DIY Hippie Camera Neck Strap

After a long search, and looking at hundreds of different styles, I have finally found a way to make a hippie strap that doesn't break the bank or your cameras (the old-school straps had metal parts). While there are straps out there that are vintage-like, or retro styled, that have plastic parts most of them are way overpriced. Some are almost a hundred US! I won't link to any that I've found, but I'm sure you've seen the ones at the bigger online retailers for $39.99US and up. Why are the LCD window protectors and covers cheap, whereas the camera straps aren't? I have no idea, and your guess if as good as mine. Even third-party offerings can reach astronomical prices (just search for them at the big auction house to see what I mean).

While a neck strap is a must, the ones that come with most cameras are dull, and boring, and often shout "look at me I'm a ______". The camera maker I've been with since day one is one of the worst because they actually list the model name and number on the strap itself. I suppose that appeals to the more narcissistic of photographers--you know the kind, the ones who love to tell everyone that they're shooting with a D3s or a D300s or a Dwhatever. Whatever happened to being descrete?

I remember a time when it was common practice to place a piece of electrical/gaffer's tape or duct tape to cover the words "NIKON". Nowadays that's seldom done, and few know why it was done. Perhaps it's simply that the look-at-me generation now has enough money to burn on cameras, or that the mentality of facebook has permeated the social-conscious of digital natives, so that they WANT people to know what they shoot with.

I'm a bit old-school because I can't stand having the words of the camera maker or the model listed on my camera strap. While I'm not against fashion, or taste, I am not so vain that I need the entire world to know that I'm an NPS member or use a Dwhatever. It's like having an artist put a sign on their arm listing their favorite paints! Give me a break. While I think having a bit of flair is great, a bit of pizzazz, a little spice to change things around is wonderful--so many OEM straps are simply vain and the camera makers know this. That's why they list model numbers on their OEM straps. The fashion, the pizzazz of the OEM straps is narcissistic in nature and appeals to that aspect of human nature (covetousness, anyone?).

While some may argue that what I'm about to show you is the ultimate in camera vanity, do know that I disagree wholeheartedly! It's not vanity, but flair, fashion, uniqueness, and style as it should be--not narcissistic, but unique, bold, and oddly, discrete. It sets you aside, and keeps people from knowing what you shoot with. With this strap, along with some tape to hide certain words, no one will know what you shoot with. Old-school photographers did just that and for that reason--they wanted to be known for their pictures, not their gear. Anyway, enough of my rambling, here's the tutorial on how to make your own "hippie" strap for about $10-15US:

Step 1:

Buy a "hippie"/"vintage" camera strap for $5-12US. Make sure it's one that's made of two materials sewn at the edge (i.e. it's got a hollow middle), and that it's 2" wide (it must be wider than the OEM for this to work). Some guitar straps can be used as well (check to make sure it meets the above conditions).

Step 2:

Cut off the leather and the metal from the vintage/hippie strap.

Step 3:

Lay the hippie strap straight, and place your OEM strap over it. Mark the flat ends of the leather from the OEM strap onto the hippie/vintage strap.

Step 4:

Cut your hippie/vintage strap to the appropriate length

Step 5:

Run your OEM strap through the hippie strap (this is why a strap made from two materials with a hollow middle is important). This is probably the most difficult part, but since the OEM straps have a plastic tri-glide fastener it's easy to scrunch the material and slowly run the OEM strap through the hippie/vintage strap by pushing on the tri-glide/slide and pulling the fabric.

Step 6:

Once your hippie/vintage strap is in place, you'll want to prevent the edges from fraying. Don't use a lighter. Most of the older camera straps were made of cotton, so they'll burn. What you want to use is something called "Dritz Fray Checker". It's a chemical bond that keeps fraying in check by "gluing" the threads together. Dab it on, and let it dry for 2-3 minutes.

Step 7:

Once it's dried, hook your "new" hippie/vintage strap to your camera and go shoot some fabulous images!

That's it. It's not difficult, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg. You've now given yourself a unique look, and you won't have people staring at your camera strap (though they may stare at the name/model at the front--for that just take some electrical or gaffer's tape and cover up those words!). Happy shooting everyone!