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How to Create a Custom Leather Guitar Strap

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How to Create a Custom Leather Guitar Strap

Summary: How to create a leather guitar strap + DIY guitar strap craft + How to shop for a custom leather guitar strap. 

"Art has no medium." -Oprah
No matter if your medium is sneakers or boat seats, you only need to invest in a few tools to become an expert craftsman. Here's a classic medium we think Jimi Hendrix would love: guitar straps. 

How to Create a Custom Leather Guitar Strap

Jimi Hendrix Guitar

Handmade leather gifts are always appreciated for the time, effort, and creativity that goes into making them. That goes double for Rock n' Roll.  

Guitar Strap Craftsmanship Do it Yourself Assembly

Whether you're a Foxy Lady or a Voodoo Chile you will need the following materials before starting.

Materials Needed

  • A Leather hide
  • A ruler to measure your supplies
  • A flexible tape ruler to measure your bra strap length (whoops, we meant to say "guitar" - just checking if you're awake) 
  • A tool to punch holes that is strong enough to puncture through leather
  • An artist's knife (a box-cutter or X-Acto knife will do)
  • The metal tools that comprise the belt buckle: a buckle, pin, tip, keeper

Extras (Optional):

  • A beveled edge tool (to remove the corners from the front-side of the leather belt) 
  • Leather stamps. Leather stamps to create all kinds of patterns, including flowers, plants, trees, animals, and even letters and numbers are available for your project. (Learn more about how leather stamps are used to emboss on leather here). 

You can view these materials at the bottom of the article. 

DIY Project: How to Create a Custom Leather Guitar Strap

A guitar strap is no different than a belt. All you really need to know is that

1. You are taking a long strip of leather,

2. Using leather stamps to decorate the strap,

3. Using the leather  punch to create two holes on opposite ends of the strap, and finally, 

4. Setting everything (including buckles, pin, tip, and keeper) in using screws and/or permanent glue.  

Pre-preparation Steps

Of course, it is a good idea to first cut the long leather strap to fit around the shoulder of the guitar player, behind the player's back and connect to the other end of the guitar on the opposite side. Since everyone's body height and shape are different, you will need the recipient (or yourself, if the strap is for you) to hold his/her guitar naturally, and then measure from the frets up around his/her shoulder where the strap will rest, behind his/her back, and to the opposite end of his/her guitar. Then use the strap cutters to remove any excess leather beyond the measurements you took to fit the strap to the player. 

How to Fashion a Leather Strap Into A Guitar Strap

1. Cut around a leather hide, creating the patterns of the belt. Here you have two options. The first option is is to create one belt out of the piece of leather. The second option is to create the belt in two pieces, (the belt tip and the belt which are then stitched or glued together).
2. Use a hole punch machine to create holes in the belt. (It's always good to know you need a hole punch machine because creating new holes in a belt means you've lost a little bit of weight). Making sure the hole is completely bored through.
3. Bevel edge lines with a bevel. It knocks off the corner of the belt
4. Mark holes. Poke holes in them with a setter

Decorating the Strap

Decorate it as you choose with the punches by wetting the leather, then using a mallet to hit the stems of the punches into the wet leather. You may need to hit a little harder than you might expect to get a really visible imprint of each stamp on the leather strap. For ideas, there are books and websites on how to create belt strap, which can be applied and only slightly modified for strap making.

Frequently Asked Questions About Leather Guitar Straps

1. How much do leather guitar straps cost? 

We've checked Etsy, Guitar Center and Amazon and can confidently say that guitar straps cost between $15 (on the low end), $30 (on the medium end), to upwards of $50, $70, and $100 (for a customized high-end strap). 

2. What is the best way to clean a leather guitar strap?

Guitar Straps can be cleaned using water, a warm cloth, and leather conditioning products.

3. What are some companies that sell guitar leather belt grips?

Levy's, LM Products, Gibson, Taylor, Fender and Martin

4. I'm just starting out. Do I have to have a leather guitar strap (or can I use another material)? 

We're not here to tell you how to play your rock and roll; America is a free country. (And also sometimes, when you're just starting out, you want to be mindful of cost). Just remember that in life you generally get what you pay for. Guitar straps are made from other materials including nylon, cotton, and polypropylene. From our research we found that leather guitar straps distribute the weight of the instrument better and are more reliable. A search for "cheap guitar straps" on Google should yield plenty of non-leather options.

5. What are some "need to know measures" when buying leather guitar straps?

Most guitar strap manufacturers sell them between the sizes of 38" to 68" Other manufacturers sell them between the sizes of 40" to 60" - and these tend to fit most people. 

5. What are the main things I should look for in a guitar strap?

Comfort, even distribution of your guitar's weight, non-slippage (if you tend to sweat a lot), tensile strength, durability, functionality, and reliability. Bring your guitar to the shop if you can in order to determine how deep it digs in to your shoulder. 

6. What do I do if my guitar strap digs into my shoulder?

Get a wider strap. (The thinner the strap, the more it's weight is distributed on one area). Getting a wider strap distributes the weight more evenly. If that doesn't wok, choose a different material or correct your posture. You can also choose to play on a stool, chair, or stairs, supporting the weight of the guitar with your right thigh (if you are playing right-handed). Listen to your body. 

7. What are some details I can add on my project?

Choose from a variety of eye-catching designs including wings, embossed leather, flaming skulls, and skull guitars. You are only limited by your creativity. (Check out Pinterest "guitars" for more inspiration). 
 

The Items Used - [Click the picture to be directed to the product]

1. Leather hide. Choose from Cow skin or Pig skin, both are great for guitars. Pig skin is tougher than calf skin.  

https://www.leathercaresupply.com/products/italian-calf-skin-leather-hide?variant=21455078129747

Italian Calf skin quality grain - 15 square feet - $142.00

 

Top Quality Italian Pig Skin Hide - 20 square feet - $105.00

Top Quality Italian Pig Skin Hide - 20 square feet - $105.00

 

2. Revolving Leather Punch Machine (hole punch machine) 

Revolving leather punch

Professional Revolving Leather Punch - $17.95

Action_Hole_Punching_Eyelet_Setting

2 in 1: Hole-punching and Eyelet Grommet Setting Pliars

3. Beveler

Beveler

Pictured: 1/8" beveler. Different sized Bevelers can be purchased here.  

Are you experienced

Are You Experienced?

Why not create your own guitar strap? It's a symbol of you. This article (and a few YouTube videos) can help you display your incredibly detailed personality, patterns, and artistic flair. 

We hope you enjoyed it. Share it with a friend you'd take to a rock concert.

Related: See how Elvis took care of his blue suede shoes here 

Related: California man creates a guitar entirely out of colored pencils and epoxy in his garage 

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  • Alex Pop
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