Leather leaf earrings are easy to make, and it is also a piece that can allow for you to express various artistic expressions you want to make due to the design versatility it has. This article will arm you with the knowledge and steps for you to start making highly creative and bespoke leaf earrings.
- Leaf Stencil or Template
- Leather Cutter
- Burnishing cream (optional)
- Small piece of leather
- Earring Hook
The thickness of the leather you use is not as important for the the leather leaf design. However, I do personally favour using a slightly thicker base (1-1.3mm).
A thicker leather base will allow for more decorative options post leather leaf earring creation should you desire. If you prefer your leather leaf earring to be slightly ‘flimsier’ in appearance, feel free to use a thinner piece of leather for your purposes!
I also prefer a green or brown leather base for this design in particular. Again, this is entirely up to your preference and you should definitely look to let your own personality shine through the choices you make!
The uniqueness of your leather leaf earring will be dependent on your own spin being incorporated in the design element of the leaf earrings. In fact, I highly recommend for you to fully explore your own creativity. The following guide will arm you with the steps you can take as a general framework. The steps to do so are as follows
- Create a Stencil for your Leather Leaf Earring
- Outline the Shape of the Leaf on your Leather Base using Awl
- Cut out a Small Area around Leaf Outline made by Awl
- Cut Out the Leaf using Scissors
- Detail Leaf Veins and Midrib using Leather Cutter
- Burnish Sides of Leather Leaf Earring (optional)
- Attach Leather Leaf Earring to Metal
The above steps have been broken down to make the process straightforward and simple for a beginner to follow.
1. Create a Stencil for your Leather Leaf Earring
For this step, I used a 3D printer and CAD software to create a leaf stencil. I personally prefer a plastic printed stencil for this design as it gives two main advantages.
It is easy to form an outline around a plastic piece using an Awl in subsequent steps and importantly, I am able to work the vein and midrib design into the stencil itself.
If you do not have access to a 3D printer, you can use a stiff piece of cardboard for this step. You can draw the midrib and vein design on the cardboard and use a sharp penknife to cut out the corresponding parts on your stencil.
For your stencil, I will also recommend to allowing for a small notch on the base of the leaf (where we will attach the metal hook in the final step)
2. Outline Shape of the Leaf on Leather Base Material using Awl
If you are working of scrap leather or even a sheet of leather, I would recommend placing the leaf stencil close to a corner of the leather base to prevent unnecessary material wastage.
You can then use an awl to draw an outline of your leather leaf, guided by the stencil placed.
As you can see in this picture, I also used the awl to punch holes on the inside of the leaf’s outline. This is to help guide my future step of detailing the veins of the leaf.
If your stencil does not have allowance for a notch for the attaching of the metal hook (like mine as seen in the pictures), please do ensure that your outline gives allowance for the notch area at the base of the leather leaf earring.
3. Cut Small Area of Leather around Awl Outline
Depending on the size of the leather base you are using, you can choose to skip this step. If you are using a large sheet of leather, I would recommend to go through this step as it will help reduce possibilities of error and increase your accuracy and precision for the next step of cutting.
This is especially important if you are using a thin leather base,
4. Cut Out the Leaf using Scissors
Using the outline created by your awl, slowly and carefully cut out the outline of the leaf. Because I am using a plastic stencil with awl markings within the veins, I do not recommend holding the leather base against the stencil whilst doing the cutting instead of relying on the awl created outline.
Even a slight movement of the stencil can introduce unwanted deviation from your intended design if you were to approach it the mentioned way.
5. Detail Leaf Veins and Midrib using Cutter
This is the step that can truly allow for you to create a unique, one of a kind leather leaf earring. The outline of your leaf together with your vein and midrib design, will ultimately determine the overall aesthetic
In this instance, I have a single perimeter of awl points on the inside of the leaf outline to guide my vein pattern. If you are more comfortable, consider having a second, inner perimeter of awl points deeper in the leaf, for further guidance.
The important aspect of this step is that you will always want to cut from the inside out. This will prevent any instances of accidentally cutting into the midrib section, causing your leather leaf earring to have an unwanted parting.
6. Burnish Sides of Leather Leaf Earring (optional)
If you are using vegan leather as a base material, this step will not be required. As I was using genuine, top grain leather for our leather leaf earring, you will notice how the cut edges of our masterpiece has fibrous and rough textures.
Personally, I think this look goes with a leaf design really well but for purposes of demonstration, I am burnishing it with cream. Feel free to reference our guide on how to burnish without specialized tools.
7. Attach Leather Leaf Earring to Metal
The final step; use an awl to create a small hole on the base of the leaf. Attach the metal hook through the punched hole and you now have a beautiful, bespoke leather leaf earring that is ready for wear.