How to make braided leather dog leads

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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Braided leather dog leads are the pinnacle of style and panache. While stylish, these leashes often carry a hefty price tag when purchased in stores. Making your own leashes using a four-strand braid ensures a cheaper price tag and a quality product. While the braiding process can seem tricky at first, once you fall into the rhythm of braiding, you may not want to stop.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Leather
  • Rotary cutter
  • Awl
  • Leather needle
  • Thread
  • Swivel hook

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  1. 1

    Choose a durable leather for this project. Latigo leather is sturdy, durable and comes in a variety of colours.

  2. 2

    Cut four strips of leather approximately twice as long as you would like your leash to be. Wider strips will create a bulkier braided lead. Most leads use strips 2 inches in width or less.

  3. 3

    Lay the strips of leather flat, stacked one on top of another. Poke through the leather using an awl and stitch the strips together using a leather needle and durable thread.

  4. 4

    Clip the leather to a sturdy surface, such as the edge of a desk or the side of a couch.

  5. 5

    Arrange the four strips of leather so that they lay separately. For ease of explanation, the strips are numbered one through four, from left to right, when spread out. The numbering refers to the position of the leather strips, not the strips themselves.

  6. 6

    Cross strip one under strip two, causing strip number two to become strip number one. Move your working strip under and around strip three. Strip one is now strip number two.

  7. 7

    Move strip four under strip three. Move your working strip over and around strip two. Strip four is now strip three.

  8. 8

    Repeat this process, weaving each outside strip of leather under and over each inner strip, alternating sides.

  9. 9

    Layer the strips so that they lay flat when the braid has reached approximately 5 inches longer than the length of your satisfaction. Stitch through the strips so that they are attached to each other.

  10. 10

    Unclip the top of your braid. Knot the sewn end of the leather to the braid, creating a loop that measures approximately 5 inches.

  11. 11

    Slide a swivel hook onto the unlooped edge of the braid. Sew the edge of the leather to the braid, securing the hook on the braided lead.

  12. 12

    Tug on all knots and stitching to ensure that they are secure. Sew over or knot any portions that seem unsecure to finish your braided leather dog lead.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of a four-strand braid, which produces a tubular shape, you may decide to use a three-strand braid, which produces a flattened leash. Neither braid or shape has an inherent benefit---the choice is based strictly on personal aesthetics.
  • Condition your leather before working and periodically after use. Conditioning the leather keeps it soft and supple. Leather that is not cared for may crack or break, compromising the structural integrity of the dog lead.

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