Introduction: How to Make a Four Strand Round Braid Dog Leash From Paracord

Picture of How to Make a Four Strand Round Braid Dog Leash From Paracord

There are many uses for paracord. It's durable, virtually indestructable and washable, too! Paracord makes an excellent dog leash since it is lightweight and super tough.

I have just started up my new blog Bloggie Stylish where you can find all kinds of neat tutorials, like this one.

Step 1: Tools That You Will Need

Picture of Tools That You Will Need

These are the tools that I use when I braid paracord. You will need 2 hemostat clamps, a C-clamp, scissors, a flexible measuring tape and a small woodburning tool. You can commonly find the woodburning tool at most crafting stores. The brand that I use is a Lenk. Of course, you will need a snap that is size appropriate to your dog and the paracord, ofcourse.

Paracord will shrink when it gets wet so you must preshrink it so that your finished project won't get all misshapen the first time you take your dog for a walk in the rain. To preshrink the paracord, soak it in hot water for a few minutes and then lay it on a flat surface to dry. I usually preshrink a bunch at a time to that I always have plenty on hand when I need it.

I am making a 5 foot leash, with a 5 inch allowance for the handle, so to determine how much paracord that you need, break down the length of your project into inches and multiply by four. 65" X 4 = 260" so I will need 2 seperate paracord strands that are EACH 260" long.

Step 2: Arranging the Paracord Strands

Picture of Arranging the Paracord Strands

For simplicity sake, I have used 4 different coloured cords and spliced them together to make 2 cords of 2 different colours. I like to use the C-clamp to clamp the snap to a tabletop 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. But using this method will make your work twist about and can be frustrating. Now lay the two pieces of the paracord side by side, over the ring of the snap.

Step 3: Braiding Move One

Picture of Braiding Move One

Graps the cords in both hands, and place 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 4: Braiding Move Two

Picture of Braiding Move Two

Take BLACK and cross behind TAN and then cross over PINK.

Step 5: Braiding Move Three

Picture of 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 the cross over BROWN. You will always be adding to the braid with the strand of paracord that on top of all the other strands.

Continue braiding until you have 65" of cord. Measure from the begining of the snap to the end of the finished braid.

Step 6: Clamping Off the Cord With the Hemostat Clamp

Picture of Clamping Off the Cord With the Hemostat Clamp

Use one of your hemostat clamps to clamp off the end of your braid to stabilize it. Notice that I haven't clamped off BROWN. This is the next cord to be braided and it is important in the next step.

Step 7: Measuring the Braid for the Handle Loop

Picture of Measuring the Braid for the Handle Loop

From the END of the braid, measure 5" and fold the cord over. Examine the braid to see where a BROWN strand crosses the braid and poke the hemostat clamp through. 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 8: Back Braiding Move Two

Picture of Back Braiding Move Two

You can now remove the hemostat clamp that secures the end of the braid. Locate the PINK strand the crosses through the braid that is closest the BROWN. Poke the hemostat through, grip the PINK strand, clamp the hemostat and pull PINK all the way through.

Step 9: Back Braid Move Three

Picture of Back Braid Move Three

Locate the TAN strand that passes through the braid and repeat step 7.

Step 10: Back Braid Move Four

Picture of Back Braid Move Four

The final step is to locate where the BLACK strand passes through the braid and repeat step 7.

Step 11: Finishing the Back Braiding Process

Picture of Finishing the Back Braiding Process

Now that you have made the handle, it has to be stabilized by further back braiding. Keep repeating steps seven to ten, three or four times to create a sturdy back braid.

Step 12: Trimming the Loose Ends of the Paracord

Picture of Trimming the Loose Ends of the Paracord

Now that you have completed the back braid, you need to properly finish the ends. Take your scissors and cut the cords close the braid. Now is the time to plug in the woodburner and allow a few minutes for it to heat up.

Step 13: Melting the Ends of the Paracord

Picture of 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 you leash look good, melt the cord against the same colour cord that is directly below it. Before you switch colours, quickly swipe the tip of the woodburner over a damp scrap of cloth to clean it. Do this carefully since the woodburner gets very hot!

Step 14: Close Up of the Melted Cords

Picture of Close Up of the Melted Cords

When done properly, the melted cords will match almost seamlesssly into the cord below. It takes a little practice, so don't get flustered if you don't get it on the first try.

Step 15: Admire Your Finished Leash!

Picture of Admire Your Finished Leash!

So there you have it! Your leash is done and your dog is begging you to go for a walk! If the leash gets dirty, just toss it in the washing machine with your clothes. I have even heard of some people putting it in the dishwasher! Isn't paracord amazing?!


darmorris (author)2016-07-07

How would you add beads to the leash?

SeanR57 made it! (author)2016-03-11

Great Instructions!!! Only issue I saw was that Your calculation uses way to much paracord for a 5 foot leash. I used that exact amount and was able to go all the way to a 6'5" leash. So anyone reading this just use a little less paracord than the calculation comes out to.

kweh made it! (author)2016-02-09

Orange and Grey one about 6 months old now.

Black and Grey made today is 1.5mtrs long (each length of paracord was 5.2mtrs long, so each of the 4 strands was 2.6mtrs long.

Great tute!

bwelkin (author)2015-07-18

I am sure it's just me but I see only three colors in all your pictures. For instance in Pic 3 I see one continuous black cord running from far left to far right then a grey cord second from left and pink second from right. This has made it hard to follow. Maybe I should have my vision color tested; I just haven't had this problem before. Am I the only one? tks

LJ1960 (author)bwelkin2016-01-04

i see black brown grey and pink

JanT23 (author)bwelkin2015-11-08

No, I see 4 brown, black, pink, and grey.

5STARGBLOOD (author)2015-06-15

just a Guess here but do you preshrink gutted or full paracord?

Crafts101 (author)2014-05-08

use a lighter!

wanderingbehr (author)2014-03-26

Took only for hours to make a none foot one. thanks for the instructable

four foot that is

Squash (author)2013-09-01

Thanks! Definitely going to do this. Does anyone know if there a good place to buy or order the clips in bulk?

Eddiemoto (author)2013-05-05

Great instructable. Took me a while to figure out the back braiding, but once I got that, the end result is awesome.

fretted (author)2012-12-13

Bazinga !

susanchen2011 (author)2012-07-01

well done.

strmrnnr (author)2012-07-01

I will make the suggestion to double wrap the cord around the metal of the ring.
This will distribute the pulling force over more area to prevent the ring cutting the cord and it will fill the ring so there is no side to side chafing of the cord.

Nice job.

knebekajze (author)2012-07-01

Awesome! My friend has a dog, so I know what present she'll receive tomorrow=)

mandoynaussies (author)2012-06-03

Thanks so much! I bought some nylon cord to make a leash with and also want to add beads to it. What size paracord is this leash made with?

JPARC7 (author)2012-05-18

This is amazing! I have not come across a tutorial on how to make a dog leash made from paracord. It's great to see your step by step process here! Your instructions are very simple and clear. I would try to do that and hopefully will give it to my friend's pet. Thanks!
Great survival straps bracelets

finghin (author)2011-06-28

Awesome! Was really frustrating at first, I kept losing my place in the braid and forgetting what I was doing. The second attempt went much quicker and smoother.

Jerry E (author)2011-06-14

I actually found and followed this tutorial from your blog before I saw it here. This was my first paracord project, although I have played with this same braid before.
It really turned out great, and I am motivated to try some new projects. Thanks for a well done instructable!

hohum (author)2009-12-20

take a soldering iron, or and old iron, and heat smusch the end to look like a trumpet bell, it would give the piece a finished look and be harder for the material to pull out

looks great


jsgraham (author)2009-11-17

Very nice instructable.  I'm glad someone has finally made a noteworthy instructable outlining this braid.  I've used the same braid with gutted paracord to make neck lanyards for ID badges.  I made a 3-1/2 foot leash for our Pekingese because it's easier to control him in the car.  He loves to go for car rides.

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Bio: I love to make things & work with my hands. I mostly make stuff for dogs and sometimes I dabble with recipes, too. Right now I ... More »
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