So, one of my first projects I showed on here was how to make a leash loop using a Kumihimo technique. This time, I thought it would be fun to revisit making a leash loop using a plastic shopping bag and simple twisting and braiding techniques. It works, and I’ve even tested them on my SUP’s which I wipe out on quite a bit (fair warning). I wouldn’t advise using these in rough, gnarly conditions, just like with any other piece of equipment, of course, check to make sure it’s intact before using.
First, I took a plastic grocery bag- yes I still have a few of those- and laid it out flat on the floor:
Next, I cut off the handles and the pleated bottom so I’d just have a fat plastic loop:
|Bag with handles and bottom cut off|
Next, I cut the bag into 1/2″ strips, making 6 strips (loops) total:
I took those loops and cut them open to make six long pieces of plastic strips:
After that, I grouped the pieces in pairs and taped the ends to a stable surface. At this point, I took one of the strips and started twisting it clockwise, or in the “S” direction (the name comes from the way the diagonal twisting forms). DO NOT PULL on the strips!!! The strips are weak- it will be the twisting together of these strips that will make the strength of the cord. I cannot stress this enough, or you’ll be back to the bag stage.
|Twisting the first strip clockwise|
Once you’re finished making your strip into a tight twisted cord, tape the end off so it doesn’t untwist, and then do the same thing to the other strip.
This is where the magic happens. OK, it’s not THAT exciting. Take your two strips and twist them together COUNTERCLOCKWISE, or in a “Z” direction twist. This will lock the strands together. Remember when you were little how you twisted a piece of string in one direction tightly, then it folded back on itself in the other twisting direction, and the twisted string didn’t unravel? Same principle. Another name for this is plying. Take a good, close look at a piece of yarn sometime, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
|One completed strand (out of three)|
|Close-up of the cord.|
Repeat this for the next two pairs of strips.
After you’re finished with the three twisted cords, you’re going to put them together and begin to braid them tightly. DON’T PULL HARD! You may want to reinforce the twist of your cords as you braid them together to make sure the cords stay tight.
|Making a tight braid|
After you’re finished making the braided cord, either overhand each end to keep the braid together, or wrap a piece of tape around the ends. Putting some tape on the ends is probably better since it won’t use up your cord like an overhand knot does.
|Completed braided cord|
Next, I’m ready to put it on my board. You can use the single cord to make a leash loop, or since I shred so hard, I decided to make this one doubled up for extra insurance on those mackin’ 3 foot days.
Here, I show how I’m threading the doubled up cord through the cord holder, next to a regular leash loop for size comparison:
|Threading the cord|
Next, I just make a simple Lark’s Head with the cord and tie an overhand knot, giving plenty of space for the Velcro attachment on my leash to pass through:
|Completed leash loop|
And there you have it- yeah, I know you can buy one, but you’re probably got some plastic bags that would love to be something other than landfill fodder. Plus, this cord may last a bit longer since this stuff doesn’t want to break down and go away easily. Put one on your locally shaped board, and you’ve got bragging rights before you hit the water.
Disclaimer: After entering the water, bragging rights may diminish.