Earthy and Elegant Mixed-Media Jewelry: A Demonstration

Sometimes it’s just not enough to express ourselves via one art medium, so I thought I’d mix it up today by focusing on art to wear: mixed-media jewelry. Accessories are such a personal thingour jewelry helps to define us by showing what we like, and who we are (I usually go for earth-toned beads and feather earrings, but will sport a little timeless silver for a business occasion, for example). Of course, my collection wouldn’t be complete without some leather pieces as well. Fortunately, in Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry (February/March 2014), artist and designer Laura Gasparrini shares a mixed-media jewelry project for beginners on making a leather bracelet.

Leather ladder, jewelry designed by Laura Gasparrini

“Leather is a medium that continues to inspire me; it’s a beautiful and versatile material that is just now getting the recognition it deserves,” she says. “Leather jewelry is hot these days, and this earthy and elegant bracelet will introduce you to the innovative and exciting designs that are possible when you add leather to your repertoire!”

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Best regards,


A Mixed-Media Jewelry Project: Leather Ladder by Laura Gasparrini

Tools & Supplies

• 1.5mm round leather cord, 28" (depending on wrist size)
• 24-gauge wire, 8 1⁄2'
• 4×6mm gemstone rondelles, about 50
• Shank button
• Round-nose pliers
• Chain-nose pliers
• Wire cutters
• Scissors
• Tape measure
• Glue (optional)
Resources: Leather cord, button: Primitive Earth Beads, Wire: ParaWire, Rondelles: Robert Poley with Sweetwater, contact person Robert Poley, Jr. (928) 445-0356.

Leather can dry out over time, so remember to rub some oil onto the cords every now and then. Also, make sure the leather does not come into contact with salt water or household cleansers.

Steps one and two

1. Cut a length of leather cord that is double the diameter of your wrist plus 12" extra for the knots and closure. Fold the cord in half and make an overhand knot to form a loop that will fit the size button you are using.

2. Cut 26 lengths of 24g wire: 24 pieces 4" long and 2 pieces 3" long. Form a wrapped loop on one end of each wire, making sure the loop is big enough to fit over the leather cord. Use all of the tail wire when wrapping to create a freeform “bird’s nest” style wrap.

Step three

3. String 2 rondelles onto one 4" wire and make a second wrapped loop to match the first. Repeat with the remaining 4" wires. String 1 rondelle onto each 3" wire and make a second wrapped loop to match the first. Note: You may need more or fewer rondelle components depending on your wrist size.

Steps four and five

4. String 1 leather cord through each loop on a single-rondelle component and slide it down to the leather loop. Repeat with a double-rondelle component.

Tip: If your rondelle components vary in size, place them side by side in descending order from the midpoint before stringing them onto the leather cord. This is the first “rung” of the ladder. Continue adding double-rondelle components to the leather cords. Add the final single-rondelle component.

5. Check that the cords are parallel and the components sit side by side. Test the bracelet length by passing the cord ends through the closure loop. Add or remove rondelle components as needed, and then make an overhand knot with both leather cords and pull tight.  

Step six

6. String the button onto one cord and bring the other cord around the button shank. Bring both cords together and tie a loose overhand knot.

Step seven

7. Check the fit and adjust the knot as needed. Tighten the knot by pulling on each cord. Trim the cords, leaving about a 1⁄4" tail. Secure the knots with dots of glue, if desired. ~LG


Art to Wear, Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry


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