Wide belts and cotton belts are worn by ladies not because necessity but simply for fashion. A variety of belts are on the market in different materials like fabric or plastic, but the belt that never goes out of style is the leather belt. But, why buy when you can make your own? It's fun to be unique! Make your own fashion statement and create a belt that will express the real you. Here's how:
- Purchase your own leather and belt buckle. Tip: Pick a vegetable leather because it's easier to get tooled or dyed compared to other kinds of leather. And while you're at it, pick a dye of desired color, tools and one alphabet kit.
- Measure your waistline and make sure you trace the size in the leather with the help of a pencil and yardstick or ruler. Do not forget to add 1 foot to the length. Use light pencil marks so as not to scratch the leather.
- Lay the leather on a rubber mat and cut it with a razor knife. Be sure that the cut is straight by using a yardstick or a ruler. The thicker the straightedge, the more stable the cut. For curves, use French curve or any object with rounded edge.
- Decide what the belt's free end should look like. Whether it's pointed or round, always make sure you cut it smoothly.
- Make a crease 1 ½ inches from the uncut belt end by folding it back.
- Place a slot punch on top of the crease. Grip the handle part of the punch, and then hammer the top with a wooden mallet. Keep hammering until the leather is completely punctured.
- Using a drive punch or rotary punch, make two rivet holes ¼ inch from the uncut belt end (before the slot). Each hole must be ¼ inch from the belt edge. Punch two more rivet holes after the slot. These should be aligned with the first two rivet holes. When folded on the crease line, the first two rivet holes should match evenly with the other two.
- Trim all the belt edges with an edge beveller.
- Expose the artist in you. You can use tools or design stamps to make the belt more unique and fashionable. Place studs to make a studded belt, or if you want it personalized, make use of an alphabet kit. Do not forget that the letters should be in mirror image before punching.
- To color the belt, use leather dye. Brush on any color with little sponges, then color the belt in short strokes. Let it dry completely.
- To clean and soften the leather, wipe the length of the belt with a white, clean cloth soaked in Neat's foot oil and mild soap.
- Remove excess soap or oil with newspaper.
- Position the buckle correctly by inserting the buckle prong through the punched slot. Fold back the uncut belt, match the rivet holes and insert the rivets from the belt's underside.
- Attach the rivet cap to the rivets using a mallet.
- Put the belt around you and mark the spot where the prong hole should be to give a snug fit.
- Then make a set of holes starting from the one you marked on step 15. Each hole should be 1 inch apart and centered from the belt edge.
- Hammer the rotary punch or drive punch with a mallet to punch holes on the marked spots.
Making your own leather belt sounds so easy you might just make your own version of designer belts. Men's belts have been improved by creating hidden pouches or pocket on the underside of the belt to keep emergency money. In case you want to make many belts, you can have your own strap cutter to easily cut straps of leather. But if you only want to make one or two, you can purchase pre-cut belt blanks since these are more cost-effective.