DIYdiy projectsmatt pierce

diy project: vintage belt frame

by Matt

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of wayward western belts at vintage shops and thrift stores. Judging that most seem to be recent (early 80s) vintage, we can probably thank Kenny and Dolly for their previous popularity. So, what to do with this sur if you’re not ready to reenact the look of Urban Cowboy? Why not find one to repurpose into a vintage styled picture frame? I know you’ve got an old pic of Grandpa that would work perfectly. — 

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See the full how-to after the jump!

It’s pretty simple. More or less just cutting mitered edges in the belt material to fit your frame size, and you could even just glue the pieces to the outside of an existing frame. I like the idea of how so many vintage frames were hand-built, so I’ll show you how to make one from scratch.


  • vintage western belt
  • wood panel and trim stock
  • plexiglass piece
  • glue



  • saw
  • rotary knife
  • ruler
  • awl
  • thread and needle



1. Start by figuring out what size your frame will be. The belt edge of the frame must be small enough to hold your picture and glass in, and also realize that the overall frame size will then add the width of the belt to itself. My picture is a 3 1/2 x 5, so I cut my belt pieces so the inside edge is about a 1/2 smaller on each dimension.

2. After your belt pieces are cut, we can build the back frame. Measure your belt pieces’ outer dimensions and let’s cut a panel to that size. Then, we can cut some spacer pieces to glue onto the panel to hold our leather pieces off the panel enough to fit our picture and glass.

3. Glue the frame back together, leaving a top open so you can replace the picture in the frame. Once the glue dries, you can slide your picture and plexiglass into it. Depending on the space, you could add some packing to keep the picture flat.

4. Hang it up and brag to your friends about how large the fish was that Pop caught that day.

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