How to Make a Braided Leash from Rope

It’s a cinch to follow our braided leash instructions!

If you know how to braid (plait) using three strands, you can easily make this type of leash. If not, see How to Braid or Plait.

Braided rope showing the finished handle

Materials and Tools

  • For dogs over 30 lbs: 9 yards of cord, 3/16 inch in diameter
    [Metric: 8.3 m, 5 mm in diameter]
  • For dogs under 30 lbs: 9 yards of cord, 1/8 inch in diameter
    [Metric: 8.3 m, 3 mm in diameter]
  • Twine or string
  • Scissors
  • Colored plastic or duct tape
  • A metal snap, strong enough for your size dog
  • Glue such as Super Glue or Goop

Making the Braided Leash

Preparing to Braid

  1. Cut three lengths of cord, 108 inches [2745 mm] each
  2. Tie the cords (strands) together in a knot about 4 inches [100 mm] from one end
  3. Start braiding or plaiting, trying to keep an even tension

How to Keep the Tension Even

There are several ways you can do this. You want to be able to pull on the strands as you are braiding:

  • To begin with, tape the loose strands above your knot to a flat work surface such as a table, workbench, kitchen counter, bookcase, etc. Use duct tape or some other strong tape. Make sure the tape will not mess up the surface – be especially careful with wood veneers!
  • After you have plaited about a foot or so, you can tie the completed part around a door knob, chair back, table leg, etc.
  • You can also sit in a chair and hold down the part already braided with your foot.

Completing the Braid

  1. Keep plaiting until you get to the end of the shortest strand.
    Note that even if you started out with strands the same length, you will most likely end up with slightly different lengths at the end. This is normal.
  2. Loop the last part of your braid back over itself to form a loop.
  3. You need about 2 inches of the loose end to lie next to the rest of the rope and a loop that is big enough for the dog walker’s hand. 

Finishing the Handle 

I learned this useful technique when I was a Girl Guide (Girl Scout) in South Africa. They called it “whipping the rope.”

  • Cut about 36 inches [915 mm] of string or twine
    We’re using yarn in the photos for you to see how to do it more clearly but it’s better to use something stronger.
Step one of the braided leash
timing the handle of the braided leash
Final part of the whipping on the leash
  • Make about a 2 inch [50 mm] loop with the string
  • Put the closed end of the loop at the bottom of the handle as shown.
  • Pinch everything together with one hand.
  • With the other hand, start wrapping the twine tightly around itself at the place you want to start.
  • Leave about an inch (25 mm) of the end sticking out.
  • Wrap towards the top of your string loop
  • When there is only a small opening left, push the remaining end of your string through the loop.
  • Pull firmly on both ends until the string loop disappears and everything is very tight.
  • If you like the way it looks, you can leave the whipping uncovered, although it would be a good idea to add some glue to the ends.
  • Otherwise, trim the end of your braid and use different colors of plastic or duct tape to cover up the whipping.

Adding the Snap to the Braided Leash

There’s one more part to the braided leash. Here’s how to add the snap:

  • Put the loose ends of the leash through the bottom end of the snap and bring the ends down about 2 inches to lie next to the rest of the leash
  • Whip the parts tightly together with string or twine, just as you did for the handle.
  • Add tape or glue.
The snap added to the leash

Ta da, your braided leash is done and it’s time to go and try it on your dog!

I strongly recommend that you give it a test in an enclosed area first, especially if your dog pulls or lunges when on the braided leash. 

Here’s wishing you many good walks together!

How to Braid or Plait

If you still need to learn. here’s how:

It’s a simple sequence of Right Over Middle, Left Over Middle, which you keep repeating.

Here’s our favorite way to do it (for a right handed person):

  1. Take the right side strand and put it over the middle strand.
  2. Hold the two left strands with your left hand, the other with your right.
  3. Push the far left strand over the middle strand with your left forefinger then grab it with your right hand.
  4. Now push the far right strand over the middle strand with your right forefinger and grab hold of it with your left hand.
  5. Keep holding onto the single strand with the fingers of the opposite hand to keep tension on the braid.

For a visual tutorial, check out the YouTube video below: