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How to Punch a Hole in a Belt Without a Leather Punch? (3 Ways)

Fact checked by Andrew Carnegie

how to punch a hole in a belt without a leather punch

Not all of us live close to leather service centers, cobblers, or supply shops that sell specialized tools. Luckily, you have Internet access and our comprehensive guide on how to punch a hole in a belt without a leather punch!

If your favorite old leather belt no longer fits you the way it used to, you can puncture a hole as neat as the ones made by the manufacturer with a drill or nail. So, gather your tools and follow the guide below!

3 Effective Methods to Punch a Hole in a Belt Without a Rotary Punch

</p> <h3><strong>Method #1: Press a heated nail onto the belt</strong></h3> <p>


What to prepare:

  • Pliers
  • Heated nail
  • Drill and drill bit

Detailed steps:

Based on experience, this is the fastest way to create a hole without punch.

Before you start, keep in mind that leather shops, cobblers, and belt hole punch service centers typically follow standard hole sizes. You can use them as references when choosing tools to make an extra hole in a belt. Make sure you choose a nail of the same size as the existing belt holes.

1. Use a pen to mark where you want the new hole to be. Note that the standard center-to-center distance between each hole is 1 inch.

2. Hold the nail with pliers and its pointy side by the fire from the stove.

Alternatively, you can also place the nail in an oven-safe dish and pop it in the oven at around 400F, then wait for up to 5 minutes.

3. Hold the belt securely using your feet on one end and the other with your hand so that it is stretched. You can also ask a friend to help stretch the belt for you.

4. Use pliers to get the heated nail and press the pointy side to the mark you drew earlier. Continue applying pressure until a hole is formed.

</p> <h3><strong>Method #2: Drive an awl or nail into the leather with a mallet</strong></h3> <p>


What to prepare:

  • Awl (or nail)
  • Mallet
  • Two heavy items
  • Towel (optional)

Detailed steps:

Typically, leather goods designers use awls to create tiny holes for stitching. However, using a mallet to drive the awl to the leather can add holes to belts.

Keep in mind that nails will form smaller holes while awl can produce thicker punctures.

  1. Lay the belt on top of a wooden block and put weights on either side to hold it down. Ensure the leather stays firmly in place for a more accurate puncture.
  2. If you’re afraid that you’ll accidentally damage the table. You can put a towel under the wooden block to protect it from scratch or scuff marks.
  3. Put your awl or nail over the mark and press it down to punch a new hole in a belt. Drive it into the leather with slow and short taps using the mallet.
</p> <h3><strong>Method #3: Drill your belt</strong></h3> <p>


This method works best with brad-pointed bits. But if you plan to use a smooth drill bit, make a tiny pre-drill hole using a nail.

  1. Try poking the drill bits you have into one of the belt’s original holes without forcing them. The goal is to determine the one that goes through the hole smoothly and use it.
  2. Place a 2-inch wooden block on your workspace, so your drill does not get through your table.
  3. Next, place the marked area of the belt on the wood and use the weights to hold either side of the strap. This way, the belt does not slip or rotate while you drill.
  4. Start drilling. Depending on the thickness of the belt, you may need to drill a little longer to punch a hole in leather.

Items to Avoid When Punching Holes Into Leather Belts

Now that you know how to make a hole in a belt without tools for leather, keep in mind that there are things that you cannot use as substitutes for the items listed above.

1.  Knives


While you can punch holes in leather with a knife, it will take longer for you to actually produce a hole. Plus, it’ll be harder to control the hole’s dimension when punctured with a knife. If anything, the new addition may look rugged.

2.  Scissors


Punching holes in belts with scissors can be dangerous because you will have to hold one of the blades, exposing your palm or fingers to its sharp side. And similar to puncturing with knives, it’s rather challenging to control the size and shape of the new hole.

3.  Screws


Screws will not produce a hole by cutting a round hole but insert themselves into the leather because of its threads. Even if you attempt to remove the screw, it will ruin and tear up the fabric.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much do cobblers charge when adding a hole into a leather belt?

In most leather repair services, the cost to punch a hole in a belt is more or less $1. Also, some leather brands offer to do it for free, provided that you bought your belt from them, so be sure to check their websites.

Should I buy a leather hole punch?

You should; a specialized tool will make it much easier to poke a hole in a leather belt without ruining the delicate material. Therefore, I wouldn’t hole punch without a hole puncher if I could help it.

Also, a leather hole punch is pretty cheap – it only costs $2o or less. Most products you come across will average around $8 to $10.


Learning how to punch a hole in a belt without a leather punch is fairly simple as long as you have the right tools.

To be clear, experts still recommend using a rotary punch designed for leather fabrics because they make perfect holes faster. That said, drilling, puncturing the belt with a heated nail, or striking the awl with a mallet can produce the same effect!

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