Hello and welcome all you boy-lovers!
While I don't have any little boys of my own to play with yet, I do have a husband and brothers and brothers-in-law to make things for. And--truth be told--I think the boys in our lives that are over the age of twelve are the ones who are really the hardest to take care of when it comes to all things handmade. Such was the case for me a few months ago.
My husband and I decided early on (July-ish?) that we were going to give handmade gifts to everyone on our Christmas list this past Christmas. We spent the following months planning a variety of fun gifts for our family members. One by one each gift was completed and ready to give.
Except one. Bryan's younger brother had us stumped. What on earth do you make for a 16 year old boy? We of course wanted to give him something that he'd like and use, but we still wanted it to be handmade by us. We tossed around a few ideas, but finally settled on a leather cuff. It was simple, we already had all the materials on hand, and--most importantly--we were pretty sure he'd actually like it. (And he did!)
So today I'm going to walk you through how to make a leather cuff (or twenty) of your own. But before we get started, here are just a few of the reasons I'm so in love with these leather cuffs:
- They come together super quick and easy. Reading through this tutorial will take you about ten times longer than making the actual cuff.
- They're super sturdy. This means they're ready to withstand the hard-working life of your man, or the ruff-and-tumble play of your little boy.
- They're super versatile. While this tutorial focuses on how to make a manly cuff, you can easily make a more feminine version for your the girls and women in your life.
Let's get started!
-For personal use only
-Please do not use this tutorial to make items to sell
- a piece of leather*
- snap pieces
- snap attachment tools
- rotary cutter and mat (optional)
- measuring tape (optional)
So you'll know what to buy, here are a couple quick close-ups of the snap tools and snap pieces I like to use:
|This is what the tools set includes.|
|I really like the look of this "Antique Brass" color, but other colors are available too.|
The leather is a random scrap left over from a book binding class my sister taught last year.
The hammer is an heirloom given to my husband by my Granddad. It's the hammer he used to build one of the houses my mom grew up in.
Step 1: Cut
Most of the leather pieces I've used to make cuffs in the past have been the perfect size and shape for cuffs just as they were in their raw scrap form. But this piece of leather started out like this:
TIP: My best advice for how to cut your own is to be creative. Overlapping layers of different widths really have a lot more visual appeal than straight lines on top of each other. Try to visualize what it will look like as a finished piece. And just remember that you're making a one-of-a-kind item. So there's really no right or wrong here.
Also, remember that wider = masculine, skinnier = feminine.
Step 2: Mark snap placement
To do this, grab a straight pin and poke it through the top layer of your cuff. This will mark the spot where the top part of your snap will go. Keeping your cuff in place on the wearer, use another straight pin to mark the spot on the bottom cuff layer, just below your first pin.
There should now be one pin on the top cuff layer marking your snap placement, and another pin on the bottom cuff layer marking the snap attachment.
Step 3: Get to know your snap pieces and attachment tools
|Top snap pieces and corresponding tool pieces|
|Bottom snap pieces and corresponding tool pieces|
In addition to the pieces of tools that assist in attaching your snaps, there are also three other tool pieces you'll be using. One of them we'll talk about in a moment. Here are the other two:
The little rod piece: This piece, on the other hand, you cannot do without. So make sure you don't lose it. Ever. This is what makes it possible for you to get those snap pieces through your big thick piece of leather.
Step 4: Prepare leather
Step 5: Attach top snap pieces
TIP: Be firm, but don't hammer it too hard or you could smash your snap pieces.
Step 6: Attach bottom snap pieces
TIP: I like to double-check and make sure I'm putting things together right by wrapping the cuff around like it will be when someone is wearing it. This will help you have a clear idea of which snap pieces need to be where.
|Top of bottom snap piece|
|Bottom of bottom snap piece|
Step 7: Attach more snaps (optional)
To add another snap, grab the smooth top piece of your next snap and hold it on the cuff where you want your next snap to be. Firmly push your new snap piece into the leather. This will help mark your new snap placement.
TIP: Make sure to leave at least 1/2" or so of space in between your snaps so things don't get bunchy.
Follow steps 5 and 6 to attach your second set of snap pieces.
|Top of cuff with double snaps|
|Bottom of cuff with double snaps|
For additional leather cuff
The cuff seen in this tutorial is
And because I know boy-friendly supplies and handmade gifts can be hard to come by, you'll find a variety of fun sewing supplies and gift items on sale in the shop this week. Want some free shipping on top of that? Just enter the coupon code "CELEBRATETHEBOY" at checkout.
Hooray for boy things!