Leather has been popping up in mixed-media jewelry everywhere, from wrap bracelets to custom jewelry. This leather bracelet was inspired by a particular product, a stretch jewelry cord called Fashion Stretch from Beadsmith®. Combine this wondrous chord with supple leather and voila, a wave effect you will absolutely love. This technique might not be one you’ve explored before, but the results are something fun and different. Let this project get you on the road to exploring your own jewelry masterpieces!
Learn how to create this beauty, then be sure to check out the January/February 2017 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors for more projects and techniques for your mixed-media life.
Make Waves with Leather and Metal by Melissa Cable
(See bottom of post for materials list. Step-out photos by Melissa Cable.)
Create the components
1. Cut the ending leather into two 2¼” x 1½” strips, and round 1 end of each strip with leather shears or a rotary cutter and mat. Cut two ¾” x 1½” strips from the same ending leather.
2. Place the leather face down on your work surface. Lay a 1⁄8″-wide line of leather glue on 1 long edge of each of the ¾” x 1½” strips. Glue the small strips to the large strips, lining up the long unglued edges. (FIGURE 1)
3. Texturize the metal washer. I added texture to the back of the washer, using the flaring tool as a metal stamp, striking it with a hammer on both a steel bench block and the leather cutting surface. Cover the front of the washer with 2 layers of painter’s tape.
NOTE: The point tip on the flaring tool produces dots when used on a bench block and concave recesses when used on a poly cutting surface, so when the metal is flipped over to the front side it has texture of varying heights.
4. Center the washer front side down over a dapping block impression that is larger than the inner diameter of the washer. Center a dapping punch on the washer, and strike the punch with a hammer to flare the interior of the washer. You may need to use a nylon hammer to flatten the surface of the metal around the flare. (FIGURE 2) Remove the tape.
NOTE: When you flare the interior of the washer, depending on how hard the metal is, sometimes the whole washer will be slightly domed. The final product looks neater if the flat portion around the flared interior stays flat and is not “dimpled” down by the rivets in the later steps.
5. Using the dapping block, create a dome on the metal disc. Set the washer on top of the dome to make sure it sits flat. (FIGURE 3) Make sure the dome is secure under the washer and cannot fall out.
6. Spray the dome with spray glue, and place a piece of unstretched Fashion Stretch over it, leaving a little excess fabric around the dome.
1. Align the washer on a leather ending. Pierce a 1⁄8″ hole in the leather at the center of the washer with a 1⁄8″ leather hole punch. Set the washer aside. Working from the front of the leather, place a snap back post through the hole and a snap receiver (socket) on the post from the back. Set the snap with a snap setter and a flat block.
NOTE: Snap setters usually come with a setting block. In this case only, a bench block can be used if you don’t have a setting block. Normally, the rounded head of the snap requires the concave side of the setting block.
2. Place the endings on top of each other with the washer on top, and press on the snap to mark the location of the snap stud. Pierce a 1⁄8″ hole at that mark. Place a back post in the hole from the back and a stud over the post from the front. Use the snap setter and block to set the snap. (FIGURE 5)
3. Pierce six 1⁄8″ holes evenly around the metal frame 1⁄8″ from the edge with the 1⁄8″ metal hole punch. Align the washer over the snap and mark corresponding holes in the leather. Set the washer aside.
4. Pierce a hole at each mark on the leather with the 3/32″ leather hole punch. Reposition the washer and set a 4mm cap rivet in the outermost hole, placing the post in the hole from the back. Put the cap on the post, and use a rivet setter to secure the cap.
5. Center the dome under the washer and trim the fabric as needed. Set a cap rivet in the hole across from the first rivet
and continue setting rivets in opposing pairs until all 6 of them are set. (FIGURE 6)
6. Mark 3 evenly spaced rows made up of dots spaced ¾” apart on the back of the base leather.
7. Pierce each dot, except the first and last dot in each row, with a 3⁄16″ leather punch.
8. Cut three 6″ pieces of jewelry cord. Grab each end and pull. This will cause the cord to stretch and roll.
9. Weave the rolled cords through the holes, starting with the bottom row and alternating the weaving pattern for each
row. (FIGURE 7)
10. Pull the cords and push the leather to get the desired ripple effect. The ends of the cord should be equal in length to ensure even tension. Place the base pieces in the endings to check the length; trim the leather as necessary. Trim the cords even with the leather.
11. Taper the last ½” on both ends of the base, and distress the leather with sandpaper. This helps the glue adhere better. Use a sewing punch to pierce holes along the edge, and sew the cords to the base, using these holes. Keep the cords as wide and flat as possible at the ends. (FIGURE 8)
12. Open a leather ending and apply glue to the inside. Lay the end of the base into the ending piece and press the pieces together for 30 seconds. Secure the edges of the ending pieces with binder clips and allow the glue to dry. 13 Once dry, punch 3 evenly spaced 1⁄8″ holes through the endings, and set the 6mm cap rivets into the holes. (FIGURE 9)
Melissa Cable is the founder of the Create Recklessly line of leather tools and supplies. She is the author of BEAUTIFUL LEATHER JEWELRY and METAL JEWELRY IN BLOOM and is a regular contributor to STEP BY STEP WIRE magazine. createrecklessly.com.