DIY Tutorial: Leather Harness

October 16, 2011

We love how its so easy to add that extra oomph in your look by just layering the leather harness over!

However, such stuff are almost impossible to find in Singapore (unless we try a costume/ S&M shop?) so what better reason than to make our own?

There are many variations to how you can create your leather harness (you might want to leave your googling till your home — Most of the images are NSFW, lol) but we’re going with the basic two strap + Y back combination.

Here are the materials required:

  • 2m leather strip (about 1″ wide)
  • Scissors
  • 1 Metal Ring
  • Buckle
  • Snap Fasteners (Optional)
  • Sewing materials/Glue

We bought the leather strips at about SGD$6/strip from Brighton Accessories in People’s Park Centre in Singapore Chinatown but feel free to use any old belts or other materials!


1. Glue/sew the leather strip to attach the buckle to one end. We chose an adjustable buckle that didn’t require the punching of holes.

2. Wrap the leather strip round the desired area (some people prefer to wear it under the bust, some prefer the waist), and put it through the buckle. Leave an allowance of about 2″ and cut off the remaining. You should now have what looks like a very simple belt. Ours measured about 35″ in length.

3. After you’re done with the belt, it’s time to start on the shoulder straps! Loop the remaining leather strip around the belt you just created.

4. Sew the loop as close as possible but with enough space for the belt to slide in and out.

5. Slide the loop in and wear the belt as per normal. Position the loop at your desired position then throw the leather strip over your shoulder. Proceed to mark out where you would like the Y to meet. (You might want to get help for this part!)

Remember to leave an allowance for the loop before you snip off the rest but DO NOT SEW THE LOOP YET. Ours measured 18.5″ long each but don’t worry if yours is longer/shorter. Proceed to create another such strap of the same length (with one belt loop only).

6. Remove the straps from the belt and proceed to sew on the free end to the ring. Sew both straps to the ring as close as possible but still allowing the ring to rotate.

7. Attach the remaining leather strip to the ring to create the Y-back. Make sure the strap is opposite to the two shoulder straps you just attached.

8. Put the harness on again and mark out where the belt loop of the last strap should be. Remember to leave an allowance before snipping!

9. Sew on the belt loop and you should have something that looks like this. Put it through the belt according and you’re done!!!


As usual, we like to suggest you finish things up with a couple of studs or spikes. We used the top half of snap fasteners for these :)

We certainly hope you liked this OOH tutorial! The instructions might make it seem like a difficult craft project but the entire process took only about 30 minutes.

We’re still testing different styles to ensure that our tutorials are clear and easy to follow so we’ll love it if you would leave a comment to let us know if the illustrations help! We’ll also try to include more photos of the items being worn so do look out for that!

For more suggestions, leave a comment below or email us at hello@operationoverhaul.com! xx

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  • Reply Nicol October 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    This is just WOW!! I’m super amazed!!
    thanks for sharing it! I will try to be a copy cat!! even I’m very careless for doing it on my own!

    • Reply Ros C. October 25, 2011 at 11:34 pm

      Thank you! Hope you have fun doing yours :D
      Don’t be afraid to show us your version of it ;)

  • Reply Art Stage Singapore 2012 » Operation Overhaul January 21, 2012 at 2:48 am

    […] DIY Leather Harness […]

  • Reply jessica June 5, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Do you have to use a special needle for sewing leather? (I don’t sew much :P )

    • Reply Juu Y. June 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Hi Jessica! You’re right! There are special needles for sewing leather but in our case because the straps were thin and pretty soft we just went ahead with a thicker needle. All the best! :)

  • Reply Hilary June 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    great tutorial! where do you get all your diy supplies like the leather strap and studs and different clasps and all? I’m pretty into DIY but I find it really difficult to get supplies over here! your help would be greatly appreciated! (:

    • Reply Ros C. August 7, 2012 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Hilary! We get our diy supplies either online or at some of the craft shops in Chinatown :) There are a few in People’s Park Centre!

  • Reply Shelley Thornton July 27, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    You guys are amazing!! I just typed DYI harness belt in the off chance that some one had a tutorial out there. I actually didn’t think anything would come up and it did! These belts are being sold for ridiculous amounts of money. I like the idea of making my own for much less the price! Thank you for sharing.

    Love <3

  • Reply DIY Tutorial: Bershka Inspired Drop Harness Top » Operation Overhaul October 17, 2013 at 12:58 am

    […] tutorial is more of a re-fashion/ upcycling idea and is very similar to our previous Leather Harness Tutorial. We know it has been a while since our last tutorial so we hope you enjoy this […]

  • Reply Mike May 28, 2015 at 1:59 am

    What kind of metal circular ring do you use? Stainless steel, nickel plated, zinc plated? I’m having trouble finding them online because other things like wedding rings and “jump rings” come up. Thanks!

    • Reply Ros C. May 29, 2015 at 12:31 am

      Hi Mike, I believe these are nickel plated. You might want to try searching for O rings under bag supplies! They are more commonly used for holding bag straps etc. I hope this helps! :)

  • Reply jade ashley October 2, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Great how to! Whats the size of the snap fasteners?

    • Reply Ros C. October 2, 2017 at 10:23 am

      Hi Jade, the size of snap fasteners would depend on what suits your straps best, I’d say between 1-1.5cm will be good! :)

  • Reply Lauren C October 6, 2017 at 3:12 am

    Hi Juu & Ros! I’m glad you recently commented, because I need your help! I’m working on a leather harness for my Halloween costume, and I have a lot of questions regarding the specifics of your project.

    1. What is width and thickness of the leather strip you’re working with? I ordered two different kinds of leather strips on Amazon, and the one I think I’m going to use is pretty thick–1 inch wide & 5/32 thick, and when folded on top of itself it’s 9/32 thick…. if that makes sense.
    2. What is the diameter of the O-rings you used? 1 inch seems too small to me, especially since my leather strips are 1″ wide.
    3. What is the width of the buckle? (I bought 1″ wide ones but they seem too small for my thick leather)
    4. What kind of glue did you use?

    I know it’s a lot of questions so I am very grateful for your advice! Thanks so much! You both are awesome btw ;)

    <3 Lauren

    • Reply Ros C. October 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

      Hi Lauren! Glad to provide any help I can :)

      1. The leather strip we used is 1″ wide.
      2. The O-rings are approx 1.5″ in diameter, something a little wider than the strip is good!
      3. The buckle we got fits the 1″ strip just right.
      4. The flip side of our leather strip was a cloth/felt surface so we used fabric glue.

      All the best with your Halloween costume!!
      – Ros

      • Reply Lauren C October 12, 2017 at 9:25 am

        Thank you so much Ros!! This is a huge help and I greatly appreciate it! ? Have a Happy Halloween over in Singapore! ?

  • Reply Maitha April 6, 2018 at 4:13 am

    i used this tutorial as a guide/reference when making my harness for my comic con cosplay, but instead of making a belt, i used one that i had lying around. also, i couldnt find 1” leather as my cosplay was very much last second, so i used 1/2” with a 1” belt. the problem was that my leather was pretty thick, so i had a really hard time hand stitching it, and the snaps didnt fit in far enough for me to be able to fix the two pieces so i resorted to old faithful: gorilla glue. im gonna be wearing it all day at tthe convention tomorrow so i really really hope two days of work pays off. this tutorial really helped, and had i had time i would have prepared better to follow it better

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