Nordstrom's can't keep these things in stock, so learn how to build your own! Then you'll never be stuck without a leather wrapped stone!
Check out the video description if you'd like links to nearly everything I used.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
First and foremost, you're going to need some Leather and a Stone. For the stone, you'll want to find a smooth and someone interesting one that fits in your hand... more or less. The leather should be roughly an 1/8 inch thick.
You will probably need some of these things too...
Needles - http://amzn.to/2gBncpi
Waxed Thread - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Rotary Cutter - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Square - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
4 Prong Punch - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Spring Clamps - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Utility Knife - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Self Healing Mat - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Mallet - http://amzn.to/2hrTLDq
Step 2: Prepare Your Leather
I filled up a plastic tub with some hot water and let the piece of leather soak in it for about 5-6 minutes. Once it was soft, I cut it down using a square, rotary cutter and a self healing mat so I had two pieces, roughly the same size that were about 1" wider than the stone on the sides and bottom. In hindsight, I could have cut the piece of leather down to size prior to soaking the entire thing, but it's no problem to dry the extra leather out and use it for another project.
Step 3: Time to Stretch and Form
I let the pieces of leather and the stone soak for another minute before beginning the stretching and forming. It's surprisingly easy to stretch the leather over the stone and I found this step the most enjoyable. I started placing spring clamps loosely, moving them in tighter and tighter until the shape took form and started to look good. Once I was happy with the shape, I used a heat gun to set the form by drying out the leather that was contacting the stone.
Once the leather is sufficiently dry, you can remove the clamps and remove the stone.
Step 4: Punch Holes for Stitches
Using the marks left by the spring clamps as a guide, I punched holes into the leather one side at a time with a 4mm, 4 prong diamond punch and a mallet.
Step 5: Stitching
This is the most time consuming step, but it's very nice to see the piece come to life. I went with a saddle stitch on this one since it lets you really cinch the stitch down and pull the two pieces of leather tight around the stone. As a rough gauge for how much waxed thread I would need, I unraveled enough thread to wrap around the rock 4 times. Unlike traditional hand sewing of fabric, the needle isnt placed in the center of the piece of thread. Instead, a needle is threaded onto each end of the thread and is "locked" onto the thread by feeding the needle through the thread. It's hard to explain, but it makes sense when you look at the picture provided. Even without locking the needle, the waxed thread does a good job of holding it on.
For a saddle stitch, each needle goes through each hole in a opposing pattern. This lets you pull each stitch tight before moving on to the next one and is a very durable stitch. (see picture)
I worked my way around until the halfway point and then placed the stone back inside the leather. I used a pair of vice grips to help hold the stone in place until the stitching started to pinch the rock into place. Once I was on the final hole I used a razor blade to trim the leather at the top so it was perfectly even. Not sure how it became un even, but it was an easy fix. Once it was done I finished off the last stitch by looping it through the last hole and cut the thread.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
I used a pair of tin snips to remove the bulk of the material and a sharp utility knife to remove the rest of the excess material. I tidied up the edges on the belt sander and applied a heavy coat of mineral oil and beeswax before buffing it out.
This started off as a joke but midway through I had a change of heart. The work that goes into this freaking thing is a lot more than I expected. The price set by the original artist, http://madesolidinla.com, is completely reasonable for the amount of effort and materials that go into making it. I don't know why you'd want one... not sure why I wanted one.. but here we are! This was my first time working with leather and I found it enjoyable. Leather work is an amazing medium to work with and I will be doing more of it.
Step 7: Finish Up Your Christmas List...
If she hints that she'd like a rock for Christmas, you get her a rock! I should calculate how many carats this one is...