by Rena Klingenberg.
This charming, comfortable bracelet is an easy leatherworking project.
It’s also a good way to recycle leather scraps into a new piece of jewelry!
- Leather scraps in three different colors.
I bought a 1-pound variety pack of leather scraps at my local craft store for $3.60 (regular price was $5.99, but I used the store’s 40% discount coupon).
You might also use leather from old belts, purses, jackets, upholstery, etc. Check thrift shops and garage sales for old leather items.
- 2 identical buttons that contrast nicely against your leather colors – for a decorative way to attach the flowers to the bracelet.
I recommend using buttons with two holes.
My buttons are 3/4″ (19mm) in diameter.
- Waxed cord or waxed thread – for attaching the flowers and buttons to the bracelet band. You’ll need about 12″ (30.5cm) of thin, sturdy cord that will fit through the holes in your buttons.
I used waxed polyester cord, 1mm size. You could also use waxed linen, waxed cotton, or even unused waxed dental floss.
(You could use un-waxed cord, but the wax makes the cord stiffer, sturdier and less likely to fray – better for threading it through several layers of leather and buttons – and better for holding leather elements together during years of wearing the finished bracelet.)
- 2 sturdy jump rings in a fairly large size – one for each end of the leather band.
My jump rings are 12mm size.
- Clasp – I used a swivel clasp, from an older bracelet I took apart.
- 2 metal eyelets (optional) – to reinforce the holes at each end of the leather band. In most fabric stores and craft stores, you can get a package of several eyelets plus a little tool for attaching them to your project, such as this:
- Regular household scissors – for cutting your leather and your waxed cord.
- Sewing needle (don’t worry, we’re not doing any sewing here! 🙂 ) – to run the waxed cord through the layers of leather and buttons.
Your entire needle should fit easily through the holes in your buttons. The eye of your needle should be able to accommodate your waxed thread / cord.
- Leather punch – for making holes in your leather wrist band.
I used the Crop-A-Dile Big Bite punch, which can also attach your eyelets to the leather band.
Or you can punch the holes with an inexpensive rotary leather punch tool.
(Both of these tools are available online and in most craft stores.)
I’ll also show you a nifty way to pierce small holes in your leather with an ice pick.
- Chalk or pencil – for drawing the bracelet band and flowers on the back of your leather.
(Chalk for marking on dark-colored leather, pencil for marking on light-colored leather.)
- Sharpie marker – for marking the location of punch holes at the ends of the leather wrist band.
- Flat nose / chain nose pliers – for opening and closing your jump rings.
How to Make a
Leather Flower Bracelet:
First, choose three leather colors:
- one for the bracelet band (I chose navy blue)
- one for the larger bottom flower (I chose a dusty pink color)
- and one for the smaller top flower (I chose an antique white color).
Also choose two identical buttons – one for the center of your flowers, and one for the back of the bracelet, under the flower. (I chose cranberry for the buttons, to provide a pop of color in the center of the flower):
Now let’s cut out the leather band of your bracelet.
The length of your leather band should be the measurement of your wrist.
Example: If your wrist measurement is 8″, then make your leather band 8″ long.
(When you add the jump rings and clasp, they will add a bit of extra length that will make the bracelet fit comfortably around your wrist.)
My bracelet is 1-1/8″ (28.6mm) wide, which is a nice width for this bracelet style. However, you may want yours to be wider or narrower than that.
Once you decide on how wide and how long your leather band will be, use a ruler to measure and mark it out on the back of your leather.
Use chalk to mark dark leather, or a pencil to mark light leather:
Use regular scissors to cut out your leather band:
Next we’ll draw and cut out the flowers.
I wanted my flowers to be wider than the 1-1/8″ (28.6mm) wide wrist band.
So my smaller flower is 1.5″ (38mm) in diameter.
My larger flower is 2.25″ (57mm) in diameter.
Now sketch the smaller flower on the back of the leather you chose for it, making sure the flower is nicely larger than the button; then use scissors to cut out the flower:
Now sketch the larger flower on the back of the leather you chose for it; then cut it out with scissors:
It’s time to make two holes in the center of the wrist band, and in the center of each flower.
These holes will line up perfectly with the two holes in our buttons, so we can attach all of the pieces together with the waxed cord.
Since these will be relatively small holes, an easy way to make them is with an ice pick and an eraser.
The instructions for each step are below this photo:
- Photo 1:
You’ll need a sharp ice pick (or similar tool), and a flat rubber eraser.
- Photo 2:
Place the center of your leather wrist band on the center of the eraser, with a button on the exact center of the band.
Holding the button in place, use the ice pick to “drill” down through each button hole, twisting the pick until it pierces through the leather and pokes into the eraser.
- Photo 3:
Now use the same ice pick and eraser technique to pierce two button holes in the center of the smaller flower.
- Photo 4:
For piercing the larger flower, place the smaller flower over the larger one, centering them how you want them to fit together.
Then use the ice pick to drill through the smaller flower’s holes and pierce corresponding holes in the larger flower.
Now that all three leather pieces are pierced with holes that match up with our buttons, they should look something like this:
It’s time to attach all three leather pieces and both buttons together.
Thread your 12″ length of waxed cord onto your needle:
Now stack up the bracelet parts in this order:
- top button
- smaller flower
- larger flower
- wrist band
- bottom button
. . . with all the pairs of button holes lined up.
Now run your needle through the left-hand holes all the way through the stack, until the needle pokes out of the bottom button:
Leave a few inches of cord hanging out from the top button; you’ll need it later to tie a knot.
Now turn the bracelet over so that the underside of it is facing you.
Run your needle through the other button hole – this time, starting on the underside of the bracelet until the needle pokes through the top button:
Pull the cord through until it’s tightly across the bottom two holes.
You should still have the first few inches of the cord hanging out of the top button.
Run your needle and cord down through the first set of button holes again.
Then back up from the bottom through the second set of button holes again.
Keep the cord pulled tightly, so that the buttons, flowers, and leather band are all securely and tightly attached together.
Thread the cord through your button holes as many times as you can, until you can’t fit the needle through the button holes anymore. (I was able to make three complete rounds with my needle through the button holes.)
Now it’s time to finish off the waxed cord ends.
The instructions for each step are below this photo:
- Photo 1:
Both ends of the cord should end up on the top side of the bracelet.
- Photo 2:
Tie the two cord ends into an overhand knot (an overhand knot is the first part of the knot you use when you tie your shoes) . . .
- Photo 3:
. . . and tighten the knot down against the button.
- Photo 4:
Tie a second overhand knot over the first one, and pull the cord ends so that this knot is very tightly tied.
Now trim off the excess cords, leaving the ends about 0.4″ (10mm) long, to look like the stamen parts in the center of a flower:
The underside of your bracelet should look nice and tidy:
The front of your bracelet should now look like this:
Now it’s time to punch holes at the ends of the wrist band.
Practice marking and punching holes in a piece of scrap leather first, till you’re confident you can punch your holes exactly where you want them in the leather.
Use your Sharpie marker to mark a spot near each end of the wristband:
We’ll punch holes that are the same size or slightly smaller than your metal eyelets (if you’ve chosen to use eyelets on your bracelet).
Use your leather punch tool (I’m using the Crop-A-Dile Big Bite punch) to punch out the holes you just marked in each end of your wrist band:
Now your bracelet should look like this:
Now it’s time to attach the eyelets to your wrist band’s end holes, if you’ve decided to use them.
Attaching eyelets to leather has a slight learning curve to get the results you want.
So practice with your eyelet-setting tool on a scrap piece of leather first.
Keep practicing until you’re able to set and crimp the eyelets into the holes with good results.
Then you’re ready to attach the eyelets to your actual bracelet.
If you’re using eyelets to reinforce the two holes you just punched at the ends of your leather band, insert an eyelet in the first hole, with the flattened eyelet end on the front side of your wrist band:
Use your eyelet-setting tool (I’m using the eyelet setting feature on the Crop-a-Dile punch) to crimp your eyelet into place:
The bottom side of the eyelet should now be crimped into place on the underside of your wrist band, and should look something like this:
Repeat at the other end of the wrist band, to attach an eyelet to the other hole.
After attaching the eyelets to the holes at both ends of your wrist band, it’s time to attach the clasp to your bracelet.
Use your flat nose / chain nose pliers to twist open your jump rings:
Thread one jump ring into the hole at one end of your bracelet, and twist the jump ring shut again:
Attach the remaining jump ring into the hole at the other end of your bracelet.
Thread the clasp onto this jump ring, then twist the jump ring shut again:
This is how my fastened clasp looks:
The front of your finished Leather Flower Bracelet should look something like this:
And the back should look like this (one of my favorite things about this bracelet is how neat and tidy the underside is on the finished piece):
How it looks when it’s being worn: