Posts Tagged ‘leatherwork’


New Hat Project

July 30, 2012

Cut this out intending to work on it during the Salt City Steamfest. I managed to bevel the edges, but that was it. Last night I managed to get back at it and punched holes for stitching and dyed it. As well as starting to paint in the symbol that will be on the front of the hat.



Making a Hunter’s Kit

July 18, 2012

So I recently had a request from a friend for a hunter’s kit pulling from the tv show Supernatural. She wanted a silver spike and a blessed iron spike (similar in style to throwing spikes), a container for holy water, a container for salt and a simple rosary. All of it contained in a neat box.

I jumped in immediately because I loved the idea. I pitched a leather box, as I have done several smaller projects in leather, such as this leather dice case:

So I started tracking down components. The first piece I jumped on was a cheap metal flask for holy water. It is something that was used in the show, you can find them on Amazon for very little money, and they can be decorated in various ways later.

Next I went hunting for a salt container. I was originally looking for something in the realm of a tea tin, but was not finding anything I liked that was also inexpensive. Eventually I settled on a great metal salt shaker from the local Asian Store/Restaurant Supply place that I could plug the shaker piece easily enough using some leather and glue.

Meanwhile, I started in on the spikes. I initially thought I would shape out some wood pieces and then paint them up. I cut down a dowel that I had sitting around the house and did some roughing with a set of carving knives I have around, then finished them out with my dremel. One of them I added some crosses near the point, thinking it would be an interesting visual touch.

Which I liked well enough at this stage. On the other hand, I hated them once I started painting. Too much wood texture coming through the paint and the dowel didn’t seem to take the metallic silver paint well at all. I fought with it for a bit, but eventually scrapped the idea and moved back toward finding something I actually liked the look of.

The easy solution seemed to be just buying some throwing spikes that were already metal and then modifying them for my purposes. Another trip out to a local place, this time the import store at the mall, full of cheap prop weapons and bamboo.

I also pestered the friend I was building this for at this point to debate the rounded spikes, versus the more knife like spikes. They liked the knife option, which I also enjoyed.

The top silver just involved grinding off the black coating and then cleaning it back up. I left some of the texture from the grinding because it is interesting visually. The middle involved painting over with a “wrought iron” color crafting paint. This was another place where I used a lot of texture in the paint application to make it look rougher as a piece. For a third and bonus piece I painted the edges of a knife gold, going for the idea that coating the edges of something would be effective enough and far more reasonable then actually casting a full blade from gold.

This gave me enough pieces to start assembling the box. I sized out the space I would need and then started cutting simple rectangles, beveling the edges, dying, punching holes and then finally stitching it together. The rosary was a quick side piece as I was working on other things. The beads are cannibalized from some old costume jewelery I was given and the cross was in with the rest of my jewelery stash. I did have to drill a hole in the top of the cross to attach it to the strand more cleanly, which was just some filing and my little manual jewelery drill.

With that in place I started building the lining and the seat for the knives. The lining I cut to fit, leaving an extra lip for the top to fit around. I decided on glue rather then more stitching, since the cross-stitch on the outside was already pretty heavy. The hinges are a lighter weight leather same as the lining, cut to thin strips and then riveted to the top and bottom pieces. I went with three hinges for extra stability. The front latch is a simple piece, again riveted. the seat is a leather top and bottom, with leather pieces stitched at either end and in the middle for stability. I exacto-knifed myself slots for the knives and then riveted it to the bottom liner before I installed it.

The handle is turned in and stitched to itself and then a thinner section is riveted to the top of the box. With that in place I found a drawing of the devil’s trap from the show. I sketched it onto some tracing paper and then wet the leather so I could stylus the sketch into the leather before painting it in with a fine-tipped brush. I continue to be a fan of the eco-flo leather dye for these sorts of projects. With the paints for fine work like the symbol, versus dauber and normal dye for the main body.





New Gambler’s Hat

August 21, 2011

I liked this hat enough to work on one for myself. I’ve got the base together. Working on styling the brim a little still. I may also find something more interesting for the lacing and to use as a hat band.


New Custom Goggle Design

December 3, 2010

This project began life as a request to replicate some goggles seen in the Closer Music Video. I am told it is Trent Reznor that is wearing them.

With this set, I had to create a new pattern to accommodated a semi-different shape. The sides are longer and wider, the nose piece is more shaped and large, and of course the brackets.

The black plastic frame pieces had to be cleaned up to work with the shape and I had to cut and paint brackets to get something the size I was after, as well as building some “Washers” to space the brackets up to sit properly. Everything is done with hand stitching on these, as there was not much in the way of visible hardware beyond the brackets on the original piece. I am rather pleased with how they turned out.




Steampunk Guest Book Pen

August 8, 2010

The EtsySteamTeam is currently putting together a Steampunk Wedding contest, featuring wedding based items and specifically new creations. It took me a while, and some helpful suggestions, to actually come up with something a little different that I liked. And that I really felt was an entirely new sort of project.

Steampunk Pen and Holder

I give you my Steampunk Guest Book Pen. Perhaps not the most exciting name, but I’m big on minimalism and simplicity. Which I think this piece manages. While still being an elegant little item.

I started out with a simple silver metal pen that I found and added on the leather grip.

Just the Pen

I toyed with a few other ideas for decorating the pen more, but in the end went with just the dangling gear off of the connecting chain. I used a similar gear to keep the chain from pulling back through the eyelet in the tip of the pen-holder.

Pen Holder interior

The base is a fun little cog-shaped piece that I have used for a variety of projects. I think they’re normally called junction locks or something of the sort. Though I’ve mostly found them at thrift stores and the like and find they make great framing pieces for larger projects. I filled it with a leather core with a bit of epoxy to keep it solid, which I also added to the base of the cone where it fits into the leather. Keeping it all a solid unit.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how the piece turned out. It has some extra flavor to it without being a really over-the-top sort of piece. Thanks for looking!


Custom Leather Indiana Jones Hat

June 21, 2010

In the past I have done my crafting posts off on a separate blog. But I don’t tend to do them often enough to really justify the second space. As such, I’m planning to start just adding in the occasional post about my other bits of creativity here as well.

To start this off, newest leather hat!

Leather Indiana Jones Hat

It is, of course, based off of the classic Indiana Jones hat. It was requested done in leather, with a little bit taken off of the height.

After spending way too much time researching the dimensions and styling of the hat. It was a style of hat called The Poet. They changed out the ribbon to emphasize the height. They also left it unfinished so that the brim had more adjustability on the fly. (Hence why it occasionally looks like a different style of hat at different points in the movie.)

Once I had some measurements, both of the eventual recipient’s head and the original hat, I used those to build myself a pattern from cardboard. I’ve become a big fan of the cardboard mock-up as a way to work out some of the kinks in an initial pattern. The brim has narrower sides and is a bit longer in front and back. Which was done to assist with having it on camera.

I went with an undyed leather to start and cut out the brim, top piece and side piece using my patterns, a pencil for tracing, then an exacto knife with a fresh blade. I used a French-beveler on the edges of the brim and the side-wall of the hat.

Fore dye I went with a color called Bison Brown in an eco-dye. Because I like to not die from the fumes. And I inevitably end up with dye on me. The color turned out a little darker then I initially was looking for, so I did a top coat on all of the pieces with a mixture of the Bison Brown and a much lighter brown I had left over from a previous project. That got me the end result color, which I was much happier with.

I settled on eyelets for the side seem to give the hat a little bit of breathing and because I like how they look. I went with the antiqued brass for those. I also left myself some extra length in the internal leather in case I had to adjust the size, since I didn’t have an actual head measurement, just one off of another hat. Which I later found out didn’t fit him quite as well as I might have hoped.

For stitching, I first punched the holes I would need using an awl. Then stitched the brim to the side-wall with a waxed brown thread. I also set a strip of pig-skin lining leather into this seem so it could be folded up as a sweat-band. It took a little fiddling at the meet-up to get the brim to sit right, which is something I have found on past hats as well.

Initially I had planned to pick up a hat-shaper to do the shaping piece, but they were running behind and I am silly and impatient. So instead I just went ahead and wet-shaped it by hand while looking at photos.

This is a picture I took while I was working on it. Brim is still unshaped. And the hat still needed a little more shaping in general.

Once I had the shape right there, I folded down the top edge of the hat about a quarter of an inch for stitching the top piece into. I reworked the initial piece to better fit the shaped top and touched up dye on the edges. I punched holes and stitching in that piece with the reworking to get the shape I was after.

Then there was brim shaping, checking with the client, some touch up shaping and adding the hat-band. I managed to find a grosgrain ribbon in brown locally, which was nice.  It is hand stitched together and then slid onto the hat.

Of course, when I actually handed off the hat, there was the revelation of it being small, because the fabric hat I measured fit not so well and he stretched it some when he wore it. I did a little stretching with a hat stretcher, then eventually unstitched the brim, opened up the side and re-fit it before stitching it all back together.

All in all, it was a fun project. Looking forward to other potential hat projects in the future. If I don’t pick up any custom orders at the event this weekend, the next hat project I have in mind is probably a new bowler for myself, which I do in fact have a shaper for.