Saturday, June 11, 2011

How to make a Camera Strap

Apparently I cannot even do Project 52, I just don't have the time.

Anyway, I started doing the 2peas 12-week course, and here's an image I took for week 3. 50mm, ISO 3200, SS 1/100, f/2.8, Custom WB:

A couple of peas asked me where I bought it. I didn't buy it, I made it myself, it's one of a kind, you can't find it anywhere. Anyway, this one is for my cousin. There are too many choices, too many straps to buy, too expensive, not sure if they are strong enough, or if the buckle would all of a sudden unbuckle, etc., so I decided to make my own.

I'm not a seamstress, I don't sew for a living, I didn't know what to use, so I went to Joann and ask a store employee what materials to use, what thread, etc. The above fabric is Keepsake Damask from Joann. You can use multiple coupons, including competitors coupons at Joann, and most are 40% or 50% off. Google will help you find those printable coupons. :-)

Okay, here's what you'd need to make the strap:
  • heavy duty thread
  • Universal needle and needle for Leather. Not sure what the difference is, but Joann's employee said to use the Universal one for sewing through webbing, and use the Leather one for sewing through vinyl.
  • micro suede fabric
  • minky fabric (if you like the soft and fluffy back, if not, just use suede)
  • quilting fabric for the front of the strap or 1 1/2-inch ribbon
  • core webbing - you can use cotton or other materials, this 1 1/2-inch one is what I use
  • small straps (3/8") to connect to the camera
  • slides (3/8") for the small straps, you can use metal or plastic, I use metal because they hold up better
  • strap keepers (3/8")
  • home decor vinyl - Joann sells one that's $8/yard, but their employee took me to one that's $34/yard and I didn't know about the $8/yard one until the next visit to Joann, and I already bought the more expensive one at a previous visit. Oh well, at least I used a coupon. The least that you can get is 1/8 of a yard, which can probably make 10 straps or more

I bought my ribbons from etsy, ebay, and Hobby Lobby, and fabrics from Joann and Hancock Fabrics. You can also find them at CheepTrims, The Ribbon Spot, or somewhere else.

Here are the steps to make the strap:
  1. Cut the core webbing to the length you want. Stock straps are about 25", I make mine 36" and some at 40".
  2. Cut small straps to about 14 inches each, make sure you have 2 for each strap
  3. Heat all ends of the straps with a lighter or match/candle and melt the ends to prevent them from fraying. I cut the ends of the small straps to make them have rounded ends before I heat them. Rounded ends are easier to put through the slides.
  4. Now you sew about a little more than an inch of the small strap (not the rounded end) onto the end of the big strap. Instead of doing double or triple stitching, I do it about 15 times. Yeah, I'm paranoid about my camera falling off my strap. Do the same with the other end.
  5. If you're using minky fabric, you cut a few inches of the suede fabric to wrap around the ends and sew it on both ends. Then sew the minky fabric to the middle where there's no suede fabric and overlap with the suede part. If you're using just suede, then cut out the suede fabric to the length of your strap with width of 3 inches so you can wrap around the webbing when you sew.
  6. Now, if you're using fabric front like the above instead of ribbon, you have to cut the fabric to the length of your strap, and also cut about 3 inches wide. Fold the fabric and iron it so it fits perfectly on top of the half sewn strap.
  7. Take the ironed fabric or ribbon and sew it on the front side of the strap to cover the back side of the suede/minky fabric.
  8. Cut out 4 pieces of vinyl to fit the ends of the strap.
  9. Sew the vinyl on, using your current strap as a reference and sew it like how they've sewn theirs.
  10. Cut out the excess on the vinyl.
Put the slides and the slide keepers on and you're done!

The strap above has micro suede back. If you want minky back, you can't use it for the whole strap, you have to stop right before the end because the minky fabric is too thick to go in between the vinyl pieces. Here's a couple more, with minky back:

That's how I make mine. Not sure if this is the right way, but it works, and it's plenty strong, much much stronger than stock straps, and much cheaper than buying ready made straps from etsy or somewhere else.