Want more leather jewelry tips?
Have you read our page all about working with our leather, and you're ready to learn more? Great! Let's get started on making some DIY leather bracelets.
Cutting to Size
The very first thing to learn about making our simple leather bracelets is sizing! If you are making jewelry to sell, you want to either A) offer custom sizing for every bracelet, or B) offer at least a few small and large options beyond the standard "average" size.
If you sell at a craft show, you can easily cut your design to size when a customer buys it. Simply leave 1 end unglued, then cut it down to fit when the customer is ready to purchase. If you sell online, you can have the customer select their wrist size during checkout. They will appreciate the customer service!
If you are too busy for that, it's a great idea to offer small, medium, and large premade bracelets. The leather + magnetic clasps have one drawback, which is that they are not adjustable.
SIZING TIP: The suggested bracelet size is the FINISHED size. You will need to subtract some length for the clasp.
FIT TIP: Most customers like leather bracelets to fit snugly, although some prefer a looser bangle.
SUPER PRO TIP: Do not glue anything until you have assembled the bracelet and checked the sizing! Especially if you are working with a new clasp or focal slider, you may not have accurately estimated the amount of leather you need.
The basic supplies you need to build a bracelet are:
- Sliders/beads/focal piece
For a basic bracelet, your leather, clasp, and sliders must all be of the same size. For example, if you are using 10mm flat leather, you must use a 10mm flat clasp and 10mm flat sliders.
TIP: All of our products are named with their SIZE as the first part of the name, so you can be sure they will fit together!
What Colors Should I Use? What Design Should I Make?
Beginner designers often ask us what leather to buy, or what style sliders we recommend. The truth is, it's up to you! Styles vary across the country and depend on your specific clientele. Here in Florida, what sells at a craft fair is not the same as what sells at a boutique in the Midwest or a showroom in LA.
The only constant? Customers generally prefer symmetrical designs. It's not the best idea to throw 5 random sliders on a piece of leather.
You need to do market research by talking to the people who are your potential customers and seeing what colors/designs/styles they like. You probably already have ideas for some designs, so just make them, put them out there, and adjust as you go!
Our advice has been the same for a decade: neutrals always sell well! If in doubt, go for black and brown. You might also want to buy some grab bags of leather to see what colors sell best for you. Grab bags give you the chance to try out different styles and colors without committing to a whole meter of leather.
Speaking of best sellers, the various styles of half-cuff bracelets have been very popular with our customers. It's an easy way to mix metal and leather, and they can be made with or without complimentary sliders.
Since you need less than 4" of leather to make the magnetic half-cuff bracelets, it's a great way to use up short off-cuts!
Combining Sizes of Leather
Our basic leather bracelets are super easy to make. We encourage you to use your imagination and play with the materials, such as combining several leather sizes in a larger clasp to make a statement cuff bracelet.
For example, a 20mm clasp can hold 4 strands of 5mm leather, 2 strands of 10mm leather, or 2 strands of 5mm and a strand of 10mm, or 8-9 strands of 2mm leather (it can be hard to get them all in there! 10 strands won't usually fit).
Check out this blog post with examples:
Weaving and Looping Leather
Once you've mastered the basic bracelet formula, why not try something a little more impressive? We love experimenting with large sliders and focal pieces that you can weave, loop, and tie leather around.
Every time we post a new woven bracelet like this, we get tons of questions!
There's no tutorial or secret to it. Just cut a few lengths of leather longer than a typical bracelet (try 9-10") and play around with placement. Your clasp size will depend on how many strands of leather you use.
Blog post with more examples.
Leather Wrap Bracelets
We can't forget wrap bracelets! A wrap bracelet differs from a cuff in that you have to "wrap" one long piece of leather around the wrist to secure the clasp.
For example, you can use 3 cut strands of 5mm leather and a 15mm clasp to make a 3-strand cuff bracelet. OR, you can use one extra long strand of 5mm leather and a 5mm clasp to make a triple wrap bracelet.
We have lots of variations on this theme posted here on our blog.