Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beer-Bellydancing Belts

The first project I started which drew me into never-ending can tab hunt was not even made of can tabs. Instead, I used bottle caps.

My mom wanted a noisy belt to practice bellydancing in. She used to take lessons back in the early 70's. Her instructor at the time told her that if you couldn't hear your belt, you weren't doing it right. :) Anyway, we looked everywhere for those little coins/bells you see on bellydancer costumes. No luck near us. Then, while having a refreshing drink after dancing, we came up with using the bottle caps instead. The following pics are of these belt attempts. I must say, they are indeed noisy!

belt with bottle cap bells

Need a close up?

bottle cap bells

The caps were folded in half with a vise. Then, hung with fishing lure attachments to rings made of coiled wire clothes hanger jump rings. The sound of this belt is much lower and different than the flat caps below and is my mom's favorite belt for shimmying.

Another belt made from caps smashed flat and attached with plain lanyard hooks, shows my first attempts at using the tabs for the actual belt. I was later able to find fairly inexpensive clapper bells on eBay from a native american supply store. Not sure why they are selling bells from India, but it was a great bargain. The belt is weaved together with fuzzy yarn.

soda can tab belt

Here is a close up showing a tag we added with our joke of a slogan and the most vulgar of all bellydance poses as a logo.

bottle cap tag

"Go Ahead, Shake Your Can!"

beer bellydancing


  1. I love these belts! I have plenty of can tabs and a grocery sack overflowing with bear caps (collected fro ma previous job as wells as a friend who bar tends)
    I am curious about where to find the rings in the first belt?
    If you don't mind sharing of course!
    Great work and keep updating!

  2. The rings on the belt are made of wire hangers wrapped over a broom handle to make a large coil. Then I took my coil to the dremel and cut them apart into jump rings.

    You could use key rings or large washers just as well. We weaved a thin scarf, fabric or yarn through the rings to join them.

  3. What did you use to smash the caps flat?

  4. The caps were flattemed with a hammer covered in masking tape so it wouldn't scratch the caps. You have to flatten the sides down and then smash it flat so it doesn't fold.

  5. I absolutely adore your work from what I've seen. I'm also an all round crafty kinda gal and I noticed you used fishing swivels and metal clips to attach your caps to the belt. I do a bit of chainmaille and though to suggest using metal rings or something like that to attach them instead. I'm sure all those clips get expensive and the chainmaille option would save you quite a bit of moolah. ;) Keep up the fab ideas. Michelle

  6. Thanks, Michelle. The swivels and clips on the bells came preassembled in a clearance bin. (I added the bead part.) So, I didn't pay too much for them. I think it was $2 for the bag and I used just about every one of 'em on that belt. I've seen some nice anodized ones around, but I'm leery of the lead warning all fishing products seem to sport these days.

    I tried some store bought jump rings just out of convenience, but they were too weak to hold the weight of the caps. Mom was shimmying off coins left and right. LOL :) So, I guess I'll have to make my own.

    The lanyards are nice. They hold really well, keep the coin facing forward and can be removed and changed around easily. They are also pretty cheap at the hobby stores. But, I like to wait 'til the sale days, too, though. ;)


  7. I would be more than happy to send you some saw cut 16g 1/4" aluminum rings as well as some small split rings to try if you like. I haven't been mailling as much lately so I've got plenty of extra rings laying around... And if you wanted to make your own, Lowe's has brass, copper, aluminum, and galvanized steel wire in smaller gauges and I'm sure you have knitting needles to use as mandrels. If you wanted to try some rings out before you bought some or started making them let me know and I'll get you a little sample package together. ;) You can get me through myspace or

  8. Michelle, that's a very kind offer. Coincidentally, I've been talking with Firelady about a possible tabistry/chainmaille collaborations. She has some lovely work. Tabs and maille should go really well together. We'll see how it goes.

    Knitting needles as a mandrel would be a great idea! They come in so many diameters and are not too expensive. Thanks! I needle knit with two left hands, so I'd probably get more use out of them that way. :)

    I'll give it a try for my next belt. I've got some copper wire to experiment with. Though, aluminum would probably look better. Would 18 gauge be strong enough to hold a cap? The problem with the store bought rings seemed to be when the cap coin twisted. It would pull open up the ring.

    Thanks for the tips!


  9. The 18g copper should be strong enough to hold the tabs if you make the rings in a small enough diameter. 4 to 5mm should be a good size for that application. The biggest issue you'll run across is making sure the closures on the rings are flush. Since you used a dremel tool to cut your coat hanger rings with a small enough cut off wheel you could cut the copper as well. That will ensure good tight closures.

    This is one of my favorite sites for chainmaille, you can find tons of pics and directions for just about anything you'd want to try there. And if you have any questions just email me. I'm laid off work so I'm on line all the time. ;)

    Yes, Tabistry and maille go hand in hand, you'l see that on the site, I know a lot of maillers that love tabs, they're even working on ways to anodize them to get fabulous colors. Hope that helps with your venture into the wonderful world of maille. :)


  10. Michelle, that's a great site. Lots of great information and inspiration. I looked into the anodizing awhile back. Still want to try it, but it looks so dangerous.

    Thanks for all the great advice.