Paper belts can be surprisingly strong, especially after you sew the folds or use a clear plastic binder to strengthen the material. Origami designs produce a complicated look, or you can go back to the kindergarten woven mat weave and still have an interesting belt. Add a D-ring buckle and stud embellishments, and you will have a one-of-a-kind project.
Things You'll Need:
- Sewing Machine
- Dollar Bills (Real Or Play Money)
- Gem Setter
- Clear Tape
- White School Glue
- Clear Contact Paper
- Paper (Construction, Newspaper, Plastic Potato Chip Bags Or Wrapping Paper)
- Paper Cutter Or Scissors
Measure around your waist and add 6 inches for the belt ease as well as additional length to go through at least one belt carrier. Measure the belt carrier width so you don’t make the belt too wide to fit the standard belt loops.
Begin making a woven mat belt by cutting strips from sturdy paper. You can use any type of paper that isn’t flimsy. Newspaper comics are colorful; construction paper gives lots of color choices, and wrapping paper offers lots of pattern options. Cut lengthwise strips as long as you want your belt to be. A finished 2-inch wide belt will be folded in half for better strength. Use 4-inch wide paper and cut strips ¼-inch wide. Cut the weaving strips the same width but 4 ¼ inches long. The extra width provides an overlap.
Basket weave the strips and place a drop of white glue behind each cross strip for strength. Fold the two side edges in toward the middle. Allow one side fold to be ¼ inch wider than the other so that you can run a seam of white glue down the edge to seal the back of the paper. Glue the two long ends shut. Turn one end over the D-ring buckle and staple it shut to hold the buckle in place. Run a strip of plastic tape down the back to give it extra strength.
Use a simple origami pattern to fold dollar bills. Fold in half lengthwise; fold two sides in toward the center and pinch to make a bow. Wind a thin strip of tape to secure. Once folded, use a sewing machine to zigzag the side ends together to form the length of the belt. Strengthen the belt by laying it face down on a strip of sticky contact-type clear paper that is twice as wide as the face of the belt. Fold the edges in toward the back. Finish the belt with a D-ring buckle. Staple one end around the D-ring.
Make a bright belt out of cut strips of potato chip bags. Make sure the most colorful part of the design is facing out. Cut and fold several tubes of material about 1 inch wide by 4 inches long. Fold the tubes in half and then fold the ends toward the center fold. Link them together and fasten with glue or tape. Use a needle and thread to sew three or four strips of tube-linked material together side by side to form the width of the belt. Finish the back of the belt with a strip of strengthening contact paper. Turn one end and staple it to a D-ring for a buckle closure.
Embellish and strengthen your belt with a gem setter, which will not only add a bit of bling to the belt, but it will also fasten through the paper and secure it.
Pat Olsen has over 35 years of experience as a professional journalist in California. She attended San Francisco State and Pacific College. Olsen has several published books, is a staff writer for Mill Creek Living Magazine, and currently writes for Demand Studio. She is a retired educator who still teaches twice a week.