Introduction: Leather Wrapped Brass Jewelry

About: I like to make things.

An internet browsing black hole led me to the Crescioni - a beautiful collection of leather wrapped brass jewelry inspired by the spirit of the American west. I love the mix of natural fibers with metal, and I've done various jewelry and leather projects so this collection inspired me to combine the two.

With the help of my dad and his myriad of tools, we made these pieces over this weekend. I wore them on the plane back to San Francisco and I'm even wearing them now while I type this post. Needless to say, I love the results and hope you dig them too!

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

To make these pieces, you'll need:

  • Two leather needles
  • Waxed thread
  • Sharp razor
  • Leather (I'd recommend 1/16-in thick vegetable tanned leather)
  • Stitching awl (we used an old sharpened screwdriver)
  • Brass rods
  • Pliers

Step 2: Bend and Sand Brass Rod Into Desired Shape

Using your hands (you can also soften the brass using a torch and let it cool first), bend the rod into your desired shape. We made both a necklace and bracelet - the bracelet was a fairly standard oval shape and the necklace needed to bent at the back to fit comfortably.

When your desired shape is achieved, use pliers to cut the rod so that you can slid it onto your neck or arm. Make sure to sand the ends so they are not sharp and will not cut you or your clothes.

Step 3: Prepare Your Leather for Stitching

Cut a piece of leather to wrap around your brass rod. Leave enough room in the middle to wrap around the rod comfortably with room to stitch and then cut into the sides of the leather so that it can fit around your curved shape more easily. Using a pencil, mark every 3-4 millimeters so that you'll know where to puncture your leather as you start stitching. Fold the leather and puncture the first 3 holes so they appear on both sides.

If you are finding it difficult for the leather to wrap around your brass rod, try sanding it down on the "hair-y" side.

Step 4: Stitch Leather Onto Brass Rod

Thread your leather needles and using a saddle stitch, sew through the first three holes you made with the leather wrapped around your brass rod. Make another 3-5 holes, making sure the leather is hugging your brass rod tightly (that might mean deviating a bit above the pencil marks you made). Stitch through the holes and repeat until you reach the end of the leather. At the end, backstitch 2-3 holes and cut the thread close to the leather on each side.

Finally, cut the leather 2 millimeters away from the stitch to remove the excess material. You can then sand or burnish the edges to make them more smooth.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Wear it and rock it! If you're using vegetable tanned leather, it will change colors as it ages, giving it a more lived in vibe.

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