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How To Upcycle Plastic Shopping Bags Into A Braided Dog Leash

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Picture of How To Upcycle Plastic Shopping Bags Into A Braided Dog Leash
If you're drowning in plastic bags, you can finally recycle them into something useful! This tutorial will show you how to turn plastic shopping bags into a dog leash.

The leash that I am showing you to make is suitable for a SMALL to MEDIUM sized dog ONLY!!! Don't go walking your 150 pound Bullmastiff with it because it will break when the dog strains on the leash. If you want to make a stronger dog leash, double up the braiding strands or use a thicker plastic.

Since this project is braided with all the strands being the same colour, it might be confusing to one that is just learning how to braid. I have made another four strand braid instructable where all the cords are different colours. Check it out if you need help starting or finishing your braid.

The reason that I really love Instructables is because other members are constantly giving feedback on your design and perhaps on how to make things better. jtobako queried me on the snap attachment and said it looked a little weak, which was a really good point. I haven't had a problem since my dog isn't really a "puller", but it did get me thinking. I did come up with a sturdier way to attach the snap to the braid, which you can seen in steps 20 to 23.

I have just started up my new blog Bloggie Stylish where you can find all kinds of neat tutorials, like this one.
 
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Step 1: Tools You Will Need

Picture of Tools You Will Need
To sucessfully make this leash you will need tin foil, an iron, a C-clamp, scissors, a flexible measuring tape, a lighter, some small rubber bands, two hemostat clamps a leash snap and plastic bags, of course. The ironing board is optional, but you will need a flat, heat resistant surface to fuse the plastic bags on.

Step 2: Cutting The Plastic Bags

Picture of Cutting The Plastic Bags
To make the strips to braid the leash, you will need to cut the plastic bags into strips. Cut the bags into approximately three inch wide, length wise strips in whichever way that gets you the most strips out of your bag.
sunshiine4 years ago
I am sharing this with my daughter she will appreciate it!
I saw "How to upcycle plastic shopping bags into a bra" on the first page. So imagine my disappointment to see the rest of the title! :( Silly title truncation.

Awesome, if unexexpected, though!! Faved and rated. :)
brunester4 years ago
 cool idea. 
but i must admit, I clicked the link cause i though it said 
"how to upscale plastic shopping bags into a BRA"
:D

Same here, and then i saw the snap in the last picture and thought "oh man, this *must've* been a guy that made this...."  ;)
 me too, bro!
"Oh now this would be a fun/interesting project for me and my girlfriend..." *click* "awww, guess I have to find a pattern on my own then." www.instructables.com/id/Plastic-Bag-Fabric!/
Doggie Stylish (author)  brunester4 years ago
maybe i should consider trying to make a bra with plastic bags. now to make a comfortable one would be a challenge!!
You sir are not the only one.  Shorten the title if you want people to know it's a leash before clicking on it.
Doggie Stylish (author)  MrBippers4 years ago
i think that i like the fact that it says "bra", it increases the curosity factor! :)
 haha
i think a new instructable is in order!
 same here :)
Stew2 brunester4 years ago
 Lol, me too!
PastTheVoid4 years ago
How strong is it? How much force can it withstand?
Doggie Stylish (author)  PastTheVoid4 years ago
i haven't had mine break, but it is for walking a well trained small to medium dog. if your dog is a heavy puller, i would recommend using a leather or nylon leash.
Heidiswift4 years ago
Sweet jesus. You have no idea how long I have been trying to figure out SOMETHING to do with those.

I think it' best to switch to re-usable cloth bags (which I've done) but this is fantastic for the mass of plastic bags that I still have laying around.

Definitely waiting for the bra instructable to surface. :)
kissiltur4 years ago
a very cunning use of a ubquitous and annoying material. Well done!

What's the failure mode under excessive strain? Does it stretch at all, or is there a sudden snap?

I ask partly because there was another ible on making braided cord with old videotape which noted that the failure mode was pretty sudden and catastrophic. Plastic bags are, I think, a less brittle polymer but I wondered if you had seen what happened under extreme stress.
Doggie Stylish (author)  kissiltur4 years ago
these leashes are made for small or medium sized well trained dogs. i've walked my 50 pound vizsla with the one that i made & it's been okay. plastic bags are pretty flexible & they hold up well.
justink4 years ago
 LOL, dude. shorten the title. On the home page it shows up as "How to Upcycle Plastic Shopping Bags Into a Bra" 
IdahoDavid4 years ago
Innovative! A clever and fun way to reuse those pesky bags. I see the potential for other uses for the cordage -- weaving mats to use as weatherproof ground clothes, perhaps. Bravo!
Doggie Stylish (author)  IdahoDavid4 years ago
Thanks! I was inspired by a crochet tute that I saw where a crafter made a sweater from plastic bags. I can't imagine that the sweater would have been very comfortable, but I got me thinking about other applications.
jtobako4 years ago
Do you have any problems with the thinness of the cord at the beginning/hook end? There's only half as much materiel there as anywhere else.
Doggie Stylish (author)  jtobako4 years ago
I haven't had a problem with it yet, but i've only been using it for about a week now. My dog isn't a "puller", either. that's a really good point, though. If you are concerned about it, you can braid the entire leash without the snap and then use the backbraid technique to fasten the snap.
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