Custom Leather Dog Collar

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About: Too much wood, too little time.

My father, an incredible man, refurnished our couch and several sofa's. I have no idea how he did it, but he had plenty of leather left over from his project. One night our internet was out so I thought maybe I could make my parents a small present, you see they had just recently got their first pet, a really really shaggy dog; a dog in need of a collar.

There are a lot of things I learned while making this collar and the age old proverb of "measure twice, cut once" really proved itself a few times throughout this whole process, but I survived, and here I am with my collar as a submission for the Pets Challenge, please enjoy.

Supplies:

  • soft leather
  • waxed thread
  • eyelets
  • rivets
  • d-ring
  • needles
  • wood clamps or every cooking book in your house
  • measuring tape
  • razors
  • diamond chisel
  • leather skiver
  • cement/glue

Step 1: Sizing

The easiest way to size a collar is to measure the animal you will be collaring. Measure around the neck just above your collar bone, putting 1 finger between the measuring tape and the neck. Or simply measure and add 1/4 inch. Round to the closest ½ inch size for proper measurements.

Add about 4 extra inches to whatever length you measured to account for folding and excess leather that we will cut off as the project progresses. Now take whatever thickness you want your collar to be double it, because we are going to fold our leather in half. I recommend picking sizes like 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch because those are the standard sizes of belt buckles.

Once cut, use some high school geometry skills and a razor to perfectly dimension your blob into a workable rectangle. At this point you're gonna grab your skiver. This tool will further thin the leather out so that you can bend it and glue it the way you want. When you're done you'll have a small pile of fluff just like me!

Step 2: Just the Tip

I forgot to take pictures at this part, but it's probably because of how stressful it was. I knew what I wanted to do, but I just cut my leather without measuring (see previously mentioned proverb). Basically don't make it too complicated:

  1. Cut four different sections.
  2. Fold them towards the center.
  3. Glue them down.
  4. Secure and let dry.

I wish I could tell you how to make a rounded tip, I just don't know how. However, for less pointy triangles simply repeat the above steps but instead, make your triangle stubby, viola.

Step 3: Gl-uwu-ing

mawk the exact centew of youw wectangwe (wength wise) and put youw cement ow gwue on onye of the two hawves....


...Mark the exact center of your rectangle (Length wise) and put your cement or glue on one of the two halves. Your rectangle should be even enough that the edge line up. Clamp down each part of your collar as you move further down the glue will begin to dry and If you can place it under a pile of books do that, It helps tremendously.

After an hour, at the absolute most, the project will be dry and workable again.

Step 4: Threading

Unlike other fabrics you can't just poke a needle through your leather. It's hard! To mediate this, grab a miniature pitchfork (also known as a diamond chisel) to mark out your holes properly. Jessyratfink actually has a great instructable on this if you need any more help.

Of the two ways to stitch leather, I found that I preferred saddle stitching. You're going to get two needles, poke each side of your thread through them and find the midpoint. If your string isn't long enough use two separate threads as shown in my poor 3rd grade art skills drawing. You are then going to alternate your stitches in a crisscross pattern so that either side of your leather appears the same. Be sure to tug tightly after each pass and knot once you reach the end.

For comparison, my 15 inch long collar needed 3 feet of thread for one side of stitches.

Step 5: Basically Repeat Steps 3 Through 4 But on the Other Side

I found this part the most enjoyable. It is the longest and most arduous, but if you get into a steady rhythm you'll be done in no time.

Step 6: Buckle Up, It's Buckle Time!

Don't buy the belt buckle that looks the cutest, because your collar will not fit through it. You can see above where I cut notches into my strap where I attempted to squeeze it in. Don't be like me, think a little.

For a 1 inch collar you will want a 1 inch sized buckle. Using your leather punch cut out two circles along the centerline about a centimeter apart. Using your razor connect the two circles by cutting tangent lines from both edges.

Place your buckle through the hole and flip down your excess leather. cut off anything unneeded, fold it over, and glue it down. In the third picture you can see where I created a line of diamond cuts. Using a short piece of thread saddle stitch the buckle down.

Step 7: Eye(lets) See You... "I" See You? Get It? No? Sorry.

To measure out where to place your eyelets I unrolled a paper towel roll until it came out to the circumference I was looking for (13 inches). Where the belt buckle pressed tightly into the collar was where I placed my first eyelet. I then proceeded to add eyelets at one inch intervals. Every one inch translated into half sizes increases. So my collar can size 13.5, 14, 14.5, and 15 inch necks.

Depending on the width of your collar you will need different sized eyelets the good thing is they come in many sizes. For a 1 inch buckle I saw that medium sized eyelets fit the best.

With your punch, measure out a size that is just barely larger than one half of the eyelet. This will be the size you cut out the circles with. Be sure to measure out the rest of the circle centers before punching them out.

Step 8: Leash Clasp

This is optional, many collars have a D-ring that the leash is attached to, but if you want something a little extra follow along.

I wanted a clean looking way to attach the leash to the collar without much effort. Using a sharpened nail I poked a hole out in the collar and put the backs of the rivets in those now empty spaces. Place your Dee Clip onto the rivets before placing the covers on top. Use a rubber mallet to secure them both in place.

Warning, rivets come in different lengths. Depending on how thick your leather is you'll want longer or smaller rivets.

Step 9: The Smaller Loop That Goes on the Big Loop

Cut out a much smaller rectangle for the loop that goes on the big loop. This smaller loop is actually called the belt loop while the larger section of the belt is called the panel or strap. Go figure.

To make the loop you're going to fold the edges in the way you made the strap and glue them together. Once one side is glued down flip it around and glue the other side down.

The online leather community really stressed the importance of "if you're gonna glue it, sew it," but I'm not part of that community and because this is not a weight bearing loop I didn't want to ruin the aesthetics of my collar by trying to stitch through multiple layers of leather.

Step 10: Obligatory Dog Photos

So guys if you enjoyed this tutorial as much as my dog loved his new collar, vote for me in the pet contest and check out my other stuff.

Until the next stroke of genius,

- Peaches and Plums

Step 11: Obligatory Photos of My Cat, Cause She's the Better Pet

Pets Challenge

Runner Up in the
Pets Challenge

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    4 Discussions

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    WeTeachThemSTEM

    19 days ago

    There's so much I love about this project! Love that you recycled couch leather, love the look of the leash clasp you added, and love that your cat wears this spiffy collar so well!

    1 reply