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.
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Step 1: 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
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
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
Take BLACK and cross behind TAN and then cross over PINK.
Step 5: 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
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
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
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
Locate the TAN strand that passes through the braid and repeat step 7.
Step 10: 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
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
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
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
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!
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?!