Here is my simple technique to make a personalised leather key ring with an embossed lettering effect. I have decided to colour the letters, but this is entirely optional. It looks good in plain leather as well.
Step 1: Parts and Equipment Needed
- PVA Glue
- Key fob hardware
- Acrylic paint (optional)
- Acrylic varnish (optional)
- Soldering Iron
- Flat piece of wood (I used an old chopping board)
- Paint brush (optional)
Step 2: Prepare the Leather
Cut two pieces of leather the same size and slightly larger than the keyring that you want to make. Apply the glue to the rough side of one of the pieces and stick on the other piece, rough side to rough side. Place your piece of wood on top of the leather and weigh it down to keep the leather flat while it dries. I used a large bottle of water as weight.
Step 3: Design Your Lettering
Once the glue has dried, mark out the tab where the key fob hardware will be attached. This will give you the starting point for your keyring design. Now draw your design onto the leather with pencil.
Step 4: Embossing the Letters
Here I use a soldering iron to produce an embossed effect. Place your leather onto the piece of wood to protect the surface you are working on. Using the conical shaped tip, trace around your letters by pushing the soldering iron into the leather in a series of small holes. You want to push through the top layer of leather but not through the bottom layer. Take it slowly and gently and you will be fine. Continue the holes until you have traced over the whole design.
Cut out your keyring. Remember to leave the tab that you marked for attaching the key fob hardware.
If you do not want to paint your keyring, jump to step 6: Fitting key fob hardware.
Step 5: Painting
Using a small brush, paint your letters with acrylic paint. I also decided to paint around the edge of the keyring using the same purple I used for the letters. Allow to dry thoroughly and then apply a coat of acrylic varnish over the whole keyring to seal in the paint. Allow varnish to dry.
Step 6: Fitting Key Fob Hardware
You can buy special tools for this but I find the following technique works perfectly well.
Align the key fob hardware with the tab you left for it on your leather keyring. Take your piece of wood and gently lay it on top. Now firmly push down to flatten the metal. Turn the whole keyring over and push down again from the other side to make sure it is tightly compressed.
You now have a finished personalised and embossed leather keyring. Enjoy!