Introduction: How to Work With Leather, a Gauntlet Design.
I designed these ages ago as a base pattern to add additional detailing too and then sell on, I do make to sell but I'll not be posting anything here for that because I'm not here to sell stuff just pass on my work and ideas.
I have changed the cover picture to better show the gauntlets in use, I'm wearing them with my full Ezio Auditore Assassins Creed 2 Cosplay I made (Currently in process of writing that as my next Instructable).
The Leather for this I used a 8-9oz (About 3.5mm thick) single shoulder.
Leather comes in all types and styles there are a number of places out there that will sell it remember to get the right stuff for the right job. Heavier leather (anything 8oz or higher) is very strong great if you are planning to make armour items as they will withstand a good hit from all LARP weapons and you'll barely feel a thing but the higher the oz, the more expensive it becomes. My best advice to beginners of using leather is to go to a leather shop and just have a feel.
Items & Tools required
Rivets About 42 Per Gauntlet
Eyelets About 18 Per Gauntlet
Leather Seal and Shiner
Pair of shoe laces
Small hole punch
Tailors Tape measure
Step 1: Measure, Measure, Measure.
This is by fair the must important step especially if you want this thing to fit comfortably for a long time of wearing. This is were the tailors tape will come in handy if you don't have one just use the shoe lace around your arm and then use the ruler to measure it. I'm English so I work in Centimetres.
Four main measurements are required The picture helps explain what they are.
The measurement A, The circumference of the thickest part of your forearm
The measurement B, The circumference of your wrist
The measurement C, The top length of your Hand from knuckle to knuckle is best
The measurement D, The length of your forearm
The measurement E, Wrist to knuckles
Now that all the measurements have been taken start with the A and B length and take 3cm of the total this will give a nice gap on the inside to allow room for the lace up. Then divide the A, B, and C numbers by 2 this will give you the base numbers you'll need to start the design.
Step 2: Time to Draw
Time for your creative side to come out to play. Start by drawing a straight line the length of measurement D this is the length you want the gauntlet to be. From the top point of D Draw a line out to the right the halved C measurement, Now measure down the D line with the E measurement from this point draw a line out to the right the halved B measurement. Then at the bottom of D draw a line out to the right the halved A measurement.
At the top and bottom of the D line add a couple of centimetres, you should end up with something like Pic 1
Now it's as simple as joining up the dots.
The bottom of D joins to the end of A then A Joins to the end of B, B to C and C to the top of D to end up with something like Pic 2.
Copy this over for the other side to create the full pattern. Once this is done I suggest cutting it out and wrapping it round your arm and just trim where appropriate.
Once happy with the final shape and size here is where you can be a little creative this pattern in itself is good but a little basic you could if you wanted just use this and then tool it with patterns or anything you like. for my design I made about 6 of these templates to then cut up to create the 5 sections my gauntlet has. Here it is entirely up to yourself and what it is you are looking to make.
Step 3: Cardboard Test
Cardboard Test pattern
This step can be missed if your confident
Right, now that you have finished all the tweaking you want and have the final paper version I advise you make a cardboard version to test it on a thicker material (preferable a card that is about the same thickness as the leather you will be working with later).
For me the card I use was a really heavy duty one (the bottom of an old Banana box) because I wanted this template to last multiple uses and the paper or thin card just wouldn't last and I'd be forced to make it again at a later date.
Step 4: Now for the Expensive Stuff
Now for the good stuff transfer the paper or card version you have created on to your leather I use a pencil to draw it on but for best results a ball point pen that is out of ink is by far the best option or if you want you can get a ball point stylus sold by most hobby craft shops, you really don't have to press hard on the leather as it will take the line really nicely.
Remember when doing the other gauntlet to turn the template over to create a mirror image otherwise you'll end up with two left or right gauntlets and that would be a great waste of materials.
Lets clean up the edges. First you'll need to bevel the edges, a beveller is a knife like item that cuts off a small amount on the edge diagonally. done on both sides it rounds the edge nicely then wet the edges slightly and then use a slicker this will just smooth the down so it isn't rough or jagged.
Step 5: Tooling
There is many options when it comes to detail, one option is to just add extra leather or rivets or even spikes these are easy additions. One of the main options when working with leather is tooling.
This is when you add detail like pictures or writing or well anything you can think of like the pictures included (This is a key card cover I made quickly one evening) Leather is an amazingly soft material and will keep any shape or pattern made on it.
To start with wet the leather, DO NOT soak the leather, you just want the surface to be a little wet. Then with a pencil or stylus just draw away to your hearts content. Many tooling stamps can be purchased to make this job much easier a starter set is available from Tandy leather which comes with a couple of leather templates to test your skills on and also a number of designs and a really handy instructional on how to do it.
Step 6: Colour
An assortment of colours are available for leather dyeing, Fiebings is the main brand I recommend to use and can be purchased from most leather shops.
For my project I went with a two tone each section a different colour, black or red to make it stand out you can use any colours you prefer.
To dye leather there is many ways to go about this firstly and by far the simplest just a basic artist paint brush dip in ink and brush on to leather try to spread evenly to get a nice even colour. Secondly there is a leather bath method, With this you will need a lot of ink, fill up a container large enough to hold the leather part and just dip the leather in to it remove after a few seconds dip the items again it the dye didn't covered it well enough the first time. And thirdly the main one advised for use with leather dyeing is the sponge. Dip the sponge in to the dye and apply on the leather part doing a circular motion again try to apply evenly.
Once the leather has completely dried with a damp rag gentle rub the leather this will remove excess ink that has not soaked in to the leather fully, After doing this you may need to apply a second coat of dye.
Drying can take a couple of days it is best to leave it as long as you can getting impatient at this point could completely ruin all your hard work, so wait trust me it will all be worth it.
About two days later.......
Make this sucker shine
Leather seal and shine is needed here basically apply the same way you have the dyes before, brush on sponge on personally I wouldn't recommend the leather bath option not sure how it will work. Leave to dry (This won't take as long as the dyes) for maybe an hour or two.
Another option which can be used now is a wax basically (I've never tried this myself will do one day but it's not an easy option) you melt wax to a liquid and then dip the leather in to it again let it dry and then when it is completely dye just scrub off the excess wax. You can find a better instructional for doing this online I'm sure.
Step 7: Let Out Some Rage
If you went with the same option as my design with a total of five sections or just want to add some detailing you will need to attach them all now. With mine I riveted, these can be purchased from any good hobby and craft shop or a haberdashery.
To rivet just use the hole punch to go through both pieces of leather so as to make sure the hole is in the right place on both sections place the two parts of the rivet together remember to place the leather between and if you have a hammer and rivet anvil just hammer away. Hit it as hard as you can let out any underlying anger you may have because this needs to be closed well or when you wrap it around your arm the rivets could pop open and that wouldn't be good.
These are pretty much the same just punch the hole where you want to lace holes to be and then place an eyelet in it and using the correct tool just hammer it closed. You don't have to have eyelets if you don't want to I prefer them for detail because they look good and are fairly cheap, Plus if you weren't to have them you will need to dye the inside of the holes or the raw leather colour will show through.
Step 8: Lace Up and Done
Finally it is over
So finally completed the thing, lace it up with the shoe laces and try it on, hopefully it will fit beautifully and will give you many years of LARPing or costume fun.
I hope that this instructable is of some help to you for any future projects you have. If there is any part you'd like a little more detail then please let me know and I'll do my best to help.
Step 9: Me
A little about me
Well you've read this far so why not a little bit more.
I promise i'll keep it short
I have been doing leatherworking now for about 2 years on and off (family comes first). I have always loved LARP, Cosplay, and re-enactment. But finding time and money to get everything was hard especially when you have a young child. So I decided to start making it for myself, a couple of my LARP friends liked my work and wanted me to make for them so I did they paid me and that's how I started selling my stuff.
If you are interesting in seeing some of my other projects please like my Facebook page called Darkwave Leather, Link below.
I'm always happy to help future leather workers so if there is anything I can help you with please get in touch.