Intro: Recycled Leather Belt Camera Strap, (of the Wrist Variety)
A few weeks ago my Girlfriend got a new fancy DSLR Camera so obviously I had to take it out for some test images. The camera was amazing, the pictures were great, but the strap... well terrible. How often when out taking photos do you use the strap around your neck? If you're like me the answer is not often at all. Instead you end up wrapping the strap awkwardly around your wrist; trying, but failing, to get it just right so its not bunched up or getting in the way of your face. That's when I remembered seeing my uncle using a wrist strap, an accessory made to be used the way you end up using the other straps, just in a much better fashion. Having already spent way to much on the camera I figured I could make the strap and not only save money but create a useful accessory that not only worked but that my girlfriend liked the look of as well. I headed off to the local thrift store in search of the perfect piece of leather. Happily I found it on my first try, $2.00 later I was the proud owner of a women's leather belt that would soon become a camera strap.
Step 1: Gathering the Needed Materials
1. One leather belt, this is where the most customization can happen. There is a large variety of colors, textures, prints, even metal studs. Choose whatever tickles your fancy or goes with your style.
2. 12inches of 1/2" strap or elastic. Once again you have the choice of colors and a little in material. We couldn't find the standard strap material so we went with elastic, we figured you aren't carrying the camera around by your wrist and if you drop it while around your wrist it will just bounce a little.
3. Leather awl or other leather working tools for stitching.
4. 1/2" strap clip, for this we just used one of the pieces of the standard camera strap.
5. A little tape, Craft Knife, Stichlock glue or if desperate fire, and a pair of scissors.
Step 2: Trimming to Length
Now it's time for the next big step of the process, sizing. If it's too lose around your wrist when you drop your camera the strap will just slip right off your wrist as well and both will hit the ground making you look foolish, and you don't want to look foolish. But if it is too tight the strap will be hard to get on and maybe a little uncomfortable for use.
- I suggest holding the belt together in the fashion, and approximate length, that it will be conjoined later. Now slip your hand through, hold your hand in a relaxed open position. Now try to pull the strap back off, if it easily slips back off you probably should make the loop a little smaller.
2. If it barely slips off or gets stuck, it is comfortable, and if you curl your hand you can get it back off, then keep it where it is.
3.If it is uncomfortably tight or you struggle to get it back off then adjust the positioning to make the loop a little larger.
4.Now that you have chosen your very scientifically perfect size it is time to commit, if you have commitment issues then this step may take awhile as you check, recheck, and then check again because it felt like it shifted just a touch.
5.Take your marking tool, I used a pencil, and trace around the end of the belt giving you a cutting guide. This doesn't have to be exactly perfect either as after you make the initial cut you can trim it up to your exacting standards, or at least the standards of who ever it was that made the cut of the original belt end. If you are not a fan of that cut you can cut both ends yourself and get the shape you so desperately desire.
Step 3: Adding the Secondary Strap
After you have trimmed up your ends to perfection it is time to position the secondary strap. This is the piece that connects the wrist strap to the camera.
- take you 1'+ of 1/2" strapping, whatever material you chose, and lay it running down the middle and over the tip of one end of your leather. You will want to be sure to lay the strapping on what will become the inside of the leather wrist strap. Don't worry about getting the length just perfect, add a little extra running along the leather that you can trim off after you've stitched the ends together.
Step 4: Stitching It All Together
From here there is no turning back, so be extra careful when lining things up. I must say that I have never worked with leather before so I can't exactly say this is the correct, best, or easiest way to do this. What I can tell you though is that it works, and months later when I have finally got around to finishing up this Instructable, it continues to work.
- If you haven't already done so place the two ends together in the fashion you would like them to be permanently joined together.
- Next you need to keep this configuration solid as you stitch the pieces together. Once again I found that a cheap piece of Scotch Tape did the trick just fine.
- Now it is time to make a decision on the stitching pattern. You will want to choose something that follows along the edges of the belt as you don't want the edges to pull apart. Another thing to take into consideration is making sure you have enough stitches through the secondary strap, the one that goes to the camera, as you would not want it to pull out and send you camera crashing to the ground. As you can see I chose to make a rectangle with a X through it as well as a triangle that follows along the edge of the belt end. This gives me 4 points of contact holding the strap in place.
- You will then want to mark out the pattern on one side of the leather, the side that you will be working from.
- As I am not an expert at stitching leather I will let you go to a better source here on Instructables for more information on that. I will tell you I used a leather awl and the string that came with it to do my stitching. For having never done this before though, I have to say it came out pretty well.
Step 5: Finishing Touches...
You're almost there, don't quit on me now. You really only have one real step left and that is trimming off the excess secondary strap. I found that my trusty pair of scissors did the job perfectly.
Actually I was wrong, there were two more steps. The final step is attaching it to you camera. To do this I stole the thingamajig (See second photo of this section) from my original camera strap, taking note of how it was installed, and reinstalling it on the new secondary strap, thus completing the project.
It has been a couple of months now and this is still my go to strap, it is quick to get on and off, does not get in the way, and who really lets their DSLR, or any camera really, hang and around their necks? Definitely not me. I hope that you have enjoyed sharing in my little project, if you have any questions please send them my way and I will be more than happy to answer.