Introduction: Spaulder-Style Riveted Leather Armour Necklace

About: I have always loved the feeling of finishing the construction of an object and if I don't have something I need or want I usually give it a go to build it from what I have. Usually though, I look at a boring o…

I had some thick black leather and wanted to make something from it, but I was not sure what to make, so I thought about armour and when I looked more into that, I decided to make this cool necklace thing.

To make this, you will need:

  • Leather (Mine was about 3 mm thick, and I used about a 30X30 cm square of leather)
  • Nails (I used 43 nails, but I recommend having about 50 in case something goes wrong with some of them)
  • Soldering iron (If you want to burn a pattern into the leather)
  • Anvil or something else similarly strong
  • Hammer (with a convex/curved striking surface)
  • Something to poke holes in the leather with (I used a needle-like spike with a handle)
  • A board to hammer holes into (when punching the leather, unless you don't like your table)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil/pen
  • Pliers to clip nails with
  • Paper for a guide template
  • Optionally, you can use nail varnish or similar to coat the nails and prevent rust over time.
  • You will need a LOT of time to complete one of these. Mine took about 10-14 hours over two days, so be prepared.

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Step 1: Cleaning Nails and Cutting Shapes

The only nails I had, were these rusty ones that would have looked awful. So, I used a dremel tool and a file to remove the rust off the head of the nail and the top ~1,5 cm of the shaft.

To get all the leather segments the same shape and size, it is best to draw up a paper template first, then trace that onto the leather for each segment. The shape is up to you, and the size of the segments I used was 5 cm wide (along the flat side) and 4,5 cm long (from the flat side to the pointed end). In total, of the regular segments (not the middle back and front segments of the necklace), should add up to 20 (10 per side)

I was uncertain how many segments I wanted to use, so I started with 8 (4 per side) and added them from there until I thought it looked okay.

Lay your leather segments out on the table the way you think they should look on the necklace, all overlapping and flowing well without the edges looking uneven. Keep in mind that throughout the process of putting this necklace together, you will need to test it on your shoulders many times, so that it will fit neatly when it is complete.

Always make sure that both sides, left and right, are SYMMETRICAL in shape. it will not fit nicely if the shape is lopsided.

Step 2: Making Holes and Inserting Nails

Once your segments of leather are neatly laid out the way you want them to be, on a wooden board, poke holes in the back and front corners of each piece. (The "back" is the flat side and the front is the 3-pointed side.) I used a hammer and sharp spike to punch the holes through the thick leather.

This way, each segment should have 4 holes in it. The last two segments (more on those when we get there) have a slightly different hole pattern.

Remember, poke the holes through AS THEY ARE LAID OUT, not 'corner to corner', that would be for a straight line or belt. Notice in the first picture of this step, the underside of the first two segments I joined, how the angles of the flat sides are different. This is to account for the curvature of the Trapezius muscles of the neck.

Step 3: Riveting!

I apologize for the first picture being of the last segment, do not do that one yet! It was just the best photograph I had showing the nail through the leather.

Push a nail through a hole you made in the last step, so that it goes through the hole in both segments you want to join. (Picture 1)

Then, Using pliers, clip the end of the nail off. There should be about 2 mm of it sticking out of the leather, as shown in pictures(2) and (3).

place the pieces on an anvil (or similar) and use the round-tipped hammer to gently tap the clipped part of the nail, so that it "mushrooms" out a bit. Make sure that the shaft of the nail does not bend to one side, this can cause the leather segments to bend and look irregular. This process is time consuming, but the more time you spend here, the better it looks when it is done.

Once the part of the nail that was sticking out is flat and also looks like the head of a nail, you can move on to the next hole with a new nail. Repeat this process for the segments shown in (picture 6).

Step 4: Some More Riveting!

Keep on riveting segments together until yours looks similar to mine in (picture 2).

Test this on your shoulders again, with the two halves, and move it to where it feels it will fit best.then, add a few more segments to the top and bottom ends of the necklace, with almost no change in angle (straight lines)

At the back of the necklace, where the back of your neck will be, you need to make a special elongated segment that fits over the two half-necklaces you have made. Mine was slightly curved (Picture 5) and 10cm long, and 5 cm wide. Make yours longer or shorter according to what fits your neck best.

Rivet it to the top ends of both halves of the necklace, and test fit it again. If it looks like you won't be able to get it on or off over your head, add an extra segment or two.

Step 5: Centrepiece and Finishing Off

To make the central piece of this design, I cut out the shape shown in (picture 1) and made holes where it looked it would fit best with the two ends of the necklace (that hang over the middle of my chest)

I then used a soldering iron to burn a basic Fleur de Lis pattern into the middle piece, before attatching it with rivets.

To rivet it, I used two different points from what had been used in the previous segment riveting points. Pictures 5-8 show this more clearly than I can explain it.

Once you have done this, and maybe added some nail polish to the nails to protect them from rust, your spaulder-style leather necklace is done!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this instructable and found it useful.

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