Tuesday, January 15, 2013

DIY Tassel Key Chain

So I'm back with the DIY key chains as promised. Here's the thing about DIY for me. I love do-it-yourself projects...but only if they look like you've bought it from a store. For the most part I think this project passed the test, costing only a few dollars per key chain, but there's definitely some things I could do to improve next time.

I used this tutorial as a basic guideline but put my own spin to it. Honestly I just kind of eyeballed the whole thing but if you're the kind of person that needs specific measurements check out her template! She really does a great job giving step by step instructions.

Supply List
-Rubber Cement
-Sharpie or Pen
-Leather remnants
-Straight Edge/Ruler
-Large Lobster Clasps
-Split Rings

I tweaked the tutorial I followed a bit, starting with my supply list. I swapped out the double sided tape for rubber cement as my adhesive because I felt like it might be stronger and I'm always afraid of my projects falling apart. And the fact I didn't have any double sided tape in my stash didn't hurt either... :)

The graphic above is a representation of how you're going to cut your piece of leather. You want to create a tab (in the upper left hand corner) so you'll have something to attach your split ring to. I know it's frustrating if your leather remnant isn't very big but it makes it a lot easier to attach to your key chain if you have the room. You probably want to make the tab about 1" to 1.5" in length and the width as you see fit. I ended up eyeballing the whole thing as far as measurements go because my leather remnant was a different size but if you want a template with measurements go to this tutorial that I linked to earlier.
*Note: If you don't have enough room for a tab I've seen people glue a metal chain at one end before gluing everything
Next you want to cut the fringe. You can measure it all out in increments or use graph paper like the tutorial I continue to link to does. :) Honestly, once again, I just estimated and tried to make my cuts as straight as possible.
Next up, Assembly!
First, slip the ring (3) onto the tab that you created earlier. You're going to place glue in the two spots (labeled 1 + 2, what a surprise!) and fold the tab in half, letting the glue dry. Make sure you're really careful with the amount of glue you apply. When you fold the tab over you don't want any extra glue to squeeze out because it can discolor your leather when it dries. I'm speaking from experience when I say that, but luckily my material was dark enough that it doesn't bother me too much. Lesson learned for next time though! 
You can tell in this picture that my cuts aren't exactly straight but once you glue it all together you really can't tell. After you've folded and glued the tab down, apply glue along the strip on the top and roll it slowly and carefully from the left to the right with the same attention to the amount of glue applied as before. You might want to hold it in your fingers for a minute or two to let it dry before setting it down

At this point you can be finished if you want to. However, I decided to add some finishing details to mine and flattened my tassel in order to hammer in tacks on either side. Not only does it add some visual interest but it adds a bit of stability and helps keep the leather glued together.
Right around this point I ran into a distraction. :)  Actually I think I might have more pictures of him than my actual projects. I wish I could say it was the reverse...Anywhooo back to the task at hand!
You can tell in the process of hammering I bent a couple of the tacks, so be prepared to sacrifice a few. Getting through all those layers of leather can be a little difficult and frustrating but I think it really adds a sophisticated finishing touch. And if you happen to scratch up the face of the tack when hammering it either cover your hammer with something soft to avoid that problem completely or just pry out the scratched tack and push a new one in its place. Once you've managed to get the tack in flush it's not too difficult to pry it out and replace it.  
I made a smaller version of the tassel with some remnant leather that I had but I decided I like the bigger size for a keychain. It makes it easer to dig inside your purse and find your keys. I think I'm going to use the other one as a zipper pull for either my weekender or maybe for one of my clutches.
Hope this inspires everyone to make their own! It's so simple to make and is a great cost effective present. Too bad I didn't think about this until after Christmas...of course.

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