Leather Jewelry-Making Projects: Free Embossed Leather Bracelet and More!

Leather is an amazing material to work with and it’s great to use in jewelry making. Leather is lightweight, durable, and available in many different forms. In the new Create Leather Jewelry eBook from Beadwork magazine, we can also see that leather is very versatile! You can dye, emboss, cut, sew, layer, rivet, knot, glue, and embellish leather with beads, among many other things.

ABOVE: Embossed leather and metal bracelet by Tammy Honaman. Instructions found below.

Create Leather Jewelry eBook has eight dynamic projects that will show you things you never knew were possible with leather. To follow are a few highlights!

Check out how Michelle Mach attached a peyote stitched band right to leather in her Gold Rush Cuff.

Gold Rush Cuff by Michelle Mach from Create Leather Jewelry ebook.

Keep the wrapped leather bracelet trend going with Erin Siegel’s Wrapped Pewter Bracelet. I love the metal in this design!

Leather wrapped pewter bracelet by Erin Siegel as seen in Create Leather Jewelry eBook by Beadwork magazine

One of my favorite leather designs from the book is the Gemini Leather Bracelet by Leslie Mangine. Beads. Leather cording. Great cord ends and a matching clasp. What’s not to love?

Leather jewelry-making project from Create Leather Jewelry eBook by Leslie Mangine

Jill MacKay is another artist who incorporates leather into her jewelry making. She shares a few ways to work with leather in her Working with Die Cut Leather video download. She uses the Sizzix machine and dies to cut leather into great shapes and then layers them into fabulous jewelry! Want to make some leather jewelry of your own? Check out the Leather Die Cut Love kit. You get Jill’s videos plus leather already cut for you so you can start making leather jewelry right away!

Jill MacKay's carnation necklace made using leather and the Sizzix machine.

Jill also shares her techniques for embellishing leather jewelry — check out another of her video downloads: Embellishing Leather Jewelry Components, then be sure to read her article: Beaded Die-Cut Leather Pendant Project.

Speaking of embellishing…Tammy Jones shares these ideas for dressing up leather jewelry supplies you make yourself!

  • add color by brushing on colorful tints, powders, and inks, or
  • draw on dots, lines, and other details with fabric markers or paint pens
  • get the leather very wet and then wrap it around steel mandrels or other shapes to dry into the shape of that form
  • sand the surface, edges, or random spots to give the leather a worn look or to change the surface from shiny to matte or from matte to dull/rough
  • add designs and color by stitching or embroidering dots, lines, flowers, and other designs

For more from Tammy on leather jewelry making and using the Sizzix machine, be sure to read her full article; Creativity on Demand: Die Cut Your Own Leather Jewelry-Making Supplies.

To follow is a new free leather jewelry-making project filled with techniques to inspire your own creative leather pursuits.

Embossing Vegetable Tanned Leather

By Tammy Honaman

Free leather jewelry making-project by Tammy Honaman. Learn to emboss and patina leather and metal.Use embossing plates, dye, and the Sizzix machine to transform vegetable tanned leather.

Tools & Materials
Big Shot Machine
Movers & Shapers Shuttle
Cutting pad
Thin bracelet dies
Embossing folder
Metal embossing folder
Brass rectangle blanks (blanks sized to fit the width of the bracelet)
Solvent ink pad
Ranger metal patina
Alcohol inks
Cotton or ink swabs
Compression rivets, 4mm
Clasp ends (can be riveted to the leather)
Bench block
Leather hole punch
1.8 metal hole punch
Rivet setter
Sanding block
Spray bottle with water
Paper towels
Hair dryer or heat tool to dry patina (optional)

1. Following the instructions for using the dies with the Sizzix machine, cut the vegetable tanned leather using a bracelet die.

2. Spray the cut leather with water (this makes the leather able to receive and retain embossing). Ink the embossing folder with an ink pad. (optional).

3. Place leather face down onto inked folder, place folder onto platform opened to tab 1, place cutting pad on top of leather; shim with another piece of veg tan if needed to make the “sandwich” the proper width.

Run through the machine then remove the leather from the folder.

embossed vegetable tanned leather
4. Dye the cut and embossed leather with alcohol ink (or leather dye) then allow to dry. Use a sanding sponge or block to sand the surface of the leather, to give the leather a water color or washed-out look (optional).
5. Punch two 1.8mm holes in the metal blank.
6. Following the instructions for using the embossing folder with your machine, emboss the metal blank.
7. Treat the blank with ranger patinas for metal. Use a hairdryer (or similar) to set the patina. Once dry, sand the surface of the metal (only the raised areas). This will reveal the embossing and leave the patina behind in recessed areas.

Add patina to metal then remove the top layer of the patina to reveal the embossing in the metal.

8. Fit the end of the leather through one end of your clasp (the leather end shown here was trimmed to work with this clasp). Determine where to place a hole for securing the leather to the clasp (the short end will fold over and be secured to the front). Punch a hole equal to your rivet or eyelet. Set an eyelet or rivet to secure.

Punch a hole in the end of the embossed leather then add your clasp end.
9. Punch a hole in the leather where you want to place the metal blank. Assemble the layers then set the rivets. Repeat to connect all metal pieces to the leather.

Free leather jewelry making-project by Tammy Honaman. Learn to emboss and patina leather and metal.
10. Use a jumpring to connect a lobster clasp to one clasp finding end. Add a jumpring to the other finding end to work as the toggle clasp loop.

  • Don’t place holes in metal too close to the edge or the rivet might break through the edge.
  • Adding layers of patina to metal blanks then sanding back the layers reveals colors and adds depth to your design.
  • Use different colors of StazOn and Ranger Inks to change up the look of your finished design.
  • Gently curve the center metal rectangle to wear comfortably against your wrist.

For even more leather jewelry-making projects…Bring leather and another hot trend to your wardrobe with this free how to make a leather tassel project.

leather tassels, tassels, make your own tassels, DIY tassels for jewelry making

Then take your tassel to the next level like we did in this design.

Mixed Meida Jewelry Tassel Project by Tammy Honaman 10 Favorite Pink Jewelry Projects, mixed media jewelry, beadweaving, beading, tassels

Tammy Honaman
Web Producer, Bead & Jewelry Group

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