather hole punch are used to punch three holes through all the layers of the folded leather and trim near each end of the strap

Step 8: Punch holes for rivets

Use the mallet and leather hole punch to punch three holes through all the layers of the folded leather and trim near each end of the strap: one in the center near the D-ring, and one near each bottom corner.

Rivets are set in each of the three holes using a mallet and rivet setter

Step 9: Set rivets and repeat

Position a rivet in each hole and use the mallet and rivet setter to set.

Finished camera strap, shown attached to a vintage camera

Project by Julie O’Boyle, Aleksa Brown, and Clare McGibbon. Photographs courtesy of Erik Valind.

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