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Three Strand Leather Cord Necklace with Pearls
by Marcy Kentz
Leather necklaces are a great way to economize your use of sterling silver and gold vermeil jewelry findings without sacrificing style. The leather cord is buttery soft, supple, and come in beautiful colors. This leather necklace is elegant yet edgy, great for beginners, and a good introduction to the infinite ways you can incorporate leather into your jewelry designs.
See more Leather Jewelry Design Ideas for more inspiration!
Tools you will need:
- Round nose pliers
- Chain nose pliers
- Flush Cutters
- A good pair of scissors
- An awl or a tack and a hammer
TIP: Most leather cord will stretch just a little while your working with it, so make sure to pre-stretch your leather as much as possible. This will also prevent your finished necklace from stretching if you use heavy beads. To stretch leather cord simply run it though your hands tightly for a few minutes. Or wrap it once around a secure cylindrical object and pull the ends back and forth.
Punch holes into your leather
- To start you will be working with the two ends of the entire 35 inch strip of leather. You’ll cut the two ends to your desired length at a later step. This way you won’t waste as much leather and can tailor the design perfectly.
- Use an awl to punch 3 holes into one end of your leather. If you don’t have an awl you can use a tack and a hammer.
- Equally space your 3 holes from each other and at least 1 inch from the end of the leather. Also make sure all three holes are in a straight line
- Use a controlled pressing action instead of a stabbing motion to penetrate the leather. Lift the leather from your work surface so that the awl can penetrate to the underside of the piece.
- Avoid making your hole too big. You just need it big enough to fit your stringing wire through it.
Do the same to the other end of the strip.
Stringing your pearls into the leather
- Cut 3 separate 6 inch lengths of Soft Touch wire.
- Thread your crimp bead onto one end of Soft Touch wire. Loop the wire through again for an extra secure attachment.
- Using your chain nose pliers crimp your bead down tight onto the stringing wire.
- Do this a total of 3 times, once for each length of Soft Touch wire.
- String one length of finished Soft Touch wire through the hole closest to the edge of the leather.
- String your wire starting from the underside of the leather so the crimp is on the backside.
String your pearl beads onto the wire. Start with the shortest strand because you will measure the other two lengths against it.
Now string your wire through the hole closest to the edge on the other end of the leather (rather than the middle or furthest hole), starting from front side of leather to back. Don’t cross your wire to the wrong hole.
- Crimp the other end of the Soft Touch. You should be working on the underside (the suede side) of the leather.
- When looping through the crimp bead the second time hold the crimp bead close to the leather to make sure the beads are tight, but not too tight. Stringing too tightly will make strands stiff and won’t drape nicely.
- Once you have the right tension, close your loop and crimp the bead with your chain nose pliers.
String the second strand of pearl beads into the middle holes. This will become the middle strand.
Measure the middle strand’s length by laying the two ends of leather next to each other.
When one drapes nicely under the other, it will be the correct length when it lays on the neck.
String on the third and longest strand using the same measuring technique to get the length just right.
Using your wire cutters snip off the excess Soft Touch wire from both sides of your necklace.
Trim your leather
- Cutting your leather is easy with a pair of sharp scissors.
- Cut both short ends of the leather in a rounded shape about a 1/2” from the pearl strands.
- To hide the crimp ends, glue the leather flaps together using regular craft glue that dries clear.
- Apply the glue directly to the leather and spread to the edges with your finger tips. Try to be as neat as possible.
To secure press the ends down together with pressure for about a minute.
Attaching a Clasp to Leather Cord
- Cut the leather strips to the desired length you want the necklace.
- Keep in mind that your clasp will add a little length to your necklace.
- Punch a hole at the edge and wire wrap through that hole.
Do the same to the other side and wire wrap your clasp on.
To create a more finished look trim the corners to taper the ends. Be careful not to cut into the Soft Touch.
Taper the ends of the leather near the clasp too. This gives a more polished look and contours it for comfort.
Congratulations! Your'e done!
Marvel at your creation!
If you have questions or feedback we would love to hear it. Send us an e-mail at Nina@ninadesigns.com