Leather Mystery Braid Cuff




About: With over 40 years in the supply business, Weaver Leather has developed a reputation for bringing you top quality leather, hand tools, hardware, machines and more.

Mystery Braid Cuff

Project Summary: Making a Mystery Braid Cuff is the main point of this tutorial, but the braid itself is a great decoration. In addition to the braid, we’ll set a snap, use a Round End Punch, cut parallel lines by hand and use a Leather Lace Stripper.

Approximate Time to Complete: ½ hour

What You Need:

4/5 oz. Natural Veg Tan or Suede, Approximately 3/4" by 12" (04-530S-4/5, 11-1202SS-4/5, 11-1201VC-4/5,Suede)

Steel Square (3608)

Heavy-Duty Scratch Awl (CSO4-2)

Polyhead Mallet (65-2521-9)

Master Tools Round Strap End Punch (00076-3/4)

Poly Cutting Board (65-2916)

CS Osbourne #245 Belt Punch (CSO245-2)

Leather Lace Stripper (optional) (65-2966)

Utility Knife (65-2860)

4P Snaps, Nickel Plated (0004P-NP)

Snap Setter found in Setter Kit (65-6275)

Rawhide Mallet (65-2520-11)

Quartz Tooling Slab (3238)

Step 1: Measure Your Wrist for Size

Measure the circumference of your wrist using a measuring tape or a piece of string, and add 1 inch to that measurement. (This will be your snap to snap measurement) In this tutorial that measurement is 8".

Step 2: Mark Snap Hole

Lay your leather strap against your Steel Square and come in 1", making a mark with your Awl (this will mark your first snap hole). We need the extra leather on the ends to round with our Strap End Punch.

Step 3: Mark and Trim

Slide your leather strap so the mark you just made is now at the end of the Steel Square. Make a mark with your Awl at the measurement you got in Step 1 (wrist circumference plus 1"); now you have your snap holes marked. Make another mark 1" from there for the end of your cuff and trim it with your Utility Knife.

Step 4: Round the Ends

Take your Round Strap End Punch and Mallet and round both ends of the strap.

Step 5: Punch Holes

Using the 1/8" Belt Punch and Mallet, punch a hole on either end of your strap where you marked your snap holes.

Step 6: Cut Parallel Lines

You will now need to cut two parallel lines in your strap in order to braid it. If you are using the Leather Lace Stripper, simply set two blades in the stripper; one at 1/4" and one at 1/2". Take your strap and starting about 1/2" from the snap hole pull your strap through, stopping 1/2" from the other snap hole. You now have two parallel lines.

Step 7: Utility Knife Lines

If you don’t have a Lace Stripper, you can use a Utility Knife and Steel Square to cut your parallel lines. Take your Square and come in 3/4" from the snap hole and make a mark at 1/4" and 1/2". Do the same for the other end of the strap.

Step 8: Cutting With Steel Square

To cut the lines take a piece of scrap leather, the same thickness as your strap, and lay below your strap to shore up your Steel Square so it won’t tip down while cutting.

Step 9: Cutting With Steel Square

Lay your Steel Square along the marks closest to you first and, using your Utility Knife with the blade angled down, cut along the edge for your first line. Make multiple cuts to get through the leather if needed.

Step 10: Cutting Line #2

Rotate your strap and do the same for the second line. You should now have two parallel lines cut into your strap.

Step 11: Braiding Your Strap

You are now ready to braid your strap. If possible, slide the snap hole over a nail in your table or work bench to keep the strap in place.

Step 12: Braiding Your Strap

To keep the braid looking clean, start the braid by bringing the first strap under the middle strap instead of over. You will need to count your turns as you braid. It is important to keep the braid very tight so you have enough room to untangle later in the steps.

Step 13: Braiding Your Strap

Make four turns of the braid, and then you will need to start untangling the bottom of the braid. Take the strand furthest on the right and pull on it; this will bring the bottom tab of the bracelet up. Pull the tab up, over the middle strand and then down through and pull. You will still have some tangles that will be removed in the next step.

Step 14: Braiding Your Strap

Make two more turns of your braid so you have 6 turns total, and then pull the strand furthest to the right apart. This will bring your bottom tab up; pull it up and out and you should have the bracelet untangled.

Step 15: Braiding Your Strap

This is considered one set. Repeat the above set and do another full set: four turns, untangle, two turns and untangle. This will bring you about halfway down the strap.

Step 16: Relax the Braid

Now you are ready to relax the braid. Take your strap and flip it so the other end of your strap is over the nail hole.

Step 17: Relaxing the Braid

Start braiding from the other end, this time going over on our first turn. You will see the braids will start feeding into each other and the braid is more relaxed and not as tight.

Step 18: Flip and Make Tweaks

Once you get to the other end, go ahead and flip the bracelet again and make any tweaks if needed to make sure the braid is consistent all the way down.

Step 19: Soften the Braid

Remove the cuff from the nail and run it along the edge of the table to set the braid, soften it up and make the braid more consistent.

Step 20: Set Your Snaps

You are now ready to set the snaps.

Step 21: Set Your Snaps

Take the two back pieces of your 4P Snap and lay the male piece on your Marble Slab, slide the cuff onto the Snap (suede side down) and place the female Snap piece on top. Use your Snap Setter and Mallet and give it two quick hits to set. If the snap is still loose, give it another tap.

Step 22: Set Your Snaps

Take the cap of your 4P Snap and place it in the Anvil of the 4P Snap Setter.

Step 23: Set Your Snap

Place your strap, top grain side down, onto the Snap cap and slide the female Snap piece on top. Use your 4P Snap setter and Mallet to set the snap, making sure the Snap is secure but not crushing it.

Step 24: Completion

Your Mystery Braid Cuff is now complete!



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    19 Discussions


    Reply 2 years ago

    Crafting leather isn't expensive at all. The best free leather source is curbside furniture. I always carry a foldable razor knife, so if I spot a leather couch someone has thrown away (curbside waiting for garbage pickup) I can cut a a large sheet of leather off of it. I tend to harvest from the back side.

    You can also get leather pieces from local craft stores, or order it directly through places like Tandy Leather. I used to have a connection at a local furniture company, and would get free leather scraps (small pieces to them, but quite large for my needs) that had been dyed various colors.

    I'm sure you can find leather for sale on sites like eBay and etsy as well. Good luck!


    Reply 2 years ago

    i've always found it quite expensive, when pricing leather strips & cord for beaded bracelets, but i absolutely LOVE your ideas. i've never seen leather furniture discarded in my low-income neighborhood, but i'll keep my eyes open, anyway. i'll definitely see if any stores will give me discards! thanx x^)

    Hello. We sell leather at weaverleathersupply.com. It will depend on the type of leather you need as to what price range it will be in! Do you have a specific project in mind? Thank you!


    2 years ago

    man! this has driven me nuts since i first recall seeing it {in the '80s}. it's like a magic trick, whose secret is only shared among magicians! thanx for the instructions, weaver!! :^D


    2 years ago

    Great project, about 25 years ago I bought a belt made this way and I have always wondered how it was braided. Thanks.

    1 reply

    Hello. If you're using twine or rope you could braid the 3 strands before attaching leather pieces at the ends with snaps to hold them together! Thank you for your comment!


    2 years ago

    Excellent instructions. I'm an elderly occupational therapist that used to use leather craft as a form of therapy in the treatment of severely impaired psychiatric patients many years ago. It was my favorite craft of many (ceramics, tile, art, woodcraft, metal craft). Nothing more versatile. You could find or do anything from the simple for a very depressed patient who needed a quick boost and couldn't attend well, to the most complex for the person with the need to focus and expend energy. Leather connects people, and you can personally wear or use the product. The smell and texture add to it all.

    Over the years I naturally invested my self in it as a hobby and developed my own skills. It became my favorite craft. I've instructed a LOT of people, as you can imagine, many of whom were impaired by their illness. But I've never seen such clear, skilled and enthusiastic instruction as yours. As a society we don't do anything more than heavily medicate patients, and I had to leave that area and move to other parts of occupational therapy (orthodpedic) as inpatient psychiatric care disappeared. My time was invested in study and constructing braces and orthotics. Gave away my leather tools (DUMB!!).

    Bravo. You have the ability to enthuse the viewer, convey each step, and pass on topnotch skills. Man, I wish I had your skills! (and still had my tools). Best intractable I've seen in a long time.

    1 reply

    Hello. Thank you so much for the comment! Leather Crafting is our passion and we love hearing that you have that passion as well! Leather really is versatile and you can be used in so many different projects and areas in life! If you would like to check out more tutorials on our website, please see the link below:


    Thank you again for your feedback!


    2 years ago

    Once you have succeeded at this project, try it with a 5 strap braid.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Love this simple, but complex. I always wondered how those worked. Thanks for sharing!!

    1 reply