Thursday, February 7, 2019

Making Leather Bracelets with Magnetic Lock Clasps

I have used leather in my jewelry before but there are so many projects and kinds of leather to consider when you want to utilize or expand your leather crafting skills. In a previous blog I discussed the challenge of picking out the leather and color as well as showed how I have added leather to my collection of handmade earrings. As with leather earrings, I have challenged myself to learn some new ways to incorporate leather into my bracelets.

Maroon Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Maroon Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I made this leather bracelet last year. This bracelet has maroon leather with an orange boho style, brass rectangle in the center that I made. The rectangle is natural brass which I applied patina and sealant to. The soft maroon leather provides a color contrast with the orange rectangle. I used micro screws and nuts to attach the metal to the leather. The leather I used is 3 mm wide, approximately 1 mm thick. It has a simple snap closure.

Trio of leather bracelets by BayMoonDesign
Trio of leather bracelets by BayMoonDesign

This is a fun trio of leather cord bracelets in orange, yellow and black with very cute bee and beehive beads. Ceramic bee charms, artisan enameled floral bead, and lamp work beehive beads make this a piece of art jewelry with a story to tell.

Making bracelets can be a challenge to begin with. There is the necessity to size the bracelet correctly which can range from easy to maddening. Personally, I love to have any quick easy design that allows for flexibility in length. I found a few styles of leather bracelets that are quick to make and size easily. I recently obtained some leather samples from Sun Enterprise so I decided this was a perfect time to create some leather bracelets in another kind of design.  This time I am designing leather bracelets with magnetic clasps.  I have never worked with them before.

Sun Enterprises is a leading manufacturer and supplier of leather, locks, silk, and jewelry components. They are based in The Netherlands, ship goods across 55 countries, and work extensively with jewelry designers, artisans, jewelry makers, goldsmiths , wholesalers and hobby stores. I was amazed by their huge collection of leathers and locks. I revisited their online catalog for ideas and to look at their hardware.

 Leathers and an assortment of sliders

                                                      Leathers and an assortment of sliders

I gathered my supplies together before beginning:
magnetic clasps

Super Glue 

Super Glue is the key to attaching the magnetic clasps that I used with the leather. I was dubious that the glue would be strong enough to satisfy me. I tend to over build my jewelry because I don't want a customer to ever tell me something I made fell apart! These magnetic clasps add lots of style to the bracelets as well as being very secure and easy to attach with Super Glue.

Triple Wrap Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Triple Wrap Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

For my first bracelet, I made a triple wrap bracelet by combining a rose gold slider in the shape of a heart with mint green Italian 10 mm. flat Italian leather. The color of this green leather just makes me happy! I used rose gold magnetic clasp MGL-271 for 10x2.5 mm leather from Sun Enterprise. The key to understanding how to select a clasp that matches onto the end of the leather is to use the width of the leather as your starting point. It sounds easy enough, but I struggled. I would be much more comfortable selecting clasps if I could physically fit them together which is not an option on the Internet.

punch for leather and decorations for leather

For my next bracelet, I wanted to add to the basic design. To do that, I need my leather punching tool, a couple of micro screw sets, and large sterling silver bead caps.
front of bracelet with metal flower and a punch for leather
front of bracelet
I centered the floral slider on the leather and then punched a hole to the left and right of the flower. I attached the micro screws to the sterling bead caps and nuts.  After tightening the nuts I cut off the excess length of screws.  I hammered the nuts in place to secure them.
back of bracelet with nuts and screws
back side 
This bracelet called for a silver magnetic clasp just like the one used in the previous bracelet.  It paired with 10x2.5 mm leather once again.  The only difference is the metal color.  
Red Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign
Red Leather Bracelet by BayMoonDesign

I think you can agree that this triple wrap red leather bracelet with the floral design and color of this leather can add lots of personal style to your favorite outfits. 

owl bracelet by BayMoonDesign
owl bracelet by BayMoonDesign
For my next bracelet, I designed a single strand leather bracelet. Once again I used 10 mm. flat Italian leather.  This leather reminded me of tree bark. I love owls so I couldn't resist an owl slider that seemed a natural fit with the leather. Once again, I used a silver magnetic clasp, but the difference is that it is sized for 10x2.3 mm leather. The leather is thinner so the clasp needs to designed for a thinner leather.

To put my spin on the bracelet I glued metal spacers to two beads that I had in my stash and then glued the beads to the leather. As long as I had Super Glue out I thought I would put it to use. It worked great and I love the fun look it adds.

For a single simple leather bracelet with leather, a magnetic lock and a bead, it takes no longer than 10 - 15 minutes. Obviously, it takes longer to make more complex designs.

photo of an owl

I love that there is no limit to creativity with leather.  Comments are welcome!  

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