Leather is a popular material for jewelry making.  But it has long been on the more sombre side as far as color is concerned. They are ideal for unisex styles.  Lately though, the leather products out there have a decided feminine look with more patterns and hues available.

There are also other ways to make stylish leather jewelry.  A new book I just received for review has tons of ideas.  Stylish Leather Jewelry  (also available from Fox Chapel Publishing) is by Myléne (-pronounced as Millane) Hillam, an Australian award winning designer and instructor.

There are 28 projects in all,divided into 6 sections. The first part is on using suede lace.  But the rest of the book is sorted by technique.  There is braiding and weaving, folding and pleating, making beads with leather, creating links, chains and connectors, coloring and die cutting leather.  

All her sections contained inspirational construction ideas for making unique leather jewelry - ways which some of us may not have thought of.  Some of the projects required a little wire work but well within the capabilities of a beginner. A leather hole puncher is a very useful tool. It helps to have a die cutter like the Sizzix to make consistent round shapes although cutting carefully with scissors will also be fine. Otherwise, the tools you need for the projects in this book are the basic jewelry ones. 

Zulu Princess Choker
This highly creative designer has a flair for shapes, colors and patterns as many of her pieces were striking and original. Shown here are some of my favorites.  The Zulu Princess Choker is a wonderful example of how to use suede lace differently. I also love the multiple suede strips and crystal earrings - the aptly named Peacock earrings on the cover. She even rolls up the suede lace to form beads as shown in her Pastel Disc bracelet - the green, pink and lilac number in the composite picture above.

She also makes leather beads like you would the traditional paper beads! Indeed Myléne is often inspired by other craft techniques like kumihimo and does apply them to her designs.

My favorite section has to be the last one where she shows how black leather can be dressed up by painting it with metallic leather paints.  These are showstoppers! The book's cover shows the fabulous Winged Orbs bracelet in gorgeous colors.

The designer used a variety of glues throughout the book. One thing which wasn't made clear was why leather adhesive was used for some projects but not others. I assume any good multipurpose glue will be fine to use if you cannot get hold of leather adhesive. Another adhesive she used was the multipurpose 527 glue.   Although she used G-S Hypo-Cement glue for the Winged Orbs project, she also suggested nail polish as an alternative adhesive.  I would use say, E6000, not nail polish.

This is a wonderful inspirational book for leather jewelry lovers which will help take your own designs to new heights!


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