Thursday, February 13, 2014

barks and recycling!

Here and there I make dog collars. I go to thrift stores and buy neat belts and then turn them into a collar. I thought it would be fun to share the process!
Here is a belt I bought recently. Man made material but still sturdy enough to last for quite a while or until I decide I want a new one!

The buckle that comes on the belt usually isn't what I want so I shop at our local leather supply store for a new one. I like the kind with the cross bar in the center. This belt actually had a buckle similar to what I like but just not very sturdy looking so I still replaced it.
First thing, measure your dog's neck and then measure the belt. It took me a few tries to get the exact length I like with enough to spare but not too much. Cut the belt to your desired length, with the end of the belt being the end of the dog collar.

Next I use a little tool I bought at the leather store to punch an oblong hole in the center, about three inches from the end of the "start" of the collar with the rubber mallet. I work on a wooden cutting board. This will be where you slip the buckle part through. Make sure to leave room for the D ring to be attached next.

Next, take your leather hole punch (also bought at the leather store) and set it on the smallest punch. Punch two holes right up near the center bar of the buckle, in line with each other. Put your rivets in place on either side of the folded belt. Set one rivet in place on top of the plate of the rivet thingy then put the rivet rod on top and using your rubber mallet, pound a few times to set the rivet. Do the same for the other rivet. I found that pounding the rivets in works best if you set the whole thing right at the edge of the cutting board or else the buckle gets in your way.

Hole punch, rivet rod and rivet plate thingy

My cat Rivet.

D rings come in many sizes of course. I always take my belt in with me to make sure I get the right size buckle and D ring.
Slide your D ring onto the collar from the end and in between the pieces of belt, right up next to the rivets you just placed. Punch two more holes on the opposite side of the D ring to secure it. Rivet that into place.

And then you're done! I usually pick belts that have a nice finished end to them, and I especially like the ones that have the eyelet pieces to protect the adjustment holes. This belt already had the eyelets. If it doesn't that is fine too and you might have to punch additional holes to fit your dog's neck just right. If the end is too long you can always cut some off and burn it but I try not to since I think it looks better before cutting it. It's easier to just make sure it is the exact right fit before starting.

The finished collar.

Hope this is useful to someone! It's a fun craft and I think my favorite part is looking through all the belts at the second hand store and picturing them as dog collars.

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