Parachute cord is awesome! It’s washable, strong, useful for many applications and virtually indestructible!! This tutorial will teach you how to make a four strand round braided dog leash with parachute cord.
Paracord will shrink when it gets wet, so it is VERY IMPORTANT that you preshrink the cord before you start to braid. If you don’t, the first time that you walk your dog in the rain, your leash will get all misshapen and lumpy.
To preshrink the cord, soak it in hot water for about five minutes and then hang it to dry. You can toss it in a pillow case, knot it closed and dry it in the dryer as well, it’s your choice. I like to preshrink a bunch at a time so that I always have plenty on hand when I need it.
I am making a five foot leash, with a five inch allowance for a handle loop. To determine how much paracord that you will need, break down the length of your project into inches and multiply by four. 65″ X 4 = 260″ so I will need 2 separate paracord strands that are EACH 260″ long.
Tools That You Will Need
These tools are essential when braiding with paracord. You will need two hemostat clamps, a C-clamp, scissors, a small flexible measuring tape and a wood burning tool.
Step 1 – Arranging the Paracord Strands
For simplicity sake, I have used four different coloured cords and spliced them together to make two cords of four different colours. I like to use a C-clamp to fasten the snap to the table top so that my work stays steady. You can also just use a scrap of paracord and tie the snap to a table leg, stair railing or anything else that is stable. However, using this method will make your work twist about and can be frustrating for the beginner. Now, lay the two pieces of the paracord side by side, over the ring of the snap.
Step 2 – Braiding Move One
Grasp the cords in both hands, placing a good, light tension on all the strands. Cross PINK over TAN. BLACK goes to the outside left and BROWN to the outside right.
Step 2 – Braiding Move Two
Take BLACK and cross behind TAN and then cross over PINK
Step 4 – Braiding Move Three
Cross BROWN behind the braid and then cross over BLACK. The NEXT step (not shown) will be to cross TAN behind the braid and then cross over BROWN. You will always be adding to the braid with the strand of paracord that is on top of all the other strands. Continue braiding until you have 65″ or finished braid. Use your flexible measuring tape, measuring from the beginning of the snap to the end of the finished braid.
Step 5 – Clamping Off the Cord
Use one of your hemostat clamps to clamp off the end of your cord. Notice that I haven’t clamped off BROWN. (your coloured cord might be different, it just depends when you stopped braiding.) This is the next cord to be braided and is very important in the next step.
Step 6 – Measuring The Braid For The Handle Loop
From the END of the braid, measure five inches and fold the cord over. Examine the braid to see where a BROWN strand crosses the braid, and poke your other hemostat clamp under it. Open the hemostat, grip the BROWN cord and clamp the hemostat closed. Now you will pull the BROWN cord all the way through the braid.
Step 7 – Back Braid Move Two
You can now remove the hemostat clamp that secures the end of the braid. Locate the PINK strand that crosses through the braid that is closest to BROWN. Poke the hemostat through, grip the loose PINK cord, clamp the hemostat and pull PINK all the way through.
Step 8 – Back Braid Move Three
Locate the TAN strand that passes through the braid and repeat step 7.
Step 9 – Back Braid Move Four
The final step is to locate where the BLACK strand passes through the braid and repeat step 7.
Step 10 – Finishing The Back Braiding Process
Now that you have a handle, it has to be stabilized by further back braiding. Keep repeating steps six to nine, three or four more times to create a sturdy back braid.
Step 11 – Trimming The Loose Ends of Paracord
Now that you have completed your back braid, you need to properly finish the ends. Take your scissors and cut the cords close to the braid. Now is the time to plug in your wood burning tool and allow a few minutes to let it heat up.
Step 12 – Melting The Ends Of The Paracord
The woodburner usually takes three to five minutes to get hot enough to melt the paracord. To properly melt the cord, gently run the woodburner over the cut cord in a sweeping motion. To make your leash look good, melt the cord against the same coloured cord that is directly below it. Before you switch colours, quickly swipe the tip of the woodburner over a damp cloth to clean it. Do this carefully since the tip gets very hot!
Close Up Of The Melted Cords
When done properly, the melted cords will match almost seamlessly into the cord below. It takes a little practice, so don’t get flustered if you don’t get it on the first try.
Admire Your Finished Leash!
So there you have it! Your leash is done and your dog is begging you to go for a walk! When your leash gets dirty, just toss it into the washing machine with your clothes. I have heard of some people putting their leashes in the dishwasher! Isn’t paracord amazing?