Handmade Jewelry Using leather: Striking Necklaces, Earrings and Cuffs

Handmade Jewelry Using Leather: Striking Necklaces, Earrings and Cuffs


Leather makes a versatile jewelry making material for creating bold, textural statement pieces. From tough lacing to supple suede, leather offers endless possibilities for necklaces, chokers, bracelets and more.

This guide covers techniques for cutting, tooling, stamping, staining, and assembling leather into striking jewelry designs. Find inspiration in project tutorials for chic leather earrings, etched cuffs, and bohemian chokers. Discover how leather’s durability suits daily wearable art.

Benefits of Leather for Jewelry Making

Leather offers unique advantages as a jewelry material:

  • Tough yet flexible for comfortable wearable jewelry
  • Develops a patina over time that adds antique character
  • Makes affordable statement pieces in any color imaginable
  • Accepts textural impressions like stamping for added visual interest
  • Feels ultra smooth and sensual polished into a high sheen
  • Suitable for both delicate and substantial weighty designs
  • Pairs beautifully with metals, gems, feathers, and beads
  • Allows relatively easy DIY fabrication compared to metalwork

Essential Leatherworking Tools for Jewelry

Specialized tools help cut, shape, and texture leather:

Must-Have Leather and Supplies

Gather these essentials for leather jewelry making:

  • Leather scraps – Repurpose leather clothes or use leathercraft remnants
  • Leather cord – Braided or twisted cords for necklaces and chokers
  • Vegetable tanned leather – Versatile for most jewelry items
  • Tooling leather – Stiff surface accepts deep impression well from stamps
  • Suede – Ultra soft with a brushed nap, ideal for comfortable cuffs
  • Dye – Tint leather to any hue. Oil-based Spirit Dye penetrates best
  • Edge paint – Covers and seals the white raw inner leather edges
  • Jewelry findings – Connect leather components into finished looks
  • Clear sealant – Protects finished leather pieces from dirt and scratches

Step-by-Step Guide to Making Leather Jewelry

Follow this general sequence for foolproof results:

  1. Design and measure the jewelry piece
  2. Use templates to cut leather pieces to specified shapes and lengths
  3. Punch holes as needed for findings before assembly
  4. Dampen leather then texture through stamping, carving, moulding, etc.
  5. Trim edges with beveller and edge slicker while leather is still moist
  6. Apply edge paint to finished edges and let fully dry
  7. Dye and stain leather if desired, then seal and protect surface
  8. Assemble leather components, adding any beads, gems, or chains
  9. Attach clasps, crimps, and other findings to complete jewelry piece

Easy Leather Jewelry Techniques to Try

Master these basic skills to make leather a jewelry go-to:

  • Braiding – Braid 3 or more strands together then knot or glue ends for chokers
  • Lacing – Straight or crisscross stitch strips together with waxed thread
  • Riveting – Use a rivet backing plate to join layered leather sans sewing
  • Knotting – Tie strips into decorative knots like square knots for macrame style chokers
  • Edge Stitching – Sew borders with thick waxed thread using a saddle stitch technique
  • Cutout shapes – Use leather hole punches or swivel knives to cut abstract shapes
  • Wrap loops – Glue and wrap strips around rings or bangles into textured wrap bracelets
  • Stamping – Impress words and patterns deeply into leather using metal stamps and a mallet

Advanced Leather Jewelry Making Techniques

For intricate work, advance your skills with these methods:

  • Tool leather into 3D forms using molds and lots of pressure to achieve crisp results
  • Incorporate hardware like grommets, buckles, and eyelets for closures and decoration
  • Create intricate etched textures by carving grooves with a swivel knife freehand or around templates
  • Try specialized edge stitch techniques like saddle stitching using two needles and waxed thread
  • Make cutout filigree designs by using very small sharp scissors or a piercing saw
  • Brush on acrylic leather paints and use a toothpick to draw fine details
  • Inlay wood, stone, or resin pieces into carved out pockets on leather pendants
  • Emboss by pressing texture sheets beneath leather as you tap with a tool from above

Inspiring Jewelry Designs Using Leather

Looking for ways to transform leather into striking jewelry pieces? Get inspired by these ideas:

  • Wide tooled leather cuffs with symmetrical floral carvings
  • Braided leather lariat necklace with bead and feather charms
  • Laser cut leather bib necklace etched with abstract nature shapes
  • Extra long leather tassel earrings made from thin cowhide strips
  • Stamped leather choker necklace with meaningful words and symbols
  • Oval resin cabochon pendants framed by ornate leather bezel borders
  • Geometric leather pendant layered with suede triangles and metal studs
  • Southwestern style leather wrap bracelets pairing with chunky turquoise bead strands
  • Vintage watch face insignias framed by hand cut leather filigree in steampunk brooches
  • Rustic charm necklace made from tiny stamped leather shapes hung along leather cord

Tips for Perfecting Your Leather Jewelry

Use these techniques to elevate your leatherworking skills:

  • Mask off straight edges with painter’s tape when dyeing irregular leather shapes
  • Diligently seal porous suede pieces so they don’t absorb moisture and darken
  • Use leather edge paint matching the leather color for invisible finished edges
  • Line jewelry display busts with felt to prevent leather pieces from peeling off stands
  • Emboss veiner sheets on the leather’s rough backside to transfer textures cleanly
  • When braiding, ensure all strand lengths match precisely for even finished pieces
  • To avoid ripping, use leather hole punch sizes just meeting but not exceeding the rivet or eyelet diameter
  • Test leather sealants first on scrap pieces to ensure it doesn’t alter surface color or texture


Leather makes a sensational jewelry material for artisans wanting to create bold, durable statement pieces. With some basic leatherworking skills, you can hand cut, tool, rivet, and braid leather elements into striking designs.

Choose high-quality vegetable tanned tooling leather for taking crisp impressions and vivid dyes. Contrast matte and glossy textured leathers for visual interest.

Let leather lend its rugged yet refined vibe to your jewelry line. Make tooled and stamped chokers and cuffs for rugged bohemian style. Mix with delicate gemstones and metals for balance with leather’s earthy richness.

Unleash creativity crafting leather into jewelry that captures personal style. With quality vegetable tanned leather, limit is only your imagination on ways to make it into wearable art.

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