LIFESTYLE

How to Make A Dog Collar: A Guide to Help You Personalize Fido’s Appeareance

Make a dog collar
John Walton
Written by John Walton

We are no strangers to the concept of DIY, and for very good reasons. Maybe you find yourself a little short on cash, maybe you want to get rid of some of the old things that have collected over the years, maybe you want to repurpose things, or you simply want to give a gift that was made by your very own hands.

Another aspect that we should keep in mind is the fact that we here are all dog lovers, and we all see our dogs as more than just pets. We see them as our friends, our companions, we celebrate their birthdays, we feel happy for them when they achieve something, we pretty much see them for what they are, an integral part of our lives.

That being said, it is perfectly normal to want to make something for your dog, invest the time, the effort but more importantly the love into it and give it to your canine friend as a present, knowing full well that your dog is wearing something that was made for him or her.

Not all of us, however, are accustomed to DIY projects, and how to make a dog collar tends to elude the vast majority. We all have sort of an idea what a collar should be like, and what it should do, however we didn’t exactly go around dissecting dog collars in order to see how exactly they are made.

Dog collar

Don’t worry though, making a dog collar is easier than you might expect, and truth be told, it’s a neat little project that will have you smiling while making something for your furry friend.

The proper dog collar for the proper purpose

First and foremost, you will have to figure out what type of DIY dog collar you will be crafting. Yes, there are more than one type of collars out there, and each of them is made to serve a purpose.

You have:

  • Glamour dog collars, designed solely for their appearance and to beautify the dog
  • Strength collars, designed to help you control your dog
  • Elastic do collars, if you want to make sure you are not accidentally choking your dog when tugging on the leash
  • Various other variations between the three

So you can pretty much make any type of collar for any type of dog, however you have to understand that each dog is different, and while a certain type of collar is exactly what one dog needs, it’s most likely that it is not what the rest of them need.

Generally, the collar needs to be strong enough so that your dog does not break or snap it when pulling with its maximum power. Goes without saying that DYI dog collars tend to get a bit tricky when making them for powerful dogs like the Pit Bull, the Rottweiler, the Dogo Argentino, etc.

Make a glamour dog collar

They all do share some aspects though. Regardless of what collar it is, you will need the following:

  • A D-Ring on which to attach the leash
  • A locking mechanism, either a plastic slide lock or a belt buckle made out of metal
  • A way of adjusting the collar.
  • A way if attaching the name tag, either through a hole or a smaller D-Ring

Do keep in mind that your dog will be wearing this collar constantly. It’s not just for show, it’s not something temporary, but rather something that your dog will have around his or her neck all the time, so make sure you pay close attention to your dog’s comfort level and try to make it as comfortable as possible for him or her.

Ideally, stay away from rough edges, test and see if your dog is allergic to the material that you had in mind, and make sure that the collar itself will help the dog feel calm and not cause him or her to get all agitated over it.

Making a DIY dog collar for toy dogs

Toy dogs are not exactly the strongest, meanest or the most pretentious of dogs. To be completely honest, toy dogs are made to love and to be loved. They are generally playful, obnoxious from time to time, hyperactive and they tend to love life itself.

You don’t need much strength to handle them, and you don’t need the strongest of collars for them. That being said, for a toy dog, you can make a DIY dog collar out of pretty much anything, however the most popular with these dogs are the glamour collars. A neat example is the shirt collar.

Smart collar

Simply grab an old shirt that you will never wear again and give it a good wash. After you are done washing the shirt, grab a pair of scissors and cut the collar off right on its seam. Make sure that it has a button on the collar first; you will want to button it up for that nice classy look.

Once you have cut the collar off, grab some glue or any kind of adhesive or hardener and spread it evenly among the seam. This will help it stay intact and not unravel as the dog is wearing it.

Once that is done, grab the scissors again, measure the collar and in the exact middle, cut a small hole in the collar. That is where the D-Ring for the leash will come through later.

Now you can either grab the dog’s current collar or an older collar and simply slide it into the shirt collar, making sure that the D-Ring for the leash pops out through the designated hole, or make an entirely new collar yourself.

If you chose the latter, you will want to grab a strip of nylon or leather. Make sure that it will fit inside the shirt collar without sticking out, and then measure it around your dog’s neck.

Ideally, you are looking to have a full loop around the dog’s neck plus another quarter extra. Cut the collar to size and slide the D-ring for the leash on. Don’t worry about fastening it, that’s what the shirt collar is for.

Homemade dog collar for toy dog

After that is all said and done with, you will want to attach either he buckle or the slide lock and adjust the collar to make sure it will not be too loose or too tight around your dog’s neck.

Using either a small metal ring or a bit of excess material, create a small loop next to the locking mechanism in which you will then fit the smaller D-ring for the dog’s tag.

After you have finished the collar, simply slide it into the shirt collar making sure that the leash D-ring pops out through the hole in the back of the collar.

Use a bit of glue to tack it into place, then run a threaded needle through it, making sure that you lock the collar in place while still giving it that shirt collar aspect. The best way to run the threaded needle in this case is through the top; however you will need a rather strong needle and a hand to match, so you might want to consider using the sewing machine.

If you have done so, you will then obtain a dog collar that looks like the collar of a shirt, with the excess dog collar coming neatly over the button and back in through the opposite fold.

Making a DIY dog collar for small dogs

Small dogs are slightly bigger and stronger than toy dogs, and a lot more active and playful. In their case, the collar will have to be a bit more durable, however still able to match their cuteness and overall good looks.

One suggestion that comes to mind is the denim collar. It is exactly what it sounds like, a dog collar made out of denim and it is quite easy to make as well.

Note that with this collar, there are certain things that you will not have the luxury of taking as an option but rather as a given. Start by getting hold of some denim fabric. Ideally you are looking for a rectangle about 4 times the width of the collar, but the exact length of the collar.

Collar for small dogs

Start by folding it 4 times sideways, this should result into a rather thick strip of denim, the exact width of a dog collar.

Run the strip through the sewing machine and sew it using a dark brown threat on all 4 sides. This will give it that jeans look that you are trying to achieve.

Here is where things get interesting. You will have to grab a buckle, like the ones hound on leather belts but much smaller, attach it to one of the sides and roll the side over. Stitch it up afterwards to lock it into position. Make sure that the buckle can still move freely, if the buckle is stuck firm in place it will be too uncomfortable for the dog.

Then grab the larger D-ring, the one that the leash will be attached to, and slide it until towards the middle of the collar, then using some extra denim fabric, sew it in place on the inside of the collar. This bit of fabric should come into contact with the neck of the dog; however it will not be uncomfortable.

After that is all said and done, grab a hammer and a thick nail, and drive some holes into the collar. You will do so on the end opposite to the buckle, and using small metal rings (which you can find in most hardware shops) define the holes and seal the rings shit around the holes by tapping them with the hammer.

Next, grab the same nail, the hammer and another small metal ring and do another hole, but this time next to the buckle. Through that hole you will drive a small C-ring on which the dog’s name tag will sit.

Making collar for small dog

Feel free to add extra decorations, like metal studs, squares, etc.

Do make sure that these decorations are on the outside of the collar otherwise they will be incredibly uncomfortable and annoying for your dog.

Making a DIY dog collar for medium and large dogs

The reason why these particular collars are suited for both medium and large dogs is because of the fact that the majority of medium dogs are just as strong as large dogs.

Dogs like the Pit Bull, the English bulldog, these are medium dogs, but they have enough strength as a big dog, and so these collars apply to them as well. With these dogs you have to keep one thing in mind, they are powerful, and they are not afraid to use their power.

They will test the strength of the collar to the limit, which is why you need a rather strong and durable one. The best solution here is a leather collar, just like a leather belt that you would use yourself, however in miniature size. So, how do you go about making a leather dog collar?

First of all, grab an old belt, one that is either too small for you to use, or one that you don’t want to wear anymore. Don’t go for the degraded ones or ones that have already been snapped, you might find that it might not be enough or that you cannot avoid the problem areas and the dog collar will have weak points.

Making a dog collar

Make sure that the belt is strong and that the leather is able to withstand the strength of the dog. Using a pencil or a pen, trace the outline of the dog collar on the inside of the belt and with a cutter or a fine knife, cut out the dog collar from the belt.

Using a sewing machine, sew all 4 sides in order to make sure that the leather will not be damaged by extensive wear, just like a normal belt is.

Just like the denim belt from earlier, grab a buckle, wrap one end of the collar around the base of it and sew it into place. Make sure that you use either a double or a triple stitch, the last thing that you want happening is the collar snapping at the buckle.

Grab a piece of leather and the D-ring for the leash and just like on the denim one, slide the D-ring onto the exact middle of the collar and sow the piece of leather on the inside of the collar, locking the ring in place.

Make sure that the ring is not too big; you don’t want to make the collar uncomfortable for your dog.

After that is all said and done, grab the hammer and a thick nail and drive some holes in a line on the opposite side of the collar in relation to the buckle.

Usually, the metallic buckles come with a built in either leather or metallic strip on which you can attach a smaller D-ring for your dog’s name tag, however if the buckle you have chosen does not come with one, then grab the hammer and the nail from earlier and make another hole, next to the buckle and drive a C-ring through it.

Homemade dog collar

This ring is where you will attach the dog’s name tag, and seeing as it will be right under the dog’s muzzle it will be clearly visible.

Usually, when it comes to leather dog collars, there are not many decorations that can be added to it without making it look tacky.

If it is a black one, then you can feel free to add spikes or studs, maybe a few metal squares and triangles along the side to make your dog look that much tougher.

If the belt is brown or dark brown, you might as well go for a more elegant look and not add any decorations onto it.

Another thing to note here is the fact that it is imperative that you test out the strength of the belt before you start cutting. If it is a thin leather belt that you have doubts about, then you might want to leave that aside and fid a thicker and more durable one.

In conclusion

Making a DIY dog collar for your dog is not the hardest thing in the world. It will require you to pay a bit of attention to it, put a bit of effort into it and probably fiddle around with it quite a bit until you get it right, however it is all worth it in the long run.

Sizing a martingale

Yes, you will have to scavenge and look for certain things, you will find yourself second-guessing your choices and changing your mind quite a bit, or even dragging the project a bit more that it should be dragged, however the end result will make it all worth it.

At the end of the day, your dog will be wearing the collar that you have made for him or her, adding that extra bit of character and that extra bit of customization to your canine friend.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

  • Jamey Bronn

    The cravat-like collar is very interesting and perfect for small doggies, I’ll try to make one myself.

    • John Walton

      Yes, this is also one of the easier ones to do. The cravat collar is also unique and are more inclined to toy dog breeds. Such a cute project!

  • Florence Riley

    I love the collar-styled fashion collar for small dogs. I have some old shirts with pretty interesting collars that’s gonna be perfect for this!

    • John Walton

      Old shirts are materials that never run out of style in terms of personalized dog collars. They also come in distinct patterns than can make a collar unique and a true standout.

  • May Walker

    I’ve daydreamed about this vague idea of making themed dog collars for our pooches, but only with this article did the motivation to actually make one present itself. It was very informative and I’m pretty confident given the free time and resources I can make one at home!

    • John Walton

      We are happy that our article inspired you further, May! Personalized dog collars are some of the most customizable projects you can have for your dog. You can choose from a wide selection of designs and ideas, and of course there are many more inspirational concepts you can get from our website.

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