While leather belts can be easily found, it can be difficult to find straps of the right size, shape or colour to fit in with your prop or costume. This tutorial will show you how I created some custom faux leather straps to go on a sword scabbard. The method could also be applied to belts if you have, or can make a suitable buckle.
You will need the following tools and materials:
- Faux leather, non-stretch (0.5mm – 1mm thickness) with black or white back material
- A way of lightly marking the material such as a coloured pencil or pastel
- 2 part epoxy glue
- Something to spread the glue
- Needle and thread/cotton
- Black Sharpie
- Rotating leather hole punch
- Leather rivets with setting tools. These normally come together in a box
- A small hammer
- Faux suade for one side
- Riveting tool
- If you go for a thicker material you may want to use a leather needle and thread
1. Work out what size you want your strap to be, you may want to use some scrap material. Remember to account for the folds on the ends, stitching and where rivets will go.
2. Add 3/5mm extra to your required size on every side and then mark out 2 strips on the material using a ruler. When done, cut them out.
4. Mix up some epoxy and apply to the back of one of the strips, taking care to fully cover it in glue. This will prevent the seams from coming apart later.
5. Lay the second strip on top of the other and firmly press together. You can pull the strip through your thumb and forefinger or use a heavy, smooth flat object. Set them aside to dry.
6. When ready, mark out the required size/shape of your strap and trim off the excess material.
7. Sew around the entire strap using a double running stitch, about 2/4 mm from the edge. This will add extra strength to the strap. A tutorial for this stitch can be found here.
8. If the material on the back of your strap is white, carefully go around the sides with a black sharpie (or other suitable colour).
9. Work out and then mark where you want to attach rivets. Then, using the correct size for the rivet you want to use, punch out the holes.
10. Rivets come in two parts, a domed head and a rod with a trumpet-like end. Place the domed half on the side you want it and then the shaft through the other. Set the rivet using either a riveting tool or a setting tool and hammer.
The riveting tool is a simple press and done job, while the setting tool consists of a metal disc and two metal rods. If you go with the setting tool you will only need the disc and larger metal rod. With the rivet in the hole, place the domed side on the metal disc and the large rod covering the back of the rivet. Give the rod a few taps and then check the join. Your strap is now complete.
Should you make a mistake or damage a rivet it is possible to carefully remove it using some small side cutting pliers.