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How to make an Elvis concert belt

Elvis Presley is well known for his concert belts, which he wore in the latter part of his career. They are wide leather belts with decorated buckles, encrusted in rhinestones, chains, studs and other decorative emblems. Elvis concert belts are designed to catch the eye and also catch the light during performance.

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  1. Measure your waist, or the waist of the person for whom you wish to make an Elvis belt. Select leather of the appropriate width. Elvis concert belts are noted for their width. Choose white or black leather for the most obvious choices. Red or gold leather are also suitable. Cut a piece that is 20 cm longer than the measured waist. Use a rotary cutter for thinner leather, a craft knife for slightly thicker material and shears for the thickest belt leather.

  2. Select a suitable buckle. Elvis favoured patriotic themes with the American flag and eagle. Alternatively, a buckle featuring the name of Elvis is an obvious choice. Choose a buckle with a snap-fit mechanism for ease of fixing. Trim the width at one end of the belt, if necessary, so it will fit in the metal loop.

  3. Use a popper fixing tool to attach two or three press-studs to the trimmed end of the belt. The line can be in a vertical or horizontal formation, according to choice. Place the circular anvil below the leather to support it while you strike the end of the tool with a mallet. This will cause the leather to be simultaneously pierced in a controlled fashion, and encapsulated with the press-stud.

  4. Send the end of the belt through the metal loop, fold it back on itself and close the buttons of the press-studs -- the top sections -- on the sockets, which are the bottom parts. This will keep the buckle secure. Further, you will be able to easily change the buckle if you wish.

  5. Fix rhinestones, chains, studs and other decorative emblems to the belt in an arrangement of choice. Plan the pattern first, if you wish, by drawing on the leather with a pencil. Consider including arrangements of studs and rhinestones in common shapes, like ovals and rectangles. Straight and wavy horizontal lines fanning out from a point can also be effective, as can formal vertical columns. Make the arrangement symmetrical if you desire, for high visual impact. Decorative emblems can be arranged in horizontal lines, with gaps of chosen width.

  6. Attach studs, rhinestones and decorative emblems by first marking the leather with their prongs. Pierce the leather with an awl. Insert the prongs through the holes and bend the prongs over with the base of the popper fixing tool or similar item.

  7. Dangle chains from the belt by first making eyelets for the attaching links. Use an eyelet punch for this. This will simultaneously make a hole in the leather and fix the eyelet in place. Use needle-nose pliers to join together the two ends of the attaching links.

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Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Leather
  • Cutting tools
  • Snap-fit buckle
  • Popper fixing tool and anvil
  • Press-studs
  • Mallet
  • Rhinestones
  • Chains
  • Studs
  • Decorative emblems
  • Pencil
  • Awl
  • Chains
  • Eyelets
  • Eyelet punch
  • Needle-nose pliers

About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.

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