Leather Jewelry Making: Tips, Basics and Beyond with Leather Jewelry Artist Melissa Cable
In the past few years, leather jewelry making has exploded from a niche technique to possibly the hottest jewelry-making trend. I’ve had fun choosing leather and suede cords from which to hang metal pendants I’ve made; leather is the ideal choice for certain design styles, colorful enameled pieces, and particularly colorful copper designs.
I’ve also gotten really interested in the high/low contrast of pearls with leather, especially metallic leathers. As much as I love classic pearl designs (and you know I do!), I think leather cording is a great way to give pearls a fresh, fashionable new life and modern feel.
But that’s all just leather cording, maybe some leather straps for cuffs and bracelets. But how about true leathercrafting, making leather jewelry using sheets of leather, leather shapes, and working flat leather into dimensional designs?
That’s where Melissa Cable comes in! I was really excited to learn that she had created two awesome new leatherworking videos for us, Intro to Leather Jewelry Making and Intermediate Leather Jewelry Making. Her videos really get down into the nitty-gritty of leather jewelry making, beyond just hanging a pendant on a cord!
While watching just the first leather jewelry making video, I was inspired by Melissa’s stitching techniques and surface alterations. I think my favorite surface design idea is altering the finish of leather with painter’s tape. So simple and so inexpensive! Melissa simply places a strip of painter’s tape on the leather (hers is one strip lengthwise but you could do patterns, dots, stripes…), rubs it to adhere well, and then peels off the tape, which takes some of the color and shine from the leather with it, leaving a more matte finish of nearly raw leather.
The results from this trick are akin to the difference between frosted or etched and regular glass. It’s a subtle, easy way to give your leather jewelry even more distinction. Note: You can use this technique as a design element on portions of the leather, or use the tape over the entire surface to completely alter the look of it. Melissa presents this technique as a way to prepare leather for glue, but I like it as a design element as well. You can create a similar effect by sanding the leather surface with sandpaper.
In Melissa’s videos, you’ll learn all there is to know about making leather jewelry, from the types of leather used in jewelry making to leatherworking tools and coordinating supplies, from basic cutting and connection techniques (like rivets and snaps) to stamping, various stitching techniques, leather inlay, inks and markers, and other surface designs. You’ll also see how to make some truly artistic leather jewelry creations. And don’t forget all the handy tips, like how to easily and inexpensively turn any hammer into a rawhide hammer and how to make gluing from a bottle quick and clean without drying out the glue.
If you’ve never worked with leather or have only scratched the surface of how fun and fashionable leather jewelry can be, don’t miss our deluxe leather jewelry-making for metal jewelry makers collection. It includes Melissa’s inspiring and informative new DVDs, Intro to Leather Jewelry Making and Intermediate Leather Jewelry Making. But so you can jump into this super popular craft wholeheartedly, this collection also includes Melissa’s Create Recklessly deluxe interchangeable leather tool kit including punches, chisel, rivet and snap setters, setting anvil, and more, her easy-grip rotary cutter, and durable work board for cutting, punching, and other leather work–all in a special value kit!
P.S. A basic leather jewelry-making collection is also available, which includes the intro DVD only and the tool kit, without the rotary cutter, work board, and intermediate DVD.