You will need:
· Vegetable tanned leather. For arm bracers, essentially leather armor, you’ll want thicker leather.
· Box cutters or a very sharp knife.
· Drill (or punch)
· Rubber mallet
· Ruler / T Square
· Edge beveller
· Stamps of various sizes
· Swivel knife
· 2 daubers
· Leather dye
· Some brown strings, leather thongs, or shoelaces
· Rubber gloves (suggested)
Step 1: Creating a Template.
If I knew exactly how big around your arms were I'd tell you
exactly what size to make this thing. Since I don’t know how big your arms are, you’ll just have to measure for yourself. I’ve found that the best way to make templates is to use brown paper bags or manila folders. You can cut and shape them to the right size and they are sufficiently rigid to trace around later.
Step 2: Tracing the Template Onto the Leather.
Trace the outline of the template onto the smooth side of the leather. Using the T-square or or ruler start cutting out the shape of the bracer. Be careful and take your time.
Step 3: Bevel the Edges and Make Sure Things Are Straight/even.
Use the edge beveling tool to go around the perimeter on both sides. This will both remove any stray marks from your cutting and also give it a nice even look. If you don't have a beveling tool, you can use a razor blade but it is difficult. Seriously, buy the beveling tool it'll save you a ton of time and it'll look way better in the long run.
Step 4: Measure and Drill the Holes From the Lacing.
I'm sure you've heard people say "measure twice and cut once", well they say it for a reason. In this case you need to be very careful things look symmetrical and the holes line up when it's wrapped around your forearm. The other crucial part of this step is making sure the drill is perfectly upright so the holes aren't all cockeyed. If you have a punch tool that would probably make this process a million times easier ... bu I don't have one ... so a drill will have to do.
Step 5: Find an Awesome Viking Design and Print It Up!
Find a sweet viking design and print it onto paper. I picked a dragon because they are awesome. If you've never carved and stamped leather before you should probably pick a simple one. Make sure what you print will also fit on your bracer...
Step 6: Wet the Leather With the Sponge and Attach the Design.
Get the leather damp with the sponge. Attach the design in the orientation you'd like. Use some small pieces of tape to hold it down if needed.
Step 7: Start Carving!
Using the swivel knife CAREFULLY start cutting out the design. Since you're just cutting through the paper as you go, I suggest working your way out from the middle so the paper retains it's place instead of having the perimeters immediately shredded.
At this point you'll curse the design you've chosen because of all those blasted curves and twists. "Why did I pick one some complex?" you'll ask yourself. Because it will look awesome that's why! (Keep this in mind so you don't rage quit over the frustrating aspects of the carving).
Step 8: Start Stamping
Taking the small stamping tools and the rubber mallet start tamping in the inner edges of the design. Try various tools to get the textures you want.
Step 9: Dying and Lacing
Once the leather is totally dry you can dye it. I choose a brown dye, because that's what I already had. I highly suggest wearing rubber gloves and putting some plastic down!
I suggest letting this dry overnight. You can use a sealing agent after the dye is dry as well.
Once all that stuff is dry you can lace it up and try it on!
Step 10: Now You Are a Viking Warrior!
Here are some of the other sweet viking things I made for this costume. PREPARE FOR BATTLE MY VIKING BRETHREN!
A viking helmet with Odin's Raven carving and a (fake) bear skin tunic with leather trim.