My DIY Camera Strap - Live, Love, Laugh!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hey, all! Today I just wanted to share this little project with you – DIY Camera Strap. I wasn't initially planning on making a tutorial on this one, but I took enough photos that I am able to and I DO want to share it with all you lovely peeps!

It started with a search for an awesome new and trendy camera strap as part of my mom’s birthday gift, which yielded only junk, straps that were outrageously priced, just plain ugly or boring options, or many combinations of the above, so I thought, WTH – I’ll just make one!! I mean, that is what I do – create! I searched for a while, on many separate trips to various stores and online, for the things I would need like a nice fabric with a nice pattern, some skinny strap material, some tension buckle thingys… but I wasn’t having much luck with any of those things. I was just going to buy a cheap, plain strap and dissect it to re-use the pieces, but I couldn’t even find one of those, in stores or online. BUT I knew I did have the original strap from my previous DSLR that, even though it was an original Canon strap, I wasn’t using and doubted I would use again in the future – I tend to find sentiment in things unnecessarily. So, as much as it pained me to wreck a perfectly good Canon strap, it was worth it to be able to make my mom something with my own hands – she always taught us that handmade gifts are way more special than anything that can be bought. So that’s what I did. Let’s take a closer look!

So, these are all the things needed to make your very own DIY custom camera strap like I did…there was one thing missing from the photo above, which I only realized later, and that is a roll of iron on Heat ‘N Bond Hem. I’ve inset an image so you can see exactly what it looks like.

The first thing I did was use a seam ripper on my old strap to get the pieces off of it that I’d need, which were the vinyl end pieces with the fastening straps and attachments. You can make your own if you’d like, but that will make much more sense if you plan on making more than one strap since all the buckles and other pieces will probably come in packages of several. You can probably find everything you need online, but since I wanted to make just one strap, and I needed to get mine done so I could get it to my mom, I knew this would be much faster and easier with a lot less bits left over. After all the time I spent searching for a strap to buy, I didn’t have a lot of time left to waste.

The next thing I needed was something to make the new custom strap out of. You can shop at a local fabric store for something with an awesome pattern that has a bit of weight to it – nothing too thin or flimsy, OR choose a solid colored fabric if you want to make your own pattern like I did. I just re-fashioned some fabric that I already had – some curtain tie-backs that I have never used and never plan to use. They ended up being the PREFECT width and length…that is crazy! It meant less sewing which would make this project much quicker!!! The ones I show in some of the photos are white only because I had to go back and take some additional photos after I’d finished the project, but they are exactly the same though – I had two sets of curtains and never use the tie-backs for either. If you’re making your own strap piece, you’ll want it to measure 1 3/4 inches wide and 26 inches long. Remember to leave about 1/2 and inch on either long side for a seam allowance, sew with wrong sides together first leaving ends open, turn it right side out, and sew your long edges once more leaving about 1/8 of inch from the edge to your seam.

Once I had my strap piece ready, I taped off a design on either end of the strap. First I took one of the end pieces I took off the my old Canon camera strap and positioned it on the new strap to figure out where it would sit once attached, and where my design should begin. Then I marked it with a piece of masking tape and put that piece off to the side once again – I wouldn’t need it again until later. Then I used skinny strips of making tape to create a geometric pattern and made sure to mirror the same design on the other end of the strap. After that I chose a few complimenting colors of my Martha Stewart Premium Acrylic Paint to paint each of the shapes I created - again, mirroring the same coloring on the other end. To apply the paint I used a sponge brush and a dabbing motion, not back and forth stroking. The paint dries to the touch pretty quickly, so once it was, I moved on to the rest.

“Live, Love, Laugh” is something my mom has said since us kids were small children, and always makes me think of her…I’ve made her several things in the past with these very same words on them, and I used those words again for this DIY camera strap. You can paint something you’d rather have there if that’s the case, or even leave it blank. So, next I used my blank adhesive stencil roll (this is from Martha Stewart brand) to create stencils for the words “LIVE”, “LOVE”, and “LAUGH, in block letters, since that’s the easiest style of lettering to cut out, and also goes nicely with the geometric theme.

Once I had my stencils ready, I laid the strap flat out, with the pattern I painted facing up, so I could position my stencils in the center so they would show on the back of the neck when the strap is being worn. I put the "LAUGH" in the center to make the words appear more symmetrical (4 letters, 5 letters, 4 letters) - make sure you think about this, too! Once I stuck my stencils on, I painted them, being careful not to go over the edge of the stencil, using the same motion I did on the pattern sections. I did a couple coats of paint on both the patterned sections and these words. Once I was finished painting, I removed the masking tape from the patterned sections and the stencil adhesive from the strap and let the paint dry overnight.

Now, this next part is sort of optional, and if you’re sewing a strap from scratch instead of using curtain tie-backs (or what have you) like I am, you’ll probably want to think of it before now, and just make your strap thicker to begin with. At this point the strap was actually fine, I just felt like it would feel nicer if it was a bit thicker. So I took the other curtain tie-back, and struck it on the back using 2 strips of the Heat N’ Bond Hem, cut to the same length as the strap, and positioned them between the two pieces of fabric, side by side, along the very outer edges, then ironed. Make sure, if you’re doing the same, to iron on the back side of the strap only - DO NOT iron on the painted side!!!

Now, lastly, I just had to attach the end pieces that fasten the strap to the camera; the pieces I took off the old strap. First, I glued the pieces in place on either end of the strap using E6000 glue (for the best bond), and then I sewed them by hand using the same holes that were left in the vinyl from where it was sewed to the old strap. And then it was pretty much complete, except for the finishing touch, which was the “Made With Love” charm I attached to one of the end vinyl sections. I like to add this to any of my hand-sewn gifts - I feel it adds a personal touch!

Et c’est tout – that’s it! DIY Camera Strap done! I think it turned out pretty awesome! I might make her another one using just a patterned fabric if I can find some cheap camera straps to re-use, or all the materials I need to make the end pieces. But, for now, I think she likes this one and it works, so thumbs up! ;)

If you have any questions or comments, leave ‘em below in the comment form and I’ll get back to ya! Don’t for get to check the “Notify Me” box when you do so you get notifications when I respond. Until my next post…

Sam ♡

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