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Monday, April 22, 2013

Techniques: Making a Leather-Covered Cuff Bracelet

It's easy to make a very handsome and professional looking leather covered cuff bracelet. They are comfy and stylish, and you can wear them plain or embellish them to taste. Make a wide, statement cuff, or a series of mix and match narrower ones. (These are 1.5 inches wide.)

You will need a brass cuff bracelet base, your leather to cover the outside, and a piece of ultrasuede to finish the inside and glue to hold it all together. I used our new FISH LEATHER for these examples!

You will also need, sandpaper or an emery board to rough up the brass cuff for gluing, a cheap paint brush for applying the glue, and some elastic bands or some scrap wire, and some sturdy drinking glasses, and some plastic wrap or plastic bags. Clothes pegs or binder clips come in handy too. (Read through the instructions before starting to see how the glasses are used, and it will give you a better idea of which ones to select from your cupboard.)

For glue - I have used Gorilla Glue - which is a gel cyanoacrylate (a thick version of super glue or "crazy"(tm) glue) and Gem Tac with equal success.

This is going to be a multi-step process. The key with this is to NOT try to glue it all at once and get a big gooey mess - but to glue it in stages, and let one step dry before starting the next.

 First, check that your piece of leather is going to be large enough. You will need some to wrap over the sides. I did not find it necessary to trim this fish leather at all - I used the 1.5 inch bracelet blank. Mark it so that you know where to position it when you start gluing.

Take some sandpaper or an emery board and lightly sand the outside and the inside of the bracelet blank. This will roughen it up and make for better glue adhesion. Wash and dry the blank carefully.

 Apply the glue to the outside ONLY of the bracelet blank, and line up the leather, and position it. Do NOT fold over the edges yet. Secure with elastic bands or wire, and allow to dry completely.

 Next, you are going to fold the leather over the edges and glue it. Cut into the leather at the curved ends so that the leather will lay flat when you fold it over. Apply glue to the inside of the cuff, more or less matching how far over the leather will reach.
 Place a plastic bag or some plastic wrap over a sturdy drinking glass (the straighter the sides, the better, for even pressure), and put the cuff bracelet over this. This will put pressure on the inside and hold the leather in place will the glue is drying. The plastic stops the bracelet from gluing to the glass in the event of leakage.

 Once the glue has dried, check the corners to see if they all glued down nicely. If not, you may have to add a bit more glue, clamp and wait for it to dry again.
 Now, apply glue to the entire inside - and add the ultra suede. Don't worry about shaping the ends yet.

 Again, wedge over a drinking glass and secure with wire and/or elastics - until it dries. (I was living dangerously here - no plastic. But I was also pretty careful with the glue for this stage.)

 Trim the ultrasuede up to the edge of the curve with a pair of sharp scissors.

 The finished bracelet! 

For this embellished version, (see second picture at the top) I glued a piece of WireLuxe woven wire to the outside, and wrapped it over the edges BEFORE gluing on the ultrasuede liner.

Look for all these components and supplies on our website!


Anonymous said...

great tips! thanks

Anonymous said...

turned out gorgeous, looking forward to trying it out myself!

dragonjools said...

Just as a further update - I noticed since I made these that the leather seems to have faded. Can't say that I'm too pleased about that. The technique would work for other thin leathers, fabrics, etc., though.

Moogie said...

Something to try if you can work around embellishments is to use leather dye or paint to spruce up the color. Then a matte or semigloss topcoat. Hopefully that will get more wear out of your beautiful creation (although it’s been a number of years now since you posted this). Love your store & your sense of humor!