In this tutorial I will show you how to make a paracord dog leash.
There are quite a few paracord dog leash designs out there. From all these designs, I find the braided dog leash to be one of the best to make, mostly because of the ease with which it can be made, as well as the variety braids offer in terms of colors and sequences.
In this first tutorial I will focus on the simplest one, the 4 strand diamond braid. Being the simplest does not mean it is any less useful though.
This tutorial consists of two parts, the first showing you how to make a perfectly functional paracord dog leash using the diamond braid. The second part shows you how to add an overlay (the orange cord on the photos) to the braid in order to make it a bit more bulky, as well as eye pleasing. This overlay is not a must have, but I do prefer a leash with it.
To make this leash you will need the following:
- paracord 550, in one or two colors
- a snap hook to attach the leash to the collar
- a lacing needle or a hemostat. If you would like to make a needle yourself, see the lacing needle tutorial. These are used to splice back in the ends of the braid.
- a lighter is also needed to melt the cord, as well as scissors/knife to cut the cord.
Planning the dog leash
We now know the basic supplies needed to make the leash. But just how much cord will you need? You do not want to run short or have too much left in the end.
When testing my braid I found that the braid eats up some of the cord. This percentage in my case is about 25%. So a 4 foot leash would require five feet of cord.
We need four strands, which will be gained by folding two cords in half and attaching these two folded pieces to the snap hook using the lark’s head knot.
We also need to make the loop and finally need to splice in or tuck in the ends back into the braid, which does add a bit of cord to the total as well.
A 4 foot leash would require:
8 feet cord (folded 4 feet cord), PLUS half a foot for the loop and half a foot for the splice. This brings the total to 9 feet. To account for the braid loss, we need to add 25% to that, meaning that the grand total is 11,25 feet.
A 4 foot leash would therefore require two, 11,25 foot cords.
With that information available, we can now cut two pieces of paracord.
Making the basic dog leash
The basic leash is made in the following steps:
- attaching the two cords to the snap hook using a lark’s head knot
- braiding the leash using the four cords- the diamond braid is used. The cords are braided until about half a foot remains
- duct tape the braid or use a crown knot to secure the braid
- shape the handle by bending the leash to make the eye
- use the lacing needle or the hemostat to follow the four cords back into the braid.
Step 1- attach the cords to the snap hook
Fold the two pieces of cord and attach them to the hook.
Step 2- braid the leash
Use the diamond braid to braid the leash.
A tutorial on the diamond braid is available here:
Step 3- secure the braid
Reach the length you want for your leash. When only about half a foot of the ends remain, secure the braid. The braid would come apart if not secured. Use some duct tape or the crown knot to secure it.
Step 4- make the eye/the handle
The handle is made by folding part of the leash back against itself.
Step 5- secure the handle by splicing it in
Finally, the four cord ends follow the four cords in the braid for at least 5 pulls. This doubles up the braid. Use a lacing needle to get this done.
The basic leash is done when the splices are complete. All there is left to do is cut and melt the ends. The leash is functional now. Because I find the leash a bit too thin, I also like to add an overlay, which I will show you in the following segments.
Making the overlay
Finally, the overlay can be made. This is the most fun part of the project, mostly because it adds color to the leash and also enables you to add some fancy knots when finishing it.
The overlay itself is made by first attaching two additional cords to the snap hook, then braiding them down the entire length of the leash, using the same braid (diamond braid) that we used to make the basic leash. You can cover the handle as well, I think it is a good idea.
We finish the overlay with any sort of knot we prefer. I finished the leash in the video below using a lanyard knot, through which I pulled the handle. You can use crown knots as well, or a fancy looking turk’s head knot.
Length of the overlay cords
Because we are braiding over a core, we will naturally need more cordage. I suggest taking double the size that you used for the basic leash, at least for the first try. If you took 11 and a quarter feet for the basic leash, take 22,5 feet this time, just to be sure.
With that said let’s take a look at the steps needed to make the overlay!
Step 1- attach two additional cords
Finding a nice looking way to attach two additional cords to the snap hook may be a challenge. It gets a bit crowded up there. I use a modified lark’s head knot pictured below to add the cords.
Step 2- making the overlay
The overlay is made using the same diamond braid used for the core. It is important to tighten it up a bit more, so it does not slide up and down. Due to the shape of the braid, the overlay sits into it nicely. You can cover the handle as well if so desired, it does look quite nice.
Step 3- finishing the overlay
The most challenging part of this leash is the finishing knot. There are many ways you can use to finish the overlay, from a simple turk’s head knot, to more advanced turk’s head variants. It can also be finished using a lanyard knot (seen in the video to follow), the crown knot or any other way that you come up with. Below I show a simple lanyard knot finish.
A video tutorial is available to complement this article. You can find it here:
I have shown you the most basic braided dog leash you can make, as well as adding an overlay. It was quite the task and I hope it will help you make some leashes as well. While I do feel that I covered much of what is needed, we all learn at our own pace. So be sure to post any questions you may have and I will try to help you resolve them. The video, combined with this tutorial should get you through, but if you get stuck and frustrated, take a break. The leash will be waiting for you when you get back.
Till next time, happy paracording!