Introduction: Make a Leather Action Figure

I first made these Leather Action Figures as gifts for friends, they are easy to make and allow for lots of artistic license, let your imagination go wild. My most popular figurine is The Wizard, which I’ll detail here. I have also made Angels, Witches, Santa, Bell Choirs and Church Choirs (see pictures). The Witch was a gift to Joanne Worley when she played the Wicked Witch of the West in the Off Broadway production of The Wizard of OZ in 1998. Have Fun!

What you'll need to do this:

Materials:

Pattern

4-6 ounce veg tan leather scraps

Super 77 3M Spray glue or equivalent

Horsehair (any color)

Toothpick

Waxed stitching thread (any color)

Super Glue

Accelerator

Water based acrylic paints (Cova Color or equivalent)

Super Sheen

Tools:

Work space

Scissors

Super Shears

Scalpel

#2 or 3 Edge Beveler

Variety of Paint Brushes

Ball Point Modeling Tool

Lacing Punch or hole punch

Stitching Needles

Skiver

Adjustable Creaser

Mallet

Sponge

Dremel (optional)

Step 1: Getting Started.

Print patterns. They were drawn with AutoCad 2004

Rough cut patterns out.

Lay patterns on the rough side of the leather to optimize use of the scraps.

Then spray a light coat of #77 3M spray glue on the backs of the paper patterns, just enough so they’ll stick to the rough (flesh) side of the leather.

Using the Super Shears cut out the leather parts carefully following the lines.

Using a scalpel carefully cut the center oval from the head piece.

Peel the paper patterns off the leather and discard.

Step 2: Layout Guides and Skive

Using the Adjustable Creaser, layout lines about ¼ inch from edges on the sleeves, hat and body.

On the body, use the lacing punch on the layout line on the straight sides and punch stitching holes, stop about a ¼ inch from the curved edges, making sure that there are the same number of holes on both sides.

Use the Edge Beveler and bevel all edges on the skin(smooth) side for a more finished look.

Skive the rough side along the straight edges of the sleeves so that during glue up the seam will be smaller

If you want to trace a pattern into the leather body, like the spiral and star shown, now would be a good time to do it.

Step 3: Glue Up the Parts

Roll the hat into a cone and super glue the edges together, using accelerant here makes this a bit easier.

Then roll the sleeves and glue, I overlap the edges and make them right and left (the top edge overlaps the bottom edge).

Add support/stiffness to the head piece by applying Super Glue on the rough side of the leather and allow to dry. This allows the head to support the weight of the hat.

Glue the head into the hat (make sure the hat seam is to the back of the head!)

Step 4: Paint, Decorate and Make a Wizards Wand!

I painted the parts with a wash of Cova Color, because I wanted a look that resembled worn fabric.

After the base color is applied and dry do the details, around the “cuffs” of the sleeves, the “hatband”, the bottom of the “robe”. Paint the “Spiral Star” or whatever detail you add. Allow to dry.

My original was stamped with gold stars (see pics).

Lastly, coat each part using a damp sponge with Super Sheen, allow to dry then buff with a sheep wool piece. This will seal the leather and shine it up. Alternatively, use Satin Sheen for less shine.

Take a round toothpick and using a Dremel with a grinding stone bit in it carefully decorate the wand, insert the dragon feather(optional) then stain the wand with a some brown paint set aside to dry.

Step 5: Assembly Time!

Sew the body cone first using the waxed thread and needles, start at the neck and work your way down. I used the baseball stitch on this one to butt the edges together. This is just like lacing your shoes, there are several different stitch styles you can use. Tie the thread off at the bottom

Attach the head to the body, you may have to trim the "neck" to get it to fit into the neck hole. Use Super Glue and accelerant to make this a bit easier.

The "hands" are right and left with the skin side to face away from the center of the body and the rough(flesh) side to be the palms. Decide if your Wizard will be right or left handed and wrap the appropriate hand around the wand and glue with Super Glue.

Attach the "hands" to the inside of the sleeves, remember that the sleeves will drape over the "arms and wrists" and hang down.

Attach the completed arms to the body in a position that looks natural with more Super Glue.

Moustache and beard time, decide the age of your Wizard and choose the color horse hair that best represents his age. My original was sort of based on Merlin in the Disney movie "Sword and the Stone" So he got a long white beard and moustache. This Wizard is younger and has a "Goatee".

Make the horsehair bundles by cutting a small bunch off that is longer than you envision(you can trim to shape after gluing on) and glue to the face in the correct position. I found that putting a drop of superglue on the head and putting accelerant on the hair that they would bond immediately. After dry trim to preferred shape.

Step 6: Community Time!

Viola! You have created your first Leather Action Figure. The possibilities are endless! I hope you have enjoyed my very first Instructable! Thanks!

Comments

author
DIY Hacks and How Tos (author)2015-10-04

Very nice design for ornaments.

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