To often I am so serious about our pyrography work, carefully planning each layer of burning, examining every stroke for even thickness and tonal value, trying to create as perfect as possible a realistic reproduction.
But once in a while I just ‘wanna have fun’. And this is the perfect, just have fun project. Because this was created as a text run for my new book, The Art of Leather Burning, I wasn’t concerned about absolutely matching ever corner or seam, or carefully measuring the distance between every stitching awl hole, or even about how the fill patterns I chose matched the ones I had already burned. The entire idea behind this leather burned purse was to just see what I could do, and how I could do it.
I am a strong advocate of practice boards. Usually this is a small scrap of the same material from which you will work your main project upon which you can experiment with your temperature settings, pen tips, and fill patterns.
Well, this time, when I began my work with pyrography on leather, my practice board got a touch out of hand. I began my text project with a 10 lb. scrap bag of vegetable-dyed leather from Springfield Leather Co. which contained a variety of weights, textures, and species of leather pieces.
What came out of this practice session was a Greenman Slop Bag! This rough and rugged purse measures 7 1/2″ high, 9 1/2″ wide, and 2 3/4″ thick. The front of my purse has a double pocket and the back has one large pocket with a hidden pocket inside of it. Its constructed using an awl to create the stitching holes and the simple double-needle stitching pattern.
I’m not done with this purse yet. To date I have only gotten the front flap, top roll over, and front of the purse body burned. So I still have the entire back, the sides, and the should strap on which to play, and experiment with more fill textures, shading ideas, and even miniature patterns.
Play, practice, experiment, and create … that is our goal!
SUPPLIES 5” X 3” (14 cm x 7.5 cm) vegetable-tanned leather 2 – 6” lengths of copper chain for necklace 1 – 5” length of copper chain for top hanging chain 1 – 7” length of copper chain for middle hanging chain 1 – 4” length of copper chain for beaded chain 4 – 6 mm round adventurite beads 2 – 6 mm split rings 1 – lobster claw latch 18” – 20-gauge or 18-gauge copper wire
Using your loop-tip, or ball-tip, burn thin, straight lines onto the leather shape. Begin the lines at the top edge of the leather and pull the lines to the center area of the leather. Work several layers of burned lines, beginning on a medium heat setting and working towards a hot temperature setting. Use a v-gouge to cut vertical lines in the leather, creating white lines through the burned areas.
SUPPLIES 1 – 5 1/2” x 3 1/2” (14 cm x 9 cm) medium weight, vegetable-tanned leather 1 – 5 1/2” x 4” (14 cm x 10.25 cm) medium weight, dark brown scrap leather 2 – 7 1/2” (19 cm) lengths of copper chain 18” length of 20- or 18-gauge copper wire 2 – 8 mm turquoise glass crow roller beads 2 – 6 mm split rings1 – lobster claw latch
Trace the pattern to your vegetable-dyed leather. Using a loop-tip or ball-tip burning pen, fill in each area with a medium temperature burn. Increase the temperature setting slightly and burn a second layer of strokes to the top half of each area. Increase the temperature again to a hot setting and following the photo burn in the black-toned areas of the design. The round end loop of the turquoise glass bead link is worked through both layers of leather.
SUPPLIES 1 – 5 1/2” x 3” (14 cm x 7.5 cm) medium weight, vegetable-tanned leather 2 – 10 mm copper jump rings 2 – 6 mm copper split rings 2 – 7” (17.75 mm) lengths of copper chain 1 – lobster claw latch
Trace your pattern to the vegetable-tanned leather. With your pyrography unit set on a medium temperature setting, using a ball-tip or shader-tip pen, begin filling the areas of the pattern outside of the heart design with a medium-light tonal value. Use any fill or texture pattern that you like. Work a second layer of burning on a slightly hotter temperature setting at the center point of the leather necklace and in the outer half of each side. A third burning at a still slightly hotter setting is worked in the outer one-third of each side of the necklace.
SUPPLIES 5 1/2” x 3 1/2” (14 cm x 9 cm ) medium weight vegetable-tanned leather 2 – 8 mm square glass beads 2 – 7” ( 18 cm ) long copper chain 2 – 6 mm split rings1 – lobster claw latch 18” – 20-gauge or 18-gauge copper wire
You can add color to your leather burned jewelry by using artist quality colored pencils. Begin this project by tracing your pattern to the cut leather. With your finest line pen, outline the entire pattern to a dark tonal value. Add shading in the petals and leaves using your shader-tip on a medium hot setting. Work the background in a solid dark tone. When the burning is complete begin adding your color in thin, light layers of pencil work. Use one color over another to create new hues. When the burning is complete begin adding your color in thin, light layers of pencil work. Use one color over another to create new hues. When the coloring is complete give your necklace one to two coats of brush-on acrylic finish.
SUPPLIES 5 1/2” x 4” (14 cm x 10.25 cm) medium weight vegetable-tanned leather 2 – 7” ( 18 cm ) long copper chain 2 – 6 mm split rings 1 – lobster claw latch 18” – 20-gauge or 18-gauge copper wire Assorted leather brads and decorative rivets
With a pencil, create a 1/4” grid on the face of your leather necklace. Fill the grid squares in a checkerboard pattern, varying the tonal values. Fill the right side of the necklace squares with this medium setting tonal value to make the larger block areas. With a low temperature fill the un-worked squares in the central area with a fill texture. Place a small ceramic plate face-down onto your leather and mark a pencil line. With a craft knife cut along the line, on both sides, to open a groove. Add your decorative brads and rivets.
Wire-bent and wire-wrapped jewelry is an art that is currently in high favor among crafters. Jewelry supplies are readily available at most large box craft stores and through online shopping.
For my leather burnt necklaces I chose copper wire and findings, but there is a wide variety of wire types that you can use as silver, silver-coated, black, and colored aluminum. Personally, I prefer copper as it is a soft, easy to bend metal that can be tempered through gently hammering into strong, secure links and chains.
Glass beads and lamp work beads are also a favorite for me in jewelry work, but you will find a wonderful selection of gemstones, cut crystal beads, resin beads, and even bone or shell beads that you can use.
Completing your necklace
1 Cut an 8” length of 18-gauge copper wire with your flush cutters.
2 Grip the wire about 3” from one end in your straight pliers. Bend the wire to a 90 degree angle. Move the wire to your round-nose pliers, gripping the wire at the 90 degree angle. Roll the 3” end around the round-nose pliers to create a small loop.
3 Slide the short end of the wire through one of the holes in your leather burnt necklace. Move the wire to center the leather inside of the small loop.
Secure the loop
4 Grip the top of the loop, where it overlaps the long working end of the wire in your straight pliers. Roll the short end of the wire around the long working wire two to three times.
5 Clip the excess short wire with your flush cutters.
6 With your straight pliers crimp the cut end tightly against the long working wire.
7 Slide your chosen beads onto the long working wire. In my necklace I used one 2-mm copper bead, one 16-mm square yellow jade bead, and one 2-mm copper bead.
8 Grip the working wire in your straight pliers, with the tip of the pliers against the last bead. Bend the working wire into a 90 degree angle.
9 Place the 90 degree angle into your round-nose pliers and roll the working wire into a small loop.
Adding the chain
10 The second small loop should be created by holding the wire in the same spot or area of the round-nose pliers as you did the first loop. This keeps the two end loops of the bead dangle the same size.
11 Cut two sections of 2- to 3-mm copper chain 7” long each. Slide the last open link of the chain onto the short end of the loop wire. Move the chain link to the center of the loop.
12 Complete your wire wrapped bead dangles by gripping the small loop in your straight pliers and wrapping the short end wire around the base of the loop two to three times.
Shaping the leather
17 Your leather burned necklace can easily be shaped by simply placing your finished necklace under your kitchen faucet for a few moments, allowing the leather to become wet. Pat the leather necklace dry on a clean cloth. While the necklace is still damp and pliable, lay the necklace on a large, plastic soda glass and with loose (oversized) rubber bands lightly secure into place. Let the necklace dry overnight.
In the next post I will be sharing five more ideas for this leather burned necklace project, with the free patterns. But here is a preview …
I love combining my crafts and hobbies, and in this project we will be working on a quick, fun design that uses leather working, jewelry making, and, of course, pyrography. Today we will get together the supplies, cut out our leather necklace shape, and do the pyrography steps.
In the next post you will find the steps for creating the copper, wire-bent jewelry. Then on day three of this mini-project I will show you how to create 10 quick necklaces out of one pyrography burning that is perfect if you are a craft seller or need a group of Holiday presents this years.
So … let’s get started!
Quilted Jade Necklace Supplies: 5 1/2” x 3 1/2” (14 cm x 9 cm ) medium weight vegetable-tanned leather bench knife or craft knife leather hole punch cotton swab applicators gum tragacanth edge finish wooden edge slicker #4 – #8 soft pencil for tracing pyrography pen tips – ball, loop, or micro writing tip white artist eraser 2 – 16 mm square yellow jade beads 1 – 5 mm x 8 mm yellow jade rectangle bead 6 – 3 mm antique copper round beads 2 – 4 mm copper rosettes 2 – 7” ( 18 cm ) long copper chain 2 – 6 mm split rings 1 – lobster claw latch 18” – 20-gauge or 18-gauge copper wire satin brush-on leather finish
Tracing the pattern
1 Make a printed copy of the pattern for the Quilted Jade Necklace. Cut the pattern out using scissors. Lay the paper pattern on the raw-hide side of the leather scrap. Using a soft, #4 – #8 pencil, trace around the outside edge of the paper pattern.
Working the leather
2 Place the leather on a cutting mat with the raw-hide side up. Using a craft knife or bench knife, cut the necklace free from the scrap leather. Save the extra scraps from the cut leather block for smaller bracelet shapes and earrings.
3 With a white artist eraser, remove any remaining pencil guidelines from the raw-hide side of the leather necklace.
Creating the grid lines
4 Using the cutting mat ruler marks as your guidelines, create a diagonal 1” square grid on the tanned side of the leather with a soft, #4 – #8 pencil.
5 – 6 With a leather hole punch, cut a 3/16” or 1/4” hole in each side of the necklace to receive the jewelry chain and beads. Create one hole at the center point of the bottom edge of the leather necklace to receive a bead dangle.
Finishing the raw edges
7 With a cotton or wool swab applicator, apply one coat of gum tragacanth along one edge of the leather necklace.
8 Briskly rub the damp edge with a wooden edge slicker. The handle of a large wooden spoon works well in place of a slicker. The gum tragacanth and slicker will polish and round the raw cut edge of your necklace.
10 As you work each 1” square, vary the temperature setting of your pyrography pen to create some squares with pale tonal values, some with medium values, and some with dark toned values.
11 With a ball-tip or loop-tip pen, on a hot temperature setting, work along some of the pencil grid lines with a series of evenly spaced, small dots. With the straight edge of a shading pen tip, work the remaining grid lines with evenly spaced, short dash lines.
Shading the lower edge
12 You can add a little touch of shading along the bottom edge of your leather necklace using a shader-tip and a medium temperature setting. Work this layer of shading right over the fill and texture patterns that you have already burned. Rub a white artist’s eraser over your burned surface to remove any dirt, oil, or remaining pencil lines from the leather. Dust with a dry cloth.
Click on the leather cutting patterns below for a full-sized pattern.
Here are two more ideas for your leather burned jewelry necklace, worked with patterns from our Henna Tattoo Pattern Pack.
And, this one!
In the next post I will be showing you how to add your jewelry chain, bead dangles, and copper findings. So, check back soon!