Creating Stylish Dog Leashes from Rope: A DIY Guide

Do you want to add a touch of style to your furry friend’s walks without breaking the bank? Colorful rope dog leashes have taken the pet accessories world by storm, but with prices ranging from $70 to over $150, they’re not exactly budget-friendly. Fear not! With this easy DIY rope leash project, you can create a custom leash that perfectly suits your pooch’s taste (and yours!) without breaking the bank.

The Allure of Rope Dog Leashes

Let’s start by acknowledging the undeniable appeal of rope leashes. They have a certain visual charm that’s hard to resist. To give you a better idea of what we’re aiming for, here are a few examples of shops and brands that create these stylish leashes.

Rope dog leash

  1. Mungo & Maud
  2. RESQ/CO
  3. Found
  4. Grey Paw (at $35, definitely the most affordable option)

While many of these brands utilize traditional nautical techniques, we’re going to take a bit of a shortcut to achieve similar results. If you’re interested in learning how to splice rope the traditional way, YouTube has plenty of video tutorials available. But for now, let’s jump into making your own rope dog leash!

Materials for the DIY Rope Dog Leash Project

To get started, here’s what you’ll need:

Rope dog leash materials

  • 2 to 2 1/4 yards of 3/8″ thick cotton rope
  • Fabric dye
  • 2 rope clamps
  • 1 snap hook
  • Rubber mallet
  • Large cooking pot

You can find rope clamps and snap hooks at your local hardware store in the rope section. However, finding 100% cotton rope might be a bit trickier. Look for the braided style in the trim section of a craft store like JoAnn’s, or order the 3-strand variety from Knot & Rope Supply, where it’s available at an affordable price.

Further reading:  Illuminate Your Nighttime Walks with Karen's Kollars

Crafting Your Own Rope Dog Leash

Now that you have all the necessary materials, it’s time to dive into the DIY process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to making your own rope dog leash:

  1. Determine the desired length for your leash, typically ranging from 4 to 6 feet. Cut the rope to your preferred length and secure the ends with tape or by tying them off to prevent unraveling.

A coiled white rope

  1. Soak the rope in warm water while you prepare the fabric dye, following the instructions on the bottle. You won’t need much dye, as a bottle of RIT Liquid Dye goes a long way.

A white pot with a rope soaking in it

  1. Now comes the fun part! For an ombre or dip-dyed effect, quickly dip the rope into the dye and remove it. Then, re-dip at different heights/levels until you achieve the desired gradient. If you prefer a solid color, submerge the entire rope in the dye, stirring constantly until you reach your desired hue.

  2. Hang the dyed rope to dry, with the darker end at the top. To help the dye distribute evenly, gently squeeze the excess dye and water down the length of the rope.

A rope displayed in gradations

  1. Once you’re satisfied with the gradient, rinse the rope in cold water until the water runs clear. Alternatively, use some RIT Dye Fixative to ensure the color remains sealed into the rope.

  2. Allow the rope to air dry thoroughly, which may take up to 24 hours.

A silver hook attached to a black rope

  1. With the rope fully dry, it’s time to attach the clamps and snap hook. Decide which end you want to place the hook, and feed the rope through the ring. Fold the rope over to create a small loop.
Further reading:  A Thrilling Showdown: Dog Collar Match

A black cord with a silver hook near a white tool
A black length of rope with a silver hook at the end

  1. Position the clamp on a flat surface with the prongs facing up. Insert the base of the rope loop between the prongs, and use a rubber mallet to hammer all four prongs securely over the rope.

A large string shaped into a hook

  1. On the other end of the rope, fold it over to create a 6-7″ loop, adjusting the size based on your hand size and comfort. Repeat step 8 to secure the clamp in place.

Congratulations! At this point, you have a fully functional leash. However, if you want to take this project to the next level and add some stylish touches, read on.

Dyed rope dog leash
Purple and white rope joined by a sewed leather piece

To cover the unsightly clamps, you can use various materials like twine, yarn, string, or leather cording. For a unique touch, we’ll cover the clamps with leather using colorful stitching. If you’re interested in this option, here’s what you’ll need:

A hammer and ruler sitting on a table

  • Leather
  • Craft knife
  • Embroidery floss
  • Ruler
  • Hammer
  • Self-healing cutting mat

Creating a Leather Clamp Cover

Follow these steps to craft a leather clamp cover for your rope leash:

  1. Cut a strip of leather, approximately 2.25″ wide or wide enough to cover the length of the clamp.

A ruler spread out on a gridded cutting board

  1. From this strip, cut two pieces of leather measuring about 2.5″ long or long enough to wrap around the clamp.

A square brown item in a clear container on a sheet of paper

  1. Soak one of the leather pieces in warm water until it becomes soft and pliable. Stretch it slightly and pat it dry.

Folded leather material on a gridded cutting board

  1. Fold the leather over and create small stitch guides/holes by lightly tapping a hammer and darning needle. Space the holes approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart.

A black rope being bound to brown material

  1. Lay the leather on a flat surface, place the clamp on top, and position it properly. Cut a length of embroidery floss and tie a knot at the end. Anchor the floss to the rope itself by looping and tying the thread a few times.
Further reading:  The Art of Keeping Dog Collars and Leashes Clean

A contraption with blue rope and a metal clasp
A black rope bound by brown leather

  1. Stitch the two ends of the leather together using a simple whip stitch, pulling it tightly. When you reach the end, anchor the floss to the rope as before and cut the thread.

A white rope next to a black rope with a clasp

  1. Repeat steps 3-6 to cover the other clamp. Allow the leather to dry completely, as it will tighten around the clamps as it dries.

A white and purple rope with a silver hook
A purple and white rope attached to a silver hook

Now you have a beautiful homemade rope dog leash!

An ombre black and white leash
A homemade dip-dyed dog leash

Enjoy your fashionable creation during your walks with your four-legged companion. And speaking of which, here are some obligatory photos of my dogs to inspire your next leash-making adventure:

Two dogs on leashes sitting in the grass

Happy leash making!