Lady of the Fringe

it's a magpie's nest

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Crafty Things! Making Leather Rose Part 4, assembly
I seem to have an insanely huge number of photos to go with this, so I'm using multiple cuts to hide them.  That way, if you're on a slow connection, you don't have to wait for all the photos to load at once.

Got your rubber bands handy?  You'll need them today.

Turn the end of the wire into a loop.  I have round nose pliers for that, needle nose do just fine.  then turn the loop on its side with the needle nose pliers.
illustrated steps from straight wire to turned loop

We'll work with the leaf a bit now, just because I have pictures of how I dampen it.

Spritz the front of the leaf.  Turn it over and spritz the back side.  The water droplets soak in, and the leather darkens.  If there are still very dry spots, add a little more water.  As the water becomes evenly distributed within the leather, the color of the leather starts to lighten toward its original tone.  The leather doesn't feel wet, only supple, cool and a little damp.  This is the perfect condition for working with it.

Draw the center vein and some side veining with your stylus.  It doesn't have to be anatomically correct, or absolutely perfect; it only has to suggest leaf-ness.

OK, so I got carried away with the side veining.  You don't need to.  Set the leaf aside until later.

leaf spritzed once leaf spritzed on the other side
marking center vein in leaf drawing side veining on leaf

Make a small hole in the center of the small petal piece.  You probably have choices, see what you have available in your environs, the sharp leg of a compass, a leather punch, a prick punch, an icepick, a dissecting needle, tip of pointy scissors. Your stylus may even be pointy enough.

You may make the center hole in all four of your pieces at this time if you wish.  Holes poked in vegetable tanned leather have a tendency to close back up.  This can be a good thing.  It can also be annoying.  Keep your stylus handy for widening holes that want to close up.

Choose which side of the leather you want to see, the rough side, or the smooth side.  The side you want to see is the side that will be facing towards the loop in the end of the wire.  Got that?  Made your choice?

Slip the wire through the hole, and push the leather all the way up to the loop.
smallest, inner petal set on a wire stem look, three roses are started

This is the next day.  The dye is dry, the leather is dry.  Dampen the leather. Damp leather forms much more easily than dry leather, and once dry holds its shape.

Start forming the center of the rose by curling one petal into a cylinder.  Let it relax a little.  Tuck the next petal into the middle of the cylinder and curl that petal into a cylinder, around the first. Curl the third petal around the first two.

form first petal curled into a cylinder, then relaxed a little

forming second petal center petals close up

Now you need the rubber bands.  Wrap one around the center you've just formed, a little less than half way down the piece.

Reflect the edge of the petal back towards the rubber band. In other words, start rolling the edge of the petal back so you can see the inside surface. Work around until all three are rolled back.  you may have to work a little on one, a little on the next, a little on the next, and keep going round like that until you like the way it looks.

you can see the rubber band, starting to reflect the first petal center petals, turned back

Find the hole in the center of the middle sized petal, and enlarge it to allow the wire easy passage.  Make a hole if you haven't already.  Got the same side up as you did with the center petal?

Slide the middle sized petal up to the flower center.
sliding the middle sized petals up the wire.  See the rubber band? positioning middle layer of petals

Form this layer of petals around the center.  Overlap the petals and add another rubber band.
rubber band on center, and beginning to form the petals forming the middle petals
formed middle petals rubber band around the formed middle petals

Reflect the edge of each of these petals toward the rubber band.  Tease each one partway into position, work one, next, next,  first one, next, next, until you like the way it looks.
closeup with rubber band, start with this petal first petal reflected part way
first and second petals reflected part way middle petals reflected

Find the hole in the center of the large petal, and enlarge it to allow the wire easy passage.  Make a hole if you haven't already.  Got the same side up as you did with the center petal?

Slide the large petal up to the rest of the flower.

Does this sound familiar? It should.  Working with the large piece is nearly the same as wirking the middle sized piece.
slip the large petal piece onto the wire slide it up to the rest of the flower

Form this layer of petals around the center.  Overlap the petals and add another rubber band.
Oh, that reminds me. If you don't have enough rubber bands,or break your last one, (darn) string, or dental floss works in a pinch.
forming the first petal of the last layer. forming the second petal of the last layer
all three petals formed around the center tied with waxed cinnamon dental floss

Reflect the petals back.  Doesn't it look a lot like a rose?
three layers of petals formed and reflected

Slide the leaf up the wire, adding it to the rest of the rose. Position the leaf tips near the points where the petals overlap each other.

slide the leaf up the wire position leaf tips in the notch where petals overlap

Finished.  Close up.  Whew, that was a lot of work, but so very very worth it.

Congratulations, you've made your very first leather rose.
finished rose. congratulations

And a few last details.

After the rose is dry, use sharp scissors to snip the rubber band, and pull the pieces out from between layers.  You can't reach the very first rubber band around the center?  If you can't see it at all, you can leave it.  That will be our little secret.  I won't tell.

If the rose shows signs of coming apart, with the pieces sliding down the wire,
1. you can use glue.  I use white glue.  Push the pieces of the flower together, letting the leaf piece ride low on the wire.  Place a dab of glue on the bottom of the last petals you formed, with enough to touch the wire.  A drop or two is plenty.  Push the leaf up against the flower, turn it one complete revolution to spread the glue.  Check to make sure it is positioned correctly, and hold it together for about a minute, or until the leaf stays with the flower when you let go.

2. you use pliers. Bend the stem 90 degrees where it comes out of the leaf. Hold the stem wire (about a quarter inch worth) where it comes through the leaf with the pliers, and bend the wire back on itself so it passes the center point.  Bend it 90 degrees at the center point, so it appears not to make this detour around in a loop, but continuous from the center of the flower.

bent stem from underneath detail of bent stem

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i'm missing something :)

For some reason I can't seem to find parts 1-3 of the leather rose tutorial? Could you please point me in the right direction? Thanks so much. :)
(Frozen) (Thread)

Thank you so very much. I think a trip to the store is now in order. :)
(Frozen) (Thread)

You're very welcome.

A few other examples of my leather work are on my magpiesnest page, along with earrings and such.

If you make leather lacing, I made a video to demonstrate the use of TLF's lacemaker. It's on yutube.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

Hi, I am new to working with leather so I have a quick question. What is the best leather to use? Do I have to use tooling leather or can I use just regular scraps? If I can use regular scraps should they be thick or thin or does it matter? Your tutorial is a great help, thank you for posting!
Thanks for the help!
(Frozen) (Thread)

Vegetable tanned leather is best to use for wet forming, which is what you are doing when you make the leather rose.

Tooling leather is vegetable tanned leather.

I make tiny versions of the roses for earrings from very thin and flexible chrome tanned garment leather, usually pig, but that requires that I use something to "starch" the tiny roses so they keep their shape.

Feel free to experiment with what you have, and let me know how it works.
(Frozen) (Parent) (Thread)

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