How to Punch a Hole in a Belt

Two Methods:Punching a High-Quality HolePunching a Quick Hole

A moment of frustration with a poorly-fitting belt sometimes tempts a person to attack it with scissors or knives, but there are much better ways to do the job. A leather hole punch is ideal, but with patience you can achieve a relatively tidy hole with an electric drill, or even a Phillips-head screwdriver.

Method 1
Punching a High-Quality Hole

  1. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 1
    Purchase a leather hole punch. If you want the new belt hole to be as tidy and discreet as possible, a leather hole punch is by far the best tool. These typically cost less than $10 US at a craft or hobby store.[1]
    • Bring along your belt when shopping, to compare the size of the punch with the size of the existing holes. The punching tool tip should fit tightly through the existing holes.
    • If you have many belts to adjust, look for a rotary model with a wheel of attachments in different sizes.
  2. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 2
    Mark the location of the next hole. Use a ruler or measuring tape to find the distance between each hole, then measure the same distance past the last hole. Dot the leather with a permanent marker to guide your punching.
    • "Protecting" the leather from the marker with tape is not a great idea, as the tape itself can cause damage.[2] A careful dot directly where the hole will go is the safer option.
    • If you are making a belt from scratch, the holes are typically spaced ½" (1.25 cm) apart for belts under ⅜" (1 cm) wide, and up to 1⅛" (2.85 cm) apart for belts above 1" (2.5 cm) wide.[3]
  3. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 3
    Position the belt. Place the belt's marked area in between the two halves of the punching tool. Use heavy objects to keep the belt taut, or have a friend pull the belt taut in front of you.
  4. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 4
    Squeeze hard. Squeeze the arms of the hole punch together tightly and firmly. Some thick belts may require strong hands, or someone to wiggle the taut belt back and forth as you squeeze.[4] Let go when you feel the leather go through, and the hole should be finished.
    • If any leather scraps are stuck in the hole, use a toothpick to push them out.

Method 2
Punching a Quick Hole

  1. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 5
    Mark the location of the hole. Use a ruler to measure the spacing between the hole, then measure the same distance past the last hole. Use a marker to dot the belt over the area you plan on punching out.
    • If your top priority is a comfortable fit, instead wear the belt and pull it to a comfortable position, then mark the belt where the strap tongue touches it.
  2. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 6
    Hold the belt in place. Use heavy objects to weigh down each end of the belt, with the location where the hole will be punched on top of a block of wood or other hard, flat surface.
  3. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 7
    Consider an electric drill. If you have one, an electric drill can be used to drill a hole through the belt, as long as you're careful. Use these tips to keep the hole tidy:[5]
    • Insert drill bits by hand into the existing holes. Select one that fits smoothly but tightly into the hole.
    • Use a brad-pointed drill bit if available. If using a smooth drill bit, create a small depression for it to stand in, using a sharp knife or nail.
    • Drill in short bursts especially when starting the hole.
    • Make sure to put something, that you don't mind damaging, that doesn't move around behind the belt, that is thick enough, for when the drill bit goes through.
    • You can also opt to snipping the other end, once it has penetrated the outer layer a bit, instead of drilling a perfect hole.
  4. Image titled Punch a Hole in a Belt Step 8
    Use a sharp object instead. The tool designed for this purpose is called an awl, but any sharp, metal stick or even a Phillips-head screwdriver will work fairly well. Push the awl into the leather, then tap it repeatedly with a mallet or hammer. This method takes longer than the others, and you might end up with a messy hole.
    • A nail will make a smoother hole through a thin belt, but if you're looking to save time, a screw can be turned through the leather, using its threads to tear through faster.
    • Again, be careful of scratching the surface beneath. (Follow the precautions in the previous step.)


  • You can purchase oval-shaped leather hole punches, but most people will not notice a mix of round and oval holes.
  • If you are making a belt from scratch, you'll also need an "English point" hole punch to create the hole where the strap end will be embedded.[6]


  • Knives, scissors, or paper hole punches are not recommended. Punching a hole through a belt takes more effort than you might think. Finding a better tool will save time and frustration, and reduce the risk of injury.

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