DIY: Toy Leash with Snaps (Part 1)

**Updated Nov. 10

Making a leash for a toy sounds relatively simple, so it may seem surprising that I have a Part 1 for this project. However, I can already see definite room for improvement, so I’ll be trying this project again! I also would like to make a toy leash with velcro instead of snaps, and leashes that attach to my son’s clothes instead of the stroller/high chair/baby carrier/etc.

Recently, a co-op group I’m apart of was purchasing leashes for Sophie the Giraffe to keep the toy attached to things…and not constantly falling on the floor. Genius! Why do I never think of these things? Sometimes I feel completely uncreative. Well, thought I…how difficult can it be to make a toy leash?

So I set about making my own…

I perused the ribbon section at the local Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store. I found a spool of adorable monkey faces ribbon. I was a little torn between the monkey ribbon (which seemed a little thin) and a thicker, ribbed baseball ribbon. I went with the monkeys.

I arrived home and proudly showed hubby my purchase.

“Isn’t that a little thin?” -Hubby

I set about to prove him wrong!

Unfortunately, I failed.

Tip #1

Think LEASH. Purchase a very thick ribbon or something with which you’d feel confident securing a medium-size dog to a fence post.

Tip #2

Don’t zig zag the ends. You’ll make the unraveling worse.

The ends of the ribbon looked like they were fraying. I knew that with fabric, you can sew a zig zag stitch across the end, and that will keep the unraveling at bay. This is a terrible idea for ribbon. Don’t do it.

Click on the Photos to Enlarge:
Zig Zag Fail

Oh dear. How do I fix this??

I decided to fold over the end to hide the edge. This ended up working out well, since the folded over part of the ribbon acted as reinforcement for the snap.

I folded and glued the nasty edge down.
I folded it over again, so I only saw pretty edges. Then I sewed over the thing with a straight stitch.
Looks pretty good on the other side.

I should’ve folded over a bigger piece of ribbon. You’ll see why in a second.

The snap right on top of the stitch isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Next time, I’ll fold over more ribbon.

As you can see above, I applied the “boy” side of the snap (the stud) to the end of the ribbon.

I wanted one of the loops of the leash to be quite large, so I could attach it to different sized bars: the stroller, the high chair, the carrier, etc. I measured out 8″ total and marked it with a washable fabric marker. I then applied the other half of the snap (the “girl” part). I did not reinforce this part of the ribbon, which I regretted as soon as I tested snapping and unsnapping this side of the leash. I could feel and see the ribbon fabric weakening. It’s just not strong enough.

At this point, I still hadn’t measured and cut the entire length of ribbon, so I went ahead and did that. With the loops attached, the leash ended up being about 20″. I have no idea if this is a good length or not. I’ll find out tomorrow when we go to the Farmer’s Market, and I use the leash with a teether and my son’s stroller!

For the opposite end (this is the side attached to toys), I made the loop a little smaller. I reinforced the end and followed my earlier steps.

Then I turned my attention the last snap placement.

Since I now knew that the ribbon needed to be reinforced under the snaps, I cut out and folded over a piece of ribbon to sew on the leash. This would serve as snap reinforcement.

Cut out piece of ribbon, apply glue, and fold over
Sew all four edges of the reinforcement ribbon piece to wrong side of leash. Then apply last 1/2 of snap.

I have to apologize about a couple of things. First of all, I know this really isn’t a tutorial. My directions aren’t clear; I realize that. To be honest, I really didn’t know what I was doing, until the moment I did it, and even then…

When I post the next installment, I’ll include step by step instructions and measurements.

Also, if you do not have access to snap tools and snaps, I think this leash would work well with velcro. You can even hand sew velcro on the leash, if you don’t have a machine. Also, I think velcro will work well on a thinner ribbon like this, since pulling the velcro apart won’t put such a stress on the fabric (as opposed to pulling snaps apart).

Tomorrow morning I will test drive this leash by letting my son use it…trial by fire! I’ll post pix afterwards, and let you know how it goes.

Update: I used the toy leash today with my son’s current favorite teether and his stroller while we were at the local farmer’s market. Success!

Toy Leash in Action
It works!!!

Have you made a toy leash before? Do you have any DIY projects on which you’re currently working?

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