Tooled Leather Cuff




About: I like to think of myself as a renaissance man. I'm interested in a lot of things, but most importantly I'm interested in learning, being capable, and doing things for myself. I've learned to knit, sew, and ...

This is a pretty simple leather snap cuff I made as my first foray into leather tooling. I cut a strip of leather out of a scrap piece and used some basic leather working tools to personalize it.

Step 1: Design and Tooling

I used a pencil to sketch the design I wanted directly on the leather. Fairly simple, a dove in front of a sunburst. Once I had the my design drawn I used a swivel knife to cut it out.

Honest moment: This really was my first experience tooling leather. Because of that I didn't really know what I was doing and it was very much a learning experience. I started with the dove and I actually sort of carved the leather out, which is why that part looks very rough. I quickly realized that was most definitely not the way it was supposed to be done. I had thought that the stamps were just meant for additional texture and hadn't realized they were actually a necessary part of the process. Can you tell I was epxerimenting and not doing my research?

Anywho, all in all I still don't think the bird turned out terribly and I used a textured stamp around the sunburst to make it pop out and to shade around it.

Step 2: Setting Snaps

To add snaps to the cuff you need a hole punch and a snap setting kit. I figured out where the snaps should go by holding it around my wrist and eyeballing it... you can measure if you want.

When punching the holes for the snaps always use the hole punch closest in size to the snap post. Usually one side of the snap is bigger than the other. the process is pretty simple but easy to mess up (I've ruined several snaps and rivets from just hitting it wrong, having the hole too big, etc.). First push the post through the hole. Then set it on the appropriately sized bump (they're numbered) on the "anvil". Set the other half of the snap on top. Then take the metal driver, place it on top of the snap, and whack it a couple times with your mallet. It's basically the same process for both the male and female ends. But for the male end the driver has a dimple in it that sits on top of the male end and for the female side the driver is slightly concave and sits on top of the rounded top of the snap.

If that doesn't make much sense the pictures should give you a fair sense of the order in which you should put the snaps together.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

I used an edge beveler to round the edges a bit and then went over them with an edge slicker.

And voila! You have now made your very own leather cuff.



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