Thursday, February 16, 2012

How to Make Recycled Jewelry from a Leather Belt

My DH was about to toss out a leather belt because it was broken.  But I couldn't bear to see such good leather go to waste so I rescued it for jewelry making!  If you've got similar unloved leather belts in your future, consider doing the same!


What you willl need :
  • Punch - rotary leather punch is best. I don't have one so I was forced to use my metal punch which does different sized holes.
  • Scissors or other cutting tool
  • Eyelets - 3/16" as the leather was thick.  If you're not using eyelets, then 1/8" or 3/32" holes will work.
  • Eyelet setting tool
  • jumprings
  • chain
  • clasps
  • embellishments (optional)

First, start cutting up the leather into rectangles, squares and strips. Mine were 3 x 1.9 cm, 1.9 x 1.9 cm and 0.9 cm wide respectively. 



This particular belt was patterned which makes cutting it up easy. If you have a plain belt, use some masking tape to help you cut.


I trimmed the strips into bracelet length and punched holes on either end.


Place the rim end of each eyelet on the right side of the leather.



Turn the strip over and use the eyelet setting tool to hammer and flange out the back part of the eyelet.


You could also trim the leather around the eyelet being careful not to overtrim.



If one edge shows the raw leather and the other side does not, marker pens come in handy!



Open up some jump rings and attach them and a clasp and the basic leather strip bracelet is done!  You can also add all kinds of embellishments if you don't want it to be plain.



Two holes on either side of each rectangular piece were also eyelet set. 



I joined 5 of these together to form the front of the necklace and used a curb chain for the rest.  If you are leaving the corners of the shapes as is and not rounded, make sure you make the necklace long enough so those corners don't jab into the neck. You can also mix in different sizes - say squares and rectangles - or add other elements to suit your style!



The design above has a  modern industrial look. Not feminine enough for you?  Then it is a question of what you use to embellish the leather.  I tried out some thin metal filigrees and riveted them to the leather squares.  Then I punched more holes so I could attach these to bails and onto earring hooks.



 They look like chocolate wafer earrings, don't they?

Here is the final group shot :



And I still had plenty left including the buckle!



Before You Go:
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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips

14 comments :

Divya N said...

These look really nice..you can also your decorative (scrap booking) brads for embellishing such pieces

Cate said...

Wonderful tutorial! And I assume that this was done by you, Pearl? Love what artists do with the resources we already have.

Pearl Blay said...

Scrapbooking brads are a wonderful idea - especially since there are so many pretty designs these days!

Pearl Blay said...

I thought you might like what I did Cate since you are into recycled jewelry!

Debbie said...

Thanks Pearl. I was wanting to make some leather bracelets and I was going to try and source the leather.....I never thought to start in my own closet. I have lots of old belts that I never wear.
You are always inspiring :)

Later, Debbie from the Farm

Saturday Sequins said...

I love this idea! The finished jewelry is so pretty, and there's so much room for variation.

Mr. Sequin uses old belts to make guitar straps. I'll have to show him this tutorial because he'll be very excited. :)

Ali Marceau said...

Pearl, this is such a good idea!! I've been dabbling and researching leatherworking for my costuming for a few months and don't think I've forgotten about the jewelry you can make with it!
I have a ton of belts that have unfortunately broken at the hole where I normally buckle them. It happens every two years or so for me(I wear the same one over and over...it's like I feel incomplete without it! *LOL*)...so I have quite a few useless belts hanging around, a few that would make some awesome cuff bracelets!

For people looking for leathercrafting materials, check out Tandy Leather. They just opened a store in my area which is filled with stamps, cutting instruments and all sorts of leather! They also sometimes offer classes at these locations, and if my store can be used as a base price, they're REALLY affordable!

Pearl Blay said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Ali! Some decorative leatherwork techniques on plain belts would be awesome!

Peachy Designs said...

Love these ideas. It's so hard to throw away good leather...now I know why!! It just needs another home!
Carol

melitta said...

well, now I know what I'll be doing this weekend. I just realized that my husband has a few old belts, he wont notice that one is gone ;)
tnx for great idea and super tutorial!

Heidi said...

What a terrific tutorial! I have a few salvaged leather pieces that I have been itching to use. Your tutorial has given me courage. Thanks! Your pieces are lovely!

Gabby said...

Just found this post through a link on the Ingenious Inkling blog. Very cool way to use belts. My teenage cousins can do this and would love that jewelry. TFS :)

Kelsy with Loose Ends said...

Don't throw the buckle away either!! I've used both the belt straps and buckles in jewelry pieces. Its such a great way to repurpose old things. And you get usually get leather belts for pretty cheap at Goodwill or thrift stores.
~Kelsy

Pearl Blay said...

Thanks for the great tip! It will be a fun challenge making a buckle into a cool pendant!

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