Introduction: Wood Texture Leather Bracer Tutorial
Third Prize in the
Leather Goods Contest
Would you like to make this awesome wood bracer? Here is a tutorial on how to make the perfect piece your costume was missing or that cosplay accessory that will have people talking. Be a wood nymph or a warrior of nature with this wood textured leather bracer tutorial. :D
Step 1: Pattern and Material Gathering
Here I have provided a pattern but you don't have to go exactly by the pattern. Since tree bark has an organic form, you can just wing it. If you don't like every line that the pattern has, change it. It's your bracer and it should look the way you want it to look.
The pattern here will fit a wrist measurement of 6.5" and forearm of 11". If you'd like it made for your size, just add a little bit more to your pattern or take a little bit away to make it fit you. Do not make any holes for rivets until the very end after the bracer has been cut, dyed, and everything.
What you will be needing:
Leather 5/6 oz -7/8 oz is best for the body and 3/4 for the straps
self healing mat OR piece of cardboard
a plastic tarp
old shirt, towel, or unneeded fabric
bottle acrylic resolene
bottle black dye(oil or regular)
bottle medium brown dye(oil or regular)
cup of water
a paper plate or 2
edge beveler leather tool
rivet setter and anvil
2 snaps per bracer
6 rivets per bracer (whichever look or size you prefer)( make sure that the posts are long enough to go through the layers)
xacto knife OR box cutter
hard surface like cement or a marble slab
a few paint brushes in varying sizes
dremel for drilling holes or a leather holepunch
swivel knife (https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...
Step 2: Pattern Drawing and Tooling
Take your pattern and lay it over top of your leather(pic 1) Score the pattern into the leather by pressing down hard with something with a pointed tip(pic 2)(like a mechanical pencil with no lead, a ballpoint pen, or the leatherworking tool ballpoint stylus seen here.(https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...
Once you've scored the design down onto the leather(pic 3), draw it out in pen on the right side of the leather(pic 4,5).
Now that you've drawn out your shapes, wet the top of the leather(pic 6). You can run it under water or use a spray bottle. This will help with the tooling process, to penetrate the leather better. With your index finger in the u shape of the swivel knife tool(pic 7). Press the tip farthest from you down and swipe towards yourself(pic 8,9). Try this first on a scrap piece of leather so that you know how to do this part well. Use this tool to do all of your wood texture lines. Do not tool the border. The next step will be cutting out the shapes on the border.
Step 3: Cutting
Here's the part you're going to hate. The cutting.
First you're going to need to wet your leather(pic 1,2). Run it under water until it is wet most the way through on both sides. This should only take about 30 seconds.
Get out your xacto knife or box cutter and your self healing mat or piece of cardboard(pic 3). Set down your piece of leather on top of the mat and start cutting out those shapes. Do not use the edging tool on the top of the leather. When you keep it the way it is, you are keeping the rigidity that bark would have. Do use the edge beveler tool on the back side of the the leather(pic 4,5). Also use your scissors to cut more off of the detail edge on the back side.(pic 6)
For the two small pieces of leather that will be the straps, cut them out of the thinner leather. No trimming or edging will be needed for these pieces.
Now that all of your pieces look nice you can move on to the dying process. (pic 7)
Step 4: Deglaze, Dye, Finish
Lay down your drop cloth and put all of your pieces down on it, as well as your dye, acryllic resolene, deglazer, paper plate, cup of water, piece of fabric, and paint brushes.
Put on your rubber gloves.
Take your piece of old fabric/old towel/old shirt and cut it into pieces. You will need 4.
The first step to is deglazer. Take 1 of your 4 fabric pieces and dip it into the deglazer from the bottle. Wet the top of the leather only with the deglazer(pic 1). Do not soak the leather. You need to only make sure that the deglazer gets on there. It will wet the leather and disappear quickly. That's how you know you are doing it right.
After that is dry we can move on to dying. If you want to get the same color I got on my Bracer, you will need two parts medium Brown, one part black, two parts water. Just be careful not to put a ton of water in the mix. I put my mix on a paper plate.(pic 2)It is an easy surface that you can mix easily on. Do a quick stir of that mixture on the plate. Take another piece of fabric and dip it in your dye. Do a practice test on a scrap piece of leather so you can see how dark it appears and go from there.
Start by dying the back side of your leather pieces. Just get it on there. it doesn't need to be pretty. Just get the dye one and make sure it covers. Also use your paintbrush and paint the dye into the detailed edging of the bark. The other edges can just be dyed normally with your piece of fabric(pic 3)
Lay down a base lighter color.(pic 4)To apply it evenly, dip your fabric in the dye and apply very quickly with fluid motions following the grain of the tooling. Keep doing this until you get the desired base color. Make sure to bend the leather as you dye to get it into the tooled areas. It will appear darker in the crevasses if you get dye in them. If you are afraid you got a part too dark as you dyed you can quickly wipe away excess dye.
Once you've layed down an initial layer of dye, go back in with a paint brush and start putting the dye in between some of the tooled areas(pic 6). Have fun with it. Just make sure that you have a lot of contrast at this part. If the painted on dye is painted on subtly, it will loose all dimension when going onto the next step.
Do keep in mind that you will want it to go on a little bit darker than the intended finished product because everything will dry a little lighter.
If you would like, you can put in slash details or battle damage. i did this by simply taking the swivel knife and cutting accross very randomly. Then I took a paintbrush and filled in the crevice with dye. If you don't like this detail, just leave it out. :p (pic 7,8)
Once you're happy with your paint job, give it some time to let it dry. You can do this overnight or just wait a few hours to where its kinda dry. :P You will want to take a new piece of fabric and use that to buff the surface of the leather(pic 9) You will be able to see an immediate change in the surface. Don't over due it. It only takes a little bit of buffing. Just go back and forth following the grain of the tooling until you see a noticeable difference between the buffed and nonbuffed area.
You will be finishing with acrylic resolene. Make sure this is applied very well to the back side of the leather and brush it on for the edges. Every inch that was dyed needs this on it. Otherwise, dye will get on your clothing.
For the right side of the leather, take another piece of fabric and dip it in the resolene. spread it on the leather with the grain of the tooling. You only need a thin layer . Do this quickly and once an area is covered, don't go back over it. It will dry very very fast.
Step 5: Drill, Rivets, and Snaps
Now you can get this thing put together. You don't really have to wait for anything else to dry by this point since there will just be drilling and setting.
Line up the edges of two of the bracer peices. Overlap them and put a hole about a half inch away from the edge where they overlap. Do the same for the other peices and on both edges.
Once you've made your holes you can rivet those together.
When it comes to setting the rivets, there is a picture provided, make sure that you are holding the setter straight up and down when you go to hammer it is with your mallet. Same goes with setting snaps. Also make sure that when you are choosing a post size for the rivet that you choose one that will not pole out of the leather before you set it. If it does, it should be very minimal.
Once those are set you should be able to put the bracer around your arm. You now need to mark where the holes for the rivets in the straps will go. Once you've marked that in a place those fits well, drill the holes. Beofre you rivet on the straps, you need snaps on the straps. :p Here is a video on how to do that. If I try to explain it, I will confuse everyone. :p
Once you've got that done for both straps, rivet the straps into place on one side of the bracer. Wrap the bracer back around your arm and mark where the opposite side of the snap will go and set those snaps into place.
Once you've got that done, your golden. :D
Step 6: Done
Admire your work. Bask in the glory of your awesome new bracer that makes you feel so cool. :D Apply the technique to other pieces. Be creative!
Welp, I hope you liked my tutorial. Enjoy!
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