This is a relatively easy leash you can make with nothing but paracord. It rolls up into a tight little package that can fit in your pocket, stow easily into your car's glove compartment, or hang on a hook by your front door.
Making this leash, besides being useful, also incorporate 3 very useful rope skills:
Once it is made, it's done. It won't come undone on its own. But, if you need your paracord back into rope form it will be easy enough to disassemble.
So, let's get to making!
Step 1: Measure Paracord
(I used 25 feet of paracord total for this leash)
You'll need some durable paracord for this. I was able to buy a 50-foot bundle of paracord with a 400-lb tensile strength for only $5. Please don't risk your dog breaking the leash and running away because you used a cheap rope.
First you'll need to decide how long your leash is going to be. The one I made here is about 5ft long. This took about 25ft of paracord.
MEASURE THE LENGTH
(5ft + 1ft = 6 feet):
First, measure out 5ft of rope, plus another foot (for splicing at the end). This makes 6ft. Tie a little knot to mark off this length of rope.
MEASURE THE HANDLE
(11in x 3 = 33 inches):
Next, measure the loop that will be your handle. Make an S-shape of rope after your knot. Grasp the middle of the 'S' and curve it around. Make sure the loop this makes will be a comfortable size. My 'S' was 11 inches long (which consumes 33 inches of rope in all).
Step 2: Noose Knot (handle)
The handle is made from a noose knot. Despite their obvious distasteful reputation, noose knots are actually very useful for many purposes. The body of the noose makes a thick, rounded section that is comfortable to hold, and will stay together nicely. I recommend that you try tying a noose knot a couple times (on a shorter length of cord) to get the hang of it first (...no pun intended).
TYING THE NOOSE KNOT:
- Take the free end of cord away from your marker knot, and start wrapping it around the 'S' you made, leaving a tiny loop on the end of the 'S'.
- Continue wrapping tightly all the way up the 'S'.
- When you get to the end next to the marker knot, wrap until you have just enough of a loop sticking out to feed your loose end through.
- (At this point - especially if you started with a full 50ft length of paracord - you might want to cut your free end so you don't have to feed the entire rest of your paracord through. See "CUT REMAINING ROPE" below.)
- Feed the loose end through the loop at the top of your noose knot and pull all the way through...
- Remove the marker knot you created for the first length - its job it done.
CUT REMAINING ROPE:
- Cut your free end of paracord so that it's about 8-12 inches longer than the initial 6ft you measured. This will make the splice at the end look better than if the two ends were the same length. Seal the end you cut by melting it with a lighter.
Step 3: Reverse Wrap (body)
Now for the "reverse-wrap". This is a good skill to have, since it is fundamentally how rope/cordage is made from plant fibers or thinner ropes. In this paracord leash, the reverse-wrap consolidates the two ends into one single cord, which distributes tension better and has a good aesthetic.
(You may want to look up a video of how to do this, if my photo explanation is not clear.)
HOW TO REVERSE-WRAP:
Holding the two cords in your left hand, do the following with your right hand:
(1) Grab the cord on the top with thumb + index finger.
(2) While holding onto the top cord, rotate your hand around (over the top), and grab the bottom cord between your index + middle finger.
(3) While holding BOTH cords, rotate your right hand back to the original position, thus bringing the bottom cord around to the top. It is now the top cord.
(4) REPEAT (1)-(3) all the way down the length of your leash until you have about 6 inches left of the shorter strand.
Step 4: Eye Splice (loop)
The last thing to do is to create an "eye splice" -- you splice the end of the rope back into itself to createa loop at the end. This is aesthetically pleasing, and it is also the strongest way to create a loop at the end of a rope. Knots weaken a rope (by about 50%) and can break more easily. An eye splice hardly weakens the rope at all (only by about 5%). Additionally - the splice, if done correctly, will not come undone unless you manually remove it.
Again, I recommend checking out some videos of how to splice rope, and maybe try it out to get some practice. Most instructions for splicing rope, however, are for 3 strands, which is more difficult. This is only two strands and is a bit easier to do.
CREATING THE EYE SPLICE:
(1) Put a twist tie or something around the end of your reverse-wrap, to keep it from unraveling.
(2) Measure the size of the "eye" you will create. (Hint: Make this big enough so that you can pass the handle of the leash through the eye.) It can help to put a zip tie here too.
(3) Grab the "leash" end, and twist it so that the two strands come apart and create an opening.
(4) Take the "free" end, and pass each strand through the opening you just created. (Pass them through the opening in opposite directions.)
(5) REPEAT (3)-(4) until the free strands are completely spliced into the "leash". The splice will be prettier and stronger if you make sure that the free strands go around each other the same direction through each opening in the "leash".
(6) When the shorter strand is fully spliced in, you will still have about 8 inches of the longer strand. Continue splicing this into the "leash" as you were before.
Step 5: Done!
Your leash is done! To wrap it into a nice, compact bundle, just wrap the leash around the handle and pass the "eye" through the handle at the end.
There are many other ways you could make a leash out of paracord. The simplest would be just to tie two knots - one for the handle, and one for the collar attachment. You could, instead of using a noose knot, make the handle like one of those paracord bracelets you see in stores. (You can see in the photos, I tried adding a yellow cord and tying it like one of those bracelets around my handle, and it was extremely comfortable to hold!) You could go crazy and braid/splice multiple cords into a nice, thick, utilitarian leash.
Please share your own creations in the comments!