Leather Watch Strap




About: Just trying to make a perfect final product

Today I'm going to teach you how to make a leather watch strap. This will take a while so don't rush. First you'll need a few tools. Don't worry this watch throughout this instructable is a fake rolex, maybe ill put this strap on a real one one day.

Step 1: Tools

These are the tools you'll need to make this strap. Some of these tools are improvised or made by hand in place of a tool you can buy. Links below for the real deal. What I didn't include in this picture is a large swatch of leather, fabric glue or elmer's glue and a hole puncher.

Real burnishing tool: https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/search/...

Hole Punch: https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/search/...

Beveling Tool: https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...

Stitching Groover: https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...

Step 2: Initial Strap Cut

Cut two straps of leather both of which are the same dimensions. Be sure to make the width the same as the distance between the two lugs. These are my specs: 20mm x 22cm. Then fold one strap in half than fold the other one so there is about 3cm one one side. Fold it there, then fold the 3cm over. I clamped these to crease them more and you can see where the folds were. This will help in the next step.

Step 3: Thinning

The next step is to thin out the leather at the fold points. I used an xacto knife and scraped back an forth switching direction once in a while. It doesn't need to be drastically thinner than the rest of the leather but just enough to make it fold easier.

Step 4: Cutting the End

There isn't a great way to do this without a punch, they do sell them but I don't have one. I believe the best way is to fold a paper in half and cut it how you want it to look, then tracing it down onto the leather and cutting from there.

Heres where to get an end punch: https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...

Step 5: Stitching Holes

This is where the chisels come in. First I used my flat chisel attached to a pen cap contraption to make a groove along the edge. Put the pen cap up on the edge of the leather and run the chisel along the leather. Then, on the groove, start marking holes with the pointed chisel or fork. To keep it as even as I can, I put the first two points on the chisel in the last two points I made. when I get to the curve I only keep the first point on the chisel on the last point.

Step 6: Inside the Strap

Inside the strap is another piece of leather. Mine is made of a different type of leather that is thicker and stiffer. It can be made from the same swatch of leather as the rest of the strap. I lined up the leather so it was just a bit thinner in width than the stitching. Then I lined up the piece of leather with needles poked through the holes. I then glued it down with fabric glue. Normal Elmer's glue would work but don't use a lot. You don't want the glue making the strap too stiff.

Step 7: Repeat Last Step

This I just the same as the last step. Make sure to keep the flap at the end.

Step 8: Buckle Hole

I measured how wide the tang of the buckle is and marked it. I then Folded over the flap and cut on the marks. It was just trial and error until I had the buckle move in the way I want.

Step 9: Time to Sew!

This is a fairly easy step. Just go through each of the holes and once you get to the end. Only half the holes will be filled to just go back through each other and they should all be filled. Then just tie it off and depending on the type of thread burn the ends. Check the picture for very important annotations.

Step 10: Edge Finishing

Check the pictures for each step of finishing.

Step 11: Hole Punch

This is make or break, it is difficult to make the holes an equal distance apart and all in line. Even in this one the last hole is slightly off. If you don't have a hole punch (which I suggest getting, its amazing), I first used a small pipe and a hammer. It isn't as good but it works okay. This is the last step, I put the conditioner on it at this stage but congratulations and enjoy your watch strap.

Step 12:

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17 Discussions


9 months ago

All I had was an old note book with a cheap leather cover, a razor blade, a needle and thread and a pair of scissors so what I did was far from perfect but a good attempt. I'll make sth Better as this trial made me smile. Took me roughly 3 hours to make because of the stitches.

1 reply

Reply 9 months ago

This looks great for a first attempt! Love the color. I've been working on this project again recently; I should be uploading another instructable for a watch strap that's a bit more refined than this one as well as having my designs available. Watch this space if you're interested


3 years ago

How long does this take you to make one?


4 years ago on Step 12

Very Nice 'Ible! Excellent work, very inventive, and a nice looking strap! If I may suggest... Try using either dacron or nylon thread of a slightly heavier denier (gauge) than standard sewing thread. Standard (cotton-based) thread will disintegrate from sweat and body oils in very short order. And the very thin sewing thread could cut through the leather. A slightly heavier thread will look good because the stitching is really an integral part of the design. You can find a tool called a "Safety Stitcher) at <http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result?q=leather+stitcher?> for very little cash that will make better stitches, that will not "pucker" your material if you draw them too tight. Tandy has the same stitcher for a lot more money. Very nice job!

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the advice! I agree the thread was a bit too thin, especially looking at it after the stitching was done. Thanks for the link to the tool, I might get one of those eventually.


Reply 4 years ago on Step 12

What I found for a very nice off-white coloured 100% cotton thread that I used to fix my handbag was to get some cotton string from the hardware store that turned out to be 3-ply, unwind it and just use 1 ply, and wax it with beeswax.


4 years ago on Introduction

I doff my cap to you, on such clear instructions, innovative tools and first class results.


4 years ago on Introduction

Great instructable! I dont have much experience with working with leather but I felt like I could probably make this after I finished reading it. Thanks!


4 years ago on Introduction

I think what impressed me more than your finished strap was the ingenuity that went into making your tools. As a leather crafter, I've put a small fortune into my supplies and know how crazy expensive they can be. Your solutions, to that, were fantastic. We're in some of the same contests but I think I'm going to throw in a vote for you. Great work.


4 years ago on Introduction

This is great work, well done! Did you make all of the straps shown in the final photograph?

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! The final photo was some of my earlier straps arranged in a progression from the first one I made to the more recent ones.


4 years ago

Amazing. It's just beautiful. And great for those who have larger or smaller wrists.