Combat Ready Camera Holster and Wrist Stap From a Laptop Case




About: Called a renaissance man more times than I can count, I am the type of person who believes you can do anything you put your mind to. As a veteran I've seen some awful acts committed, and I guess my wanting t...
"I hear the choppers hover'n, their hover'n over head, they come to get wounded, they come to the dead, Airborne" Ahhh! that old cadence still stands out in my head, I think back on those time remembering the whoop whoop whoop of those Huey blades as they chopped the air, looking up as they flew so close to the ground, used to make me think if I only had a good camera handy. Carrying a DSLR into battle just isn't feasible, what with an 80lbs rig, ruck, alice, and car15; just no room. What i needed back then was an old quick draw holster with a way to quickly secure the camera to my hand!

"The Combat Ready Camera Holster and Wrist Strap"

Step 1: Materials

While I am  totally unequipped for this instructable, however I gave it the old Airborne try! I have never touched a sewing machine before and I can say it was probably the most frustrating machine I've ever encountered, I can pretty much master most machines I can put in my hands, all I can say to my fellow tool guys if you want to be truly humble try a sewing machine! With a little help, tips, and trick from my 13 year old daughter I stumbled through and I think I did OK my first try. To those who do this on a regular basis I have a new found respect for your work, and right off the bat let me apologize for lack of knowledge on the names and techniques I may hack through on this.


Old laptop case
X-acto style hobby knife (though now I wish I'd invested in a stitch ripper)
Sewing machine
Thread (any color that matches your style)
Drill or drill press with bits
Piece of metal
Various webbed strapping ( I reused most of what came from the laptop case and camera)
Dremel with cutting disc's

Step 2: Ripping the Stitch!

First off You need to get an old laptop case, for this paticular project I wanted one that looked really nice (due to the fact that I don't have a clue how to sew and need something to balance this out).
Second start puling really hard on a corner to find a stitch take the point of your hobby knife and cut the exposed thread, Tip once you have the first few threads cut stick your finger in the new hole you just made and start pulling really tough to expose more thread to cut.
Third rip every stitch you can find, there is a lot of fabric in one of these things, BE PREPARED for a time commitment here; it took me every bit of an hour just to cut all the stitches and then to pull all the little strings out.
Do the same to the camera and bag neck/ shoulder strapping as these will also be key materials in the build.

Leaving you with material, hook 'n' loop, buckles, foam padding, strapping, and in my case a rigid backing material the was used to create and hold the form in the making of the holster.

Step 3: Measuring, What's That?

OK, I'm one of those types who loves precision. Measuring is a key function in most of my projects, I'm not crazy about eye balling something. In this project I looked for ways to measure and due to lack of knowledge on how to measure cloth in relation to body size of human and camera I decided to throw out my preconceptions and revert back to an artistic style.

First trace out your wrist on a piece of paper, trying to be as straight down with your pencil as possible
Next take a straight edge connect the points where You stopped tracing each side of your wrist
Once you have a shape your happy with take a pair of scissors and cut out the shape, this will be your paper template for transferring it to the fabric
Lay your template on your newly acquired fabric and trace, as well as tracing the shape to a piece of foam insert and fabric covering that will give a padded feel to the wrist strap.
"Important" once you've traced your basic shape now you need to start think 3D, Where are the folds going to be when sewing, what size does the wrist strap have to be? Always leave extra fabric in your cuts so that you'll have more to keep from coming up short when it matters. I traced out roughly a quarter of an inch around my template and traced a long wrist strap on each side.
Once you've finished mocking everything up get your scissors and start cutting.

Step 4: This Frustrating Machine!

Again pardon my sewing as this is my first real try at sewing something up on a machine!

First sew a hem along the edge of the top folding the outer materiel over the inner material to create a flap in which to insert the foam backing. Then take your camera straps and sew them to the top part where the knuckles are, continue to finish sewing around the foam backing to seal in the foam.
Next measure out you wrist size and cut the hook 'n' loop and the material to size, begin sewing around the hook 'n' loop to attach it to the wrist strap.
Finish sewing around everything with a wide stitch to hide the first stitch and create a visual design.
Now that you have your wrist strap created it time to attach it!

Step 5: Making the Bottom Hook, and Strap It Together

Time to go down into the workshop and make a bracket!

First I realized there was no way to attach the bottom strap, after searching the internet for some ideas on how hand straps are made I went to the workshop and found some copper plate I had made for another project to make my bracket.

First shape the bracket to match a comfortable design,
Next drill the mounting hole where the bolt will attach to the camera.
Finally with a dremel and cutting disc cut a small hole in which to feed the bottom strap through,
Fold over the edge to keep from cutting the strap
Finish clean everything with a wire brush to make it look good and burr free.
Now that your done with the wrist strap lets head back upstairs and start on the holster.

Step 6: The Duke Would Have Been Proud

Well, Partner time to saddle up and get this project done!

First take the outer material and the rigid backing (this was the material that was used to separate the file folders and paper in the laptop case) and run a stabilizing stitch down the center to attach the two pieces together
Using your camera body and longest lens mock up the edges to cut your outer shape of the holster then make your cuts
Sew up all the edges together to have a basic form
Now with another piece of outer material curve your outer form to the shape you want your holster to be as it will lay against your leg and trace the shape, make sure once you trace you shape to leave an extra 1/4 inch of material all the way around to fold over to give a finished look to your holster and cut it out
Start sewing up the edges folding everything over and using a stitch that your comfortable with
To finish up the holster add belt straps and a leg strap using the web strapping and buckles from the old case and camera straps. Tip measuring the belt straps was a no brainer once you have the leg strap attached, sew on a length of strapping going upward to your waistline, buckle the holster around your leg and feed the top strap over your belt measure your loo length then sew it. Do the same to add a rear belt loop strap and you all done.

After field testing the holster I decided to go back and add a couple of things, With an eyelet kit I'm adding two eyelets to the bottom of each side of the holster to have a stabilizing tie to the bottom, under moderate pace it does well like it is however in a full tilt run the holster bounces around at the bottom. Another thing was that the camera almost jumped out of the holster while running so I'm going to add a holding cord to it to secure the camera into the holster when necessary.

Lock and load, Warriors! We can now drop in to the front line ready for action.

I've added the pics as promised with the eyelets included... and how to add them to your fabric projects



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    17 Discussions

    I am gearing up for a photo shoot and last year I remember how bulky and tiring keeping the camera around my neck for eight hours outdoors was. I had to try something like this, hopefully I can get around to getting the eyelets put in today, I've been working on a much bigger project the past couple of days and just haven't got around to it. this took only a few hours to get done, If you do one post some pics show it off, I'd like to see one in leather but I just couldn't bring myself to ripping up my leather laptop case, LOL!

    I want to do it out of leather and hopefully laminate some shaped aluminium sheet in there to act as a bit of armour.

    Have you shaped aluminum before, I love using aluminum it's so easy to shape with just a blowtorch, hammer, and leather sandbag. But I'd love to get my hands on an english wheel I've been thinking about trying to build one for shaping just such a idea and making it nice and smooth. Copper is a little more forgiving to a hammer but a polished aluminum look is wicked. One idea that comes to mind is a plaster positive and negative mold of your cam then heat the aluminum up and press, I've never done anything that big but it does great for plating and the concept is sound.

    If I had a positive I'd make a kydex form since it seems cheap enough and a fair deal easier to work, however I have done a bit of aluminum and steel working by hand (little flowers) and If I have my way I'd like to do some larger pieces of steel since that is something I know I CAN weld, but ally is certainly softer/easier. I didn't know about the leather sandbag (I'm new to metalwork) and the tools I have easy access to are mainly woodworking.

    I'm working on making a holster at the moment, but its a shoulder holster (and I'm mimicking a part of a patented design)

    Well most people and professionals use shot in their bags but I always thought sand held a better shape when hammering, Just make a bag out of leather about 12" to 15" square fill it most of the way with sand so the bag is full enough that it will form to a shape but not that it will fold in half, then get a wooden mallet or your could get away with a body hammer but don't hammer down real hard. Tell you what mine is getting really worn I'm considering making another I'll make an 'ible on it before Monday, and get it posted. They are great tools for sheet metal work, oh and BTW you could burn out a stump to do the same kind of forming. If you have wood working tools you can turn a wood mallet easy, as well.

    I usually braze alum, buit you could pop rivet it too. I thought about that type of plastics forming before using a vacuum forming method but just haven't been that ambitious enough yet

    Plastics seem easy enough if you have the tools, but even if you don't the tools are easy to make for cheap, all you need is the facilities to use them in. What I'd be keen on doing is building a small blacksmith setup in the backyard so I can start doing metal sculpture.

    Also, today I got a nice military-esque utility belt and some other bits and pieces to make the harness for mine so I might be able to submit my design before the contest closes.

    There still time I'd say try it, if you need a form for a plastic mold, wrap the device with cling wrap, cover with masking tape/aluminum foil, and coat it with vaseline. I do this with fiberglass it should work with plastic molding too just as long as you not pouring it, rather vacuum form it. Good luck I'd like to see what you come up with!

    I'd like to build an aluminum forge and try that sand foam form trick for metal sculpting. I've got so many of my own projects I'm working on I don't know when I'm going to get around to it.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    that is a very ambitious project to take on since you never used a sewing machine before.

    good job.

    when you get the leg strap and holding cord added put up some pics so we can see the finished product.

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Will do on the update! I just picked these up this morning to try and add the leg ties this afternoon. The leg strap is already attached after seeing your comment I realized I didn't make that real clear in the pics it's just the bottom that bounces a little which is what I didn't like about the holsters that are out there currently.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I just finished making a harmonica holster, and I turn to Instructables to type up the project, and this is on the front page, and unfortunately for me, it puts mine to shame. This is a great project! Fantastic work!

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Actually I say post it, imagine if we can get a whole page full of holstered things would be cool to see. In fact this should be a weekly challenge "Make a holster for something" other than guns or usual thing that have a holster, for instance a mouth organ. Thanks for kudos's!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha, that would be awesome! We've already got Flashlights, Electronics, Bike Locks, Whack-Bonks, Zippos and Bananas, among others. I can only imagine it getting better!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Absolutely hilarious! The guy with the steady cam mount looks like one of those futuristic marines from the movie "Aliens" with their steady cam machine guns. That fact that he's shaking like he's firing a bar cracks me up, and the flash bang grenade at the end was great. Thanks for passing this along.