Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Add a little rock'n'roll to your wardrobe...

I have been on a jewelry kick lately -- I love jewelry, so why not learn to make my own? I've made a necklace and some earrings so far, and I'm definitely hooked! So much fun...

But I have to say what I've been dying for most is a punky, rock'n'roll leather cuff, and I'm so excited with the results! (Just don't look too close, it's definitely not perfect, but it was my first time working with leather...)

Yeah, I know. Not the most edgy looking with my wedding ring, but I had to wear it on that arm so I could take a picture. :) But still, I think it looks pretty awesome for my first attempt!

This was actually a pretty simple project; I did it in one afternoon. First, pick up some materials at the craft store. I saw leather and embellishments at both Hobby Lobby and Michael's. I bought a piece of leather ($3) and some embelishments ($3 to $7). Both rivets and these pyramid brads looked so much fun!

Now, this isn't the cheapest project, because you'll need more than just the materials. I also bought some snaps (and fyi, both the snaps and the rivets come with what you need to set them, you just need a hammer -- $7.50 but used a coupon), a leather hole punch (which was about $8 but I used a 40-percent coupon), and a needle/leather awl ($2). I used the awl for the pyramid cabuchons, but you will only need the leather punch for the rivets. You can make at least three or four cuffs from the leather, and you'll have leftover rivets, cabuchons and snaps. So this will be more cost effective if you make several -- hey, it's a good time to get started on Christmas presents!

So to start, you need to take some measurements and do some designing. I did a Google search and looked at leather cuffs, then designed my own with inspiration from what I found. I decided I wanted three horizontal strips and I wanted to use the pyramid cabuchons and alternate them. So plan what you want it to look like, then determine your width based on that. I decided to have each strip be 3/4 inch, so my width was 2 1/4 inches.

Measure your wrist (my wrist was 6 inches around), then add 2 inches so you'll have enough to wrap around. And believe me -- you'll need 2 inches (I tried only 1 inch and it wasn't enough). Your arm is a little bigger further up, so you need enough for the widest part of your arm, and you'll want a decent amount for placing your snaps. So my length was 8 inches. Using a rotary cutter and a straight-edge ruler, cut out your cuff (2 1/4 inches by 8 inches for mine).

Then mark any specific design elements you need to cut using a pen. I tried a pencil and it totally didn't work. You can do it on the back so you won't see it anyway, so go ahead and use the pen. I measured where to make my cuts so I could have three horizontal strips at 3/4-inch each.

See what the pencil did for me? Nothin'! My strips ended up crooked because I couldn't really see them. I just used my nice sharp scissors to make the strips. I also rounded the corners using my scissors.

Now you'll need to plan out where to put your embellishments. If you're making a hole to put the embellishment in, you can put your pen marks on the front because they'll be cut out, but if you're doing something more like these brads, I suggest you lay them out and mark it on the back.

If you're doing rivets, grab your punch and go to town. For these brad cabuchons, I used this awl. I didn't like the way the punch looked; even the smallest hole was too much of a circle for these and then it looked lumpy when I put it in. Now be so careful! This awl was super sharp! I pushed it into the leather where I wanted it and really wiggled it around to get it in. Then I flipped everything over so the base of the awl was on my matt and the leather on the top of the awl and -- carefully -- pushed the awl up through.

As you can see, this method kind of stretched my leather out. It looks all lumpy laid out, but it won't matter much when you've got it around your wrist. So get your embellishments all in place...

... then wrap it around your wrist to mark the spots for your snaps. Again, use a pen, and you'll use the leather punch here, so the pen marks will get punched out.

I just eyeballed how much I wanted it to overlap and how good it looked on my arm so I had plenty of leather to support them. Make sure to mark the holes for both ends.

I used my hole punch, making sure to get the punch that was the same size as my snaps so it had a nice, snug hole.

Then I simply followed the directions to put the snaps in, using the little setter and anvil and just a hammer I had around the house. So here's your fasteners -- and that's it!

A nice leather cuff full of attitude! Sweeeeeeeet...

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