Thursday, 18 September 2014

Free tutorial: How to make your own doll sized belt buckles.

I promised two more tutorials, how to make buckles, and how to make shabby roses. This one deals with the buckles, and I'll do the roses one a little later.

You can find doll sized buckles on the internet, but it's a bit hit and miss, and sometimes they're extortionately expensive, so I figured out how to make my own.

This works well for smaller dolls, and larger buckles seem a tad easier to find.  As a guide, this tutorial makes a belt for Blythe dolls, which have pretty small bodies.  Just that bit smaller than Barbie.  You can adapt the buckle to dolls larger or smaller, by changing up the thickness of the wire.  I'm not sure how well this would work for larger 18" dolls though... do let me know if you've tried it!

First, here are the tools and supplies you'll need.

I used to make jewellery as a business and I bought all my pliers from Kernowcraft: 

You can probably pick up the ones you need more cheaply if you browse around Ebay.

The next lot of bits are more straightforward:

0.8mm plated jewellery wire. I use silvertone, but you can use whatever colour you fancy.

Sharp marker.


A strip of leather or ribbon to use as a belt. (You could use ultra-suede or a braid you happen to like. )

Scissors for cutting the leather or ribbon.

If using ribbon, a lighter to seal the ends.

First, snip off a few inches of the wire.

Mark a guideline all the way around your flatnose pliers with the sharpie. Keep it at a suitable point so the buckle will be big enough to thread leather through.

(Note: The flatnose pliers will make a square buckle. If you wanted an oval buckle, you could use the snip-nosed pliers, because of their rounded shape)

1) Hold one end of the wire firmly in the flatnose pliers.

2 and 3) Using your marked line as a guide, wrap the wire all the way around the pliers gently and slowly.

4) when you get to the end, it should look like this:

Gently remove the wire from the pliers. It should look like this:

With the snipenosed pliers, bend the end of the wire over into the centre as shown. You should have two layers of wire in the centre now.


Here is how your buckle should look.

Carefully snip the end off with the snips as shown:

Here is what you should have. The finished buckle.

How to use your buckle? Well, you can use anything that won't fray to make a belt. If using ribbon, make sure you seal the ends with the flame from a lighter.  

Don't go setting your workroom on fire! If you're a youngster, get an adult to help you do this part. Just hold the lighter flame next to the ribbon, and the edge of the ribbon should shrink away a little and melt, forming a fray-proof edge.

I'm using kid leather for my belt, it's just nice and I want to make a belt for a Blythe doll. Thread your buckle onto the strip of whatever, as shown here, and run a thin line of superglue along just the very end as shown by the arrow:

(Superglue is excellent for leather, but use it sparingly, or the leather will stiffen)

1) Fold over your end and pinch the leather strip tight so the glue bonds.

2) Here's what it should look like from the other side.

At the other end of the strip, cut the leather into a point as shown: (If using ribbon, don't forget to seal it with the lighter flame)

Fasten your belt as shown and voila! All done.

These buckles do take a bit of practice. When I started to attempt this, for ever good buckle I had, I had fifteen bad ones. It gets easier once you get used to working the wire, and fortunately it's very cheap to make mistakes. One coil of craft wire is enough to make dozens upon dozens of buckles.

ADDENDUM:  Here's a helpful wire conversion chart.  I've greyed out the inches column, because I use millimetres, but it's there to help you if you prefer inches.

Happy crafting!



  1. Thanks for the tutorial... I may well have a go at some point - I think I've got most of the equipment already lol!!!

    1. You're welcome! I hope you enjoy having a try. I had fun doing it. I tried a few different methods, but this one worked best for me. The nice thing is, that the leather or ribbon completely covers the ends of the wire.

      lol, yeah I still have all sorts of craft tools and stuff left over from the jewellery business. Comes in so handy for making dolly hardware!

  2. Gracias, ha encantado este gusta mucho tu blog.....el mio es muy sencillo......

    1. ( Google Translate) Hola , gracias :) Me gusta tu blog . Precioso crochet .

  3. All right, you sincerely have the patience of a saint. I could not do this!

    1. Heh. It's quite quick to do once you've had a couple of tries. Tutorials always make things seem to take a long time.

  4. Thanks so much! I made jeans for KW doll, but can't to found buckles. I am going to make it myself now!

    1. You're very welcome. :) I hope you have fun making them!

  5. Ha! It only took three tries to get the buckle right. I guess I was lucky. Thanks for the tutorial. It's a real pain to find a buckle that looks just right.

    1. Yes, it does take a little practice. Glad this was of use to you!

  6. I would like to make a belt and buckle for an 18" doll. I think 0.8 mm is only 20 gauge -is that what you used? It is a wrapping wire and sounds thin. Memory wire is also .8 mm - can it be used or is too strong to manipulate for this? I am new to this so I will appreciate your input. Thanks!

    1. Hello! I've added a wire gauge conversion chart to the end of this original blog entry. 0.8mm wire does look like it's 20 gauge, but my 0.8 is a fair bit thicker than my fine wrapping wires. For a doll the size of 18" I'd use something like a 1.5mm which is between 13 and 14 guage. Memory wire is much to springy and tough to be manipulated this way. I've used it before for other things and it doesn't lend itself to shaping.

      Also, my work is in the area of dolls much smaller than the 18" dolls, so I'm not sure how well this translates to the bigger dolls.


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