advertisement

advertisement

No Thanks
Let
Keep In Touch With MarthaStewart.com

Sign up and we'll send inspiration straight to you.

Martha Stewart takes your privacy seriously. To learn more, please read our Privacy Policy.

Project

Belt-Buckle Frame How-To

Introduction

Not so long ago, fashionable clothes bore all sorts of pretty buckles. When the garments wore out or passed out of style, frugal housewives saved the buckles for reuse. Made from abalone, wood, metal, or Bakelite, they still abound -- if not in your sewing box, then certainly at flea markets. And now that buckles are less in demand as smart dressmaker details, they are free, with slight modification, to take on a new role as miniature picture frames. Gather these curios on a bureau, or display them as refrigerator magnets.

Tools and Materials

Buckle
Photo or photocopy of image
Dremel rotary tool
#409 cutoff wheel
#932 grinding stone
Pencil
Card stock
Scissors
Archival double-sided tape or glue
Small paintbrush
Adhesive magnetic sheeting

1. Use buckle that has a sizable opening, and choose a graphically bold image, such as a close-up portrait. Make a photocopy of the photo, reducing it to fit, if necessary.

2. Remove the buckle's center bar using a Dremel rotary tool fitted with a #409 cutoff wheel. On a low setting, cut a section from the middle of the center bar, leaving about 1/4 inch at each end to prevent chipping. Carefully abrade the rest of the bar with a #932 grinding stone. You may use vise grips padded with cloth to hold it steady.

3. Trace the outside of the buckle onto card stock. Cut out the shape; this forms the backing. Attach the photocopy to the backing with archival double-sided tape or archival glue. Glue the front edges of the photocopy to the buckle, and weigh it down with a few books. Let dry for at least eight hours. To magnetize frames, cut several strips from adhesive magnetic sheeting, and affix them to the backing.

Materials

  • Buckle
  • Photo or photocopy of image
  • Dremel rotary tool
  • #409 cutoff wheel
  • #932 grinding stone
  • Pencil
  • Card stock
  • Scissors
  • Archival double-sided tape or glue
  • Small paintbrush
  • Adhesive magnetic sheeting

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Use buckle that has a sizable opening, and choose a graphically bold image, such as a close-up portrait. Make a photocopy of the photo, reducing it to fit, if necessary.

  2. Step 2

    Remove the buckle's center bar using a Dremel rotary tool fitted with a #409 cutoff wheel. On a low setting, cut a section from the middle of the center bar, leaving about 1/4 inch at each end to prevent chipping. Carefully abrade the rest of the bar with a #932 grinding stone. You may use vise grips padded with cloth to hold it steady.

  3. Step 3

    Trace the outside of the buckle onto card stock. Cut out the shape; this forms the backing. Attach the photocopy to the backing with archival double-sided tape or archival glue. Glue the front edges of the photocopy to the buckle, and weigh it down with a few books. Let dry for at least eight hours. To magnetize frames, cut several strips from adhesive magnetic sheeting, and affix them to the backing.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, August 2001

Reviews (14)

  • kittylou13 10 Mar, 2011

    I can't wait to make these! I need to go to the thrift store ASAP! ;)

  • Cheryllion 10 Mar, 2011

    Great idea! Man, something else to keep an eye open for at yard sales now!!

  • kscott320 10 Mar, 2011

    Putting a piece of acetate on top of the picture will protect it from environmental factors and make it really look like a frame. This is a really neat idea!

  • HinaHaris 24 Jan, 2011

    No doubt a superb idea!! I made a wreath of photos with these buckles and my husband loves it...

  • dbreitenbach 15 Apr, 2010

    to bfcreations:
    Take a look at your local Thrift shops for belts with large buckles!

  • horsewife 12 Oct, 2008

    To redladybug45
    Christmas is coming! Tell someone you want gift cards from the "hardware stores" Most of the craft stores and discount stores have tools for ladies. Sears just added a line of tools for ladies, page 45 of the Wish Book. Buy quality tools so they last.
    I was raised using tools and can embarrass some men.
    Horsewife

  • horsewife 12 Oct, 2008

    To redladybug45
    Christmas is coming! Tell someone you want gift cards from the "hardware stores" Most of the craft stores and discount stores have tools for ladies. Sears just added a line of tools for ladies, page 45 of the Wish Book. Buy quality tools so they last.
    I was raised using tools and can embarrass some men.
    Horsewife

  • speckle 12 Oct, 2008

    Shouldn't be hard to find the buckels for me. My father-in-law and husband were cowboys when they were younger. My f-i-l would make his own with his big intial on them. Oh and they were in silver of course. Tackie, yes, but I would never get away with cutting them up. Loved this idea. Thanks, pam from calif.

  • Anna_Marie 12 Oct, 2008

    hmmmmmm...wonder how hard it is to locate old buckles (lucite or jadite) like these? It will be a fun new treasure item to look for when I go "junking"!

  • CraftyLadyTOO 12 Oct, 2008

    To "redladybug45": I'm a 'single gal' of 67, and I have a Dremel; along with a drill and a tool any single gal should have around the house .... a portable screwdriver. If you live alone you need these tools to help you be more independent, not having to depend on someone else, or hire a professional to do a small job. Indeed, safety is first. Wear your safety glasses when doing something like this and keep those fingers away from the sharp blades.

  • bfcreations 12 Oct, 2008

    I love the idea! Now to find big old buckles like that.

  • jtuinstra 12 Oct, 2008

    Looking at those fingers near the blade of the Dremel is extremely dangerous. Those blades tend to bounce when it comes in contact with the metal, plastic or wood. The blades can also fly apart. Wear safety goggles and use a clamp to hold down what you are cutting.

  • redladybug45 12 Oct, 2008

    This is a fabulous idea and looks so great, but how many single gals have these tools on hand!!!!

  • terivanhecke 12 Oct, 2008

    What a clever way to frame a photo - and a good way to recycle too!