This is two instructables in one, as I will show two different ways to make a belt. One is version 1.0, and the second is 2.0, as it was easier for me to make, and also adds the luxury of being adjustable.
Step 1: Why Do This Anyway?
I have been accused of bringing home more stuff than I take to the dump. The problem is, I just see all those useful things, and hate to see them go to waste. Our city burns all of it's trash, and makes electricity out of the process. But then, of course, sells the power to the highest bidder.
I just couldn't stand the thought of a perfectly good camp lantern being burned...so I brought it home, and it is the one we use now.
Version 2.0 makes use of some leather working tools. A setter, and an anvil. Simple tools, that really make it possible to make a professional looking article, and they are cheap! Read on for more info.
So, here it goes...
Step 2: Look for a Car That Wants to Donate a Seat Belt
In the city I live, there happens to be whole "junk" yards full of cars that want to donate their seat belts to a higher cause such as this.
Be sure the car is no longer in use, since seat belts are the law.
This place charges $4.00 for a seat belt ($2.00 per each end of the buckle). ***UPDATE*** They now charge $6.00 or $3.00 per each end of the buckle. Sheesh, prices going up everywhere! This "junk" yard is a self serve place, which I prefer. You pay $2.00 to get in the door, and then with your own tools can go get whatever you want, at great prices, since you are doing the labor.
Step 3: Get That Seat Belt Out.
Also, many of the mounting brackets are down in hard to reach places and are hard to get to without taking out the seat, removing interior carpet, etc.
So, I decided just to cut them out as close to the end as I could.
I had my trusty Buck knife, but it really put the hurt to it, as I had to cut up against steel, and cut through some serious grime. I should have brought my utility knife with the disposable blades.
Step 4: Get That Seat Belt Home, and Give It a Cleaning.
I have a deep basin type sink in the basement, so I put them all in, filled it with HOT soapy water, along with a little bleach for kicks.
The water was filthy the first two washes, and the 3rd it was pretty clean.
Step 5: Hang Them Up to Dry
I got a few different kinds of belts. I plan on making them as gifts, as well as using them for different things. I was a little let down that most modern cars have rather non-discript seat belt buckles. Most of them are like the one at the top of the photo. Black plastic with a red button. I checked Ford, Chevy, Dodge, VW, Mercedes, Audi, Honda, Toyota, etc. All would be indistinguishable from each other once out of the car.
The large dark green one with the round button would never fit through any of my pant belt loops, but is adjustable. I plan on using it to make a harness for pulling a sled (pulk) when I snowshoe or go ice fishing.
Step 6: Gather All the Supplies, It's Time to Assemble!
Stapler - common household item
Hammer - also common
Scissors - also common
Ice pick - also common, especially if you are prone to picking ice, or stabbing things
Seat belt strap - The one we just got cleaned up and dry
Snap parts - more detail later
Seat belt buckle - also recently acquired from junk yard and cleaned up
Permanent marker - also common
Lighter - remove that annoying safety piece covering the wheel
Snap installing tools - Anvil and setter, more later on this also
Step 7: Lets Gets Started Making
It is just a plastic rivet, that keeps the seat belt buckle from sliding way down out of reach.
I just grabbed a small standard, or flat, screwdriver, stuck it under the edge, being careful to not damage my seat belt webbing. It popped off with just a twist of the handle. There is no hole, it had been installed by pushing the fibers apart. Pretty easy really.
Step 8: Clean Up the Ends
I think this step may void any seat belt warranty, so proceed with caution.
Cut them nice and strait with the scissors. It is surprisingly easy to cut. Make sure you don't cut it too short!
Measure around your waist twice, and cut once. I didn't use a tape, I just physically put the belt around my waist, added a about another 10 -12 inches, and then held that spot with my fingers.
Step 9: Stop the Fray
Step 10: Attach Buckle
This raised an issue with me: with different pants, or if I am going to tuck in my shirt or not, my belt needs to be a little different length. This belt is NOT adjustable.
This is one of the reasons I decided to go for version 2.0 in the following steps.
So, feed the belt through the buckle as shown, pull it over it's self, mark with marker, and then sew. I stapled mine in place until it can be sewn.
I am not much of a tailor, so following this step, I will show you an alternative, and sort of a 2.0 version, as I think it is better.
Step 11: Let's Kick It Up a Notch
Step 12: Cut Ends
Again, be careful not to cut too short. Measure the belt around your waist a couple times, then add another 10-12 inches, and cut. With this one, don't worry about being too long.
Step 13: OH SNAP!
Push ice pick through both layers of belt, and make a nice hole. You are not cutting the fibers here, just spreading them apart. Work the pick around some to get them to separate so you can do the next steps.
Step 14: Snap Information
I got all my snap supplies from The Tandy Leather factory in town, but they have a great web site: http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/
Top is the setter
stock number 8058-00
Left is the anvil stock number 8056-00
On the right are the 4 pieces to the snap.
I used "Line 24" black snaps for this belt stock number 1263-03
Make sure you get the right parts of the snaps together. The pieces are lined up here that go together. On the left is the pieces that are what I call the "round" pieces. The upper piece has the rounded bottom, and the lower piece has the gentle rounded outside edge.
The two pieces on the right are what I call the "flat and tall" pieces. The upper one has a flat bottom, a thin edge, and a tall post. The lower one has the thin edge, and is "tall."
Step 15: Install the Snaps
I actually ended up putting the post over the ice pick, then sliding the pick with the snap post on it, using the pick as a guide of sorts.
Put the collar over the post, get the anvil under with the flat side up, and put your setter on the post, and drive it home with the hammer. You must curl the post all the way down, so it is out of the way, and you don't want that snap to get away or work loose. You don't want to loose your pants, or anything you may have hanging on your belt (Leatherman, holster, knife, quiver, etc).
Keep checking as you go, until you get it hammered to the right curl.
It's important to keep everything as straight as possible, so keep an eye on the post to make sure it is curling evenly as you hammer happily along.
Step 16: Install Other Half of Snap
Fold your webbing as needed, and push it through the slit of the tab. Before you install any part of the snap, make sure it will slide through the tab. You may want to push the webbing through, and then install the snap pieces. Would be a bummer to install the snap, and then not have it fit through opening.
Step 17: Install Other Snap
Hence, this would be adjustable, as you can just move between snaps for different lengths.
Step 18: Enjoy Your Good Looking Handy Work
Especially catchy at car shows, monster truck jams, NASCAR events, and the like.