DIY crossbody tote using old leather belt

Since my post on making leather cuffs out of old belts (DIY leather cuff blog) I have become slightly obsessed with old leather belts.  When I was working in TV, I did a story with Ashley from the blog Sugar and Cloth – she did an awesome DIY camera strap project for my show and I learned all about rivets.

I decided to use the same method and take a belt to make a DIY crossbody tote bag! It was seriously simple and a skill you can use to add a leather strap (or belt) to any bag!

Items needed:


leather belt

old tote bag (I had my bag, but I also saw these exact totes at Hobby Lobby for $2.99)

fabric paint (I used fabric spray paint but I didn’t love it, so I recommend using regular fabric paint)

rivet setter kit

mallet (you could use a hammer, but mallets are better)

exacto knife to cut belt apart

First, wash and dry the bag. Then, decide what type of art you want on the bag. I went with a chevron pattern.


Put tape where you don’t want the paint, spray paint the bag, let dry and  peel away the tape.


Now, I bought Fabric spray paint at Hobby lobby for $2.80 a can. (was $4.99, used coupon) I hated it. The cap got locked up twice and it didn’t spray even. I had to return it and the second one I got did the same thing… Also, the paint did leach into the fabric on a few spots where the tape was. (that could have been my fault?) verdict: don’t use fabric spray paint. Just use regular fabric paint.

OK, so once you have your bag all decorated now you get to put on the strap/belt! (I cut off the straps from the original tote)


Use a utility hole punch and punch holes in the belt and in the bag where you are going to place the belt. Each “rivet setter” kit comes with all the supplies you need and a picture to show you how to do it. (I did pay $7 for this, but I feel like I will get my $$ worth in the long run)


I decided to do 3 rivets on each side. You could probably just do 2 rivets, but I added an extra one just to make sure it was extra secure.


Every bag needs a cool closure, right? I grabbed the belt scraps and put them to use! I used an old belt loop and the end part of one side of the belt to make a closure for the bag. Same method here – just punch holes, and use the rivet setting kit. Once you get the hang of the rivet setting kit (super easy) you will want to put rivets on everything. Trust me.


So – here is the final product! With kids, I gotta tell ya, there is nothing BETTER than a crossbody bag so you can be hands free at all times!


Here is the bag in use! The new strap makes it perfect for quick, on the go use! My painting job is not the best, but I hope this tutorial helps you do a similar project!

Making the most out of life,


15 minute DIY DIY Gift ideas

Andrea S View All →

I’m a wife, mom, runner and freelance TV producer/writer. I love making the most out of this life and hope you will follow along!

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