Monday, June 22, 2009

How To Make A Camera Strap

We celebrated Father's Day today and
the husband got his camera strap:

Recognize that ikat fabric? This blog is named after it.
Ikat is woven - not printed - which is so fun.
Love textured fabric.

We've had our Nikon D40 for a while now, and the black-
and-yellow strap isn't very exciting. I'd seen many, many
tutorials on how to make a camera strap slipcover, but I
thought that, for a few minutes more, a person
could do a full strap.

So I sat on it forever spent some time shopping around
for the materials. Had a little bit of help from lovely Erin
from House on Hill Road (thank you again, Erin!) who
makes very cool camera straps. She recommended ebay
but I'm not a big online shopping fan, and I didn't want
to buy materials in bulk since I was
planning to make just one strap, so I waited.

You'll never guess where I finally found what I was looking
for: the pet store! The kids and I make regular visits to
the pet store because it is like a free, mini zoo-trip.
After some price and quality comparison in different
retailers, I settled on these small dog collars from Target,
for less than $2 each. The nylon straps on my camera are
1/2" but dog collars are either 3/8" or 5/8". The latter are
too wide, and the 3/8" ones are a surprisingly good fit.

Worked on two straps simultaneously - one in that bumpy
ikat fabric and one in lovely smooth Orla cotton. Because it's
futile me trying to make just one of anything, isn't it?

Here's what you need:

  • One piece fabric 20.5" x 4"
  • One piece craft fuse (aka iron-on craft interfacing) 20.5" x 1.5"
  • One piece heavy stabilizer (aka heavy weight sew-in interfacing) 20.5" x 1.5"
  • One piece thickish, stiffish material 20.5" x 1.5". I used natural canvas/ duckcloth. I included this because I really, really need my straps to not feel like flimsy ribbon. But that's just me - you can leave this out if you like.
  • Some vinyl. I used upholstery-grade vinyl that was black on both sides.
  • Two 3/8" dog collars. The thing in the picture is a dog harness, which was a costlier alternative. I found the cheaper-and-just-as-good Target dog collars later.
By request, here's the cheat sheet and pattern for the vinyl piece:

Step 1
  • Using a seam ripper, unpick the stitches to release the buckles and straighten out the collars.
  • Cut each to 13" (or longer) and leave the sliding adjuster and plastic loop, as shown. You'll have an extra snap-in buckle that you won't need, so put this in your miscellaneous notions box for a future project.
  • You can seal any fraying ends the candle method in this post.

Step 2
  • Fold the fabric piece in half lengthwise and iron to get the mid-line.
  • Place one long edge of the fusible interfacing along the mid-line and iron it onto the fabric.

Step 3
  • Fold the fabric lengthwise so that the right sides are together and sew along the edge of the interfacing as shown. Start at one end and stop after about 4" and backstitch.
  • Repeat for the other end so that you leave most of the middle section unstitched. This will facilitate turning in the next steps.

Step 4
  • Place the canvas and sew-in interfacing together and stitch along both long edges to make a single stiff piece.
  • Trim a little more than 1/8" off the width so it will fit inside the fabric casing without bunching.

Step 5
  • Turn the fabric strap right side out through the middle opening.
  • Insert the stiff piece from Step 4 into the opening, pushing the respective ends in both directions

so that it lies nice and flat. Take your time to
really smooth it out so that all the inner fabric
seams don't bunch up around it.

Step 6
  • Tuck the seam allowance of the middle opening inwards

and top-stitch the middle opening shut, beginning your
stitching at one end of the strap and sewing through
the entire length to the other end.

  • Top stitch the other long edge, as well, so that you have two neat lines of top-stitching like this:
Now, on hindsight, I decided that a few extra parallel
lines of stitches along the middle of the strap would
make the layers really flat and smooth. If you want to,
do that now. Of course this picture doesn't show it,
since I added this in at the end, which you can see in
later pictures. So you can scroll down to there and
then come back here to continue.
These are appalling instructions, aren't they? Sigh.

Ahem (whistling). Well, moving on.

Step 7
  • Cut one piece of vinyl to the shape of the end piece. I used my Nikon strap as a guide or you can use my printable pattern.
  • Cut a second piece of vinyl in the shape of a rough square that is bigger than the shaped piece. Trim the top and bottom edges of this square so they exactly match the shaped piece, as shown.
  • Place the two pieces wrong sides together and line up their top and bottom edges.

Step 8
  • Insert about an inch of one end of the nylon strap between the vinyl layers
  • and top-stitch around the edge. Sew only in the upper half of the vinyl shape and stop with the needle down. Use whatever stitch design you like that reinforces where the strap is.

Step 9
  • Insert about 1/2" of the fabric strap between the vinyl layers and continue top-stitching around the rest of the vinyl. Again, reinforce your stitching in the sections where the fabric strap is enclosed

to give you this.

Step 10
  • Repeat with the other two pieces of vinyl, the other nylon strap and the other end of the fabric strap.

Step 11
  • Trim the excess vinyl away. Here's why I like the black-backed vinyl - gives such a nice uniform black edge.

And here are two pictures to show you what I mean
by sewing parallel lines along the middle of the strap.
You can see the bumpy surface in the strap in the left
picture, which is smoothed out by the extra lines in the
right one. Picky, I know. But I always felt that a project is
worth doing properly or not at all.

All done!

Two straps, one camera.

Sorry, Orla strap - our little camera is already
proudly wearing ikat. You need to be adopted
by another camera who will love you.

So folks, ikatbag is turning one next week. How has
one year just flown by? And where do all you
wonderful readers come from? I appreciate all your
comments, which I usually read at unearthly hours when
my youngest screams me awake (which is also why
I usually fail at trying to type responses to all of
them, bah). Thank you for the early-morning
entertainment and company - you don't know how
much more pleasant it is to read your thoughts while
feeding little Kate, than to just sit there, bleary-eyed
and praying for sunrise.

Well, come celebrate with me in the next few weeks!
There will be giveaways, more tutorials and printable
thingybobs and something else rather fun a little later.
To kick it all off, I'm giving Orla away so some other
camera can play dress-up. Any takers?

For a chance to win this Orla camera strap
(no, you cannot beg for the ikat - that's mine!
All mine! Ha ha ha ha!), leave a comment on this
post by midnight of Friday 26 June and I'll do a
random drawing on Saturday to pick
the winner. Some rules:

  • International readers- welcome! I know there are cameras all over the world.
  • You MUST leave an email address on either your blogger profile, or on your public-access blog. Or leave your email in your comment itself. Or email me after leaving your comment so I have your email address.
  • Please say something interesting in your comment. You know, like what project you're working on, what sort of tutorial you'd like to see, what your favorite crafting medium is - stuff like that. "Pick me!" and variations thereof don't count. Remember, you are my only hope for keeping awake at 4 am when on catering duty!

A little reminder: go ahead and make as many of
these as you like for gifts. Please don't make them
to sell- be fair to all the hardworking craftspeople
out there who sell camera straps and who worked it
out all on their own without a tutorial.


  1. I love that you made the whole strap! I'll be linking. I totally learned something about Ikat from this post. I never knew it was woven!

  2. great strap! now i know how to make stiff straps, as i bought an orla place mat. i was thinking of turning it into a purse - one that will hold my keys and wallet while i pickup my kidlet from daycare. and wow, i'm the first comment? i love your site. you inspired me to repurpose my ikat pillow into a fabric lunchbag for a coworker!

  3. Well since first commentors rarely get picked by, I have already abandoned hope of winning. Nevertheless, here is what I've been doing of late...embroidery! Yep, on a quilt block meant for a swap. The crazy thing is, the quilt block itself is the first I've ever done and the embroidery on it - well, let's just say it's a bit ambitious for my very novice skills. And this craziness is compounded by the fact of my developing long-sightedness...can't see very well to be attempting intricate embroidery this late in the game. Gosh, L, I do feel old.

  4. Hi! I just found your blog. I have a Canon Rebel and can really use a "pretty" strap vs. the basic black. Currently, I am working on Wristlet purses which my hubby helped by making a pattern of my very own. They are easy peasy and I have loved giving them out to friends and teachers. (I've also sold a few to my sister's co-workers for a little spending $$.) Thanks for the awesome tutorial!

    1. Do you have a tutorial or, if not, pictures of your Wristlet purses. Sounds like something I'd like to make for myself and for Christmas gifts. Looking forward to your reply. Pam Bonifacio…

  5. Oooh, I love it! Hi, I LOVE photography, I've done some crochet, currently working on a baby afghan for my soon coming-niece or nephew.
    I've tried to learn knitting, but can't quite get it. And I just got my first sewing machine, so I'm learning how to do that too. I just started making a summer top for my daughter. I also co-auther Fireflies and Jellybeans, you can find our e-mail address there on our site. Thank you!

  6. I found my way to you through Today's creative blog and love it! So happy to add you to my daily morning ritual of catching up on my google reader before my children pop up out of bed at unforeseen hours before I have my first cup of coffee!

    Love the strap and the tutorial!

    Can't wait to make one and I'll for sure add it to my ever growing list of tutorials that I'll get off my rump and make at some point when my children are actually napping.

  7. Oh, wow, I love this strap and I love it's not just a slipcover! I'm working on making a twirl skirt for my daughter! I just love reading your blog! Here's my e-mail

  8. You are a genius, and now I know where the name of your blog came from!

    That's some beautiful fabric, I never heard of it before. I have an Aunt who weaves fabric, she gaves us a beautiful tea towel and a baby blanket. It's a skill I would love to learn one day (wouldn't it be amazing to own a loom?) Actually, that Aunt knows a lot of things I want to learn: how to spin yarn, how to make lace - it's a shame she lives on the other side of the country...

    I'm working on cloth newborn-size diapers - if I get brave enough to start cutting fabric, that is... And cloth baby wipes, but that's hardly a project as it's simply a matter of serging the edges of flannel squares.

  9. What a great tute. I have a question though. I think I'm having a stupid moment. Does the strap connect to the camera the same way the original strap does? That's why you left the collar adjustment part, right?

    Yeah, I feel dumb.

  10. Great tute. I have made a few camera straps but never thought to use dog collars so thanks for that tip!

    My favorite medium by far is ribbon, with paper coming next. My least favorite is TIME, why can we never have enough! I have actually given away all of my straps and am dying to have something pretty on my new camera!

  11. Beautiful, making onw of these has been on the never ending list for a while now - Thanks for making it easier!! Currently, it seems to be birthday month in our parts with party after party. So I have been working on putting together "Art Kits To-Go" Includes crayon or pencil roll, drawstring bag, small watercolor palette, small pad of paper - decorated all pretty.

  12. I just found your blog through Today's Creative Blog and all I have to say is "Where have you been all my life!?" Seriously, that Pavillion tent is AMAZING. I am having a baby any day now and have been nesting like a crazy lady for the last several months. When I say nesting, I don't mean cleaning my house...I mean keeping the fabric stores in my area in business. Right now I'm working on making a Boppy slipcover. Also, thank you so much for the tutorial on conditioning your children for fabric shopping. I needed that for my 2 year old. :)

  13. What a great tutorial! I've been thinking of making one of these straps since the plain one that came with the camera is so...plain.

    I've been inspired by so many of your projects to dust off the old sewing machine. I've just got to find some time to get some of the beautiful modern fabric prints that are available these days!

  14. Yay! I have wanted to figure this one out. Thanks for saving me the time and brain cells! I am currently trying to pick which project on my loooooong "to do" list to tackle....maybe I'll make a camera strap now!

  15. I really love the fabric that is on the strap, how pretty that would look on my camera, rather then the ugly black and yellow walking advertisement for nikon.\
    Right now I am working on refurbishing some lamps I bought at a garage sale.

  16. Oooh! This will make a great gift for my sister this Christmas. She is a professional photographer with a great sense of style. Now I hope I can find a fabric that suits her! Thanks so much for this tutorial. I just discovered your blog from Today's Creative Blog and I can't wait to check out the rest of your posts!! My next project is a few wetbags for our cloth diapers and wipes. I've just now finished sewing some things that have needed repairs for ages, so I feel like I'm on a roll! Hehe. Take it easy!
    email: britt at henesy dot org

  17. Just got a new camera and would LOVE a camera strap!! Thanks for the giveaway and the tutorial.


  18. Those are beautiful straps. I definitely want to make one!

    You asked where commenters were from? I'm from Huntsville, AL (at least for the past 10 years!)

  19. I love your straps! I'm just venturing into the world of dSLR photography with a Nikon D70. I LOVE IT! Totally addicted.

    I'm hoping to make a breezy summer top out of Far, Far Away fabric for my 2 year old daughter in the next couple of days before we head out for an 11 day adventure visiting relatives.

  20. your camera strap is wonderful!! i've been wanting to make one for my niece and wondered how the clasps were made and used. i'm like renee, i don't know how the camera strap connects to the camera. maybe i need to go see a strap somewhere. anyway, keeping my fingers crossed to maybe win this one!! thanks for the chance!

  21. lovely! I was just about to try out the slipcover version since hacking up my canon strap is not an option but I'm glad to have seen your tutorial.

    I'm working on more food crafting now than sewing - jams, etc.

  22. Thank you so much for this fantastic tutorial - I have been thinking about doing one myself but now you have answered all of those questions I had in my head with your instructions! I have been wondering where to get the fittings so thanks for the dog collar tip as well! I have bookmarked your site so will visit again...

  23. Hi, LiEr! I've made a pitiful, too-small slipcover for my Canon strap, but yours is beautiful! And I'm loving the bag I won from the Giveaway Day so much; thank you again.

  24. I have been contemplating making a camera strap for my new-to-me camera. I've also been contemplating making a tunic, more pencil rolls, a vintage flash card pillow for a teacher, and new curtains, among other things. So what am I making? NOTHING. I just look at the mess on my crafting table and walk away. Okay, now that I stated that publicly, I now have a date on Friday, in writing on the calendar, to clean said crafting area. Thanks for sharing!
    mblaise29 at yahoo dot com
    ps, I found you through Todays Creative Blog

  25. Beautiful camera strap! I found my way here via TCB.

    Hmmm...what am I working on? I'm still struggling to learn how to sew and read patterns...I'm working on my various little gardens and slowly working on photographing and scanning my daughter's artwork so that I can make a book of it for her (she just finished Kindergarten). And doing plenty of day dreaming too!

  26. First, I love your blog so much! I'm sure it's tough to keep up with, but it's so worth it for people like me with a lot of dreams but very little skill to go with it. I've been contemplating making a camera strap cover for my dslr because I want to be one of those people with a cool strap, but making the whole thing seems much more satisfying. I also have been thinking of making a card table house, but yours blew my idea of one out of the water. I love the flowers, that was my favorite part. So, felt food and flowers are next on my list of things to try! Thanks for the fabulous blog!!

  27. I love the strap. I have been wanting one for my canon rebel. The tutorial is great.

    I am currently working on some felt food for my LO's play kitchen. Why is it that these projects seem to take forever sometimes?

    eric_danielle at netzero dot com

  28. aw fiddle, apparently i can't read and didn't post what i was working on, lol. currently putting the finishing touches on a ruffle skirt for my 2.5 year old and planning our bedroom redo :) i'm in memphis, tn, and like pina colodas and getting caught in the rain... ;)

  29. Your strap is lovely.I hate my strap because it always pulls at my neck hairs. I've been toying with the idea of making a hand strap. I need a neck strap, but when I'm running after the kiddos, a hand strap would be - well - handy.

    As for a current project, I think I have just finally managed to talk myself into making a quilt for my brother and his wife of three days. They have a king size bed and I keep looking at Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl, so I am justifiably terrified. Did I mention I have never made a quilt before? Nothing like jumping in the deep end from the high dive.

  30. just got a new slr nikon d90 yesterday and literally just bumped into your blog via today's creative blog and what do i find...cutest ever camera strap! so i won't say "please pick me" or anything like that, but i'll let you know that you are amazing and i am LOVIN' that strap!!! ok, so i dabble in sewing, knitting and am now major dabbling in some photography...or at least playing with the new camera:) kiddos are still little, so my other crafts will have to wait...but i have been knitting a pair of socks for a year now:) yikes! way to go on being sooo very are a talented woman! there...enough late night reading for you!

  31. Oh how wonderful - I too was not all that impressed with my Nikon camera strap - I recall saying, "I have to put that on there, no way!" So exciting to see the pattern. I am an eternally wistful crafty person with more inspiration than hours in the day. My latest - I have bought the fabric to make two summer dresses for my daughter, uh hem, summer began Sunday so I'm reaaalllyy behind. My winter project is coats for my five schnauzers to look fashionable and warm during outside potty time. With five doggies, I have to make those myself - doggie adornment is expensive in bulk quantities.
    My addy is greenmom2b atyahoodotcom.

  32. hi there--

    i'm not actually entering -- though if I did win, perhaps that would be a sign that I need to now purchase a camera to go with the strap. (my current one is a glorified point and shoot.)

    rather i'm just commenting that I love your work and your attention to detail and seeing the things you make and your generosity.

    OK, perhaps TODAY will be the day I get the not-a-bunny-or-a-dustpan project done!!!

  33. god! I can't wait to try this! Thank You!

  34. I was also wondering, would you mind posting a template of the cut-out black vinyl part of this project? I don't have access to any camera straps to copy. :( Thanks!!

  35. EXCELLENT tutorial! Thank you much! :)

  36. This is on my ever expanding project list - I love how creative you are and you share with us!

  37. Oooh, purty! I've had my Canon for over a year and I still have yet to put the strap on, 'cause I really don't like walking around with the brand splashed across me. Now your strap, on the other hand, would be awesome!

  38. thanks for the great tutorial - I've been meaning to make one of these!

    My next project is to refashion a shirt into a dress by taking off the bottom and adding a skirt. In my mind's eye it looks very fashionable, but we'll see. :)

  39. i happened upon your blog a while back. i am in awe of your talent and imagination. i love the flower garden. i have been working on decorations for my son's birthday. i have made his # tee and a birthday banner.

  40. Because I don't have enough projects to keep me busy, now I have added this to my que of things I want to make someday soon. Right now, our DSLR hangs by a shoestring from our necks. Yes, a shoestring. Honestly. Its sad and pathetic, and we desperately need to get a new strap, but who thinks about these things except when you're wearing said camera?! Ongoing projects at the moment include wool capris I'm knitting for our 1-month-old, a duster-length cable-knit sweater I've been knitting for me for forever, curtains to be sewn for baby's room, curtains for the kitchen, curtains for a friend... the list just goes on and on and on...

  41. I just hate the original camera strap and finally I decide to make my own strap :o)

    Thank you very much for inspiration and help. Now I'm sure it is possible for me to make a good one and not just a cover.

    I really like your strap!

    Have a nice day!

    Best regards from Annika in Sweden

  42. Thank you so much for this, I am going to make one this week as a birthday gift for my Uncle. I suspect I might *Have* to make another 2 for my 5D & 400D... they are such good little cameras, I think they deserve a treat!

  43. Would this type of strap work on a video camera? I'm totally going to make one of these for my cannon rebel and I need a neck strap for my sony digital camera but I'm not sure if they are the same thing. Any ideas of how to alter if needed for the sony? Love you site!! Cute cute things!!

  44. Hi Barnes Family - sorry I'm responding only now. I really don't know if it will work for a videocam. I mean our old videocam has such a different-looking strap that I never even thought of making one like the Nikon for it. I'd say look at your videocam strap and aim to replace the webbing part (the broad strap) with fabric and leave the skinny narrow straps (if any) and buckles as they are so they will fit the videocam for sure.

  45. Great instructions! I have a few questions about the interfacing. What are the differences between the iron-on and sew-in kinds? Can I skip the iron-on to the fabric and use more material in the middle?

  46. Thank you so much for your great tutorial. I just made two straps and they came out great. Your step by step directions made it so easy!

    I'm curious if you had any trouble with nicking the webbing when you were picking out the seams on the dog collar. That was my biggest challenge.

  47. Suzanne, yes, it is quite easy to nick the webbing! I did that in the beginning too. What I eventually did was to just rip the stitches at the edge of the webbing and then pull the webbing layers apart to expose the stitches. Then I ripped the whole row of stitches between those layers.

  48. I love your strap! Can you PLEASE PLEASE tell me where you got your vinyl? I am having such a hard time.

    Thanks so much!

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. Love the tutorial :) I don't have DSLR camera but I'd love to win for someone :) I love all your tutorial but love to know more about how to make bags with piping!

  51. I just finished making two of these straps the other day and they both turned out great! Thank you so much for posting this tutorial. Now I can go forth and photograph with style :)

  52. Looks like you need a second camera...maybe upgrade from a Nikon to a Canon (ha, ha!)

    Thanks so much for sharing. I love how a modern technology is helping to revive old traditions like sewing.

    I have been wanting to make some of these and struggled with the hardware issue. The collars are a simple, elegant solution.

    A nice variation is to use minky or another soft fabric on one side. Your neck will love it and you'll have a wonderful day of photography. If you use a stretch fabric, definitely opt for the fusible interfacing to stabilize it.

    Have a great day! You deserve it!


  53. Thank you so much for this pattern. I was going to wing it, but you've saved me what I'm sure would have been more than a few misteps. You ROCK.

  54. Thanks so much for posting this. I just stumbled across it and it was just the guidance I needed. Now I need to go and find myself some dog collars... :)

  55. I've looked at this sooooooo many times, and printed it out. I can't wait to make a few (for me & family members)!! I luv your blog. My daughter and I have been sewing constantly since I found it. :)

  56. How long is the strap?

  57. @Anonymous
    Anonymous: the dimensions are there in the post. You might have to do a little Math to calculate the total length from one end of the webbing to the other.

  58. Hi there!

    I found your blog through Pinterest. Someone pinned your fabulous camera strap & I have fallen madly in love with that fabric. I Googled "Orla cotton" but can't find anything. Do you happen to know the name of the fabric or where I can find it. I know you made this strap two years ago but if you could help me out I'd really appreciate it. Once I set my mind to getting something I'll go nuts 'till I find it! LOL!

    You've now got a new blog fan now! I don't know how to sew but you make me want to learn!

    Christine aka The Stampin' Ninja

  59. Love this! Was looking for a tutorial for a whole strap (rather than just a cover!) and this is perfect! Thank you!

  60. I would love to be entered in the drawing! I am a budding photographer, and while I am not much of a "crafter", I do find photography and editing my photos to be a good artsy escape! Your camera strap is just what I have been looking for but don't have the ability to make for myself. I'm civilsarah at gmail .com (in case my blogger profile doesn't give you my email).

  61. I love this but I would be so scared it would break And I would rather spend 10 bucks on a strap then another couple hundred on a new camera

  62. Linda April 11, 2013 5:00 PM
    I love your stray but I cannot figure out how to attach the strap to the camera - any help would be appreciated.

  63. Wonderful! This is so helpful. I was having a really hard time finding the right way to finish off my inkle straps for camera straps. My husband has several working vintage cameras which deserve the best straps possible. Loved the pet store tip. Thanks :).

  64. My goodness, this was so helpful. I had the strap figured out, but the ends had me scratching my head. So helpful, thanks for sharing. :)

  65. Hey! I used your tutorial to make a camera strap for my friend. I added a little pocked for the lens cap. It turned out so well! I love that its an actual camera strap and not just a cover. Thanks so much for the great tutorial. I featured it on my blog,

    Thanks! Cheers,

  66. I was searching for directions for a camera strap and they were all just covers. I love that yours is the complete strap. Instructions are so simple, thanks bunches. I made one for a friend for a birthday gift. Now I keep looking for fabric I have leftover and have made 5 more. Just have to get more (collars) what a great idea. I am from Panama City Beach, F.

  67. I just got my first DSLR and immediately Googled for a camera strap pattern. Not only is yours the first in the links but it's great and I intend to use it so thank you! Now to go hunting for duck-themed material!


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