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How to Make Leather Wristbands and Keyrings

Leather Wrist Bands & Leather Key Rings

Leather Wrist Bands & Leather Key Rings

If you are looking for a great opportunity to try out all sorts of decorating techniques with leather, these simple wristbands and keyrings are the place to start.

Try them tooled or embossed, with the patterns highlighted and colored with stain.

Things You Will Need:

  • Scraps of thick leather
  • Snap fasteners or laces to fasten
  • Stains or paints for coloring leather
  • Stencils for tooling designs, or tool for embossing
  • Leather knife or razor blade
  • Hole punch and/or lacing chisel
  • Mallet - Rubber Cement - Pencil - Ruler

Leather Strap Wristbands

These are simply strips of leather. If you want, patterns can be just painted on in felt-tip marker, oil or acrylic paint. A leather that is a natural color takes the color best.

Try different types of lacing along the edges of the wristbands too. Make the holes for the lacing with a punch, or, if you want slits for flat lacing, with a lacing chisel and mallet.

Also try designs in studs and rivets, and if these make the band rough on the inside, line it with a piece of soft leather glued into position with rubber cement.

Attractive wrist bands can be made from two pieces of leather, a soft outer layer and a firm inner one which acts as a stiffener.

The top skin can be decorated with lacing, embroidered or with beads. glued to the stiff leather with rubber cement, and the edges overlapped and glued down on the inside.

A lace or snap fastening is then fixed in the usual way.

Or you can make a slip-on bangle in the same way over a ring of cardboard layers. To finish the overlap on the inside, stick a piece of lining leather in position.

Napkin rings and bandanna ties can be made by this method too.


Three-Strand Leather Braid

Figure 1: Three-Strand Leather Braid

Figure 1: Three-Strand Leather Braid

Five-Strand Leather Braid

Figure 2: Five-Strand Leather Braid

Figure 2: Five-Strand Leather Braid

Braided Leather Wristbands

For these use a thick, but reasonably supple leather.

  • Pencil mark on it, a strip 8½ inches wide, by 1 inches wide, (or by 1¾ inches wide for the five-strand strap).
  • Mark cutting lines to make the strands, for example two lines (Figure 1a) for the three strand strap, and four lines for the five-strand strap.
  • Make holes for a snap or lace fastening, and use stains to color the grain (shiny) side of the leather, following manufacturers instructions for use.
  • Color raw edges with a dark stain, and leave to dry thoroughly.

Now you can try your hand at braiding leather. It may look impossible, a bit like a Chinese puzzle, but it is really quite easy.

  • When making a three-strand braid, start braiding the strap at one end, passing the left strand over the center one first, three times, so that the strap is braided as in Figure 1b)
  • The strap braids at the other end automatically and needs to be unravelled, so pass the bottom end back between the strands as indicated by the arrow.
  • The strands will still be a little twisted, but never mind that for now, pass over a further three times until braid looks the same as Figure 1c.
  • Then thread the bottom end back as indicated, and this time the strands will resolve themselves.
  • Pass over twice more (Figure 1d), thread the end back as indicated, this time the strips will be twisted, pass over twice again (see Figure 1e) and when you thread the bottom back this time the strands will have resolved themselves again.

You now have your braided strap.

The five-strand braid is almost easier than the three-strand one. Cross over strands 1 and 5 (Figure 2a) and thread the bottom back as shown.

Then use the outside strands to pass over a further three times, thread the bottom back (Figure 2b) and with a little rearrangement of the strands, you now have the finished braid.

Figure 3: Simple Key Holder

Figure 3: Simple Key Holder

Figure 4: Decorative Leather Motifs

Figure 4: Decorative Leather Motifs

Leather Keyrings

For the case-type key rings in the picture, you will want to use a fairly thick piece of leather.

Cut your chosen piece of leather 4 inches by 6½ inches.

Stain it and decorate it on the grain side.

To hold the keys, buy the appropriate key case fitting or use a snap fastener and a small loop of leather to take a split ring like is shown in Figure 3.

As a decoration for the simple split ring variety, you can cut thick leather to various shapes and use them as they are, or lace them around the edges, and maybe add some tooling or embossing.

Then simply attached in one of the ways shown in Figure 4.

These are nice little crafts that are easy to make, fun to do, and can be done in any imaginative way you can think of.

They would also make a great Father's Day present too!

Thanks for stopping by & Happy Crafting!

© 2013 Dawn


남궁수민 on July 05, 2020:


fancypet on January 10, 2014:

I have been trying to find the 5 braid for a while. I use to work with leather as a teen, many years ago, and this was one of my favorite quick crafts to do. Thanks

Erin Lee from Somewhere over the rainbow ;-) on June 19, 2013:

thanks for your help on this! i am excited to get started!

Dawn (author) from Canada on June 18, 2013:

Thanks for the comment and the read.. I actually wrote a hub on the tools most commonly used. I found most of them on amazon, but you might find some of them at your local craft store, I know most carry the punches. Or try a tack store, they usually have tools for fixing harnesses or bridles and some saddle tooling items.

Erin Lee from Somewhere over the rainbow ;-) on June 18, 2013:

I love these but feel like I wouldn't be able to do them because I'm not familiar with the tools I would need, etc. Where would you buy these and is there a place you would suggest for leather making for dummies? I saw a great site that showed people using old belts to make new braceletts that I really wanted to try but I have no idea where to begin. Great Hub

Dawn (author) from Canada on May 06, 2013:

Thanks for the vote and the comment, there is no glue or sewing on the braid, the leather will hold the braid in place.

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on May 06, 2013:

Nice leather-craft work! The leather wrist band braids, do you glue or sew it down at the end to keep it from unraveling?

You should sell your crafts on etsy, if you're not already doing that. Voted up and useful.

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