Showcase a Fancy Clasp With a Wire and Leather Braided Bracelet

When I see a gorgeous clasp like this Gemasite box clasp from A Grain of Sand, I want to make sure that it gets plenty of attention in a beaded jewelry design. I love the challenge of making a piece of jewelry where a fancy clasp like this gets all the attention! Really, who wants to hide a beautiful number like this in the back of a necklace when it can hold its own as the center piece of a piece of handmade jewelry?

Lately, I've been playing with techniques for braiding leather to use as necklaces for hanging some of my favorite gemstone and bead pendants. I was delighted to discover that I can use these same techniques to make bracelets, too. When you have a handful of these kinds of easy-to-use tab and box clasps in your stash, these bracelet making projects make quick, trendy gifts.

Materials:

  • Gemasite box clasp, 1 1/2" long (A Grain of Sand)
  • 2mm leather cord in color to match or contrast with the clasp, 27 inches
  • 20 gauge round half-hard silver filled wire, 20 inches

Tools:

  • Flush cutters
  • Leather cutters or scissors
  • Combination pliers OR chain-nose pliers and round-nose pliers

Step-by-step Instructions:

Step 1: Cut the leather cord into 3 pieces, 9" each. Using the flush cutters, cut the wire into 4 pieces of 5" each.

Step 2: Put two piece of wire together, and make a 90-degree bend in the middle of the wire. Using the round-nose or combination pliers, make a loop. Slide one side of the clasp into the open loop.

Bundle the three pieces of leather together, and place them next to the two wires near the clasp. Leave about 1" of leather sticking out past the clasp.

Step 3: Make a wrapped loop by wrapping the two pieces of wire around the leather and the wire. For security, make several tight wraps, and you can add a drop of glue to these wraps if desired. Trim the leather ends, and trim the straight wire close to the ends of the wraps.
Step 4: Braid! Begin by tightly braiding the three strands of leather, measuring as you go. (Don't forget to subtract the length of your clasp from the total desired length of the bracelet.) Don't worry if your braid isn't perfectly straight or even — once you finish your bracelet, you'll be able to smooth out any kinks using your fingers.
When your braid is the desired length, wrap a rubber band around your braid to hold it in place. Take the two remaining pieces of wire, and repeat Step 2 to create a second wire-wrapped loop to attach your braid to the wire. Trim the wire and leather ends, and add a drop of glue as desired.

If your braid didn't come out perfectly even, this is a good place to begin smoothing it with your fingers. You can either run the braid tightly through your fingers, or you can knead your way down the braid from one end to the other, evening out any lumps.

Wrapping the wire around the three pieces of leather takes a little practice, but the finished bracelet is fun and easy to wear, and it looks great with just about anything in my closet. I just might have to whip up a few more of these for some last-minute handmade gifts before Christmas next week!

Now, here's the great thing: once you've mastered the art of making wire-wrapped loops and clean, even wraps for this bracelet, you've got all the wire skills you need to make the projects in Wire Doodles with Erin Prais-Hintz! You'll learn how to make 4 unique wire links, and then wrap, texture, and join them into beautiful, organic wire jewelry designs. So whether you prefer to use a DVD or get your video instructions as a digital download, keep practicing those wire wrapping skills and then get your copy of Wire Doodles to learn how you can start creating handmade wire jewelry today.

Bead Happy,

Jennifer

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