Supplies for Making Dog Leads

Leashes are simple to make and easy to use.
Leashes are simple to make and easy to use. (Image: chien 7 image by Nathalie P from

Leash making allows dog owners to express individuality and creativity. Dog owners who are skeptical of the quality or materials of commercially available leashes find leash making a satisfactory endeavor, due in part to the knowledge of how and what the finished product is made from. Relatively simple to make, there are a few basic supplies needed for making dog leads and leashes.

Nylon Webbing

Nylon webbing is a flat ribbon of woven nylon fibers. Strong and durable, this fabric is used for a variety of applications besides making dog leashes, including boat rigging, rock climbing harnesses, and horse care. Often used as the base fiber for creating simple, sewn dog leads, nylon webbing comes readily available in a variety of colors. One-inch widths of nylon webbing carry a tensile strength of up to 4,200 lbs., ensuring that the fibers stand up to the pulling of even the most intrepid canines.

Hemp Cord

It is possible to create a homemade dog lead from simple hemp cord. Dog owners who prefer natural, ecologically friendly fibers may find hemp leashes a conscientious and aesthetically pleasing choice. Simple macrame knots create a strong, durable leash from the cord. One of the only drawbacks of hemp cord is that leashes created from it slacken, rot, or break with wear and time. Hemp cord is available in a variety of naturally and artificially dyed colors, as well as the natural tan color of the fibers.

A roll of natural colored hemp twine.
A roll of natural colored hemp twine. (Image: bindfaden image by Christian Jung from

Snap Hooks

A metal snap hook, also called a barrel snap, is the main piece of hardware used in the creation of leashes. These hooks come equipped with a solid loop through which the leash is threaded and secured. The working part of a snap hook opens and closes via a small lever that can be depressed with the flick of a finger. Snap hooks come in a variety of colors and finishes, but are commonly nickel or nickel-plated brass. Snap hooks are measured based upon the width of the attached loop, making it easy to find the hook you need based on the width of your leash.

A silver colored snap hook.
A silver colored snap hook. (Image: footprints image by Henryk Olszewski from


Embellishing a dog leash is often as simple as sewing or gluing a strip of decorative ribbon to one or both sides of nylon webbing. Woven leashes can be decorated by weaving in beads, buttons, or pieces of contrasting cord. In addition to ribbon and beads, other possible decorative supplies include embroidery thread, yarn, iron-on patches, metal studs, grommets, and fabric. While there is no right or wrong way to embellish a homemade dog lead, it should be noted that any embellishments need to be attached securely to prevent accidental injury to the dog, particularly if your dog is prone to chewing on the lead. Studs and grommets may cause damage to the integrity of the lead itself, and may not be an ideal choice of embellishment if your dog is a strong puller or jumper.

Sew a length of ribbon to a leash for a personalized effect.
Sew a length of ribbon to a leash for a personalized effect. (Image: ribbon rolls image by TekinT from

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  • "Dogwear: Over 30 Super Easy Sewing Projects: Fashionable, Functional, Fun Gear for Your Four-Legged Friend"; Mette Syrstad Hoydal; 2009
  • "Dog Fashion: Haute Couture for Your Hound"; Susie Green; 2007
  • "Canine Couture: 25 Projects: Fashion and Lifestyle Accessories for Designer Dogs"; Lilly Shahravesh; 2008
  • "Doggy Fashion"; Alison Jenkins; 2003
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