PetaPixel

How to Turn an Old Seatbelt into a Useful Camera Sling

Editor’s note: The guest author of this DIY tutorial, Vadim Gordin, is also selling DIY kits and ready-made Lens Loop slings for $15 and $25, respectively. You can find the project over on Kickstarter.


Here’s a DIY camera strap I came up with 2 years ago and have been steadily revising as I use it while traveling and shooting all over the country. The design is simpler, more comfortable, and more attractive than any of the other commercially available slings. I hope that by sharing my design here, I can generate interest in my project and help DIYers make a great camera sling on their first try.

Advantages

  • Like seat belts, the strap’s length can be easily adjusted
  • Unlike camera slings with bulky shoulder pads, this strap can be rolled up to take up almost no space in a camera bag
  • Seat belts are extremely durable. Just look at the seat belts in old cars!

Things You’ll Need

  • Five feet of 1 7/8 inch automotive seat belt webbing. Seat belt webbing and hardware comes in three sizes, 1.5 inch, 1 7/8 inch, and 2 inch. When choosing components for the Lens Loop, I tried all three and found 1 7/8 to be the most comfortable. Avoid 2 inch webbing as most snap swivels don’t travel well along it.
  • A webbing slide. Most hardware suppliers have a number of 3-bar webbing slides to accommodate 2 inch webbing. Go with a welded, nickel plated slide made from steel wire like I’ll be using in the production Lens Loops. After trying all sorts of cast metal and plastic options, these are by far the best combination of a low profile and good grip.
  • A welded loop. Get the thinnest eye loop that will accommodate your webbing
  • A snap swivel. Most plastic and metal snap swivels are cast and have a casting seam on the inside of the loop. Find one without this seam as it will allow the snap to move more smoothly along the strap. Lastly, make sure that you use a snap with a spring that is strong enough not to open accidentally when bumped or pinched.

Step 1

Loop the webbing through the 3-bar slide and sew it down at one end making a loop.

Step 2

Pull the webbing through the welded loop and back through the slide so that the stitches from step 1 face inward. This is important so the seam doesn’t catch as the Lens Loop moves across your clothing.

Step 3

Thread the long end of the webbing through the snap swivel and back through the welded loop. Again, fold the webbing away from the wearer and stitch it closed.

Finished!

Thats it! Here is a picture of the DIY lens loop with the black production sample:


About the author: Vadim Gordin is a patent attorney based in Jersey City, NJbased and the creator of the Lens Loop, a new camera strap made from recycled seat belt webbing.


 
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  • Anonymous

    How about you make some and we’ll buy them ;)

  • Anonymous

    How about you make some and we’ll buy them ;)

  • http://twitter.com/AnthonyLatona Anthony Latona

    You can an assembled one through the Kickstarter campaign, http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/650793793/lens-loop-a-better-camera-strap

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, I just read the subtext on the title. Silly me.

  • Keith Walker

    I have found that 5 feet of webbing is a bit short. I’ll have to make another one maybe another 12 to 18 inches longer to allow room for adjustment.

    Apart from that, the sling is fine

  • Keith Walker

    I have found that 5 feet of webbing is a bit short. I’ll have to make another one maybe another 12 to 18 inches longer to allow room for adjustment.

    Apart from that, the sling is fine

  • http://spangborn.myopenid.com/ Sawyer

    No locking clip for the camera? No thanks. That clip doesn’t look like it’d stay closed with a lot of movement.