Making a custom leather watch strap

This ”tutorial” is intended for the DIY-er.

So, you have a watch and the old strap is broken or you just want a new one. Follow the next steps and make your own leather watch strap. First, the tools you’ll need:

  • something very sharp for cutting (could be an exacto knife, box cutter or kiridashi)
  • metal ruler (additional callipers)
  • leather skiver
  • edge beveler
  • bone folder (or something really smooth)
  • something for making the stitching holes (awl, pricking iron)
  • punch tool
  • burnisher
  • needles
  • pencil and paper

Materials and consumables:

  • vegetable tanned leather dyed or no
  • contact cement
  • waxed thread
  • dye (if you don’t used pre-dyed leather)

Good, so you have your watch, take a look at it and think about how you’d like your strap to look like in the end.

      After this, take your ruler (or callipers if you have them) and measure the inside of the pin rests and the buckle  (as shown)


After that, take your measurements,write them down and let your imagination flow, take a piece of paper and a pencil and draw a design while taking in consideration the measurements.

Make sure you are very careful, think about the parts that wrap around the pins (once around the watch pin and once around the buckle pin). For instance you have a 210mm wrist, your watch is 40mm from pin to pin 210mm-40mm= 170mm which is the optimal length of your strap (where your middle hole will be)

      So the finished length for the buckle piece (Piece A from ex.) should be (200mm/2)-10mm=90 mm and the other piece (Piece B form ex.) is 200mm-90mm+30mm=140mm (the extra 30mm we added for extra holes and the end of the strap). So piece A has 90mm and piece B has 140mm but this is the final state. Now we must add 40mm for piece A (for going around the watch pin and the buckle pin) and 20mm for piece B for going around the watch pin. Now, cut your stencil form the paper and trace it on leather. After that, cut the leather carefully.

      Optional* Now here you can see another small piece of leather, that will be sandwiched between two pieces of leather to create a nice feel to the strap. Now glue the two pieces together and then use a damp sponge and wet the front piece and using a bone folder go around the contour of the smaller piece (as shown)

After the leather dried take the skiver and skive the ends then glue the ends as shown

Now with both ends glued, take another piece of leather, skive the ends and then glue it to the interior of the piece (like in the picture)

Almost there now, check for to see if it fits, mark the stitching holes and make the holes (in this case using a pricking iron)

If you used pre-dyed leather skip this step, using some kind of leather dye you will dye the leather, and after that I applied several coats of acrylic resolene form Fiebings

Using the same steps we make the other half of the strap (piece B). After both pieces (A&B) have dried we use the edge beveler and bevel the edges, then burnish them.

Now all we have to do is to stitch the strap using our favorite color, in this case the customer wanted white stitching. Using 2 needles we saddle stitch the strap

Almost there but we need a little strap that holds our closed strap in place, using a scrap piece make a loop that fits perfectly around the two closed straps and DONE! Now you can show your friends the cool strap you’ve made yourself, but first lets put it together.

That is how I make my leather straps hope this was useful for you, thank you for your time!

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