I’m happy to share this tutorial with you!
I’ve made several belts over the years and these are by far the easiest ones. The other belts I’ve made were tooled belts that I cut out of tooling leather. I was honestly never great at making those as my lines were never cut perfectly straight and my tooling was a bit…. lazy…. However, I can really get down with making these belts! They’re super fast and easy and much less expensive than buying one.
First off, lets start with the tools.
- Leather punch
- Leather Awl
- Measuring tape
If you don’t have a leather punch, you could get away with using an awl. It will be more work to get the holes big enough for your conchos. Yes, my leather punch is old and rusty. It was my grandpa’s and is probably 50 years old.
- Belt strap
- Screw-on conchos
All of my supplies are from conchos.com. These supplies cost about $50, which doesn’t make this project an inexpensive one. Concho belts like these cost upwards of $150 here in California, so there are some comparative savings. You could also use an old belt and/or buckle and your only costs would be for the conchos. The belt blank I used for this project is a vintage looking “tooled” (machine stamped) strap. Figuring out how many conchos you need to order is probably the most difficult part. The best way would probably be to measure an existing belt and figure out how many conchos you’d like on your new belt by measuring and spacing them out.
For this belt I used eight 1 1/2″ floral engraved copper conchos, seven 1″ floral engraved copper conchos, one floral engraved copper center bar buckle (fits up to 1 1/2″ belt) and a 1 1/2″ western floral engraved belt strap. I know there are seven large conchos and eight smaller ones in the photo above, but as I was adding the conchos, I decided to add more larger ones.
If you’re not familiar with western belts, they have snaps which allow you to replace the buckle. The first step — if you’re using a belt blank — is to attach the buckle.
After making my first concho belt, I found this was a better way to approach this and get the conchos to look more evenly spaced whilst wearing your belt. Put your belt on and adjust to your preference. Some gals like wearing their concho belts at the hip, so you’ll want to buy your belt by your hip measurement if that’s how you plan to wear it. Some also wear theirs with the buckle at the side, so there’s no break with the concho placement.
Any way you plan to wear it, mark the point where you’ve buckled it and then find the center between that and your buckle. I measured between my prong point and the end of my belt were it folds over to attach the buckle.
After I’ve marked my center point, I then find the center between that point and the buckle. I do the same to find the center between the center point and my end point and then follow suit finding the center between all of those points until I have the points marked to my preference. I find this centering technique to be easier than to measure incremental points. They also appear to be spaced better, in my opinion.
After you have your holes marked, set your punch to the size of the post on your concho screws and use your leather punch to punch the holes. My punch is old and takes probably more hand strength than a newer one, so I use an awl to get the holes open.
Installing your conchos is super easy. Just push the concho and post in and screw the back of the concho on the other side. I actually punch each hole and screw the concho in one by one so I don’t hurt my hand punching too many holes at once.
Wasn’t that super easy?
There’s no need to buy an expensive concho belt when you can make it yourself!