Wood Texture Leather Bracer Tutorial




Would you like to make this awesome wood bracer? Here is a tutorial on how to make the perfect piece your costume was missing or that cosplay accessory that will have people talking. Be a wood nymph or a warrior of nature with this wood textured leather bracer tutorial. :D


Step 1: Pattern and Material Gathering

Here I have provided a pattern but you don't have to go exactly by the pattern. Since tree bark has an organic form, you can just wing it. If you don't like every line that the pattern has, change it. It's your bracer and it should look the way you want it to look.

The pattern here will fit a wrist measurement of 6.5" and forearm of 11". If you'd like it made for your size, just add a little bit more to your pattern or take a little bit away to make it fit you. Do not make any holes for rivets until the very end after the bracer has been cut, dyed, and everything.

What you will be needing:

Leather 5/6 oz -7/8 oz is best for the body and 3/4 for the straps


self healing mat OR piece of cardboard

a plastic tarp

old shirt, towel, or unneeded fabric

bottle acrylic resolene

bottle black dye(oil or regular)

bottle medium brown dye(oil or regular)

cup of water

a paper plate or 2


edge beveler leather tool

rivet setter and anvil

snap setter

2 snaps per bracer

6 rivets per bracer (whichever look or size you prefer)( make sure that the posts are long enough to go through the layers)

xacto knife OR box cutter

hard surface like cement or a marble slab

a few paint brushes in varying sizes

pattern printout

dremel for drilling holes or a leather holepunch

swivel knife (https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...

Step 2: Pattern Drawing and Tooling

Take your pattern and lay it over top of your leather(pic 1) Score the pattern into the leather by pressing down hard with something with a pointed tip(pic 2)(like a mechanical pencil with no lead, a ballpoint pen, or the leatherworking tool ballpoint stylus seen here.(https://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/en-usd/home/de...

Once you've scored the design down onto the leather(pic 3), draw it out in pen on the right side of the leather(pic 4,5).

Now that you've drawn out your shapes, wet the top of the leather(pic 6). You can run it under water or use a spray bottle. This will help with the tooling process, to penetrate the leather better. With your index finger in the u shape of the swivel knife tool(pic 7). Press the tip farthest from you down and swipe towards yourself(pic 8,9). Try this first on a scrap piece of leather so that you know how to do this part well. Use this tool to do all of your wood texture lines. Do not tool the border. The next step will be cutting out the shapes on the border.

Step 3: Cutting

Here's the part you're going to hate. The cutting.

First you're going to need to wet your leather(pic 1,2). Run it under water until it is wet most the way through on both sides. This should only take about 30 seconds.

Get out your xacto knife or box cutter and your self healing mat or piece of cardboard(pic 3). Set down your piece of leather on top of the mat and start cutting out those shapes. Do not use the edging tool on the top of the leather. When you keep it the way it is, you are keeping the rigidity that bark would have. Do use the edge beveler tool on the back side of the the leather(pic 4,5). Also use your scissors to cut more off of the detail edge on the back side.(pic 6)

For the two small pieces of leather that will be the straps, cut them out of the thinner leather. No trimming or edging will be needed for these pieces.

Now that all of your pieces look nice you can move on to the dying process. (pic 7)

Step 4: Deglaze, Dye, Finish


Lay down your drop cloth and put all of your pieces down on it, as well as your dye, acryllic resolene, deglazer, paper plate, cup of water, piece of fabric, and paint brushes.


Put on your rubber gloves.

Take your piece of old fabric/old towel/old shirt and cut it into pieces. You will need 4.

The first step to is deglazer. Take 1 of your 4 fabric pieces and dip it into the deglazer from the bottle. Wet the top of the leather only with the deglazer(pic 1). Do not soak the leather. You need to only make sure that the deglazer gets on there. It will wet the leather and disappear quickly. That's how you know you are doing it right.


After that is dry we can move on to dying. If you want to get the same color I got on my Bracer, you will need two parts medium Brown, one part black, two parts water. Just be careful not to put a ton of water in the mix. I put my mix on a paper plate.(pic 2)It is an easy surface that you can mix easily on. Do a quick stir of that mixture on the plate. Take another piece of fabric and dip it in your dye. Do a practice test on a scrap piece of leather so you can see how dark it appears and go from there.

Start by dying the back side of your leather pieces. Just get it on there. it doesn't need to be pretty. Just get the dye one and make sure it covers. Also use your paintbrush and paint the dye into the detailed edging of the bark. The other edges can just be dyed normally with your piece of fabric(pic 3)

Lay down a base lighter color.(pic 4)To apply it evenly, dip your fabric in the dye and apply very quickly with fluid motions following the grain of the tooling. Keep doing this until you get the desired base color. Make sure to bend the leather as you dye to get it into the tooled areas. It will appear darker in the crevasses if you get dye in them. If you are afraid you got a part too dark as you dyed you can quickly wipe away excess dye.

Once you've layed down an initial layer of dye, go back in with a paint brush and start putting the dye in between some of the tooled areas(pic 6). Have fun with it. Just make sure that you have a lot of contrast at this part. If the painted on dye is painted on subtly, it will loose all dimension when going onto the next step.

Do keep in mind that you will want it to go on a little bit darker than the intended finished product because everything will dry a little lighter.

If you would like, you can put in slash details or battle damage. i did this by simply taking the swivel knife and cutting accross very randomly. Then I took a paintbrush and filled in the crevice with dye. If you don't like this detail, just leave it out. :p (pic 7,8)

Once you're happy with your paint job, give it some time to let it dry. You can do this overnight or just wait a few hours to where its kinda dry. :P You will want to take a new piece of fabric and use that to buff the surface of the leather(pic 9) You will be able to see an immediate change in the surface. Don't over due it. It only takes a little bit of buffing. Just go back and forth following the grain of the tooling until you see a noticeable difference between the buffed and nonbuffed area.


You will be finishing with acrylic resolene. Make sure this is applied very well to the back side of the leather and brush it on for the edges. Every inch that was dyed needs this on it. Otherwise, dye will get on your clothing.

For the right side of the leather, take another piece of fabric and dip it in the resolene. spread it on the leather with the grain of the tooling. You only need a thin layer . Do this quickly and once an area is covered, don't go back over it. It will dry very very fast.

Step 5: Drill, Rivets, and Snaps

Now you can get this thing put together. You don't really have to wait for anything else to dry by this point since there will just be drilling and setting.

Line up the edges of two of the bracer peices. Overlap them and put a hole about a half inch away from the edge where they overlap. Do the same for the other peices and on both edges.

Once you've made your holes you can rivet those together.

When it comes to setting the rivets, there is a picture provided, make sure that you are holding the setter straight up and down when you go to hammer it is with your mallet. Same goes with setting snaps. Also make sure that when you are choosing a post size for the rivet that you choose one that will not pole out of the leather before you set it. If it does, it should be very minimal.

Once those are set you should be able to put the bracer around your arm. You now need to mark where the holes for the rivets in the straps will go. Once you've marked that in a place those fits well, drill the holes. Beofre you rivet on the straps, you need snaps on the straps. :p Here is a video on how to do that. If I try to explain it, I will confuse everyone. :p

Once you've got that done for both straps, rivet the straps into place on one side of the bracer. Wrap the bracer back around your arm and mark where the opposite side of the snap will go and set those snaps into place.

Once you've got that done, your golden. :D

Step 6: Done

Admire your work. Bask in the glory of your awesome new bracer that makes you feel so cool. :D Apply the technique to other pieces. Be creative!

Welp, I hope you liked my tutorial. Enjoy!

Check my out on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ginoza-Costuming-and-More/284096438319400

Or etsy: https://www.etsy.com/people/GinozaCostuming?ref=hdr_user_menu

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    32 Discussions


    Tip 7 weeks ago

    so i'm hardly an expert, but i do have something to say! when you wet your leather in general you shouldnt work it right away. for the best effect when tooling leather, you should wait until the leather has returned almost to it's normal color, and is still cool to the touch. more, your leather should never be sopping wet. you get crisper cuts and if you do it juuust right, your leather will burnish as you cut it, producing naturally darkened areas that are lovely.

    that said, for this particular piece, ignoring the 'rules' a bit seems to work out :P.


    6 months ago

    Hi there. Thank you for posting this. It looks absolutely awesome. I am new to leather working and I am happy I found this DIY. Could you possibly show/explain where on the forearm you measured and also the wrist please? I just want to make sure I am doing this correctly.


    2 years ago

    looks Bad-Ass! :)


    3 years ago on Introduction

    This is sweet! I'm the guy that saw the shirt tonight. :) Great work!!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on your win and thank you for sharing! Good luck with all your next projects!


    4 years ago

    Very nice and thank you very much for sharing. I have added this to a druid ensemble I have been working on - now I have the cloak, staff, bracers. This is a long term project for me, and I am still searching for the right boots (I may design the boots around your bracer design), and general clothing (or robe).


    4 years ago

    very well done! excellent leather work. that said, this would not do as a bracer. a few modifications would make it authentic. If the strapping were positioned on the side of the wrist/forearm rather than the inside as well as having the layering start from the hand end of the piece rather than from the elbow end, this could actually be used as a functional. I do realize it is intended solely as a costume piece and this certainly is outstanding for that purpose. But, if someone wanted to make this as a badass piece for archery, some tweaks would need to be made. cheers!

    8 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Nathan,id actually like both,id like to do a matchibg set but one of us does archery,could you do a quick sketch of what would be needed to make it functional for archery,doesnt need to be fancy or a full tutorial,im just a visual learner..lol


    Reply 4 years ago

    You could probably just take the straps out and extend each peice so they come together at the inside of your forearm and then add eyelets instead. That's probably what i would do


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This is what I came up with real quick. Note how the layers start at the hand and shingle upward. This will allow the bowstring to slide rather than catch on the layers. Second the straps moved to the outer arm keeping them out of the way of the string. on the original design one could accomplish this by simply twisting the bracer, but that would change the aesthetic and might be uncomfortable if the pointy bit is in the crook of the elbow. On the modified design, the point is shifted to the left. Does that make sense? Also as I am writing this I noticed that on my drawing, the snap closest to the hand should probably be moved up one level so as to attach both layers of leather.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you for responding,one of the reasons i love this site,everyones usually so nice,not feral and territorial like a lot of craft sites.Well,im not seeing your sketch,but i think im getting the gist..hmmm


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks for the feedback. Yes it is just for costume purposes but It's still nice to know that there is a way that it can be used as a functioning piece of leather. :D

    The Ramblerbginoza

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    This is kind of a question of semantics. Technically a bracer is for archery so all the above points are true. However, if you simply called it a vambrace instead of a bracer it would immediately change the intended use and then it would be perfectly fine.

    No offense meant to nathanjshaffer of course. Just wanted to point out the difference between the two pieces of armor.

    nathanjshafferThe Rambler

    Reply 4 years ago

    hardly semantics. I was pointing out the fact that if someone were to use it as a bracer, they would need to make some modifications to keep the bowstring from catching on it. If you have ever had the rather unpleasant experience of having a bowstring slap your arm or catch on your clothing or bracer, then you know the importance of how one is designed :)

    After a biking accident where I took a chunk out of my elbow I accidentally ripped the scab off with my bowstring. It was not pleasant.

    I wasn't arguing that your points were semantics but rather that they were based on the semantics of which term is used to describe this. In other words, a bracer is for archery while a vambrace is merely forearm armor. By simply calling it a vambrace you change the intended use of the piece. To me this seems more like general forearm armor anyway, intended to deflect blows rather than strengthen your form and protect you from your bowstring. Once again, I didn't mean to offend you or start an argument I was just pointing out that there was another term that could be used that might be more fitting.


    4 years ago

    Gorgeous ! And even better than the ones i made for my "Oakiel" character :-) Is the corset piece straight line or is any of the inside made to corset specs ?

    2 replies

    Reply 4 years ago

    Yes corset specs. I cut out the corset pattern pieces minus seam allowances.


    Reply 4 years ago

    Id love to see a tutorial for that ! I make corset but have never worked with hard leather.love to know how you dealt with seaming,sew/ leather glues ?does it have coutil liner or just leather ?boning,etc :-) love to even see pic of inside,back also
    Feel free to pm msg at Rayyvyn@yahoo.com is you want to answer any of my ramblings,lol


    4 years ago

    Dude. You are hella pale...