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Slingy Slingy Ding Dong: Make Your Own Baby Ring Sling

Ring Sling Baby

My first attempt: now it’s like a piece of clothing I put on every day!

Goldie was around 8 weeks old and I went to an attachment parent/babywearing mummy meet. I had her in a Hug-a-Bub, which is an Australian big wrappy thing, similar to the one they sell in America, the Moby.

It’s really nice to have on, but a little bit of pain, especially if you’re having to take the baby in and out a few times… take baby to potty… baby wants boobies, baby pees in their cloth diaper, etc. A stretchy wrap can get so sweaty too! Anyway, I saw all of these mothers with little babes, like mine, in these rings slings that looked awfully easy to take baby in and out of. DUHHHH… I thought… why have I not thought of a ring sling before! I had just made my own wrap a few weeks prior, from a long piece of fabric, so I was then on a mission to make myself a ring sling. All together, it probably take you less than an hour to make (or 3 if you’re also taking care of babies). I bought my fabric for $5 a metre, and the rings are about $5 as well. All up, $15 bucks for a very handy piece of baby paraphernalia!

What’s So Great About a Ring Sling?
Ring slings are great for newborns to even toddlers. Their major winning point is that your baby is strapped to you in seconds, and also comes off in seconds. A quick trip to the grocery store, or maybe you need to go grab the laundry because it just started to rain, or you need to carry them for a sec, but you know that your baby is going to be wanting ‘out‘ soon (with an older baby especially). You can wear them on your front, side or back. Ring slings are best for short durations, say half an hour max, as the weight is distributed asymmetrically on your back. If you’re really going for a long haul, that’s when you would use a wrap or carrier. Having said that, I’ve had Goldie, who is 6.4 kg (14 pounds), on me for over 2 hours on the house and also have gone for long walks and it was still pretty comfy. Ring slings are great in hot weather too, because there is less fabric on you and your baby. They are easy to adjust, easy to clean, have a great tail that you can use to wipe up any sort of muck and are a one size fits all!

Rings

Ring sling

You’ll need somma these!

You will need some rings… They make specific ring sling ‘rings’. You can go hunting for metal rings from the hardware store, but these will usually be heavier and may have a seam, whereas a purpose-made ring is actually cheaper (even with shipping), lighter, the proper size and does not have a seam. I ordered mine from here: SlingRings.com They will explain on the website about their sizes, etc. I used a medium size for mine, because I used thinner fabric. But, if your fabric is a bit heavier, if you’re making your sling from a chopped baby wrap, or if you want to be able to adjust your sling easier, a large may be best. You can order a sample of sizes and colors to see which ones you like best! Best to order a bunch, because you’ll get addicted to making these things.

Fabric Type Fabric to choose for a ring sling can be almost anything woven. Woven, meaning, not stretchy. So, jersey knits and that sort of thing are not the best. Cotton, cotton muslin, linen, cotton/linen blend are all good choices. I prefer linen or actual purpose made woven baby wraps, especially for heavier babies.  If you already have a purpose made woven baby wrap, you can chop 2 meters off of that.  But, for choosing fabric, rule of thumb (this goes for wraps too) is that you should be able to see light shining through the weave of the fabric, if you hold it up to the light. I used a very thin cotton muslin for the sling in this tutorial, because it’s summer and it’s hot. It was so thin, that I doubled up the fabric because I didn’t want any fatty baby to split it, but it’s still thin enough for the air to get through.  You can actually buy real purpose-made baby wearing fabric from an on-line company based in France, for short, we call it C & C.  The fabric is amazing and is organic as well!  I totally recommend buying this fabric over the stuff you can buy in the store.

This is raspberry C&C fabric, that I put a fringe on and did screen printed dragonflies!

This is raspberry C&C fabric, that I put a fringe on and did screen printed dragonflies!  And, that’s my 3 year old in there!

How Much Fabric
Generally, 2 meters (2.2 yards) in length is enough. You can make it slightly longer, if you want extra tail… if you’re tall, or for things like wiping up baby vomit. Approximately, 70 cm (27.5 in) in width. When you buy your fabric, you will usually have enough to make 2 slings, as most fabric is about 140cm (55in) wide, so make one for you and one for a friend! Since I doubled up my fabric, using this thin cotton muslin, I sewed the edges together and turned it, like a tube, so that the edges look neat and tidy.

This is how it looks now…

Then, cut it (or fold it) in half and that is your width (if your fabric is 140cm (55in))

Finish All Raw Edges A raw edge is any edge that will fray. If it has been cut with scissors, it will fray. The edge of the fabric that has not been cut by scissors, will not fray and you don’t need to finish this edge, unless you want it to look finished. Finish your edges by folding over the edge of the fabric two times. Use an iron, to flatten out the edge so that it will be neater when you sew it.

Finish raw edges

Don’t be dodgy!!! Use the iron!

Work Up a Big Sweat

Summahhhh time!

After you iron the edges, sew them down!

Put the needle close to the inside of your pressed seam… does that make any sense… that way it will look nice and tidy!

Shovel Kettle Corn Down Your Piehole to stay awake.

Sweet and Salty, from the markets, yum!

Check On Cute sleeping baby.

Gawsh… I wanted to cuddle with her… but I had to finish the sling!!!

Clean the bathroom to get ready for final ring sling photo

Squeaky Clean and mold free!

Hear Squawking and Find That Cute Baby is Awake!

I love when she’s been squirming and her diaper is almost down to her knees and she has plumber butt… good thing I practice EC, or else it would be really messy!

On One End of the Piece of Fabric, Pull Fabric through BOTH Rings and Pin in a Straight Line This part may seem like the only tricky part. But, remember, it doesn’t have to be perfectly straight, if you’re into functionality and not into perfectionism, like me, then it won’t matter, and I promise, your baby won’t complain! You can measure the length on each edge to make sure the ends are close-ish in length. A few inches will do (7 or 8cm) on one end of your piece of fabric.

Sure is nice doing these things with a baby… BEFORE the age when they can get into everything!

Sew Along the Pinned Edges: Three Rows for Extra Strength This part of your sling will be the weight bearing part part, so put three rows of stitches in.

Again, sew as close to the edge as you can, for that first row of stitches, otherwise it will stick up and look unsightly (my first one looks dodgy like that, just letting you know, I’m no expert!)

Nearly there, just add two more rows for reinforcement.

Dodgy crooked lines!

Taadaa! Finished!

Ready for a baby…

Trying Out Baby in the New Ring Sling! Instant barf and a terrible seat (her legs should be more froggy and bent and the fabric should be touching her knees, not ending in the middle of her thighs)!!! Oops! It’s a gift for someone… oh well, she works in early childcare AND has a baby of her own, I know she won’t mind a little baby puke on her brand new ring sling!

Goldie (with a terrible seat and one of her legs falling out) just puked on Mel’s new baby wrap! Well done little spewer!

Here’s another I made for a friend

A fancy one I sent to a friend, using linen.

Newborn Trick: Roll the tail up and use as a neck support, learned this from a lady at the baby wearing mummy meet who knew a poop-load about slings!

Newborn neck support

There are lots of videos on you tube on how to put your baby in the ring sling. Some quick tips are

  • Place the rings on top of your shoulder before putting baby in. Once they’re in and you tighten the fabric, the rings will slide down a little over your chest or shoulder somewhere.
  • Be sure that you can kiss the top of your baby’s head.
  • Make sure your baby’s knees are higher than their bum. This prevents them from falling out and keeps them nice and secure in the sling. This can be tricky with itty bitty ones, because they have such small bottoms and their legs don’t come apart as wide.
  • If you don’t want your baby to chew on the ring, or whack their head on it, you can wrap the tail around the ring.
  • Make sure the top is nice and snug for extra neck support.
  • Keep the fabric on your shoulder and back nice and wide, otherwise it will get a bit uncomfy.
  • Did you know breasts are amazing for more than a few things?! Your breasts act as temperature regulators. They heat up and cool down according to how hot your cool your baby is!

Disclaimer: This is merely meant to be a tutorial on how to make a baby carrier.  The safety of the carrier depends on the craftsmanship of the sewer and the way in which the baby is secured in the carrier.  When wearing your baby, you should be familiar with safe baby wearing techniques! Here is a great link on safe baby wearing: The TICKS Guildelines Happy Baby Wearing!

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99 Responses »

  1. So clever, so crafty. You make it look easy! I’d love a ring sling for my DD (nearly 14 months) but I’m contemplating how much wear I would get out of it. She’s over 10kg and walks everywhere now. She lived in the Hugabub for her first six or seven months, and since then i’ve just used an Ergo when out and about. Hrmm.. still need to think about the ring sling thing and work out how much would I really use it, and how much am I just imagining i would use it! I love the look of them, and the apparent ease of getting them in and out. Well done on making your own!

    Reply
    • You can put her on your back! I used to be an Ergo freak… and now I’m obsessed with wraps and sling! They feel so much more comfy to me, although, yes, I know the Ergo is really easy. Planning on having any more children? You could make one and use it for the next.. or just make one and if you don’t use it much, give it to a friend who is having a baby! They make great gifts, I’ve already made several for friends, they just love it!

      Reply
  2. You’re amazing! Wanna make me one?! I’ll pay you!

    Reply
  3. Shame on me! Ive got a rs but never use it. Gota learn from you!

    Reply
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  5. Great blog! I am fully going out today to buy my fabric….the only thing is, I’m due in 2 days and wanna make this sucker ASAP…therefore ordering rings online would really stall things. Of course I need to buy the right thing. I’m hoping I might rings in the fabric stores that I check out today. If not, I’ll check out the website that you listed for rings. Thank you! You have done such a pretty job on all of your slings 😉

    Reply
  6. dear what size are using for baby sling

    Reply
  7. Fab tutorial, can’t wait to make one of these, just need to find some lovely fabric to use but have plenty of time before my baby is due :). Would make a lovely gift too!

    Reply
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  9. How much does it usually cost to make one of these? I’ve always wanted a sling but can’t bear the thought of shelling out the cash that most places charge for a product that baby is only going to use for a short time.

    Reply
    • It depends on the fabric you use… The yellow one I made was really cheap, like $15 or $20 for the lot, including the rings. If you buy some medium or heavy weight linen, it might be a bit more. Ring slings are actually quite handy for a long time. I still popped my nearly 3 year old in them sometimes, when she didn’t want to walk and I had to do a quick trip to the car or something.

      Reply
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  11. Do you do tapers on the ends? I didnt for mine and its rough pulling through the rings!

    Reply
    • I didn’t… but it does depend on how thick your material is. If it’s rather thick and you have enough length, tapering would be a fantastic idea!

      Reply
  12. I’m a youngish grandma getting into baby wearing with my granddaughter and we have a size 5 woven wrap. Now she’s a year old and a great walker I’m wondering could I slide 2 rings to the mid point and double up the length to make a no – sew ring sling but preserve my woven wrap for (hopefully) all the future grandbabies?

    Reply
    • It might work, did you try it? My only thought is that it might be a lot of extra fabric to carry around… I was thinking you could double it up and then try, but it might be hard to get the fabric through the rings. But, certainly try it and see! If you really like the wovens, you could also see if you can find a relatively cheapish woven wrap in a size 1, (which is 2m), I think Little Frogs are pretty cheap, that way you can have both for her and all the future grandbabies. So stoked to hear about a babywearing grandma!

      Reply
      • It worked!! I ordered a pair of medium sling rings off eBay which arrived yesterday and we tried it today. Very comfy though I can see it being too warm once our chilly British spring has warmed up as it’s double layered. I’ll definitely follow your advice and invest in a shorter woven for warmer days 🙂

      • Hooray! I found that ring slings are actually much cooler than any other baby wearing device because they don’t have as much fabric, and that’s coming from hot sunny Australia! So glad to hear that you like it 🙂

  13. How do you keep the baby’s bottom from falling out the bottom of the sling?

    Reply
    • If you google ‘how to get a good seat when babywearing’ you should be able to find a youtube video on how to do it. Basically, you bend their kneed and place the fabric in the fold of their legs, so that they’re sitting squat.

      Reply
  14. You make it look so easy! Wish I was better with sewing and or anything crafty. They look so beautiful! Make me one 😛

    Reply
  15. My friend helped me make one but i think the seam is too far away from the rings (like a foot) how far away is your seam? Also, what kind of material did you use? I used 100% cotton and it’s kinda hard get my son seated in it without his head being even with mine

    Reply
    • A foot is pretty far… can you unstitch it and do it again? 100% cotton is good, but what kind did you use? Is it like quilting material? Then it might be hard to adjust him… also, did you make the tail long enough? If you send me a photo, maybe I can help? Either email me at kate@katesurfs.com or hop onto my facebook page and send and I can help you from there 🙂

      Reply
      • It’s not quilting material. Well I don’t think it is. Would a cotton sheet work? We are going to unstitch and sew the other side. I’ll take a picture tomorrow and email it. I’m already in bed.

      • Yeah, try unstiching, resewing and see how it goes!

  16. Hi! Fabulous instructions! Thank you. How did you make the fancy one. Did the fabric already have the pretty bit in it when you bought it? Or did you add that bit in? Thanks again!

    Reply
    • Hi Brooke!
      I added that extra bit. It was a unique piece of fabric, so I just used…um… I think it’s called a french seam to add the bottom.

      Reply
  17. How (on the last one, grey one) did you do the fancy end? I love that!!

    Reply
    • Thanks! It was from a piece of linen fabric that had one side in that pattern, and the other side was plain. I cut the fabric in half, so the plain side was on one, and then, I sewed the pattern side to the end, just for decoration. I used a french seam to make it look neat and tidy 🙂

      Reply
  18. Thanks for sharing! And you are hilarious! My fav was the shove kettle corn down your piehole baaaahahaha!

    Reply
    • Oh Thank You! I’ve always wondered if I should take down the irrelevant photos! haha! Now I know to leave them 🙂

      Reply
  19. Keep the irrelevant photos they are great! I’m so excited to make my first ring sling. I’m going to order some fabric from the site you suggested. Have you ever dyed the fabric yourself? I noticed there were not to many colors to choice from do you have any other favorite sites for fabric?

    Reply
    • Yes, I’ve dyed a wrap before! It’s really fun! Just make sure you use a color safe one, not one like RIT 🙂 There’s a facebook page called something like dyed baby carriers, those ladies know so much about it all!

      Reply
  20. clever craftsmanship and funny narrative thanks for sharing

    Reply
  21. Hi Kate! Just wanted to say thanks for this blog, really helped me with having a go at my own diy ring slings!
    I’ve got some linen cotton blend I’m making one of out that’s a bit thin so going to double it and sew it into a tube like u suggested…I got larger rings in order tho so might have to change them for mediums after reading ur advice!

    Thanks again!

    Reply
  22. Just wondering if you use aluminum or nylon rings?

    Reply
  23. So.. How much do you want to charge for one of those.? lol I can’t seem to find the time to be crafty at all and don’t even own a sewing machine so, I’m not so sure how well I would trust the safety of one made by my hand anyways. I am due with baby number three and have been searching the second hand shops for some for a bit now though. I used one with baby two and loved it, but sadly gave it away as I didn’t expect to have a baby three… oh well..

    Reply
    • Sorry I took so long to reply! If you haven’t found one yet already, you can buy one second hand? Wherever you live, see if there is a baby wearing buying Facebook page, maybe that can help? Or eBay?

      Reply
      • It’s fine. I’ve been searching through the baby swap/consignment type stores around but haven’t found one yet.. I think my area is going to be having a huge consignment sale in a few weeks so i may check there if i get time to go by.. Thanks for the reply.

    • Check Etsy.com- they sell a lot of them!

      Reply
  24. Thanks for the info I Just made my 1st sling, few mistakes I didn’t cut the material in half and I sewed to far away from the rings so I don’t have a long enough tail. Oh well live and learn.

    Reply
    • Oh no! I hope it’s at least usable? If not, time to make another one!

      Reply
      • I ended up unpicking the stitching and cut the material in half and restiching. Looks great and ended up making two the ladies in my mothers group are going to make one themselfs. thanks for your video

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  26. How did you do that grey sling at the bottom with the holes in the end? Is that how the fabric came?

    Reply
    • I had to sew the bottom on. It was from the same piece of fabric, so I put in a french seam, I think that’s also called a blind seam?

      Reply
  27. Not sure if I’ve commented before but I’ve saved this page and refer back to it every time I make a sling. First one I made, I used too thick of fabric so I undid that and made a thinner, better one. Now I just made a water sling out of fishnet. Not sure if it will work, but it seems like it will do the job.

    Your funny writings and good instructions are top notch. Thanks!

    Reply
  28. Hi, I wonder to know what size of aluminium rings should I need if I have linen.
    I appreciate your help, it’s a good information you gave to all us.

    Reply
  29. Thank you for sharing!! I just came across the ring sling and ordered one today…wish i had came across this sooner i would have made one!! Oh well now i Will be making myself and friends more 😉 cant wait to recieve mine and thanks to you making one…or two…or twelve….why not one for each day of the month haha 😉

    Reply
  30. Love the directions for the baby ring sling. My granddaughter has asked me to make one for her. I I use a cotton or cotton blend should I still double the fabric or is it alright to use just one layer. Could you tell me the finished width of the fabric should be as I do not want to make it too wide.
    Thanks
    Margaret

    Reply
    • Just make sure the cotton has enough diagonal stretch in it. I think the average width is about 72cm? Don’t worry if it’s a little wide, as you gather it up. Would be worse if it was too narrow.

      Reply
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  33. Hi kate!
    Thanks for the blog! I know I’m years behind but I’m hoping you still check and respond to comments.
    I’ve bought the recommended C & C fabric (2meters) and since I don’t know the fabric weight really then I’m not sure what size rings I should buy. What would you recommend since you are more familiar with it?
    Also.. I love your frayed edge and was wondering if you had any tips for me on how it’s done. Looks lovely:).
    Thanks for sharing everything!

    Reply
  34. Stephanie Watkins

    How much material do you recommend (length wise) for a toddler? Mine is about 30 pounds and I want to make sure I get the right length. Also, did you mention directions on how to do the sling in other positions (back pack carry)? Thanks truly appreciate it.

    Reply
    • Oh, I think about 2 meters should be fine? 30 pounds in a ring sling you will only be able to carry the kid for a short amount of time anyway. You can do the ring sling in other positions, probably google it, and you should see how you can flip the child around to your back.

      Reply
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  36. Kate, would you recommend doubling up the fabric on a standard cotton? If I don’t double it up, I just finish the edge, right? Sorry I’m a newbie… I picked out my fabric tonight and am ordering rings now! Thanks for the great tutorial!

    Reply
    • Yeah, it depends on your fabric and the weight of your baby. Unless it’s a very thin cotton, possibly a single layer could be ok?

      Reply
  37. Hi there. Is alum.ring easier to adjust than nylon?

    Reply
  38. I really wish I could sew!!!

    Reply
  39. This is the most simple tutorial I’ve read for a DIY ring sling!

    Reply
  40. I am well past the baby stage, even grandchildren too big. But I just adopted a 6 year old 13 pound pekingese that has separation anxiety. I’m thinking this might be the perfect thing! Anything you can think of to keep it from working?

    Reply
  41. what type of fiber is the fancy sling you made for you’re friend in brown / grey color? i love the way the end is looking =)

    Reply
  42. thanks for sharing.. i ve a query tat which ring is better nylon or aluminium

    Reply
    • I’ve never used the nylon ones, so I can’t say! Just the aluminium ones and they are great.

      Reply
      • Hi, love ur blog. Wish i would have seen it earlier and stich one myself for my baby. But now i don’t need time and need to travel…do u stich and sell? I’m sorry to ask but other sites take long for shipping…I’m in Dallas, TX

      • You can find them on line all over the place! I don’t make them unfortunately…

  43. Hello AND thank you soooo much for sharing… your link for the rings was very helpful. I looked on line and they are the best for price and quality. I’m a Mema who’s going to make this sling for my newest grand baby. I’m so excited I could hug you 🙂
    Sandy

    Reply
  44. Where did you get the linen you used to make the RS for your friend?

    Reply
  45. Dear Kate, Thank you for these clear instructions! My babies are 12 & 18 years old now but I have a sweet 4 pound bunny who is 6 years old and he goes everywhere with us. This would be perfect!

    Reply
  46. I love your project, explicit instruction and material are easily available. In Kenya sling is not a common thing we use Khangas to carry our babies. I’ll try to make one for a friend who is expecting and try to make a sale. This is a unique project for a Stay-at-Home Mom like me; you can make at home and earn from it. I’ll share in my blog (http://www.creativemomsweb.com) for other mom who visits my blog to read

    Reply
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  48. I wish I could insert a few pictures! I made this today in like half an hour! Thank you so much for these awesome instructions! 😊😊 so easy and way cheaper than buying one and it’s awesome to just know that I made this!

    Reply

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