By Home Decor Contributor Alyssa
My most prominent love language is gift giving. Seriously, who doesn’t love getting presents? If I can make someone smile or make someone’s day by giving them a little meaningful trinket or a few of their favorite candy bars, I’m doing it.
That’s why this project is so awesome. It’s incredibly easy, useful, and all about meaningful personalization. Although the tools are a little spendy, once you have them, you never have to buy them again, and you can continue making these gifts for as long as you’d like.
What you’ll need:
- Some nice leather (I went ahead and bought some leather strips that were already the correct width for my keychains. I preferred this to trying to cut my own to the correct size).
- Key ring
- Leather stamps
- Leather awl
- Spray bottle
- X-acto knife
To start, cut your leather to the size you want.
Although you can make your keychain any shape or size you want, I used this pattern to create a loop at the end of my keychain for the key ring. I thought it looked a little cleaner and fancier.
Cut where you’ve made your marks. You can use scissors for part of it, but I’d suggest cutting the corners with an x-acto knife to avoid making cut marks where you don’t want them and to be more precise.
Next, use your awl to punch a hole through every layer of your leather where the rivet will go. Make sure the holes are big enough for your rivet. If you are going to use this shape for your keychain, get a slightly bigger rivet to make sure it’s long enough to fit through all the layers.
Making these holes before you start stamping will help you conceptualize where to start your stamps. You don’t want to start too close to the end of your piece of leather, as that’s where your rivet will go. I know this from experience…I wasted a perfectly good piece of leather during my first attempt because I skipped this step.
Before you start stamping, give your leather a good spritz of water, making it damp (not soaking wet). This will keep the leather from cracking and will soften it to help create a deeper, more permanent impression.
To stamp, make sure you’re lined up straight (if you can find a way to create a non-permanent line of reference, do it! I couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t ruin the leather or move around when I stamped). I would do a few trial stamps on a scrap piece of leather to test out your technique and how you want to line things up, space them, etc. When you are ready, take a hammer and firmly hit the top of your stamp once or twice.
ATTENTION: MAKE SURE YOUR STAMPS ARE NOT UPSIDE DOWN. You will notice my 8’s are upside down. I did it once and had to stick with it. Luckily it wasn’t too obvious.
Continue stamping until your message is complete. I used the coordinates of where my boyfriend and I first met, our initials, and an “XO” message for his keychain gift.
Fold your leather to line up the holes and push the rivet through, then cap it to lock it in place. Attach your keyring. Ta-da! That’s it! It’s really that simple.
With a scrap piece, I also made this incredibly simple anniversary date and “XO” message keychain for myself.
Good luck! Just a warning: this craft will be a little difficult until you get the hang of it. You might want to create a practice piece before creating your real piece, as it may take a couple tries to get it right. But once you’ve got it, it’ll be a breeze!