Hi there!

So you're interested in a lil leather crafting?  No problem, I was too, so I gave it a shot.  There's a lot you can take away from this instructable, but on the same token, you will need a few tools.  Below, I'll outline everything that you should have for each major step.  

Just a heads up:  While crafting this belt, I used a burning tool, you can you a method called "stamping" as well, however I find that takes a lot longer, and A LOT more skill.  I find burning a quicker and dirtier way of making a sweet design on leather.  

I also kept the belt very simple.  By using one snap, I can switch out the buckles, hopefully you have one or two buckles laying around (I will not instruct you how to make a buckle this time).  

I'm going to show you how to make a basic functional belt with some design involved.  Also, when I outline the tools, I'll do my best to suggest other tools, but for the most part, I'm going to outline what I used to get the job done.

What you need for the design:
  1. A strip of leather (Tandy Leather carries everything on the list by the way, but you also might find a leather shop in your hood too!)
  2. A sweet design in mind
  3. Tracing paper (You don't need to be an artist!)
  4. A burning tool (I used my wood burner)
  5. Pencil
  6. Pen-like tool (for outlining the design through the tracing paper onto the leather)
  7. Leather stains (For desired colours)
  8. Leather liquid finish (To seal the finished belt)
  9. Newspaper
  10. Sponge
  11. Fine Paintbrush (depends on your design)

What you need for the leather work (Again, Tandy Leather is your best bet here):
  1. Leather Skiver (I actually don't have one, I used a woodcarving blade)
  2. A rubber/plastic hammer
  3. Leather punches for necessary holes
  4. Snaps and snap anvil 
  5. Heavy duty scissors or blade (May need to shorten your belt)

If you keep the design simple, less stuff is required.  If you want to add more components to the belt, obviously you'll need more on the leather side of things.  Either way, it's hard to get into leather crafting as a minimalist.  If you want to get into it, look into a leather starter kit, most of the tools included you'll be able to reuse anyways!  And if you've notice in the pic...Yes my coffee table is a work-out bench, most of the belt was done on there...Awesome. 

If you want to get to know me more, follow my personal account on Instagram, I'd love the attention!  Just click the link or look me up, mattw13. Thanks!


Also, as I'm ramping up, I speak my mind on Twitter too, so feel free to follow me on there too!

Step 1: Your belt design

So you've got your strap of leather and all of your design tools handy...Awesome.  This is the fun part, but probably the longest part, so take your time, be creative and enjoy it.

First, choose your design.  This probably needs to be somewhat of a pattern to go across the belt, so consider something you might like.  In my first belt, all I did was the my "Mattcave" logo on the end of the belt.  It was real quick and real easy...Same process, I included it in the pictures.

Okay, let's rock step by step.
  1. Find your designs and get them on paper
  2. Use your own designs, or find some online, print them off so they'll be sized for the belt (I attached a screenshot of my Galaxy SIII using the Samsung print app, I love technology when I do crafts).
  3. Get your tracing paper and trace the images you want to transfer onto the belt
  4. Sketch out your belt on some scrap paper to make sure it looks okay (I don't LOVE the design I chose, but I wanted to mix sh*t up a bit, you know?)
  5. Before you get started, measure your belt up with another belt of yours, it's probably super long, so trimming it before you begin designing will save you lots of design time. (If it's too short already, pwnd, you'll have to make a bracelet or something)
  6. Soften the leather with a slightly damp sponge, this will make transferring a little easier
  7. As soon as the belt is dry, begin etching your design, I used a measuring tape to ensure my skulls were every few inches, I didn't care with the blood spills were, I was okay with it being mixed up a little.
  8. Use your tracing tool (use something like mine, if you don't have one, be creative here, all you need to do is press the design through the tracing paper into the belt)
  9. Once you've transferred the image, get your burning tool ready.  You'll simply go over these lines with the tool.  I recommend practicing on a scrap piece of leather to get a good feel for it.  A slow steady burn will give you the best image.  Go deep & pull the pen slowly (pushing too much may cause you to dig into the leather creating deep burns, clean the pen with another metal tool and take breaks so you don't get sloppy, I know I did a little.
  10. As you are working away, toss on a classic flick, I chose He-Man Masters of the Universe, boom.
  11. If your design wears out your tracing paper as much as mine did, no problem, just trace over the design again and start fresh on another piece of the paper.
  12. When you burn, you can go back and forth from transferring to burning, it mixes things up and lets you take breaks, just a recommendation.
  13. Okay, are you finished?  Hope it's legit, onto the next stage.
<p>This is a nice way of designing a belt of own, like.. Its simply wow for what you wrote and your works. I just bagged a belt online with my own design by http://www.idesignibuy.com/belt.php and its a nice s/w tool seriously :)</p>
<p>Awesome, thanks for sharing..)</p>
<p>Tried burning it and be VERY careful with the tip you choose. I used a generic wood burning kit I got when I was a kid, and the tip has an extra sharp wedge design. So the &quot;burns&quot; came out more like deep scars and cuts. Probably would have been less noticeable with the two-tone design he used, but for mine it showed through the paint entirely. </p><p>But now I know (and can share with you!) that if you completely ruin a great blank, you can sand it down with medium grit sand paper and remove any signs of those scars. In fact, I kind of liked it after sanding. The shiny smooth side was worn away and left the woody interior texture. I ended up using paint pens and free handing it, but this is how it came out before applying a finish. </p>
Not sure about &quot;Burning&quot; (Brandign?) but if you are thinking of Stamping, Embossing, or &quot;Tooling&quot; your belt you will probably need to look for &quot;Veg Tanned Leather&quot;.
Thanks for comment, I actually burned my design in with a wood burning tool. I agree that stamping is a lot cleaner but consider me a beginner and I'm still practicing with stamping. Yes, this is &quot;Veg tanned leather&quot;, I should have pointed that out, cheers!
I have noticed in the day to day vernacular at work, the word legit is becoming more common. <br>In Toronto is it common place for a belt to deceive or engage in illegal behavior?
Ahhh, well I suppose by &quot;legit&quot; I mean, it's legitimate and conforms to the rules of what a traditional belt should be...I think.

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Bio: Oh hi, I'm Matt from Toronto, ON. When I'm not out...I'm in the Mattcave doin crafts or working on my new ... More »
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