Picture of How to make a Leather Pauldron (or Spaulder)

Every time I go to a Ren Faire I seem to come away with something that I need to make. After one trip I decided that I needed a leather pauldron. I would have loved to buy one of the gorgeous pieces there, but I just couldn't afford to and fortunately it ended up being a whole lot cheaper to make one. I checked out a couple there to see how they were constructed and went home to try and duplicate it myself.

Note: I didn't do a very good job of documenting this process with pictures. A lot of the pictures will simply be detail shots of the completed project. I hope this is still useful to you. I figured if I can't show the step in progress I can at least show what I'm talking about.

Step 1: Planning

Picture of Planning

There are a lot of different ways that you can make a pauldron. Different materials, different styles, etc. I definitely wanted it to be leather. I also decided to make it fairly simple. Just three segments and the straps. I liked the idea of being able to wear it on either shoulder so I decided it should have two buckles on the strap so whichever way I wore it I could still reach the buckle. I also decided that since I had never done any leather stamping I should keep any detail work simple.

I took some measurements of my arm and shoulder widths, made a simple paper mock-up, and then used it as a pattern to transfer it to the leather. In total there are eight pieces. Three segments for the body of the pauldron. Three straps for the buckle across your chest. Two straps for the buckle that fastens it to your arm.

For the straps that go to the center of the chest and back I measured from the corner of where the pauldron would sit to the center of my chest. For the strap that would connect those two I measured from the center of my chest, around my side to the center of my back. For the arm strap lengths I just figured about half the diameter of my arm. Then I added some length since they would all need to be attached and buckled together.

bryan.froh19 months ago

I'm looking at making these and I was wondering if you could confirm whether or not you used belly pieces or not. I want to make sure I don't just buy a bunch of leather that I don't need to create this. Haha!

The Rambler (author)  bryan.froh19 months ago

I just pulled up Tandyleatherfactory.com and looked at their veg-tan leathers. From what I remember about the shape, size, and weight of the piece I used I believe it was more likely a single shoulder. That being said, I don't think the part of the cow it's taken from matters for this project as much as the weight of the leather. As long as you have enough surface area on the leather to fit the pieces you need, anything around the 4-5 or 6-7 oz range should work. If you're looking at buying some leather now I would check out Tandy (assuming you're near one or in an area they'll ship too). They have sales going right now with bellies for $10, single shoulders for $44, and double shoulders for $59.

hdraper191 year ago

i want two of those they look great

The Rambler (author)  hdraper191 year ago


Wow man. Totally awesome
The Rambler (author)  nintenbro641 year ago


Beautiful work! I love how it looks a bit dragon-y, with the spikes and curves :D

The Rambler (author)  jessyratfink1 year ago

Thank you! I hadn't even thought about that. Kind of like a dragon's back. Cool.

Looks like something for an Assassins creed costume.
The Rambler (author)  Dr MonkeyMan1 year ago
I love the costumes and armor and weapons in the Assassin's Creed games. All the design is fantastic. So, if you think this looks like it could be part of that world I take that as a huge compliment.

No prob!

hde vos1 year ago

Exelent, I was looking for something like this.

The Rambler (author)  hde vos1 year ago

Glad I could help out!

oldmicah1 year ago

oh, and for straps, you can do it yourself with a ruler and a sharp knife. After you cut it you will need to burnish the edges. It's not hard and Tandy leather site has good videos on this.

The Rambler (author)  oldmicah1 year ago

Yeah, that's true, though another reason that I forgot to mention is that sometimes it's hard to get a really long strap out of a piece of leather and still have all the room you need for the rest of the pattern. The belly I used for this I also used to make my leather top hat so it made sense to buy the strap separately.

bruce50001 year ago

do you harden the leather if so how do you go about that

The Rambler (author)  bruce50001 year ago
I've never hardened any of the things I've made. Some people do, but I've never needed to so I've never bothered. I've heard of people baking the leather to harden it but I've also heard that's not a good way to do it. Sorry I'm not much help.

I love this project and it looks fantastic! Thank you for sharing..

I've got a smidgen of experience in hardening leather. (Meaning go out and look for one of SCA leather/armorer sites for better advice). But I've done a couple of projects. Heating the leather in the oven, boiling water, or wax will change the structure of the leather to make it harder and more brittle. It will also cause it to shrink some and it will be very soft while hot: you'll need to stretch it over a form while it cools.

I'm in no way against it, just recommending you do some testing samples before dunking something you've spent time and money on. :). Leather that thick is pretty stiff in itself and you can do a lesser hardening by just soaking it shortly in room temp water (which is a lot better for the leather) but it will shrink a little and need forming

The Rambler (author)  oldmicah1 year ago

That's what I read! Now I remember. Somewhere I was reading was talking about the best way for the leather was soaking it, I think because it didn't leave it quite as brittle.

sunshiine1 year ago

I had to stop by and take a peek! this is awesome! Thanks for sharing your hard work and do have a safe and happy spring and summer!


The Rambler (author)  sunshiine1 year ago
Thanks! You have a safe one too.

Really nice Instructable, looks easy to make for the person who is new in leatherworking.

The Rambler (author)  jsrubianoch1 year ago

Thank you, it really was surprisingly easy.

nodcah1 year ago

Voted! The final product looks amazing!

The Rambler (author)  nodcah1 year ago

Thank you! I really appreciate it.

I had always wanted to make this for myself after seeing the spartacus and 300. Now I think I can try making one :). Thank you so much for sharing. Awesome job done here.

The Rambler (author)  Tarun Upadhyaya1 year ago

Awesome, thanks for the compliment! When you make it don't forget to share. I'd love to see how you do yours.

sure...I will.

It looks awesome, great job!