Introduction: Upgrade a Dog Collar

Picture of Upgrade a Dog Collar

I like to switch up my dog's collar every once in a while but I don't like to spend a lot of money...solution...dollar store!

I found some basic dog collars at the dollar store and upgraded them with a little bit of ribbon and an iron-on name tag.

His old name tag fell off recently (still haven't found it...), so I used what I had at home and made him an iron-on name tag that will definitely not fall off : )

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
Supplies Needed For The Collar:


  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
  • Binder Clips
  • Dog Collar ( I got mine for $1 at the dollar store)
  • Your Choice of Ribbon ( I only needed 25" of each collar of ribbon)
  • Thread

Supplies Needed For The Name Tag:


  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Iron
  • Rotary Cutter / Scissors
  • Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • Binder Clips
  • Canvas Fabric
  • Iron-On Paper
  • Clear Vinyl (The vinyl will help protect the name tag from getting damaged and worn)
* Modify these supplies with anything you like (printed fabric, studs, chains etc.) these are just the basics *

Step 2: Take Apart the Dog Collar

Picture of Take Apart the Dog Collar

The first step is to take apart the dog collar so you are left with just the webbing (no hooks attached)

The collar I bought was only sewn together in two places so I started by clipping the threads at one end, then pulling off all of the hooks and sliders, and finished by clipping off the remaining threads at the opposite end.

Step 3: Attach the Ribbon

Picture of Attach the Ribbon

Once all of the hooks and sliders are removed, it is time to add the ribbon or trim of your choice. 

I added an extra 1" to the length of the decorative ribbon so I could fold the edges over 1/2".

Sew the ribbon to the collar using matching thread. 

Step 4: Reassemble the Dog Collar

Picture of Reassemble the Dog Collar

When the ribbon is attached you can reassemble to dog collar.

Insert 1 end of the collar through the slider ( known as a triglide - its the piece with 2 holes)

Fold the end of the collar over about 2", wrong sides together.

Sew the end of the 2" piece to the collar, I created a small square with an X stitch in the center to keep it secure.

Add the small slider through the open end of the collar. (known as the collar loop - it is the small rectangle piece)

Add the pronged half of the buckle to the open end of the collar, and position it 2/3 of the way down.

Take the open end of the collar and pull it through the small slider. 

Pull the open end of the collar through the large slider (with 2 holes)

Add the d-ring to the open end of the collar.

Pull the open end of the collar through the remaining buckle piece, and fold the end over about 2".

Sew the end of the 2" piece to the collar, use the same square stitch with an X in the center to keep it secure.

* See the pictures for a visual explanation : ) *

Step 5: Attach the Name

Picture of Attach the Name

I made the name tag using iron-on paper, a piece of canvas and covered it with a piece of clear vinyl. 

I started by fitting the collar to my dog and measured the amount of open space I had to work with. 

The final measurements for my tag were 4" x 1/2". I made the height slightly smaller than the actual collar so I had room for the stitching on the clear vinyl cover.

I printed the name tag out on iron-on paper and since I used the kind for dark fabrics I did not need to flip the text. I also filled the page with extra name tags so I could use them in the future and so I didn't waste any paper. 

I ironed the name tag on a piece of canvas fabric that was slightly larger than the tag so I could trim it down afterwards. 

Once the name tag was ironed on, I used a rotary cutter to trim off the excess fabric. 

I used binder clips to position the tag in place, and sewed it to the collar using a really tiny zig zag stitch to help protect the edges from fraying. 

Next I added the vinyl cover which I made the same height as the collar and slightly longer than the tag. 

I used binder clips to position the vinyl cover in place and sewed it to the collar using a straight stitch. 


Step 6: Put It On!

Picture of Put It On!

Put the new collar on your dog and enjoy!


nehmo (author)2017-09-12

Harnesses are more comfortable for dogs, especially if you use a leash attached to the collar or harness. They can be expensive (I just buy at Walmart), but, in addition to being a better device, they show people the dog is better cared for.

I use a marker to write my phone number on the harness. It wears off after a while, and I refresh the writing.

I'd like to make a nice harness with a pocket for a cell phone. The phone is for GPS. You can use a pay-by-call service (h2o wireless, eg), and the monthly rate is cheap. I use Google Device Manager to locate the dog.

I haven't, however, come up with a perfect system yet. The best pockets are a pain to open for charging. I have to work on it.

kathynv (author)2017-04-06

Awesome! Our new dog, Iggy, arrived yesterday and the dog rescue gave him a cheap collar. (twin to the one in your Instructable). I know what I'll be doing this afternoon, because losing this little guy would be unthinkable. Thanks so much for sharing.

spencerjl (author)2015-01-22

I'm pretty sure Toto is related to my dog...

mactothefuture (author)spencerjl2015-01-22

So cute!! Haha! Cyber cousins! : ) This guy was a rescue so I'll never know what he is for sure but definitley has the SAME look!

spencerjl (author)mactothefuture2015-01-22

Roscoe was a rescue too!

mactothefuture (author)spencerjl2015-01-22

Very cool! I'm assuming he rescued you too! : )

spencerjl (author)mactothefuture2015-01-22

He did! Not to bring anyone down, but I had a traumatic brain injury, was engaged, she cheated, that ended. I lost friends because of the injury, and then I rescued Roscoe. And he saved me. Someone who loves me. Not be anthropomorphic. ;)

mactothefuture (author)spencerjl2015-01-23

Gladhe found you! Pets make the best medicine! : )

spencerjl (author)2015-01-22

By the way, mine is a Jack/Rat terrier mix

brendapaw (author)2014-04-13

This is beautiful! I have been shopping for reflective collars with identification on them, never thinking that I can use my heavy duty sewing machine to do it myself. I recently found $4 black heavy duty collars at Tuesday Morning. I would love to do this. Is that reflective ribbon? It looks reflective. If it is, where did you get it?

nanaof2 (author)brendapaw2014-06-26

You can purchase reflective ribbon at JoAnn's fabric stores I haven't looked at any other stores for it , however, I'm sure they all carry it maybe even Hobby Lobby

mactothefuture (author)brendapaw2014-04-13

Thanks! Glad you liked the project : ) The bottom ribbon I used is just a metallic silver color and the top one was a bright neon with glitter, and I got both of them at Michaels. They do shine really bright but I don't think they would be visible in the dark. This website here: has some reflective ribbon and I've seen it on Ebay and Etsy too : )

jessyratfink (author)2014-05-15

This is such a great idea! Love the addition of the name tag :)

Chikpea (author)2014-05-10

Beautiful! Your dog's super cute, by the way. What breed is he? Jack Russel?

mactothefuture (author)Chikpea2014-05-12

Thanks! I'm not sure what he is, but I think he's a rat terrier : )

dscopel (author)2014-04-29

What kind of dog/dogs is Toto? Our dog is a mutt and looks a lot like yours.

mactothefuture (author)dscopel2014-05-12

He was actually a stray so I can't say for sure but I think he is a rat terrier : )

misformiche (author)2014-04-26

Nice tutorial! I did something similar. But I cross-stitched the name tag and made it a loop so I could slide it off and put it on a different collar.

muddog15 (author)2014-04-24

You sir could have a heck of a business custom collars are 30+ online.

DoctorEvil30564 (author)2014-04-13

this is a great idea. I wish someone would come up with a escape-proof but safe collar for a cat. I have a cat that manages to unhook the safety snap on any collar I buy for him that has one. I have to use a XS size dog collar without a snap if I want to keep a collar on him with his rabies tag and if found call xxx-xxx-xxxx info on it. I'm just afraid that he's going to wind up strangling himself on it.

Microchipping your cat is always an option. And don't forget harnesses! My cat hated her harness at first, but she enjoys it now. Just make sure he can't slip out of it.

I make my own cat stretch collars with small dog collars bought from the dollar store all the time. Just cut the collar where you want the elastic cord, melt the ends of the collar where you cut it with a lighter so they won't fray, fold both ends of the collar over and with a needle and thread sew them closed leaving a small loop. Now through the loops pull some elastic cord through, you might need tweezers to pull it through. Tie a knot in the elastic cord, trim the ends and slide the knot into loop so it doesn't show.

telorand (author)DoctorEvil305642014-04-14

Maybe a harness would do the trick.

DoctorEvil30564, how about a halter?

Ricardo Furioso (author)2014-04-14

You can get very reflective tape in silver or red at any auto parts store. Or the auto department of a large department store. You could replace the ribbon you used with that.
Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

AndyJ (author)2014-04-13

You should approach a dog collar manufacturer with this. I'd buy one.

wicked jypsi (author)2014-04-13

You have a very good tutorial. Awesome idea, you definitely have my vote!!!!!

cjohnson15 (author)2014-04-13

This is a great idea. I like things that are inexpensive, functional, and easy to make. I will definitely be making one of these for each of my dogs. Thank you for sharing this Instructable.

iluvmygirl (author)2014-04-10

WOW!!! Soooooooooooooo cooooooolllllll.....howed u get your dog to pose for u....:-). I love it!!!

This is a great idea! The iron on ID is perfect for energetic dogs who are constantly jingling their tags, haha.

About This Instructable




Bio: A person who enjoys making things!
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