Leather Bracelet Craft

Written by tanya lee
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Leather Bracelet Craft
You can easily convert old leather belts into leather bracelets. (leather belts background image by Svetlana Tikhonova from Fotolia.com)

Leather crafting is a practical and satisfying hobby suitable for everyone from children to highly-skilled artisans. You can stamp, emboss, dye, lace and embellish leather with almost anything in your craft box. You can craft leather bracelets using a wide variety of techniques that enable you to do everything from recycling old belts to braiding leather lace or cord into intricate patterns.

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Belt Bracelet

Cut a piece of an old leather belt equal to the circumference of your wrist plus 2 inches. Wrap the piece of leather around your wrist and mark where you want to place one or two snaps to hold the two ends together. Use an awl to punch holes for the snaps in the overlapping end of the leather piece. Following the manufacturer's directions, use a hammer or mallet to set the top part of the snaps. Mark where the snaps on the overlapping piece of leather should meet the piece underneath. Set the bottom part of the snaps following the manufacturer's directions. You can also make this belt with a new piece of leather.

Non-Snap Fasteners

Instead of fastening your bracelet with snaps, use an old cufflink. Cut slits in the ends of the leather bracelet wide enough to slip the cufflink through.

You can also punch two holes with an awl through each end of the bracelet and lace the ends together with leather lacing or leather cord. Tie a knot that you can untie easily to get the bracelet off your wrist.

Another option is to sew a large button on the underlying end and cut a slit in the overlapping end to fasten the button.

Stamping

Dampen unfinished leather from the back using a moist sponge. You should be able to see on the front that the leather is damp from the change in colour. Using leather stamping tools and a wooden mallet, decorate the piece of leather following a design you have drawn on paper. Position the stamping tool so it's set absolutely vertical on the spot where you want to stamp the design, then strike it once sharply with the mallet. It's a good idea to practice on another piece of leather cut from the same belt until you can stamp a sharp design into the leather with just one strike of the mallet. Hitting the stamping tool repeatedly will likely result in a blurred design. Allow about one hour for the leather to dry before wearing it.

Embellishments

Punch holes into the leather using an awl or other sharp, pointed tool. Sew on embellishments using leather cord or sturdy thread that you pass through those holes to secure the embellishments to the leather. Decorations can include buttons, conchos, Chinese coins, charms, polymer or glass beads, semi-precious gemstones or anything else you can attach with thread or leather cord.

Braiding

Cut three pieces of thick leather cord equal in length to 1 1/2 times the circumference of your wrist. Fasten one end of the cords together by winding copper or silver wire around them, creating a small loop at the end of the wire coil. Braid the three pieces of leather cord until the length of your braid equals the circumference of your wrist plus 1 inch. Finish off the end of the bracelet with a wire coil. Attach one end of a clasp closure to the loop at each end of the bracelet. Experiment with complex braiding patterns using four or more lengths of leather cord.

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