I got a nice belt and wondered how hard it would be to make a custom belt buckle for it. That led me to make this Instructable about making a custom wood-burned belt buckle. This was my first time wood burning anything, so I can tell you honestly that it is not too hard for beginners as long as you have a steady hand.
I made this Instructable for the Hand Tools Only Contest, so vote for me using the button above!
This buckle reflects my style, so feel free to change anything that you want including shape, color, and design.
Be creative and have fun!
Step 1: Materials
For this project, you will need the following things:
- Belt with interchangeable buckle
- Thin piece of wood (preferably with an interesting grain)
- Wood stain
- Paper and pencil
- Hot glue
- Electrical Tape (black or brown depending on the belt)
- Wire coat hanger
- Clamp/ vice
- Paint brush
- Dial/digital/slide caliper
- Soldering iron or wood burner
- Hot glue gun
Step 2: Measure and Cut
Measure your belt buckle with a caliper and mark the piece of wood with the dimensions.
Use the vice to hold the wood while you cut it with a hacksaw.
You may want to sand the piece of wood after you cut it depending on the quality of the cut.
Step 3: Copy Your Design Onto the Piece of Wood
(If you want to freehand the sketch, skip this step and just draw it)
Find an image online that you want to be on your belt buckle. Get it to the right size on your computer for the size of your buckle.
Trace the design onto a piece of normal paper. Flip the paper over and color very darkly in the area where your design has been traced. This part must be very dark because it will have to transfer to the wood.
Put the dark side down on top of the wood and position it so that it will transfer where you want it to. Go back and trace the design making sure to push hard as this will transfer the graphite from the other side onto the wood. If there are any gaps or holes, sketch them in so that you have a complete design.
You should now have a pencil sketch of your design on the piece of wood that you cut.
Step 4: Burn the Design Into the Wood
Let a soldering iron or wood burner heat up until you can feel the heat without touching it.
Using the soldering iron or wood burner, slowly trace the design that you drew on the future belt buckle. Don't press too hard, but make sure that you are getting nice dark lines as you draw. If you want to add shading, make quicker, lighter strokes around the edges.
Be sure to use proper safety techniques and equipment when dealing with hot objects.
This was my first time wood burning. I used a normal soldering iron and I don't think that I did too bad of a job.
For more tips on wood burning see this Instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/Wood-burning-101-Techniques-and-Tricks/
Step 5: Stain the Wood
Open a can of stain that best matches what you want your buckle to look like. I chose a lighter color of stain because I wanted the design to have a high contrast. Generously apply the stain to the wood with a paintbrush until the color is what you want. Let it dry for a few hours before moving on. If you have to, add another coat of stain before doing so.
Step 6: Add Framing
Add a piece of electrical tape to one edge of the buckle. Fold the electrical tape so that it makes a nice even bar on the edge of the wood. Repeat this for all of the sides.
Step 7: Add Buckling Loop
Take a pen or mechanical pencil and rip out its insides so that you are left with a tube. Cut the tube so that it fits on the buckle. Hot glue this to the end of the buckle using the buckle that you already have as a reference.
Now cut a piece off of a wire hanger is twice as long as the tube. Using a pair of pliers, bend the wire 1/4 of the way in on each side. Then bend half of that length to create a partial rectangle.insert both ends of the wire in the tube and use the pliers to make sure that it will not come out.
Cut another, shorter length of wire for the part that goes in the belt holes. bend a 1-inch piece to a 60-degree angle. Then bend the rest of that wire to 90-degree angles to form a piece like the one shown.
Glue this piece of wire to the other side of the buckle. Make sure that you use a lot of glue to keep this piece on.
Step 8: Show Off
Your belt buckle is finished!!! Attach it to your belt and flaunt it.