Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How to Measure and Make European Leather Bracelets With Any Clasp

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 6 Comments

European leather is thick and scrumptious for quick bracelet designs. These are easy to make - just cut and glue on the clasps, right?  But how to measure and make them so there is no wastage?  You could start out with a longer piece and slowly trim and fit on the clasp until you got the length just right. Not very efficient. Here is an alternative way to measure and make European leather bracelets with any clasp. Get it right with just one cut.

The first thing you have to do is to determine the depth of the clasp hole.  Whatever you do, don`t push in one end of the leather into the clasp and then mark it with a marker pen or whatever.  That mark is visible.  Removing the mark will risk removal of the leather design or dye.

But do work with a paper template.  Measure and cut a strip of paper wide enough so it will fit into the clasp. The floral printed flat leather example here was 1 cm wide so I cut out a strip of paper to that dimension. It doesn`t have to be very long unless you want to have a fitting template (see below).

Push the paper strip into the clasp (both sides connected) and mark the place where the paper emerges from it.

Now measure that depth. This particular clasp hole measured 5 mm deep.

Now lay out the entire bracelet on a piece of paper and against a ruler .  One end should be pushed into the whole clasp. Decide how long you want the bracelet to be.  Mark that on the paper, not the leather where it will show.  Then mark another point beyond the needed length using the depth measurement.  As I was making a 7 1/4 inch bracelet, and I measured the depth in metric (more marks in mm!), I used a second ruler to get that outer mark which can be drawn on the leather as it is the cutting line and won't be seen.

This method works no matter what kind of clasp you are using including this elaborate snake head clasp.  Just make sure you connect the clasp together at one end before you measure and cut.

Once cut, place a little glue on the leather including the cut edge and press in.  I have been using Super New Glue (not the usual formulation of super glue you get in the stores) which is strong and durable. I have not, as yet, found it to get brittle with age.  I have some European bracelets which have been around for 2-3 years.

If you prefer, you could make an entire paper template for proper fitting.  This might be a good thing to do if you are not sure how a bracelet will look with a certain length.  Some people like their bracelets to be looser or tighter than normal. I generally aim for anywhere between 7 to 7 1/2 inches for women depending on the style of bracelets. Paper templates can also be kept for future bracelets if you make them often enough.

Supplies Courtesy of:
Endless Leather
Kazuri West
Tierra Cast
Goody Beads

Before You Go : 

Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 



  1. Great tutorial Pearl!!!!

    I've been thinking of making these for some time now and this has helped immensely.

    Do you prefer a blade or scissors when you cut the leather? Coming from a furrier family background we have always used blades so I was just wondering.....

  2. Blades ie my box cutter make for cleaner cuts especially with thick leather. Scissor cuts always end up wonky for me!

    1. Pearl, this is a truly helpful hint. I to have found that scissors somethings go off their mark, especially when trying to get a really straight line and when cutting thicker materials.

    2. Glad you found it helpful. Use a ruler to help keep the blade true.

  3. Thanks for the tutorial. Where can I buy the Super New Glue? I keep hearing about it, but I can't find it anywhere.

  4. Cat - I buy mine from Goody Beads. It is tricky to get hold of, for sure.