TRANSFER IT: EMULSION TRANSFER
Fig. F: Skiving the underside of the collar prepares it
for the buckle. Fig. G: Center the hole punch over each
scratch awl mark to make a hole. Fig. H: Whack the hole
punch with a mallet several times. Fig. I: Use an X-Acto
studs, it helps to lock them in a pair of needlenose
vise-grips so you can easily mark both tails at once.
Decorations attach to the leather in 1 of 3 ways:
screw-back, rivet-back, or tails. For screw-back conchos, use a #4 or #5 hole punch, punch the hole, and
then screw into place (Figure L). For added security,
apply a drop of threadlocker on the backing.
For rivet-back decorations, use a #0 punch and the
appropriate setting tools. Without machinery, setting
rivet decorations securely enough for daily wear
while simultaneously not damaging the decoration
can be tricky, so we recommend staying away from
rivet-backs if you can help it.
For studs, cut parallel holes with an X-Acto blade,
push the stud through the holes, turn the tails in with
a screwdriver or pliers, and then gently tap with a
tack hammer (Figure M). Studs are an easy way to
add a lot of flash to a collar, like spelling out a dog’s
name, that’s sturdy enough to last.
There are also a variety of leather-stamping tools
on the market as well as paints and finishes, so you
can stamp shapes or re-create your favorite 70s belt.
Leather working can be challenging, but the reward
of creating a piece of art that can potentially outlive
you or your dog is worth it. Most leather workers are
knife to make a buckle slot. Fig. J: Weave the punched
leather through the buckle. Fig. K: Hit hard to set the
rivet. Fig. L: Some decorations can be screwed into
place. Fig. M: Finish off studs with a gentle hammer tap.
more than happy to share techniques and solutions if
you find yourself stuck, so don’t be afraid to call on us!
NOTE: Most leather decorations are calibrated for the
thickness of leather, so if you want a vegan option, the
best thing to do is start with a pre-made vegan belt that
measures at least ¼" thick. Treat it like a strip of leather,
as all the tools and instructions stay the same.
Ana Poe is the owner of Paco Collars ( pacocollars.com),
maker of custom handmade leather dog collars. She belongs
to Paco, a 7-year-old American pit bull terrier.