Introduction: Leather Bracelet – Brass Ring and Hitch
My dad’s aunt’s father (I’m not sure what to call him) was a shoemaker in Mattighofen, Austria. In the 1970’s my Aunt made a visit to Austria and she brought back some of her dad’s leather. Basically sitting in the basement since then, the leather is nearly 50 years old but still in great condition! When my dad inherited it, he passed it on to his kids (Thanks Dad!).
Using the family leather, my sister-law made this brass ring style bracelet for my wife a year ago for Christmas – We all agree that it looks pretty cool. She got the idea looking at pictures of a Joanna Gaines (fixer-upper on HGTV) bracelet and tried to figure out how it was made. Nice job ‘D’!
My wife wanted me to try to make a few more of these to send to her sisters so I figured I’d share my attempt with ya’ll. Keep reading below for details on how to reproduce this stylish leather bracelet. If you’re going to make this, check out the video – some parts are just so much easier to see than explain.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
- Brass ring – I got mine at JoAnn Fabrics, but you can probably find something similar at most craft stores.
- Hitch fastener – Again, JoAnn Fabrics – they keep them in the scrapbooking section
- Cutting tool - You can get by with any razor-edged blade, but I like the rotary cutter for long, straight cuts and a utility knife for detail work.
- Punching tool - A punching tool would be very useful, I don’t have one, so I substituted my drill. *CAUTION* The drill can be a very bad idea if you’re not careful – see step 3 for details.
- Leather strap – I used a 1-inch wide strip cut from a larger piece but feel free to match your width to your style and brass ring. The length of the strap is about 1.5 times the circumference of your wrist. We will trim it in Step 3.
Other useful things
- marking tool
- straight edge you can cut along
- wood and clamps (if you don’t have a leather punch)
Step 2: Find Where the Ball Hitch Goes
This is probably the most difficult part; measuring what size to make the bracelet.
Holding the brass ring on your wrist, loop the leather strap through and back down to overlap the leather. You should have two strips of leather on one side and a single strip of leather on the other. loop the single strip through the other side of the brass ring and then back under your wrist. The hitch point(s) are on the bottom side of your wrist directly opposite the brass ring. there should be 3 layers of leather at that point.
The side with two strips will be joined together with the hitch fastener, the third single strip will be what fastens over the hitch. If this is confusing, just watch the video, it will be clearer. The ball hitch should go on the opposite (bottom) side of your wrist. Mark this location and how far you overlapped. A colored pencil or marking stick is helpful for this part – just be sure it can come off without damaging your leather.
Step 3: Drilling the Holes, or "man, I Wish I Had a Leather Punch"
There are 2 small holes (~1/8 inch) which are for the hitch fastener to go through, 4 large holes (~1/4 inch) for the center cutouts – the holes give a rounded look to the center cutouts. there is also a final larger hole used for latching over the hitch.
The hitch joints and latch were marked in step 2. The 4 large holes are centered 1/2 - inch to 5/8 inch on either side of these hitch points.
Seriously, a leather punch would be nice. But...if you're like me and don't have one and it's not in the budget to buy one right away, you can make it work with a drill. *CAUTION* if you simply try to hold the leather and drill a hole in it, you run the risk of ripping up your leather and your fingers.
To make the holes, first I trace a pattern on the wood indicating where my hole is going to go. I drill completely through this board where I marked.
Place the leather strap on the template, lining up the mark on the leather with the hole in the template. Lay another piece of wood on the leather strip and clamp it fast - be careful your leather does not shift during clamping. With the leather sandwiched between the wood blocks, drill through the backside of your pattern block to make the holes.
Step 4: Make the Center Cutout
Now connect the edges of the larger 1/4 inch holes using your cutting tool and optional straightedge.
You may need to trim up the rough edges - just make it look pretty good, it's a rustic looking piece after all.
Step 5: Assembly
Loop the brass ring into the strap with the ‘good’ side of your leather facing outwards. Attach the ball hitch so that the ball end is on the short end of the loop.
To put it on, place the ring on your wrist and loop the lose end of the leather strap around your wrist, through the ring and ‘hitch’ it to the ball hitch.
Thanks for reading!