In this Instructable you’ll learn how to make a cool Bullet Studded Leather Cuff!
Although, a similar project has been made, I thought I’d still do it because I wanted to show an alternative way of making it without using expensive equipment. And that’s what’s great about this website. You don’t have to come here just to learn how to make something, it’s a great place to contribute by making something similar to what has already been done, but with a different approach.
Some projects are awesome, but can only be made if you have a specific tool or piece of equipment, so that means a lot of us won’t be able to make it and reproduce the results, but on the flip side it’s not so bad. Why? Well, because then that just might inspire someone to make it using regular items, building a simple jig, or just using another tool in a way that it can reproduce the results of a different piece of equipment.
So, let’s make a Bullet [Casing] Studded Leather Cuff!
Note: Always wear proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) when using tools and power equipment.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools
When one thinks of leather projects, he or she probably thinks, "Umm, no thanks. Leather is expensive." Well, actually if you look in the right places, like online shops or remnants at your local craft store, you may be able to get usable leather for just a few bucks. Before I list the materials and tools, I'd like to add that I've been using the same $5 2-lb bag of remnant leather from Michael's to make several items such as a minimalist slim wallet, coffee cup sleeves, cord holders, badge holders, key holder, and at least three cuffs/bracelets including the one in this Instructable!. The moral is: you don't have to break the bank or travel very far to work with leather.
- Two pieces of scrap leather (one thick and one thin) longer than 10" and at least 2" wide; the thin one will line the inside of the cuff
- Bullet casings (9 mm for this 'ible)
- Line 24/L24 snaps kit
- Contact cement
- Nylon Thread and needle (optional)
- Eco-Flo Edgeflex Ebony leather edge paint (optional)
- Utility knife
- 3/8" Leather punch (for bullet casings)
- Multi-hole wheel punch (for snap)
- Tin snips
- Needle nose pliers
- Diamond leather chisel (for stitching; optional)
- Lighter (optional)
- Metal Paddle/Spatula/Spudger [from my iPhone repairing days ;-)] (for leather edge paint; optional)
Step 2: Cutting the Leather
Note: Use caution when using sharp tools.
It is best to insert a new blade in your utility knife in order to get clean, straight cuts. Start by making a 10" x 1" rectangle out of the thicker piece of leather*. Once you cut out the rectangle, place it on top of the thinner piece of leather and trace it with a pen or marker. Cut out the shape you just traced and place it on top of the thick piece to see if they match in width. If not, don't worry, you can trim either piece later when you've glued them together.
*As you can see, I cut mine to 9 1/2", but you can go shorter or longer to begin with. As long as it can go around your wrist with some overlap.
Let's go punch some holes!
Step 3: Marking and Punching the Holes for the Casings
Before you punch the holes for the bullet casings and the snaps, you have to space them out evenly. But because the cuff straps are currently 9 1/2" long, you must cut them to fit around your wrist. The easiest way to do this is to wrap the thin leather piece around your wrist comfortably and making a line where you'll cut, leaving about 3/4" overlap. That's where the snaps will go.
Once you've cut both pieces to the proper length, lay the thicker piece flat and evenly spread out the five bullet casings and the snaps at each end. When you're happy with the placement, push down on the casings and twist a bit to mark a circle. Place the leather on a scrap piece of leather or a piece of wood, take your 3/8" punch, align it with the casing marks and strike it with a hammer or a mallet until it goes through. Do this with the other four circles.
The holes for the snaps will be cut after the cuff is assembled.
Step 4: Cutting the Bullet Casings
Depending on the height of the casing you want protruding from the cuff, you'll need to adjust the length of the slits you cut on the casing. For this cuff I made, I measured 8 mm (0.3") from the top of the casing and drew a line around the casing. That meant that I cut from the bottom up to that line. With the tin snips, cut slits all the way to the line around the casing. When you finish cutting the slits, use a pair of needle nose pliers to bend each piece outward at the line. Repeat for the other four casings.
With the tin snips, trim the pieces you just bent to about half the length, and with a rotary tool or sand paper, sand the edges to make the edges less sharp.
Step 5: Assembling the Cuff
Insert the five bullet casings into the holes and push them as far as they can go. Turn them over so the ends are on your working surface. Lay the thin piece of leather next to the piece with the bullets and spread contact cement on both pieces. Per the instructions of the brand I used, it said to wait 15 minutes before I joined the two pieces together. After you join them together, press around the leather cuff to make sure there is contact all around. After both pieces are joined together, you can leave the ends squared or you can even round them off or cut the corners.
Keep in mind that most likely the thin piece of leather you use will have a smooth side and a suede side, so whatever side you want against your skin, make sure it's facing your work surface.
Ok. At this point you should have a basic bullet [casing] studded leather cuff that is ready for the snaps so you can wear it! If you're happy with this, congrats, skip steps 6 and 7 to add the snaps! BUT what's that? You want to make it more "fancy"? Cool! Let's go to the next step!
Step 6: Stitching the Leather (Optional)
Like the step says, this is optional, but it makes the cuff look so much better. I punched stitching holes with the leather chisel along the edge. I don't own an edge groover, so I had to eyeball it. An edge groover is typically used for making a uniform groove along the edge of a piece of leather where the stitching is able sit below the surface of the leather. I used a black waxed nylon thread and stitched a running stitch pattern along the perimeter of the cuff. When I got to the last hole, I tied a knot and used a lighter to melt the ends together. Make sure to do this on the side that's going to be against your wrist.
Like the previous step, you could stop here and skip step 7 to add your snaps, but there is one more step that will take your cuff to the next level! Let's check it out!
Step 7: Finishing the Edges (Optional)
So you want to upgrade your cuff? This last step should get you there.
I used ebony edge paint and a metal paddle/spatula to spread it on the edge. I added two coats, waiting about 30 minutes in between. The best way to describe the application process with the paddle/spatula is to simultaneously drag the paddle to the side as you scrape it down. Check out the picture. :-)
Ok. Go over to the next step to add your snaps!
Step 8: Punching Another Set of Holes and Adding the Snaps
Before you add the snaps, you'll have to punch holes for them. Choose a size that is the same diameter or slightly larger than the snap post. I used 5/32" on the punch wheel. Place the matching snap pieces together on top of the little anvil that comes with your kit and strike it until the post goes as far down as possible and the snap is secure. Do this for both sides and test them out by snapping both ends together.
Note: Depending on the thickness of the leather, you may have to trim down the snap posts. If the leather is too thin, the post will be "too tall' that when you strike it, there's a chance that it will crumple crooked and it will result in a crooked snap.
Step 9: Rock On!
Thanks for taking the time to look at my Instructable. I've entered this Instructable in the Leather and Epilog contests and if I were to win a laser cutter [Epilog contest], then I would use it to make intricate designs on metal and on leather bracelets and cuffs.
Please don't forget to follow me here and on YouTube. If you want a chance to win one of the DIY projects I make, then head over to my YouTube channel and subscribe there. Thanks.
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I'll be giving away this bullet studded leather cuff to one of my YouTube subscribers in less than 30 days!