Hey friends, Adrianne here with you for today's Sizzix Tutorial, to share a jewelry project with you that's close to my heart. I've really been enjoying using the Sizzix Bigz dies to cut leather. Leather is one of my favorite styles for creating jewelry designs. When I spotted Tim Holtz's Block Talk Bigz XL die, it got my wheels turning about being able to spell out exactly what I wanted, in leather. Sound intriguing? I'm really excited to share today's personalized leather cuff project with you!
Okay, here's where it's a little personal - the word "artist" resonates with me. But if that doesn't appeal to you personally, just think of all the possibilities with this design! There's room for up to 10 letters on this cuff (though limiting it to 6 will keep the word or name you choose front and center for all to see). If you normally work in paper, don't let the idea of leather intimidate you. I used many of the same techniques as you would in any mixed media layout, but this just happens to be a great, wearable accessory.
The Sizzix Fashion Cuff Originals die makes an easy base for your letters. You can visit your local leather shop and ask if they have upholstery scraps for sale to get your leather, it's often sold by the pound. It's an inexpensive way to get several soft pieces of leather in a variety of colors, and upholstery leather is perfect for jewelry. You'll also need a leather punch (pictured above is my hand punch, but I discovered when I got started that I really needed my hollow tip punch) an eyelet setting tool, and basic jewelry supplies (see below for the full list of supplies).
Die cut your leather by layering it on top of the die, and adding Extended Cutting Pads to the top and bottom to create your sandwich for the Block Talk die. When you die cut your letters, you can just place scraps over the appropriate letters. Be sure to place the leather smooth side facing down, toward the die, so that your letters don't come out backward. You can cut your letters all the same color, or to mix things up, try making one letter a different color, like I did!
Use a heavy duty glue to adhere your letters to the cuff. My personal choice is Gutermann Creativ, but you can also use E6000 or any heavy-bond epoxy-type glue. A little goes a long way, and any excess will show against the leather, so a thin coat is sufficient.
Next, use a hollow tip punch to punch 3/32" holes at the tops and bottoms of your letters. Position the punch where you want the hole to go, and hammer on the end of the punch until it cuts through the leather, creating a small hole. You'll need to do this on a hard surface like a steel bench block (this Tierracast eyelet setter serves as both a bench block and an eyelet setting base). The glue and eyelets working together are the best way for a long-lasting piece. The eyelets help keep the edges from pulling up, and the glue prevents stress around the eyelets.
Next, rivet the letters on. Set the eyelets in the setter base, layer on your cuff, place the setting tool on the narrow end of the eyelet, and hammer the end of the tool until the eyelet flattens. If you have used eyelets with paper before, the process is just the same!
Finally, attach chain to the edges of the cuff to make it ready for wear! If jewelry making is totally foreign to you, you can add leather lacing or a coordinating ribbon to tie the cuff on, but adding chain is a simple process. I cut two 1-inch lengths of chain, and attached them to each hole in the cuff with a jump ring. Connect the two lengths of chain together at the ends, and add a lobster clasp. The photo above shows me using a chain link to attach the clasp, but after some wear, I changed that link out for a smooth, round jump ring. If your chain is round, you can use a chain link, but I discovered that an oval ring did not work well for a smooth closure.
Repeat the process on the other end, adding two more 1-inch lengths of chain, and a jump ring to connect the two together. When using jump rings to connect jewelry parts, twist them open with jewelry pliers, then twist them closed again after attaching your hardware.
The end result is an industrial-looking fashion accessory that's comfortable to wear, and shows off a bit of your personality! I had a lot of fun creating and sharing this project with you today - see you soon!
Other Supplies Used:
- Leather scraps
- Gutermann Creative glue
- Hollow tip leather punch
- Tierracast copper 3.7mm eyelets
- Tierracast eyelet setting base and tool
- 4 inches copper chain
- 7mm copper jump rings and lobster clasp
- Flat nosed jewelry pliers