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The tabs in a men's shirt collar, known as collar stays, can make a big difference in your shirt's appearance. If the stays are kinked or bent, your collar will be kinked or bent, and if the stays are perfectly straight, your collar will stay perfectly straight and make you look professional.

You can buy them at Macy's for $7 (I know not that much really) but why do that when you can have top performing ones for no money at all?

WARNING: This instructable involves cutting rather hard plastic with rather sharp objects. USE EXTREME CAUTION AND NEVER CUT TOWARDS YOUR HAND OR SELF. One slip of the knife can mean a deep gash, stitches, or even a chunk of your finger gone.

Step 1: Bill of Materials

You will need:

A piece of plastic (I used a mayonnaise jar, number one plastic, you should find something with at least one flat spot and the plastic should not be too thick. Some milk jugs might work well if they are thin and rigid enough)

Sharpie Marker or other accessory that will write on the plastic

Pair of sharp scissors

Cutting implement to get the plastic cut into raw pieces (I used garden shears and they worked really well)

Optional--X-acto knife or other sharp precise cutting tool. I didn't use one, but if you want to achieve a high level of aesthetics, for giving as a gift, say, some find adjustments might be good

Step 2: Cut Up Plastic

First, make sure you are going to have a suitable spot to cut the stays from by placing one up against it. If you don't have any collar stays around, they should be about 0.9 x 6.4cm (3/8" x 2 1/2") before being shaped.

Using the garden shears, cut the plastic into manageable, semi-flat pieces.

Step 3: Trace and Cut Out Stays

Place an already available template stay up against the plastic and trace around it with the sharpie.

(If you don't have any handy, measure a square 0.9cm x 6.4cm (3/8" x 2 1/2"))

Using sharp scissors, cut out the stay along the inner edge of the marker line. Once you have the basic shape, you can trim it to the exact standards you need, i.e. some corners or smooth curves.

Now go put it in your fanciest shirt and see how good the collar looks! And don't forget to take the stays out when you wash the shirt, especially with unauthorized plastic that might hold up very poorly in the washing machine and/or dryer.

I think a pretty good test of rigidity is to hold the tabs on the edge of a table and make sounds by strumming them. The higher the sound, the more rigid and strong the tab is.

Hope this will help you look sharper around the office, in the classroom, or wherever your button-down shirts might take you, and any and all feedback is welcome and encouraged. HAPPY MAKING!!!
<p>I use the plastic covers of the diaries/note books we get at uni, once I filled the book all the notes get filed so the covers are spare.</p>
<p>Nice idea to make<br>your own collar stay for free, but I think that will not help you a<br>lot in reflecting a professional appearance of your formal shirts. As<br>you are not an expert in making collar stays, the perfection in the<br>collar stay tip will never be up to the standard that will lead to<br>the misalignment of the collar shape. You will experience dysfunction<br>with your collar, as the handmade stays will not be able to hold it<br>in line and straight for a long time. Me and my Dad are using collar<br>stays by Hulas(www.fixmycollar.com) they are the best when it comes<br>to price and durability. Try them once to see the difference.</p>
I always have problems with my collars and I never would have thought of this. Fantastic idea, thank you!

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Bio: Teaching student, biking enthusiast and I love to reuse things, much to my girlfriend's chagrin at times...
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