So, your friend gave you a gorgeous belt that turned out to be smaller than your actual size. Before you secretly regift it to another friend, consider learning how to stretch leather belt first.
It’s a known fact that moisture can make a leather fabric swell, which is why we cannot wash leather goods the way we wash other textiles. But we can use moisture to our advantage when we need to add a few inches to our belts.
Scroll down and check out four of the most effective techniques that experts use to stretch leather straps!
If you want to go for this technique, you have to meet the following conditions:
The belt has ample space for another hole.
The new addition should not be too close to the one it precedes, as it will be hard to puncture. Ideally, there should be a 1-inch distance between the two punctures.
If both conditions are met, you can start with the procedure:
Measure the distance between each hole with a ruler or measuring tape.
Mark the spot where you intend to place the hole and punch it with a leather punch.
Technique 2: Dampen the leather
What to prepare:
Immerse the entire leather belt in water. Although both warm and room temperature can work, the former will yield better results.
Soak the belt for 10 minutes, then wear it until it dries to ensure that it fits your waist.
Next, apply the leather oil according to the instruction on the label to condition the material to prevent it from completely drying out.
If the process causes the accessory to curve excessively, you can straighten a leather belt by laying it on a flat surface. Then lace a towel over the entire belt and put weight plates or books on it until the leather straightens again.
Tip: You can use this technique to stretch a leather skirt, jacket, or any other large-sized leather garment.
For these types of apparel, you will need to use warm water and twist and squeeze the fabric. Then, leave it wet for 10 minutes before wearing it to mold it to your body.
Technique 3: Spray alcohol solution
What to prepare:
Get a spray bottle, and pour one part rubbing alcohol and three parts warm water into it.
Spritz this DIY leather stretching spray onto the front and backside of the belt. Just make sure that the surface is moist without oversoaking it.
Next, loosen up leather by holding the ends with each hand and start pulling it apart. Alternatively, wrap it around a pole and tug both ends in the same direction.
Technique 4: Leave the belt in the freezer
What to prepare:
Two resealable plastic bags
One resealable plastic bag that can fit a belt
One larger resealable plastic bag that you fill with water and the other bag with the belt in it
Clips and adhesive tapes (optional)
Once you’ve placed the leather belt inside the smaller bag, seal it tight. It is important not to get your belt wet, so feel free to use clips and adhesive tapes if you think the seal is not secure enough.
Then, put the bag with the belt into the bigger pouch. Go to your sink and fill the latter with water, then leave it in the freezer until frozen.
Next, get the bag from the freezer and let the ice completely melt on its own. Retrieve the belt inside – the variation in temperatures will stretch out the leather.
Technique 5: Use a store-bought leather stretching product
You can buy leather stretching products online and in popular shoe retail stores. Although these are intended for shoes, they can work on any leather! This means you can also stretch a leather pouch or a leather wallet with this technique.
Read the instructions on the product’s label to learn the best way to use the solution.
Apply some of the leather stretching chemical onto the back and frontside of the belt, then wear it until it dries. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied with the results.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do leather belts loosen?
Yes. Similar to products such as leather chaps, leather bracelets, shoes, etc., leather belts will loosen with time. This process is called “breaking in,” meaning that the material becomes softer and more comfortable to wear.
Depending on the type of leather or how often you use them, the time it takes for belts to loosen can vary. However, you can use leather stretching tools to speed up the process.
How do you stretch leather naturally?
You can be stretching leather without purposefully doing it. Besides the techniques above, you can loosen up a leather belt by wearing it regularly.
Depending on how often you wear it, it can extend anywhere from one to three inches in four months to several years.
If you’ve tried all the techniques in this How to Stretch Leather Belt article, you’ll surely know how easy it is to manipulate leather. Unless you are thinking of setting up a leather shop, you don’t need professional-grade tools to extend your belt by an inch or two.
But stretching is just one part of the process. As tough and malleable as they may seem, leather fabrics can lose their durability when poorly maintained. Thus, take the time to moisturize your belts to prevent them from curling or hardening.
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