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Leather Cuff Bracelet with a Cross Hatch Design

Project Summary: We’re going to take 4/5 oz. vegetable tanned leather, cut a design in it, dye it and then add a rich teal backing leather that will show through the cutout design. A line 24 snap and ¼" nickel spots complete a project that is wearable and striking in appearance.

Approximate Time to Complete: 3 hours

What You Need:

Step-by-Step Instructions (with pictures):

  1. Starting with a piece of paper and a Steel Square, draw two parallel lines 1 ½" apart across the middle of the pattern paper.
  2. Measure the circumference of your wrist and add 1". This will be the “snap-to-snap” measurement. IMPORTANT: The measurements here are for a cuff 7" and larger, though the pattern is easy to adjust in or out in 1" increments.
  3. On the pattern paper, mark one end of the parallel lines with a perpendicular line and then make another perpendicular line at the distance of your wrist. Mark the center point of the cuff on both of these lines (3/4" from either side) and circle. These two marks will be for our snaps.
  4. Draw a line to connect the two snap marks and this will be the horizontal center line.step4
  5. On the horizontal center line, make a mark at the center between the snap marks. This is the center mark.
  6. On the horizontal center line and starting from the center mark, make a mark to the right at 1", 2" and 3" and then repeat for the left side. This should give you seven marks at 1" spacing on the horizontal center line and centered on the center vertical line. These marks will be for the spots. If you have a smaller wrist then you may need to add space for only five spots and the snap.step6
  7. To create the cross hatch design take a 45 degree template and draw a 45 degree line from each of the spot marks (not on the snap marks) first leaning left and then right. This will give us a diamond pattern down the horizontal length of the cuff.step7
  8. On each side of the 45 degree lines, leaning left and right, draw a parallel line 1/8". When both sides of each line are drawn this will give us bands at ¼" width. step8
  9. For the border, draw a line inside each edge at ¼".
  10. Draw in the lines we will be cutting with an ink pen. Be cautious here because we need to make sure we are cutting on the lines that are 1/8" either side of the lines drawn from the spot marks. This will create full diamonds down the middle and half diamonds down the edges. NOTE: Along the border the half diamonds may have a very small 4th and 5th side but just ignore these and continue the lines to a point.
  11. With an ink pen draw in the outside border lines and use a small bottle or cap to draw in a round end punch at ¾" to 1" outside of the snap hole marks.step11
  12. With an Art Knife (or craft knife), cut out the pattern, diamonds and half diamonds.
  13. Circle the spot marks with a red marker and the snap holes with a black marker. This will tell us if we need to mark for spots or punch a hole for snaps.step13
  14. Take your Vegetable Tanned Leather and cut to 1 ½" wide by the distance between snaps plus 2". EXAMPLE: If your snap-to-snap (wrist circumference) distance is 7" then cut the veg-tan strap at 9".
  15. Center the paper pattern from left to right on your Vegetable Tanned Leather strap, tape down and, using your Awl, mark the snap holes, mark for the spots and scribe in the design cutouts.step15
  16. Cut out the cross hatch design your Art Knife, and punch the snap holes with your Economy Punch. Remember, it’s an easy mistake to make, but we don’t want to punch the spot markings, just the two snap holes
  17. With your Round Strap End Punch, come out from the snap holes, about ¾", and punch. The cuff is ready to dye.step17
  18. To dye the Vegetable Tanned Leather, use a dauber or dip dye to the color of your choice. When dip dying, a Fiebing’s® Oil Dye is suggested for the most consistent and true colors.step18
  19. Once the dye is dry, add the top coat or finish of your choice. The Fiebing’s® Leather Balm is an excellent finish and will slightly darken the leather to a very rich color with a matte finish.
  20. For the lining, place the Vegetable Tanned Leather on a piece of Suede large enough to get ½" to ¾" border outside of the Vegetable Tanned Leather (overcutting the lining leather to make gluing easier).
  21. Draw in an ink line around the outside of the Vegetable Tanned Leather. Ink is OK here because we’ll cut off the pen line.
  22. If you’re using Suede, lay the Vegetable Tanned Leather within the ink line and press down. This will leave an impression of the cuff pattern on the Suede so you can see where to glue. For another type of lining leather, scribe in your design lines as lightly as possible. Just enough to see and these should be unnoticeable when the two leathers come together.step22
  23. Using a Contact Cement, apply two coats to the Vegetable Tanned Leather and make sure the glue is applied right to the edge on all sides and bands.
  24. Apply two coats to the Suede, or lining leather, as well but be cautious that you don’t get glue outside of the band lines. If this happens you can scrape the glue off of suede once it dries and it will be unnoticeable. Apply the glue outside of the pen mark so you avoid air pockets or glue misses along the edge when cut.
  25. Once the Contact Cement is dry, lay the Vegetable Tanned Leather down on the Suede to the pen line, and the diamonds should be free of glue.
  26. To trim the lining, take a Steel Square and a Snap Off Knife and trim the Suede lining as close to the edge of the Vegetable Tanned Leather as possible. Use the Round Strap End Punch to trim the round ends and the Economy Punch to punch the snap holes, removing the suede from the hole.step26
  27. Set each side of a Line 24 Snap in the snap holes.step27
  28. Setting spots by hand takes five steps. Use the paper pattern to mark the spots onto the cuff (circled in red on the pattern). There should be a spot at the intersection of each band and one at each end of the design, seven in total.
  29. Take a ¼" spot and press the tines into the leather at each mark (not hard enough to hurt your hand but just enough to make a mark you can see). Try and straddle the mark as evenly as possible.
  30. Take an Art Knife and, with a cardboard pallet or some type of softer material under the cuff, push the Art Knife through the Vegetable Tanned Leather and Suede. Try not to push the knife in too deep. The goal is to have the spot flush with the face of the leather and to see as little of the cuts as possible.step30
  31. With the cardboard pallet underneath, push a Spot into the holes and tap the top of the Spot with the Rawhide Mallet so the tines go into the pallet (they won’t bend with the pallet).step31
  32. Flip the cuff upside down and with the other end of the craft knife bend the tines inward.
  33. The last step to hand setting a spot is to lay the cuff right side up on a Quartz Slab, put the cardboard pallet on top of the Spot you just set and tap with the Rawhide Mallet — not enough of a tap to dent the spot but enough to set it. This will bend the tines inward and into the leather on the back of the cuff and they won’t snag or catch.step33
  34. Your project is complete!