How to Make a Hole in a Belt

Maybe you put on a few pounds over the holidays. It can be hard to say no to all those pies and leftovers after all. Or maybe you kept your New Year’s resolution and have been working out. Now you find your waistline slimmer than ever. Whatever the case may be, people often find that they need to add a new hole to their handmade leather belts. It could even be something as simple as your belt being old and stretching out. Also, different pants hang at different parts of the waist, requiring different belt sizes to wear them comfortably.

Luckily, there are all kinds of ways to add a hole to your belt on your own. There’s no need to go out and buy a brand new one. So long as you know how to make a hole in a belt you’ll be able to save money while also holding on to your favorite fashion accessory. 

Below are five methods for adding a new hole to your belt. Chances are you already have the tools at home for at least one of these. So just find the method that works for you and you’re halfway there!

How to Make it Look Right

Just make sure that you measure out and mark where the hole will go. You want the hole to match the ones already on your casual leather belt. If you do the job right it should look like the new hole was there the whole time.

In general, the standard rule is to have holes lined up center to center with 1-inch spacing. Most belts from the store will follow these rules. But double check that your belt follows these standards. Either way, it is good practice to use a ruler and mark the holes with a pen or marker.

Method 1: Hammer and Nail (or an Awl)

That’s right, all you need is a hammer and nail to get the job done. Even the simplest of toolboxes will have this. Simply find a nail that is similar in size to the holes on your belt, line it up with the mark for your new hole, and drive it through with the hammer. This will get the job done, but it might not look exactly the same as the other holes that were made in a factory when the belt was made.

So, this might not be your first choice if you are picky about the details. As an alternative, you can use an awl. These are basically like ice picks, and they come in different sizes. They will make a rounded hole more so than a regular nail. So find an awl that has the size of the hole you want and drive it through your marked spot the same way you would a nail.  

Method 2: Power Drill  

Most tool boxes nowadays will include a power drill. Similar to the hammer and nail (or awl) method, you would just get the bit you need to drill your hole.

For most belts, a 3/16" bit will do the job. You just want to take a couple precautions since this is a power tool.

  • First, make sure you hold the belt steady. This will make sure the belt doesn’t catch the bit and start spinning in place, which could ruin it.
  • Second, make sure that you have a piece of wood or some other material set up on the other side to catch the bit once you pierce your belt. You don’t want to do this on a kitchen counter or other surface that could get scratched.  

Method 3: Pocket Knife

If you’re in a rush, a pocket knife can get the job done. Obviously, it is not going to be a pretty job. But when you find yourself in an emergency situation piercing a hole with a knife will get the job done.

Maybe you need a dress belt at a wedding because you forgot yours, and you find one to borrow but it is too big for you. Or maybe a similar situation happens when you’re out camping and there are no stores around. When there’s no toolbox available, a trusty pocket knife can help save the day.  

Method 4: Round Drive Punch

This is more of a specialty tool so you might not have it readily available. However, these tools are quite cheap and you can buy one online. They are designed specifically to make round holes, so this makes it easier for you to get a hole that looks the same as the original ones on the belt.

Basically, it is like a hammer and nail. Except instead of a sharp end like a nail, the end of the punch is round. Just make sure you buy one in the right size. All you have to do is hit it with a hammer to drive a hole through your belt. Typically, you’ll want the 3/16" size, but it’s always a good idea to double check in case you have a custom belt with different sized holes.   

Method 5: Rotary Punch

Similar to the round drive punch is the rotary punch. But instead of using a hammer, the rotary punch comes with a squeeze handle. All you have to do is find the appropriate size punch for your belt and then line it up where you want the new hole and squeeze.

What really makes this tool convenient is that all the sizes come on one punch on a wheel. All you have to do is locate the size you want and lock it into position to squeeze your hole. Typically, you’ll want the #5 sized punch, but again it’s always a good idea to double check before you make a hole.  


As long as you measure and mark your hole to where you want it, any of the above methods will work to add a new hole to your belt, weather it's dressy or not. No longer will you need to go to the store and buy a new belt every time your waistline changes. You will save money and you also won’t have to get rid of your favorite belt. It’s a win-win situation!