Picture of custom belt buckles
Though they are sometimes hidden under shirts and sweaters, belts are an important part of everyday attire for most people. You might not think it but a belt can say a lot about a person's style, even more so when you add in your own personal flair!

This project uses store bought untreated leather belt straps along with buckle blanks and shows you some methods on how to get creative and make your own custom belts. Making your own is easy! All of the supplies you need can easily be found at craft stores, leather supplies wholesaler or the internet.

This project covers how to make resin-embedded belt buckle inserts and how to treat and finish a leather belt.

Enough talk, let's make some belts!

Step 1: Tools + materials

Picture of tools + materials

  • small disposable mixing containers
  • stir sticks
  • latex gloves
  • colour printer + paper
  • photo editing software
  • scissors


  • belt buckle blanks*
  • belt buckle insert (for size reference)*
  • cow hide leather belts*
  • neatsfoot oil*
  • newspaper
  • casting resin%

* http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com
% http://www.michaels.com/
tejer2 months ago

Hi, how did you make the leather blank for cutting out the images? My blanks have rounded corners, I'm spending way to much time trying to make to cuts perfect. Also, what program did you use for sizing?

mikeasaurus (author)  tejer1 month ago

Any photo editing software will work for sizing. Step 2 covers how I made the images fit inside the rounded buckle blanks.

trydanearl5 months ago

Do you use photo paper for your images? Do you coat them with anything before you put on the clear casting?

mikeasaurus (author)  trydanearl5 months ago

I used regular printer paper. The resin did dull the colour a bit, so photo paper is probably a better choice.

almightymat5 months ago

Hey there,

I have a couple of belt buckles like this and the loop on the back (where the belt feeds through) has snapped on both - any idea where I can get replacements, or even what the proper term for this par of the buckle is so I can google something?


mikeasaurus (author)  almightymat5 months ago

I've tried repairing those before without much luck. You can check the links in Step 1 to see where I got mine from. You can buy all kinds of buckles there, and blanks, too, so you can make your own.

Good luck!

Ah, I tried Tandy Leathers already and they don't sell them....any other suggestions?


EthanJP1 year ago
Can I buy a John Wayne one???? THEY ARE SO COOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
sunshiine3 years ago
Way to go! You just gotta love that John Wayne! You solved my Christmas gift problem! Belt buckles for all the guys! Thanks for sharing!
Love the pic! Have a fabulous day!
3366carlos2 years ago
you rock, my wife's pict. would look good on my belt.
akkunth2 years ago
Thank you for the quick response. I see. I was somehow thinking the top part needs to have a ball shape to kind of clip in to the holes in the belt so it won't come off easily. I'm imagining the ones you had bends slightly inwards too to have a hooking effect? I will research on the buckles a little more and try and make one using your method. Thank you.
akkunth2 years ago
Hi Mike, enjoyed this post and I am going to try and make one myself. I've been researching on blank buckles like the ones you used and there are plenty around but I can't seem to find any info on the size of the pin on the back of the buckle that actually goes through one of the holes in the belt to secure. I have a belt that has quite big holes. The original buckle was a normal style with just the pin showing rather than a plate like yours. The buckle broke so I want to make some myself as the belt is in good condition but I don't want to buy blank ones to find that the pin is too thin for the holes. Any tips on this please?
mikeasaurus (author)  akkunth2 years ago
I can't speak for all types of buckles, but the ones I used had a tapered pin. It looked much like a rhino horn, thin at the tip and thick where it attaches to the back of the plate. I would think that many are designed like this to accommodate many types of belts.

I'd love to see your results!
OnTheRange3 years ago
It works great! I have a collection of belt buckles but now I can make my own. thanks a bunch.

Do you know if you can do multiple layers of the epoxy???
I was thinking of using an Altoid tin and making a scene with cutouts that has some depth....Like an eagle in the foreground mountains in the background and clouds on top of them? Just wondering
Check this out, OnTheRange.
imbigman3 years ago
Expendable Youth Might make the Slayer Buckle that much better. Well... at least I think so.
the problem with tandys belts are they cost like 30 bucks....i love tandys but the belts are a rip off.
mikeasaurus (author)  FlatLinerMEDIC3 years ago
Yeah, some stuff can be pricey. But, the buckle was $7 and the belt was $9! Look for those sales!
Love your projects, Mike. Can you show me what you mean by "using a shell casing to emboss the leather"? I bet it looks great.
m going to check out your stuff on dollar store crafts.
mikeasaurus (author)  Maker-Breaker3 years ago
I'm glad you enjoyed reading my work!

To emboss, I used something that had engraving in it which would transfer onto the soft leather when pressure is applied.
For the example shown here, I used an old shotgun shell cartridge which has the manufacturer and type of shell engraved on the brass backside. The brass backing was placed face down on the leather, then the two were clamped together on a vise and left overnight. Almost any engraved object should work, but test out on scrap leather first to make sure.
priestlp3 years ago
interesting project,any idea where i can get hold of blank belt buckles?
mikeasaurus (author)  priestlp3 years ago
links in step 1
Mr.Sanchez3 years ago
OMG...this is soooooo awesome...
scoochmaroo3 years ago
I love the real life maple leaf flag. As soon as I saw the main image, I knew it had to be yours! Now what kind of belt buckle do I need to make . . .
wilgubeast3 years ago
I've been considering this as a way to get cheaper belt buckles. Thanks for writing it up.
Flintlock3 years ago
I saw some custom belt buckles in a "strange craft" magazine, and have been wanting to make some, but lost the magazine and never bothered internetting it.


Now to find some nat geos.
ChrysN3 years ago
Funny, my first thought was that they were Iphones too. They look really great, you can probably set up an Etsy shop and sell them.
Awesome! I thought those were iPhones at first, belt buckles make much more sense :)