Have you every been browsing leather camera straps? Well, I have done it a few times but every time I get scared away by the prices. This is why I decided to try to make my own leather camera strap.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
What you will need:
Materials, may vary depending on how you chose to design your camera strap. In this case you need:
Leather (cognac, 25 and 10 mm wide)
Wood lathe + burner tool (optional)
Step 2: Design
In this step you should let your imagination run wild. First think about the dimensions you want to use, if it should be adjustable, if you want to combine different materials and so on.
I chose to measure my standard Nikon camera strap since I like the length of it. The strap is about 1200 mm long which is why I decided to also go with that and not make it adjustable, however the width of this strap is slightly smaller than the orgininal Nikon camera strap. All dimensions used for this specific camera strap can be found in the appended photo.
Since I wanted to make the camera strap look retro and a bit exclusive I chose to go with a combination of cognac leather and wool. Once more, there are several ways to combine this, which is why I made a test piece where I wrapped the leather in wool and also just covered the upper part. Choose for yourself whichever option you like best or try your one idea! My recommendation is also to think about which color on the rivets and sewing thread you use.
Step 3: Burnish the Edges of the Leather
When you are pleased with your design it is time to start making the camera strap. As mentioned earlier, I wanted to make the camera strap look exclusive which is why I decided to burnish the edges.
Start by measuring and cutting your different pieces. There are several ways to burnish the edges, it can either be done by hand or by using a wood lathe. However, if you choose the second option, you have to turn a tool to burnish the edges. Luckily, my mom just made a leather bracelet, for which she had made such a tool. A few photo's of her making the tool are shown in her instructable:
Using this tool, the edges are simply burnished by first dipping the edges of the leather into water and then polishing them against the tool. A photo illustrating the result compared to before burnishing the edges is appended.
Step 4: Making the Slender Parts of the Camera Strap
The lower part of the camera strap, the slender part, is fitted together using rivets. Mark out the placement of the rivets and use a belt puncher to make holes in the leather strap (it is also possible to drill the holes if you do not have a belt puncher). Put the rivets in and do not forget to put the key ring on before hammering the rivet.
Step 5: Sewing and Fitting the Wool
The next step will be to make the main part of the camera strap. Mark and cut the wool to the dimensions of the camera strap.
To make sure that the wool will not be to wide/thin to enclose the leather strap, mark the wool and then glue the upper part using wood glue before cutting the wool. With that done, sew around the edges of the wool, both to fix it and also to add to the design. Leather is quite tuff and there is a risk of the needle braking when it tries to punch through the leather so start slowly and "help" the sewing machine if needed.
I decided to also sew the edges of the leather parts and added two more rivets at the transition from wool to leather. Lastly, I glued the wool on the backside to the leather.
Step 6: Fit the Pieces and Finalize
To fit the slender parts with the main part of the camera strap I used glue and sewed it together. So glue the parts, let it dry up, and then sew the parts together.
Finally, every time you stop sewing, there will be two threads which need to be fitted and trimmed. Pull the thread from the backside of the strap, to pull the thread from the front through the strap and tie them together. Also pull the threads through a few stiches and put on some glue before cutting them to make sure they would not come loose.
Step 7: Enjoy Your New Camera Strap
Fit the camera strap to your camera, and go out and take nice photo's and enjoy!