Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap [For Almost Free]

Here it is, the key cord handstrap. Probably the cheapest handstrap ever built. You only need a key cord (free at events, make sure you get the one with a clip), your quick-release-plate, a needle and some strong wire (I used nylon).

Why you even need a hand strap you ask? because it will help you carry a heavy camera and remove the strain from your hands. Cool, right?

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

The construction is pretty basic, but just before we start, here are two notes you may wanna consider:

  • Don’t take a nylon cord, they cut in your hand, you need a cotton-ish.
  • Make sure you have the smallest of the two types of key-cords. Else it won’t fit through the … What is it called in English? I don’t even know the dutch word for it… That thing the neckstrap goes around.

Cut the key-cord loose from that plastic thing. Mine was sewed in such a way you couldn’t keep one part of the cord around it while cutting the other. And for safety I like to have a larger part wrap upon itself anyways.

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

That plastic thing is made from two parts. One is on the outside and has a little stick thingy the cord goes around. The other part clicks inside the first and has two stick thingies.

Take the one with one stick and sew the cord around that ‘rod’.

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Now your handstrap is ready for assembly.

The first part is the trickiest. It’s easier if you unstrap the neckstrap. You can use the end of the neckstrap to ‘guide’ the cord through, underneath. Else it get stuck in the corner. When you have one point through, you can pull the rest through.

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

If you can’t get the first corner through, you can ‘pull’ it, wiggling it with the needle. As soon as you manage (It’s not that difficult, just, tricky…), pull it all the way through. Make sure you end up with the plastic on top, else it’ll rest immediately on your hand, not that comfy (hard and sweaty).

Now you need to get the neckstrap back in place. Easy, place it upon the cord and pull the cord back, just enough to get the strap underneath. Now you can pull both straps each way and back in place.

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Take the quick-release and place it where it belongs. Get the cord around it and back upwards. Make sure you have the lose end on top.

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Now place the second plastic part in place. If you assemble it right, it pulls itself stuck one way and you can easy tighten it pulling on the lose end.

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Pull it just tight enough that your hand can slip in and out without having to pull the cord, but tight enough that the camera will balance itself against your hand. Don’t sew this side. If you use mittens in winter it needs to be adjusted!

Repurpose A Key-Cord Into a Hand Strap

Congrats, you’re done!

Mine’s in use for about four years now. No damage to the camera-body, quick-release-plate or to the handstrap itself. It doesn’t even seem to wear! And, yes, I do use both the camera AND the strap intensely (because the camera is too heavy for my hand)!

Don’t worry about using the tripod. With both of my plates, the strap fits perfectly in the gap between the plate and the ‘socket’.

A big thanks goes to Chiara Sciarone for sending this tutorial.

  • $48565746

    I wouldn’t trust the plastic clip. Yours may be reliable, but I’ve had several fail under comparatively little stress. No way I would trust it with a DSLR.

    However, mounting the strap to a threaded screw with an eyelet is a really good idea. I have been using a very inexpensive chinese-made wrist strap ( for years now, and I wouldn’t want to miss its comfort. Unfortunately it comes with a ridiculously chunky plastic plate to be screwed to the bottom. I thought about replacing it with a thinner metal plate. But after seeing your version, I’ll probably give a try.

    • Chiara

      You can replace the plastic clip with a metal clip-like thing (it’s usually on backpack-shoulderstraps, also from plastic), but you can buy the metal ones, in varies sizes in ‘army-stores’. I now remember I indeed got a key-cord that had the outer part open on one side. When I showed it to the people that handed them out, I got this one. And this one didn’t fail me yet. Maybe it also has to do with the fact it’s double around it… I think it more pulls it sideways than straight down… And that is when the pressure builds!