DIY On Trend Leather Cuffs
Lately I’ve noticed an awful lot of leather cuffs going around. They range from accessories perfect for punks, goths, cowboys, bling queens and just about everyone in between.
I love the idea of wearing leather cuffs, but unfortunately the ones I have seen at stores just don’t suit me. My big problem is that they are often too wide for me. Not that they’re actually too wide, they look fine, but I’m just not comfortable in them. So, why not make my own and in just my style? They’ll be ones that I’m guaranteed to love and be comfortable wearing. Sounds like we have a new DIY on our hands!
I made three different cuffs in three different styles with two different closure methods. But, first, let’s cover the basics.
You need to know exactly what size you’re going to be comfortable wearing. You know what’s cheaper than leather? Paper. Instead of cutting up a bunch of leather we’re going to make paper patterns before we get started.
STEP 1 – Proper size
- Measuring tape
- Tape (any kind will do)
Measure the width of your wrist or arm where you want your cuff to rest. 7.25 inches was perfect for me. Get your number and add an inch.
Cut a piece of paper the length you measured and then make patterns of varying widths. I tested out 1 inch, 1.5 inch and 2 inch. Take each size and wrap it around your wrist to see how you like the fit. Use tape to close up if you want to check it out without holding it shut.
STEP 2 – Cutting your leather blanks
- Leather or suede
- Patterns made in step 1
- Sharp scissors
Take your pattern and place on your leather or suede. I purchase a big bag of scraps from hobby stores. The bag runs about $4 (with weekly coupons) and has a variety of shades, sizes, etc. It’s economical and you get a nice variety which is great if you only occasionally work with leather-craft.
Tape the pattern down if necessary. Use very sharp scissors and cut around your pattern as neatly as you can. Using dull scissors will cause frayed and ugly edges on the leather so take heed.
STEP 3 – Closure methods: #1 Snap Closures
- Snap setting kit
- Leather punch -OR- power drill
- Rubber mallet -OR- hammer (and earplugs?)
This closure method is my favorite mostly because it’s easy to use when getting dressed by yourself. They sell snap kits in the leather section of hobby stores and tend to cost around $8.
You can purchase smaller ones or larger snaps. I am using the size that is intended for purse closures but I dig that they look chunky on the cuffs. Use whatever size you prefer.
Your snap set will come with four different, distinct looking metal pieces, a long metal stick and a heavy, circular shaped disk (curved a bit inward). For each snap closed cuff, get out one of each of the four pieces and your two metal tools.
Find on your leather band where you want your first snap to appear. You’re going to create a hole to set your snap in.
You can purchase a leather punch for around $8 from hobby stores and use according to package directions, OR you can be a total Tim the Tool Man Taylor-esque tightwad like me and use your power drill you already have. Either way works!
You should receive instructions inside of your snap kit. Follow the directions included and use a rubber mallet to set your first snap. If you don’t have a rubber mallet you can use a plain ol’ hammer. But be warned – it is an awful, high pitched racket.
Wrap your cuff together and mark where your next side of the snap needs to go. Make your hole and set the other side of the snap according to package directions.
STEP 3 - Closure Methods: Tie Close
- Leather punch -OR- power drill
- Cord, leather or otherwise
This method doesn’t require the purchase of a snap setting kit. This method can save you some money and is a good alternative if you won’t be using leather snaps again in the near future. It is more difficult to wear when getting dressed by yourself but there is something to be said for the method being cheap!
Make two holes, side by side, with your punch or drill, on both ends of your cuff. Lace your cord through under the cuff on the first side.
Lace the cords through the underside of your other end. Slip onto your arm and use the cords to tighten the cuff and then tie it up to keep it on.
STEP 4 - Embellishment
- Lace, spray adhesive and small screwdriver or awl
- Acrylic paint and a brush
- Rivet setting kit
This is by far my favorite cuff I made of the three. It’s chunky and dainty at the same time. I fully plan to make a couple more with different lace patterns!
To make your cuffs lacy, make the holes for your snap or tie closures and leave the holes empty.
Cut your lace to size for your piece of leather. Spray the backside of the lace liberally with adhesive and allow to become tacky. Press onto your leather, taking care to line up the pattern with the edges, etc.
Take your tool and go in through your closure holes making sure that no lace is in your way. Proceed with your chosen closure method.
- Acrylic paints
- Paint brush(es)
- Masking tape (optional)
I saw a hipster at the thrift store. He was singing to all of the music a little too loudly (and overly proudly) He. Got. Under. My. Skin. And it wasn’t the case, but it totally seemed like the dude was following me around. Because I saw the guy like 90% of my shopping session, I was able to admire his awesome painted leather cuff. In honor of my thrifty hipster stalker who dons awesome accessories, I’m dubbing this embellishment, Hipster Painted.
Use acrylic paints in your choice of colors and paint any pattern that strikes your fancy. I used masking tape to make thin tan lines and then filled in alternating chunks with the coral paint. After allowing to fully dry, use the closure method of your choice.
- Rivet or eyelet kit or setter
Rivet kits sold in the sewing section of stores are really inexpensive. If you don’t have one you might grab one next time you’re at the hobby store. They wind up coming in really handy. They sell kits that have the metal setting tools just like in the snap kit above. They also sell rivet guns or setters. These can be purchased online from places like Ebay for really cheaply from time to time… Oh, and they’re seriously easy to use.
When riveting to embellish you can either make a pattern or just go all random. I went with the latter and I think it turned out pretty darn cool. Rivet that sucker up according to your tool’s directions and finish with your closure.
And that, my friends, is that. You now have the know-how to make your own leather cuffs in your own personal style! Follow these steps, use your imagination, or Google image search, and get to it! Make a couple of blank cuffs and let your kids decorate their own!
Oh, and Christmas is still awhile off, but wouldn’t these make killer stocking stuffers? Until next week!
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