I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m in love with the leather jewelry trend that I’ve seen the last couple years. My first experience with these leathers was at Bead Fest Philadelphia back in the summer of 2012, when I spent an obscene amount of money on several colors and styles of “licorice” leather and brought it home to play. I discovered that these leathers were fantastic for making quick (and not-so-quick), stylish bracelet making projects using seed beads. And it’s not just the licorice leather that’s invading the jewelry-making supplies of thousands of beaders around the country: there are things like fish leather, metallic leather, and leather cord that are being incorporated into these fun bracelet making designs.
Working with leather for my bracelet making projects required me to take a look at what kinds of jewelry-making supplies I had on hand, especially for projects that involve stitching and embellishing the leather, and I’ve got some recommendations for essential beading supplies and tools that you will want to have handy for working with leather:
1. Glover’s needles. I can’t stress enough how important it is to use glover’s needles for doing any kind of seed bead work with leather. I learned the hard way that using a regular beading needle just won’t work for most types of leather, including the super-cool fish leather. Not only will you break your beading needles, but you may end up injuring yourself like I did, and find yourself with half a beading needle inserted under your fingernail. (Can I just say: OUCH!) Glover’s needles have a special diamond-shaped point that will easily go through most thicknesses of leather, and I’ve successfully used a size 10 glover’s needle to add size 15 seed beads to a beaded leather cuff bracelet-making project.
2. Glue. I’m one of those people who has always had trust issues with glue. I’ve seen even the most trusted brands and types of glue peel apart or lose their hold on jewelry after just a short while. So I was absolutely delighted to discover the EuroTool Super New Glue during my leather-buying binge at Bead Fest. This stuff is the real deal — I’ve had nothing but great results when I use it on my leather jewelry-making and bracelet making projects. It was even strong enough to attach a heavy, handmade ceramic cabochon to one of my favorite leather cuff bracelet designs. But take care when using this glue: I discovered that it creates such a strong bond that it will even glue fingertips together. (Really! Ouch, again!)
3. Hole punch. A hole punch can come in handy when you’re making jewelry from leather. A hole punch can help you open up a space to insert a needle, stitch on a bead or two, or add a clasp to your finished piece of beaded jewelry. My hole punch pliers are perfect for poking holes in thin leather scraps or strips when I need to add beads and findings. If you don’t happen to have a hole punch pliers, you can also use a good, sharp awl (be careful!) and a hammer to make tiny holes in your leather. When using the awl and hammer method, make sure that you have something sturdy between the leather and the surface underneath it in case you suddenly find yourself with a lot of tiny holes puckering the surface of your dining room table.
If you’re ready to branch out into the world of leather jewelry-making and bracelet making projects, you’ll love the new Ultimate Leather Jewelry Starter Collection. Not only will you get fourteen fantastic leather jewelry projects, you’ll also get the leather and jewelry findings you need to get started on your projects right away! There are a very limited number of these fun leather jewelry-making kits available, so make sure you snap yours up today. Find out why we love leather enough to offer the Ultimate Leather Jewelry Starter Collection, now available in the Beading Daily Shop!
What are your must-have recommendations for leather jewelry-making tools? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your picks with us!