September 12, 2011

Hand-Covering a Buckle

Please note that as of March 2015, my online shop closed and these belt and buckle kits are no longer available. Sadly, I do not have another source for them at this time. Thank you so much!

There are typically instructions that come with hand-cover belt buckles but, just in case there aren't with yours, here's a short tutorial on how to cover a hand cover buckle. The first part of this tutorial assumes that you have the adhesive pattern still intact - if you don't, don't worry! I'll be showing how you can cover a buckle that didn't come with an adhesive pattern (or the pattern is much too old to use) in the second half, down at the bottom.

I've found there are two types of hand cover buckles in the world. The kind that have a middle bar and the kind that don't. The kind that have a middle bar can be used as a buckle slide - like in the Anything-But-Basic Belt - or a traditional buckle with a prong. The kind of buckles that don't have a middle bar are meant to be used in the traditional sense, with a prong and eyelets on the belt. For this first part, I'll be showing you how to cover the latter buckle type, without the middle bar. Here goes:

You will need a buckle kit. The buckle I'm covering in this first part is a buckle from my shop and includes the buckle top and bottom, adhesive pattern and prong.

The adhesive pattern is double sided, so pick a side, any side and peel away the paper and stick it to the wrong side of your fabric. Trim the fabric away from around the edges. Next, trim out the inside section and clip into the slit markings on the adhesive pattern, careful not to clip past the markings.

Peel the paper away from the other side - opposite the fabric side - and carefully position the top section of your buckle onto the adhesive.

Start rolling the pattern around to the insides. I like to do the inside of the buckle first and then work my way to the outside.

Optional tip: I like to add a little bit of tacky glue to the inside edges of the buckle before adding the bottom buckle piece.

Force the bottom buckle piece into the back of the top buckle piece and gently (very gently) with a pair of pliers, squeeze the buckle together at each of the corners.

Pinch the prong onto the bar with a pair of pliers and your set!

If you're working with a buckle that didn't come with an adhesive pattern, or the pattern is so old that nothing sticky is left to it, you've got to improvise. Here's what I do:

This is a vintage buckle from my stash that has a middle bar. So, I have the option of making it into a buckle slide or a traditional buckle with prong. As you can note here, the adhesive pattern has seen better days. Doesn't even stick. Instead, to make this work, I use sew-in interfacing or something similar like muslin and this handy dandy Elmer's Craft Bond spray glue. This method is a bit trickier to manuever, and I definitely suggest that if you haven't tried this before, pick a buckle from your stash that isn't a fancy shape, OK? Ok.

First things first. Trace the top buckle piece onto your interfacing. Now here's the tricky part. You have to come up with how much wrap around you'll need for the outside of your buckle and this varies depending on shape, size and width. You've got to measure two things. The height of the buckle (how deep it is) and the width inside the buckle. The height of this particular buckle is about 1/8" and I've got a width inside of the buckle of about 3/4" giving me a rough total of 7/8" to work with. Now I don't need or want to use all of that space otherwise the inside will be crammed, so I'm going to shave off 1/4" and give myself 5/8" to work with. So extend the outside line however much you need to in order to get a good wrap around. I did 5/8" for mine. Spray one side of your pattern with glue and adhere to the wrong side of your fabric. Trim off the excess fabric around the outside edge.

Let's talk about the center of the buckle for a minute. If you have a bar in the center, note that the bar doesn't need to be and really shouldn't be covered. So if you have a center bar, cut out that skinny bar portion and clip into the corners or curves so that wrapping the fabric into the center is easier. If you don't have a center bar, clip out a small circle or square and clip into the corners or curves for wrapping. In the latter case, you will be covering the bar that holds the prong. Make sense? Let's keep going.

Spray this side with glue now and position your buckle on top of the interfacing and begin rolling the edges to the inside of the buckle just like up top in the first mini tutorial. Again, I like to do the inside section first and then move onto the outside. Once finished, force the bottom buckle piece into the back of the top piece (add a little tacky glue if you like) and pinch very gently the corners of your buckle in place with a pair of pliers.

There you go friends! Happy Buckle Covering!

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