The process of making a leather bracelet

The process of making a leather bracelet

Day one:

I take the finest leather hide available on the market and cut a 1 ¼ inch strip and inspect the leather for any major imperfections. Taking my bracelet gauge, I set the gauge to the desired size that is needed and wrap the leather strip around the gauge for a perfect fit. The leather is marked and cut. The edges are beveled and slicked for a smooth look and feel and then I wet the leather for stamping my makers mark on one end and the size number on the opposite end. I allow the leather to dry for an hour. After the leather has dried, I take black oil stain and with a finger and a cotton cloth I rub the edges and ends with the stain feathering as I work the stain into the leather. After completing this step, the main stain color is applied to both sides of the leather. The leather is set aside and allowed to dry overnight.

While the leather is drying, I gather the bead pattern, the beads and my loom and begin work on the beading project. This will take me anywhere from one to three days depending on the size of the pattern.

Day two:

Black edge coat is applied to the edge of the leather and set aside to dry for an hour. Pure neatsfoot oil is then rubbed into the underside of the leather. This preserves the leather. The leather is set aside so the oil can soak into the leather overnight. Back to finishing the beadwork. 

Day three:

Tan coat is rubbed onto the underside of the leather and set aside to dry for an hour. The tan coat protects the stain from rubbing off onto the wrist when wearing the bracelet. A coat of leather finish is applied to the top side of the leather and set aside to dry for an hour. A second coat of leather finish is applied to the top side of the leather and set aside to dry for an hour. Gum-Tac is then applied to the edges and slicked once again giving a very smooth edge. The leather is buffed with wool to a shine, a snap is set, and the leather band is remeasured a second time to be sure it is the right size ordered. The leather is now ready for the beadwork.

The beadwork is taken off the loom and a thin film is placed onto the back of the beadwork. This not only keeps the beads tightly in place but works as a shock absorber between the beadwork and the leather. The beadwork is then held in place on the leather band and the sewing process begins. I use a home-made awl from a sewing machine needle to make my holes and carefully sew the beadwork onto the leather using Wild Fire thread. The Wild Fire thread is a thermally bonded bead weaving thread that is very strong and durable. The beadwork is cleaned with rubbing alcohol using a soft cotton cloth to remove any debris from the sewing process. The bracelet is ready to go into it’s gift box and ship! 

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