Leather dog collars are so expensive, but my beasts like to have something nice to wear. Since someone in my house always seems to be wearing out a belt, I thought I would try some reuse and make my own collars. This design uses epoxy to make dog proof faux jewels for decoration.
Step 1: Get a Belt
Here's what you'll need:
an old leather belt (this project won't work with cloth)
leather punch or awl for making new buckle holes
approx. 1/2" hollow leather punch and or knife for cutting shapes in the leather
hammer (if you're using a punch that requires one)
2-part clear epoxy (long drying, not the 5 minute kind)
stirrer and disposable cup (pill containers work great)
glitter (any kind you like)
other bling (optional)
Step 2: OMG, I Can't Believe What I Found!
My plan was to punch holes with an awl or whatever strong pointy thing I could find that worked best. And then I was hunting through my hammer drawer and I found an actual leather punch. Someone must have passed it on to me because I'm the tool junkie in the family. It's rusty and has spider webs inside, but if it still works, woo hoo!
Step 3: Measure the Dog
Put the belt around your dog's neck and mark off the size on the back of the belt.
(Nope, couldn't take a picture of dog measuring - way too bouncy)
Step 4: Mark Off the Punches
I used a ruler to mark the center of the belt at the site of my first punch mark. Then I measured 1/2 inch to either side of the first mark and centered them as well. These will be the positions for three punches - to give my dog some growing/shrinking room.
Note: I used a metallic marker which showed up well on the black leather.
Step 5: Punch
Use a awl or leather punch to make three holes at the marks on the belt.
Step 6: Remeasure the Dog
Try the belt on your dog with the new buckle holes and make sure it fits before cutting off the excess leather. You can always add more holes if your measurement was off.
Step 7: Cut Excess
I used kitchen shears to cut the extra belt material. Save this for experimenting!
Step 8: Making Jewels
For this project I'm using a jewelry making technique for the bling. I will show you how to make faux jewels with glitter and epoxy. 2-part epoxy is very strong and waterproof. I've used it on collars before, so I know it's also pretty dog proof.
Any clear 2-part epoxy is good, but NOT the 5 minute kind.
(I used a very chunky glitter. I don't think it worked as well as fine glitter I've used on other projects. I'll use fine glitter or colored powder next time I do this.)
Note: Test any step you want on your belt excess scrap
1) Use a 1/2" leather punch and/or knife to cut random shapes in the front of the collar. Punch or cut only PARTWAY through the leather. You must leave the finished back solid, though it doesn't matter how close to going through you get. Just don't cut through all the way.
2) Pull out the leather plug from each shape. You'll be left with a "bowl" ready to be filled. Repeat until you have a design you like.
3) Lay the belt and glue supplies on a sheet of waxed paper on a very flat surface that won't be disturbed.
4) Fill each hole with a tiny bit of glitter. I used tweezers to make this easier. Brush aside stray glitter.
5) Mix epoxy according to the instructions on package. Wait a few minutes until bubbles rise and pop.
6) Set heavy things on the collar to make it as flat as possible. I used hammers. Then pour a tiny drip of epoxy into each hole and mix with the glitter. Use a toothpick for mixing.
7) Wait until the rest of the epoxy thickens up, but still pours easily. Like thick honey.
8) Then slowly add more epoxy to each hole. If you can get the epoxy to just begin to form a dome that's ideal. But don't worry if you can't. It's very hard.
9) Wipe up any drips with a bit of paper towel.
9) Let cure for the full time on the package before moving.
Step 9: More Bling
If you want to glue on pretty things, here are the basic instructions.
Rough up the leather where ever you'll be gluing something. Use any sharp object to scrape the leather, especially if it has a smooth finish. Also rough up the back of the adornment. Sandpaper usually works fine for this.
Either use your leftover epoxy or mix epoxy according to directions and glue things to the collar. Wait the full curing time before doing anything else to the collar.
(I added some cat's eye cabochons while the glue was still wet after I made my glitter "jewels".)
If you have the tools for adding studs, go for it.
Step 10: Extra Glue
I made bottle cap pendants with the leftover epoxy. Or you can repair something. That's probably what I should have done.
Step 11: Add a Tag Ring
I don't hook leashes to my dog's collar so I'm not going to add a loop, but here's how I'd do it.
Step 12: Show Off Collar & Dog
I'd love to see your dogs if you make the collar. Or even if you don't.