I go through phases when it comes to wearing belts. Because of that, I have more than few languishing in the back corner of my closet. I rationalize keeping them because they don’t take up much space, and they’ve come in handy for cosplay from time to time. I mostly use them as belts, but you could raid your stash or thrift stores for belts and use them for various purposes. Here are five suggestions on how to use belts in cosplay:
Bracers – A belt of any width and color can easily be turned into wrist bracers or cuffs. Wider belts won’t need much modification. You can cut them down to the desired length and use needles made for leather or awls to punch holes in the ends and sew the bracer together. If you don’t want to sew the leather, you can glue Velcro strips on the ends and close it that way. If you have a skinnier belt, you can wrap it around a base like craft foam or a sheet of leather and secure it with glue.
Boot cuffs – Similarly, you can turn old belts into boot cuffs or use them to make crisscrossing straps/buckles on your boots. Wide belts can serve as complete cuffs, and skinny belts can be used as trim. Stores like H&M and Forever 21 often have thin belts available at a low cost in a rainbow of colors. You can use them to add a splash of color and texture to plain boots. You’ll have to test adhesives to see which works best for adhering the belt to the shoe, but something like E6000 should do the trick.
Make a harness or holster – Whether you need an elaborate harness a la Attack On Titan, a simple holster, or a leg holster like Han Solo’s, you can turn to old belts. You can scour the racks at thrift stores if you don’t have enough old belts in your closet. Take measurements, design a pattern, and test that pattern with craft foam. Once the holster fits, cut the pieces and secure them together with D-rings or buckles. Slinky Sews has a helpful tutorial for making an Attack On Titan harness.
Bag strap – Need the perfect leather or faux leather strap for the bag that goes with your Indiana Jones costume? Consider using a belt. If you don’t have something suitable in your closet, visit thrift stores. I once used a medium width brown belt for this purpose. I bought a green canvas messenger bag from the surplus store and replaced the fabric strap with a long belt. It more than did the trick. A colorful belt might make the ideal strap for Honey Lemon’s purse (from Big Hero 6). You could use two belts for backpack straps.
Bandolier – Apparently a lot of the items you can make with belts start with the letter “b.” A bandolier is basically a belt used to hold ammunition. It typically has pockets or loops and is worn like a sash across the body. Chewbacca wears one and his bandolier connects to a messenger bag. Your bandolier doesn’t have to be part of a bag, just make sure it fits snugly around your torso. You can glue or sew on loops to hold all your ammunition props.