How to Make a Steampunk Utility Belt

Posted by on Feb 23, 2011 in Inspiration, Stuff I Like | 42 comments

Steampunk utility belt: the place to carry your Tools of Awesome–or to just hang onto some spare change. Whatevs.  No matter what you choose to store, you’re gonna look STEAMPUNK-TASTIC wearing it.

Now this part of the costume is easy.  Like so easy I feel guilty devoting an entire post to it…so I made some silly graphics for you.

To make your steampunk utility belt, you only need a few things, all of which can be found at your local thrift store.  Don’t spend much–seriously! This should be CHEAP (I think I spent a total of $4).

1. You’re gonna start by cutting apart that leather purse.  We just want the pockets, so go ahead and shred until you’ve managed to separate the cargo pockets from the rest of the bag.  Also, go ahead and snip off 2 pieces from the strap–make sure the pieces are as long as the 2 x width of your belt. So, fore example, my belt was about 1.5 inches wide, so I cut 3-inch pieces off the purse strap.

2. Now you need safety pins.  About 4 of them should do.  We need to take our 2 pieces of purse strap and fasten them to the back of the cargo pockets like so:

3. Now all you have to do is slide the belt through the straps, and TA-DA!  You’re almost finished!

4. Now comes the easiest and final step: adding embellishments!  Like with my steampunk goggles, I went simple. I only added some brass buttons on the cargo pockets (found at the thrift store), a chain locket (found at Wal-mart), and a spray-painted Lego octopus.

Mission Accomplished: Steampunk Utility Belt Complete!


Here are some links to other great belt ideas (all courtesy of the fantastic steampunk resource, steampuk fashion):

Gail Carriger’s insta-belt (yeah, the author of Soulless!)

Another DIY creation (from Finland!)

A detailed step-by-step guide for the well-equiped steampunker:

You tell me: Would you ever make a steampunk utility belt?  If so, would you add/change anything?


Leviathan and A Great and Terrible Beauty

(both are  open internationally).

  • Girl Friday


    • Susan

      OOOH, let me know if you make one!

  • Laura Hughes

    Such a fun idea! And, gorgeous pics! (I accidentally clicked my way to the official photographer’s page!)

    • Susan

      Thanks! One of these steampunk author photos will wind up on the back of THE SPIRIT-HUNTERS. :)

  • Kat

    I CAN ACTUALLY MAKE THIS. Or I could if there were thrift stores in Japan. But! There might be something at the big 100 yen shops (like dollar stores) in the bigger cities. I WANTS TO TRY. At some point. (Wow, that’s not see-sawing at all.)

    • Susan

      No thrifts stores in Germany either — it’s FRUSTRATING. I like buying, ya know, normal stuff at thrift stores too… :P I had to put all this together when I was in the States. Seriously, within like 3 minutes of walking in the store, I had everything I needed for $5. It was RIDICULOUS. And AMAZING.

  • Caitlin

    Zomigod. I need me one of those! You know, for all those Victoriana-themed adventures I go on… *shifty eyes*. Yes, this is completely justified, Bank Balance…

    • Susan

      ::singing:: It was only $5…. And about 10 minutes of work…. Yoooouuu knoooow yooouuuu waaaant ooooonnnne.

  • Meredith

    I’m so in love with the octopus. Adorable!

    • Susan

      I know, isn’t it CUTE? I love octopus designs, and when I found those in my Lego stash, I was like, “JACKPOT!”

  • Holly

    You are so crafty! My steampunkified preschooler is going to be awesome…if I can find a belt small enough. LOL

    One day, he’s going to grow up and hate me for this, isn’t he? :P

    • Susan

      Either he’ll hate you, or you’ll be starting a lifelong steampunk obsession. ;)

  • Katharine Owens

    Susan- I am loving these photos of you in all your steampunkery. You are way too cool!!!

    • Susan

      Thanks, Katharine! I’ll admit that playing dress-up was suuuuuper fun!

  • kathy

    Love these – so much fun. Really enjoying your blog and can’t wait for THE SPIRIT-HUNTERS!

    • Susan

      AWWW, what a REALLY sweet thing to say! Gosh, you just made my night! :D :D

  • Yahong

    Ahaha, I love the little sidenotes in your pictures “You can also see the safety pins!” “This is dangerous.” That second one is too funny!
    Easy + cheap = MADE FOR ME. I’m such a cheapskate, I might even be sad about cutting up that purse with cargo pockets. But I think I need one of those belts. For holding nerf guns and whatnot, no? :D

    • Susan

      Hahaha — YEAH. Too many safety pins. I was a pointy pronged HAZARD.

      And you most DEFINITELY need a utility belt. Not just for nerf guns, but for pencils, house keys, cell-phone, zombie-mace, etc. ;)

  • Emy Shin

    These look so, so awesome! Definitely too crafty for me to make (I have zero hand-crafty gene in my genome) but look really amazing.

    • Susan

      I am half-crafty, half-a total mess. Somehow, the crafty half managed to express itself when I needed it. ;)

  • vvb

    the embellishments are nice touches! i especially like the octopus belt buckle. you seem to be well equipped. hmmm, is one of the pockets for snacks? and i wonder what kind of snacks would be in a steampunk world.

    • Susan

      Definitely steampunk snacks. Gear-shaped cookies and steamed (hahaha) vegetables.

  • Amie Kaufman

    Would I ever? I’m totally going to!

    • Susan Dennard


  • jessie

    i’m TOTALLY gonna make one once the thrift shop up here opens back up! (or the next time i go to Goodwill!) although… i think i’m going to add a couple more pockets and attach them to the belt itself instead of just threading the strap through the hoops. thanks for the help!!! (= very creative!

    • Susan Dennard

      Yeah, if you’re able to attach them to the belt, go for it! I wanted something fast and dirty. :)

  • sholt81

    I am making one for my son’s Halloween costume. He wants to be a Paleontologist and its next to impossible to “make” you look like one! i plan to add dino skeletons to the outside of the pockets, maybe a ‘window’ on one to show his dino field guide book. thanks so much for this cheap and easy tutorial!

    • Susan Dennard

      Oooh, dino skeletons! And a window? VERY cool. I wish I’d had that costume as a kid…. :D

  • Melissa Walther

    I was just about to sit down with a bolt of pleather and start making a belt for a sort of steampunk/rave comic book hero costume, figured I would do a google search and behold!  My afternoon is mine again! AND I have an excuse to go to a thrift store!  I’ll send pictures when I do the shoot :)

  • Ldyjewell

    Yes, I would make one. Probably will BE making one soon. But I would have put a back on the pockets in order to make it actually functional–why carry a purse if you have a utility belt?

  • Bee

     Brilliant! Thanks for sharing, I was SO overthinking this. I love the simplicity it’s superb. Yay!!!

    • Susan Dennard

      Oh yay! I’m so glad you found this useful. It really took me all of twenty minutes…maybe less to make. :)

  • Bee

    oh and when I first saw the pictures, I was like there is no way you can do that for under $30….

  • Khisalandra

    You are a genius! I’m going to be combing the thrift stores this weekend for sure. :D

  • kt828

    Love this simple belt design. Turned out great.

  • bird girl

    i bought a bunch of leather for cheap i am one day gonna try and make one …i am super artistic so maybe it will be a work of art

    • Darkness

      Wow. Modest.

  • Maria L B


  • Artemis

    I am literally about to cry because this is so easy and I almost just spent $100 on a steampunk belt.

  • sweet pea

    I am going to go to the thrift shop when im free and im making this!!!!!!!!!

  • ScottishNeko

    Thank you for the inspiration. I’ve been gathering bits and bobs for my utility belt, just haven’t gotten to putting it together. This will drive me into the workshop to actually work on it.

  • Lt. L’chaim

    Thanks for this! I needed a utility belt as part of the costume I wore in a parade tonight as a member of Krewe du Vieux in New Orleans. I followed your directions pretty much to the letter (well, I added in spray painting everything silver), and it turned out great! I got more compliments on the belt than on any other part of the costume, plus it gave me a place to store my throws (fun stuff we hand it to parade viewers – it’s a local tradition). Thanks again so much!