I am a descendant of native americans or American Indians whichever you prefer and this has impacted my life greater than anything else. One practice, which I will demonstrate, is beading. It is one that requires A LOT of patience but if you're willing to put in the time I think it produces a beautiful result.
Why I chose to bead a watch? Because I needed something to match my handmade moccasins! Plus I love watches.
Step 1: Choose a Design
The resulting design was the fruit of my extensive research and development process.
Step 2: Gather Materials
Leather sheers or large scizzors
11/0 Beads of the desired colors
Artificial sinew (wax thread)
Needles (large to pierce leather and extremely thin to bead)
Burnishing equipment (at the time of documenting I was a poor man's leather crafter so I used a dremel I had with a sanding drum and a dowel I put a notch in. Suffice it to say it turned out okay but I later went back with actual burnishing and beveling equipment and it looks pretty good!)
Leather finish (I prefer a rub on beeswax sealer)
and of course a watch
Step 3: Disassemble Watch
Begin by putting the watch on and measure the distance from the watch case to the edge of the buckle, this doesn't need to be exact. Then mark this measurement from the otherside (this mark should be on top of the buckle-less strap). Cut the remaining length off of the strap to reveal two equal spaces between the watch case and the first obstacle it hits- this will be your canvas space and the equal sides are key to ensure you utilize the entire space without covering any of your valuable work.
Now remove the watch and measure the open space between the watch case and the securing bands on the buckled strap, this will be your final dimensions for work space and should be marked on the templates.
Step 4: Making Templates
Step 5: Prepping Leather
Like I said before, when I made this I was a poor man's leather crafter so I didn't have the proper tools such a stitch groove or hole chisels so I improvised with homemade tools. I cut the shape of a stitch groover into a plastic spoon and I used a small fork to lay out my holes and punch them with an awl... you can use anything if you try hard enough! :)
Once your leather is cut out and the holes are punched, you can apply any leather stain you'd like to use (I chose not to because I like the way the tanned leather looks with a little bit of wear and dirt to it) and then you are ready to make it look fancy!
Step 6: Transfer Design to Leather
Step 7: Beading
String no more than 4 beads on a split strand of artificial sinew. Lay the beads flat on the leather in the path you'd like the beads to take. Poke a hole in the leather at the end of the strand and feed the sinew through. Next find the center of the path along the leather (it should be between the second and third beads)
And poke a hole through the leather here. Bring the sinew up through this hole and run it through the last two beads, this secures the entire line and allows it to hold it's shape and gives it structure.
The sinew should be coming out of the last bead at this point. You can continue from here by adding 4 more beads and repeating the process or you can switch directions as I did in this case.
To switch directions you will need to bring the sinew through the existing hole in the leather. Poke a hole where you'd like the new strand to start and string the sinew through to the top of the leather. Load up more beads and repeat the process until your entire design is complete.
**there may be times when 4 beads is not ideal, for example the second strand I did only had 3, and some will require 5, but I generally like to double strand no less than 2 beads and on strands of 5 I find doubling up on 3 beads works best.**
Once you're design is complete, you might want to run a very thin strand of sinew through all the beads. This will help make them more uniform and make for a better looking design. There is no need to weave in and out of the leather on this pass, a straight shot through all the beads works fine. (This is one of the reasons beading is so stressful because they may break if you aren't careful while doubling the sinew, some will be getting their third strand and this will leave little room in the bead and risk breaking.. so just take your time and be careful!
Step 8: Constructing the Bands
Take some kind of contact cement or fabric glue and cover the fleshy side of the leather with it. Fold the leather to align it correctly.
Take a long strand of sinew with large needles on either side and begin to stitch the band together. Send both needles through the same hole just going in at opposite directions. When they meet at the end tie them so that the knot is on the back side of the strap.
Repeat for the other strap.