Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Review: Beautiful Leather Jewelry

When Kalmbach Publishing sent this book for my perusal, I wasn't really sure I would like it. My idea of using leather is 1mm or 2mm cord. Usually for hanging a focal bead. However, after looking through Beautiful Leather Jewelry by Melissa Cable, I think I am convinced otherwise. 

The book starts out with a section on Basics for Leatherworking. Subdivided further into 

Leather: in which you learn about the types of leather, types of tanning, weight, and how to source leather. 

Tools: which covers cutting, piercing, texturing, and setting tools and how to sharpen. Included is alternates in sewing or metal work when an equivalent exists. 

Hardware: including how to do snaps, eyelets, rivets, spots and screw posts. 

Finishing: includes a plethora of options for how to finish endings of cord and flat strap

Special Effects: dyes, paints, edge coats, distressing,  and sealants.

Preparing your Workspace: a chart that helps you figure out the basics of what you need to prevent being overwhelmed by all the choices on the previous pages. 

The next section is called Making Leather Jewelry, which starts out with a "warm-up" project for making a basic cuff. It goes over cutting, then embossing/texturing, dyeing, applying a secondary color,  finishing and piercing. After doing all the steps, you should be ready to make anything else in the book. 

The project section contains lots of wrist candy in the form of cuffs, bangles and bracelets. However, there are also pendants, necklaces and earrings. Some of the designs for the wrist include design variations for ears and necks.

Here are a few of the projects included in the book (please ignore my horrible photos of the book...taken with my phone using regular fluorescent lighting then processed through Instagram)

By Melissa Cable from beautiful leather jewelry

This one uses faux bone too!

By Melissa Cable from beautiful leather jewelry

By Melissa Cable from beautiful leather jewelry

By Melissa Cable from beautiful leather jewelry

But my absolute favorite part of the book is the last section that teaches how to make leather beads. I adore the leather capsule beads! In addition to the capsule beads, you will learn how to make a leather embellished wooden bead, leather spool bead, rolled leather column bead, and a leather panel bead. 

Once you learn how to make the beads, there are 5 jewelry projects for using your leather beads. 

Here are a couple of the projects in the leather beads section. The first one is my personal favorite in the entire book

By Melissa Cable from book beautiful leather jewelry

 This one uses a few different leather bead styles and is super fun

  By Melissa Cable from beautiful leather jewelry

If you are looking to add leather to your repertoire of materials and techniques for jewelry making, this book seems to be a pretty comprehensive source, yet tries to help you from going overboard buying every tool and supply. (Although, if you do, that would be considered totally normal in our!)

-Jen Cameron


  1. This looks like a great book to get started working with leather.

  2. Love those leather beads, too, and the Bubble Necklace is pretty awesome, also. Thanks for the thorough review!

  3. I haven't really tried anything in this book yet either, but it sure is an eye-full of gorgeousness with lots of fun stuff to put on the 'to-do' list!

  4. I agree, the leather BEADS are fabulous!!!

  5. So happy you enjoyed the book. Leather is so much fun to play with the the colors and textures are so inspiring!!


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