by Rena Klingenberg.
Create this choker-length pendant cord and clasp from a strip of leather and a few inches of wire.
The streamlined clasp makes it easy to string medium- to large-size pendant bails onto this choker.
I have one of these leather chokers that I made a decade ago (black leather with silver wire) – and since then I’ve worn it several times a week with a variety of pendants.
It’s still going strong!
- Leather cord, 2mm width – To calculate the length you need, measure the length you’d like your finished choker to be, and add 1″ (2.5 cm).
(I used a 16.5″ [42 cm] cord in “Natural” color, to create a finished 15.5″ [39.3 cm] choker.)
- Wire for hook clasp – 16 or 18 gauge round, half-hard wire – 1.75″ (4.5 cm) long.
(I used 18 gauge round half-hard copper wire.)
- Wire to bind leather cord ends – 2 pieces of 18 gauge round or half-round, half-hard wire – each 3″ (7.6 cm) long.
(I used 18 gauge half-round, half-hard copper wire.)
- Small sturdy jump ring, split ring, or soldered ring – large enough to accommodate your leather cord plus the wire hook clasp you’re going to make.
- Scissors – for cutting leather cord.
- Sharpie marker -for marking a spot on your wire.
- Wire cutter.
- Cup bur, jewelry file, or knife sharpening stone – for smoothing and rounding wire ends.
- Round nose pliers.
- Flat nose pliers.
- Chain nose pliers.
- Plastic, nylon, or rawhide jeweler’s hammer – for work hardening your wire.
- Steel jeweler’s block – for using with your hammer.
How to Make a Leather Choker
Cut your leather cord to your desired length:
Hot Tip: If your cord is stiff, kinked, or keeps curling up, you can make it behave in less than a minute with my quick tip, How to Straighten Leather Cord.
Now let’s make the hook clasp.
Cut your wire 1.75″ (4.5 cm) long, and make a mark with your Sharpie marker 0.6″ (1.5 cm) from one end of the wire:
Use your cup bur, jewelry file, or knife sharpening stone to smooth and round both ends of your wire:
Starting at the end of your wire that’s farthest from the Sharpie mark you made, grasp the end of your wire near the tip of your round nose pliers, and roll the wire end into a loop.
This loop should be as small as possible, yet able to accommodate your leather cord plus a little room for the cord to move within the loop:
Now use your round nose pliers to grasp your wire, directly on the mark you made with your Sharpie:
Bend both ends of the wire downward evenly, creating the hook part of your clasp:
Now let’s work-harden your hook clasp.
Place your hook clasp on your steel jeweler’s block, and pound it thoroughly on one side; then turn the hook over and pound the other side.
Now your hook clasp should look about like this (shown here with the jump ring that will go on the other end of my choker):
On each end of your leather cord, fold down 0.75″ (2 cm) of the cord, and use your flat nose pliers to press the fold into place:
Now cut your two pieces of 3″ (7.6 cm) long round or half-round wire.
String your jump ring onto one of your folded cord ends, and pick up one of your 3″ (7.6 cm) wires.
Using your chain nose pliers as a clamp to hold one end of the wire on top of the folded cord, wrap the wire around the folded cord to bind it.
Make neat wraps, with each wrap lying nicely next to the previous wrap.
If you’re using half-round wire, the flat side of the wire should be against the leather as you wrap:
When you’ve wrapped as much of your wire as you can, snip off any extra from the ends of your wire.
Then use your chain nose pliers to gently squeeze your wire wraps against the leather cord.
Also be sure to press down both of the wire ends firmly against the leather:
Attach your hook clasp to the other end of your leather cord, the same way you attached your jump ring to the first end (shown snipping off excess binding wire):
Now your leather choker is finished, and your hook-and-eye clasp ends should look something like this:
You can see how a medium- to large-size pendant bail can slide easily onto the cord over the streamlined clasp ends:
Hot Tip: When I make bails on my pendants, I try to always make them big enough to accommodate any size of cord, chain, or clasp my customer may want to wear with them.
These leather chokers are a great style for both guys and gals, and many of my pendant customers have purchased them over the years.
You can make them in any color of leather – and with silver, copper, brass, or other types of metal jewelry wire.
And if you’re selling pendants, these chokers are a fabulous add-on item to sell – especially if customers see you wearing one yourself.
This leather choker style is also lovely worn without a pendant – as a simple, natural necklace.
Or doubled around your wrist as a bracelet:
Want to Learn the Basics of
Designing Your Own Wire Jewelry?
In my Design and Make Artistic Jewelry Components video class, you’ll learn how to get great ideas for wire jewelry designs – and then follow my easy system for turning those ideas into successful pieces of jewelry.
By the end of this online video class, you’ll be designing and making your own artistic earwires, clasps, connectors, and pendant bails.
You’ll also learn my tips for making wire jewelry more easily, with more professional looking results.