Project Summary: Making a Mystery Braid Cuff is the main point of this tutorial, but the braid itself is a great decoration. In addition to the braid, we’ll set a snap, use a Round End Punch, cut parallel lines by hand and use a Leather Lace Stripper.
Approximate Time to Complete: ½ hour
Mystery Braid Bracelet Kit (65-4956)
What You Need:
- 4/5 oz. Natural Veg Tan or Suede, Approximately 3/4" by 12" (15-949, 11-1202SS-4/5, 11-1201VC-4/5, Suede)
- Steel Square (3608)
- Heavy-Duty Scratch Awl (CSO4-2)
- Polyhead Mallet (65-2521-9)
- Master Tools Round Strap End Punch (00076-3/4)
- Poly Cutting Board (65-2916)
- CS Osbourne #245 Belt Punch (CSO245-1/8)
- Leather Lace Stripper (optional) (65-2966)
- Utility Knife (65-2860)
- Deluxe 4P Snap and Rivet Setter (0004P-NP)
- Snap Setter found in Setter Kit (65-6275)
- Rawhide Mallet (65-2520-11)
- Quartz Tooling Slab (3238)
Step-by-Step Instructions (with pictures):
- Measure the circumference of your wrist using a measuring tape or a piece of string, and add 1 inch to that measurement. (This will be your snap to snap measurement) In this tutorial that measurement is 8".
- Lay your leather strap against your Steel Square and come in 1", making a mark with your Awl (this will mark your first snap hole). We need the extra leather on the ends to round with our Strap End Punch.
- Slide your leather strap so the mark you just made is now at the end of the Steel Square. Make a mark with your Awl at the measurement you got in Step 1 (wrist circumference plus 1"); now you have your snap holes marked. Make another mark 1" from there for the end of your cuff and trim it with your Utility Knife.
- Take your Round Strap End Punch and Mallet and round both ends of the strap.
- Using the 1/8" Belt Punch and Mallet, punch a hole on either end of your strap where you marked your snap holes.
- You will now need to cut two parallel lines in your strap in order to braid it. If you are using the Leather Lace Stripper, simply set two blades in the stripper; one at 1/4" and one at 1/2". Take your strap and starting about 1/2" from the snap hole pull your strap through, stopping 1/2" from the other snap hole. You now have two parallel lines.
- If you don’t have a Lace Stripper, you can use a Utility Knife and Steel Square to cut your parallel lines. Take your Square and come in 3/4" from the snap hole and make a mark at 1/4" and 1/2". Do the same for the other end of the strap.
- To cut the lines take a piece of scrap leather, the same thickness as your strap, and lay below your strap to shore up your Steel Square so it won’t tip down while cutting.
- Lay your Steel Square along the marks closest to you first and, using your Utility Knife with the blade angled down, cut along the edge for your first line. Make multiple cuts to get through the leather if needed.
- Rotate your strap and do the same for the second line. You should now have two parallel lines cut into your strap.
- You are now ready to braid your strap. If possible, slide the snap hole over a nail in your table or work bench to keep the strap in place.
- To keep the braid looking clean, start the braid by bringing the first strap under the middle strap instead of over. You will need to count your turns as you braid. It is important to keep the braid very tight so you have enough room to untangle later in the steps.
- Make four turns of the braid, and then you will need to start untangling the bottom of the braid. Take the strand furthest on the right and pull on it; this will bring the bottom tab of the bracelet up. Pull the tab up, over the middle strand and then down through and pull. You will still have some tangles that will be removed in the next step.
- Make two more turns of your braid so you have 6 turns total, and then pull the strand furthest to the right apart. This will bring your bottom tab up; pull it up and out and you should have the bracelet untangled.
- This is considered one set. Repeat the above set and do another full set: four turns, untangle, two turns and untangle. This will bring you about halfway down the strap.
- Now you are ready to relax the braid. Take your strap and flip it so the other end of your strap is over the nail hole.
- Start braiding from the other end, this time going over on our first turn. You will see the braids will start feeding into each other and the braid is more relaxed and not as tight.
- Once you get to the other end, go ahead and flip the bracelet again and make any tweaks if needed to make sure the braid is consistent all the way down.
- Remove the cuff from the nail and run it along the edge of the table to set the braid, soften it up and make the braid more consistent.
- You are now ready to set the snaps.
- Take the two back pieces of your 4P Snap and lay the male piece on your Marble Slab, slide the cuff onto the Snap (suede side down) and place the female Snap piece on top. Use your Snap Setter and Mallet and give it two quick hits to set. If the snap is still loose, give it another tap.
- Take the cap of your 4P Snap and place it in the Anvil of the 4P Snap Setter.
- Place your strap, top grain side down, onto the Snap cap and slide the female Snap piece on top. Use your 4P Snap setter and Mallet to set the snap, making sure the Snap is secure but not crushing it.
- Your Mystery Braid Cuff is now complete!