I was fascinated by the mystery braid leather cuffs so decided to learn how to make one.
You will need.
- A piece of leather about 1 to 2 inches longer than your wrist. I used some veg tan shoulder.
- A press stud or snap
- A cutting board
- A sharp knife
- A metal rule or straight edge
- A punch and setting tool for the snap
- Leather dye / finish
Step 1: Cut a Strip of Leather
Cut a strip of leather to your desired width. I did mine at about 3/4 of an inch.
I always start with a long straight edge and create a clean edge on my leather to work from then carefully measure and cut the strip. If you have a strap cutter, that will make this even easier but if not, a knife and metal rule work just fine.
Step 2: Cut to Length and Round the Corners
You want to cut the strip to about an inch longer than you want it
Round over the ends either using a coin or metal disc to shape or an end punch if you have one.
Step 3: Cut 2 Parallel Lines
This is the step that needs the most care.
Leave about an inch at either end to set the snap / press stud and then mark out 2 parallel lines. If your strap is 3/4 of an inch, you will want to have your cuts at 1/4 of an inch in from each side.
Take your time, don't try and cut through in a singe pass.
Step 4: Punch Holes for the Snap Fasteners (Press Studs)
Find the centre of the strap and offer up the stud to get the right positioning and then punch a suitable size hole. My press studs came with a setting kit that included the punch and setting tools.
To keep things even, once I punched the fist hole, I lined up the 2 ends of the strap and marked through the 1st hole to get the positioning for the second hole.
Step 5: Braid the Leather (including the Magic Step)
Now for the interesting bit, to braid the leather.
If you've ever braided hair the process is very similar. ( Whilst I have no hair, I do have a daughter so I have some albeit very limited practice :-) )
I thought it might help to dye the leather 3 different colours so you can see what's happening. So I've dyed it with Turquiose, Tan and Orange. Actually, I quite like the effect it gave when braided.
Step 6: Braid Step 1: Bottom Under the Right Hand Strip
Pass the bottom of the band under the right hand strip (Orange)
- This step is to remove the tangle that would build up because the ends are connected
Step 7: Braid Step 2 - Left to the Middle
The blue strand goes to the middle over the brown (tan) strand.
Step 8: Braid Step 3 - Right to the Middle
The orange strand goes to the middle over the blue strand
Step 9: Braid Step 4 - Left to the Middle
The brown strand goes to the middle over the orange strand
Step 10: Braid Step 5 - Bottom Under the Left Hand Strap
I put a weight onto the braids I've already done to keep them in place, then we need to take the next detangling step.
You want to push the bottom of the strap under the left hand strip It's a bit tricky so I've tried to show lots of pictures showing where it goes.
Step 11: Braid Step 6: Right to the Middle
Bring the blue to the middle over the brown
Step 12: Braid Step 7: Left to the Middle
Move the Orange to the Middle over blue (Blue Orange Brown )
Step 13: Braid Step 8: Right to the Middle
Bring the Brown Over the Orange to the middle ( Blue Brown Orange)
Step 14: Step 6: Repeat
You should find that the "tail" is now untangled and you have your 1st braid set. For the "Mystery Braid" to work out, you have to make your braid out of a multiples of this sequence. You can repeat braid steps 1 to 8 as many times as you wish / will fit to get the braid as tight as you want it.
As I repeat, I cover my 1st braid set to help me keep track of where I'm up to.
Step 15: Step 6: Even Out the Weave
After 2 more sets, I'm happy with the number of braids I have but you can see they aren't very even.
Your next task is to work up and down the braid loosening and tightening to get an even braid.
Once you are happy that it's even rub the back of your braid over the corner of a table, this will help to flatten out the braid and make it look good.
Step 16: Step 7: Set the Snaps ( Press Studs)
To set your snaps, follow the instructions that came with your brand of snap.
Step 17: Finished! ( Optionals)
So that's it done, you've completed your mystery braid.
My suggestions for to change things up would be
- Try different types of leather
- Try more than 3 strands ( there are youtube videos showing braids with more than 3 strands if you need help with that)
- Experiment with different paints and dyes. I only dyed the leather to make it easier to show what was happening for this instructable but I love the effect
- Use the braids for other ideas. Mystery Braids can be used for Zip pulls, Belts, Bag straps and more.
I hope you've enjoyed this instructable, I've created a really short you tube video to accompany it which you can find here:-
My YouTube Channel is here.... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCw2OgUFqYdz5tFpjVm2vW7g?view_as=subscriber
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