Thursday, 23 October 2014

How to Make a Pretty Lanyard (Using a Boring One) - a Tutorial

I have been meaning for a while to make myself a pretty lanyard to hold my scissors when I do some hand stitching.  And I did!  See:

Pretty... but it didn't start that way

The biggest hurdle in creating a pretty lanyard proved to be obtaining the proper hardware.  My local quilt, fabric and craft shops do not carry the safety closure that allows for the lanyard to break apart if it gets stuck somewhere, and shipping fees to order the hardware were prohibitive.

Enters Mr. Running Thimble, with a supply of lanyards either promotional or from past conferences: 

Someone's trash...

While not all of them came with safety closures, some of them did, so I got to work.  Here's how I did it.

How to make a pretty lanyard

1 - Find a lanyard with a safety closure (if that is important to you - it is to me). Take a picture with your digital camera before taking it apart.  Why?  Well, they are not all made the same way.  Taking a picture takes no time at all, does not cost anything, and chances are you will have to refer to it when you put the lanyard back together.


2 - Take the lanyard apart:  Do not cut the ribbon but use your trusty seam ripper.  You want to save the ribbon which is usually pretty sturdy.  Sorry - no picture of that step.

3 - Cut strips of a single fabric (as I did in the one pictured above), or use scraps to create strips to cover the ribbon.  Each strip should be about three times as wide as the ribbon you are trying to cover, and at least 1 inch longer.

I know, I know... I did step 3 before step 2.

4 - Cover the ribbon, making sure you have at least a half inch extra fabric at both ends of the ribbon.  pin or clip in place (wonder clips work great for that kind of project), then run one or two seams to secure the fabric.

A little ironing...

... and a little clipping

5 - Re-create the lanyard, referring to the digital picture you took earlier if needed.  Because of the added thickness, the ribbon may be a bit hard to squeeze through the opening of the hardware depending on the size.  The extra fabric at each end of the ribbon should help.

I am a little fuzzy but you get the idea.

That is pretty much it, but before I show the final product, I have to tell you about a little mishap with this lanyard.  See, this one had an extra attachment, a little gizmo to attach a USB key, usually with all the conference materials.   I was going to use that to somehow attach a spool of thread.


Except that the little cord broke.  I did manage to find a way to attach an old bobbin.
It ain't pretty, but now I have scissors AND a place to put my thread when I do handwork.  I am saving this one for sewing.

I actually removed the scissors from the one on the right and used it to hold my work I.D.

Voila!  Here are my pretty lanyards.  That took no time at all.

I am a big fan of quick projects - this was no exception

I have already made a third one, and I just found two more that had the proper hardware... these are addictive  and I can think of many uses for them.  What would you use them for?

Oh and while these two pretties are not quilts, they most definitely are finished, so I am linking up with TGIFF at Dizzy Quilts.


  1. Thanks for the tutorial! I wear a lanyard at work for my ID badge which is getting rather faded, so I think I will have to pretty it up!

  2. What a great idea. I w3ill make a lot of these. So sweet to give to quilt friends. (and others)
    Thanks for sharing
    Love from

  3. Great idea, Dominique. You are so creative.

  4. A fine tutorial, Dominique! You're becoming the Queen of Repurposing! :)

  5. Such a good idea! Great little finishes. :-). Thank you for linking up at TGIFF!


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