Yesterday, I showed you how I cut up an old purse to salvage the leather for making jewelry. Well, here’s the bracelet I promised you – the first of many more projects to come using this lovely soft green leather!
DIY Magic Braid Leather Bracelet
This type of braid is known as a 3-part inside trick braid, and is also called a ‘magic braid’ or ‘mystery braid’ as both of the ends are mysteeeeeeriously in tact. In this video, I show you step by step how to make this bracelet, including cutting the leather, making the magic braid itself, then setting the snaps to finish off the bracelet. I also include tips for sizing your bracelet (there’s a secret formula :)
Are you ready to learn this fancy trick braid technique?
If you are unable to view the embedded video below, you can watch the >>DIY Magic Mystery Braid Leather Bracelet Tutorial<< here on YouTube.
TOOLS & SUPPLIES:
• soft flexible leather, at least 1/2″ wide (see below for sizing formula)
• sharp craft knife & cutting surface
• fine tipped marker
• ruler (preferably metal)
• masking tape
• decorative snaps
• snap setting pliers (or other snap setting tool)
• sharp fabric scissors
Magic Braid Bracelet Formula:
*Please note – this ‘formula’ is a general guide. Shrinkage will vary depending on the material you use, since factors like thickness and stretchyness will play a part in the behavior of the finished braided piece.*
To figure out the length of the leather strip you need to start with, first determine the ‘fit size’ of the bracelet you want to make. The ‘fit size’ is the inner diameter of the bracelet when it’s fastened. For the snap closure, when the bracelet is fastened there will be some overlap (about 1 inch), so we need to add that to the fit size to figure the overall finished length of the bracelet from end to end. Then we need to add 30% extra length to account for shrinkage due to the braiding – so we do that by multiplying by 1.3.
When you lay the bracelet out flat, the ‘fit size’ will be the measurement from the middle of one snap to the middle of the second snap.
(Fit size + 1 inch) x 1.3 = starting length for your leather strip (1.5 inches wide)
Divide into 3 equal parts, .5 inches wide each
EXAMPLE: For a 7.5 inch fit:
7.5 inches + 1 inch = 8.5 inches
8.5 x 1.3 = 11.05 inches (~ 11 inches)
(Fit size + 2.5 cm) x 1.3 = starting length (39 mm wide)
Divide into 3 equal parts, 13mm wide each
Be sure to leave 1.25 inches (32mm) uncut at each end.
This magic braid technique can be used on a variety of materials besides leather! Try it with fabric, or denim – anything flexible that won’t tear easily.
When you mark your leather or fabric, always mark it on the wrong side so stray ink marks won’t show.
If you lose track of where you are when you’re braiding, you will probably have to undo your work and start over. It helps me keep my place to chant to myself as I braid: “right, left, right, go-through-the-right…left, right, left, go-through-the-left.” It’s *crucial* to stick with the pattern and go in sets like this , and you ALWAYS need to work in an even number of sections (as in, one set of ‘lefts’ for every set of ‘rights’ that you do). As you can see in the video, if you try to stop with an odd number of sections, the end of your piece will be a huge twisty mess. You either need to find a way to fit that last set in there, or undo the last one you did.
If you’re having trouble setting the top snap (decorative part), it is likely that your ‘female’ piece is upside-down in the pliers. It will only work one way. If you get it wrong, the prongs will splay out all over the place around the outside of the snap. (Yep, done it several times – it’s confusing!!)
I hope you enjoyed my Magic Braid Leather Bracelet Tutorial! If you enjoy working with leather, you might like some of my other leather jewelry tutorials as well! And if you’re a huge fan of upcycling like me, you can peruse my upcycled jewelry tutorials too. Enjoy!
Questions? Comments? Ideas? Talk to me, baby!