Magic Braided Leather Tutorial


Seriously this tutorial is magic. I’ve been wanting to share it with you for about a year now, but it’s taken me so long to sit down & figure out the best way to explain myself. See, I discovered how to do this while mindlessly watching an episode of House.

My mother-in-law has a rad purse from the ’70s or so; it’s leather with a very cool handle. Parts of the handle are braided & parts are smooth. I thought it was just insanely cool how the handle was braided with closed ends!! What the . . . So I figured it out. Turns out it’s not as hard as you might think!


I’ll be sharing this today on KSL’s Studio 5! I’ll link to the video later today for further clarification. So click the link below to read the tutorial!

• M A G I C B R A I D E D L E A T H E R •

(of course the pattern pieces above aren’t the same, I was just too lazy to take a supplies pic that was practically the same as this one. hope you’ll forgive me.)

• S U P P L I E S •

  • hammer
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • tape
  • button-stud/snap & setter
  • 1-2 oz leather/felt

Print and cut out pattern pieces. Tape onto leather. Carefully cut two inside slits with an X-acto knife & ruler. Punch holes then cut out perimeter of the pattern.


Tape your leather to a sturdy surface, like a desk or slab of wood. Start a tight braid with the farthest right strand & count each time you cross a strand.undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Ignoring the bottom part as you go, count up to 6. Once you get to six, start untangling.


Look at the bottom part, the strand that’s on top should go through the hole. Follow the strand with the end of the bracelet.


Once you’ve followed through that end, your ends should look like this. Take the right strand & smooth it out. the end will want to go in between the right & middle strands. Once you’ve untangled that, start your second set of 6. You might need to untangle as you go as you run out of room. The bracelet pattern uses two sets of braids.


Once you’re done braiding, your bracelet will look a little lumpy. Don’t worry. Just give it some time & it’ll break in nicely.

Here are the photos animated so you get a better idea of how it goes.


Once you’re finished braiding, you’ll attach snaps or button-studs.


Wear on your wrist for a couple of days to break it in. Be sure to get it wet if you’d like for the braids to lie flat. ENJOY!!

• O P T I O N A L •

Use this technique for purse handles!

Click the button below to download the printer-friendly version of this tutorial & for the pattern pieces. I’d love to see how you make this tutorial yours! Email me pics or link to your pics in the comments.

This tutorial is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without my consent. Altering the file NOT ALLOWED. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

Don’t be totally confused. It looks tricky, but it’s really quite simple! Check out the video tutorial below for additional clarification:

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    1. This tutorial is super cool and I’m totally confused. lol.

    2. Krista says:

      That’s amazing! I’ve always wondered how that was done. Thanks for sharing. Must try soon…


    3. Anne says:

      so cool! i must get my hands on some leather and do ALL your fabulous tutorials….

    4. This is really great!! I’m gonna make one and report back!

    5. Stephanie says:

      I agree with Lori. Ha! Looks amazing. Wondering if I can pull this off for a gift my little sis will absolutely love. Here’s hoping!

    6. angie says:

      love this leather bracelet diy!

    7. Emily says:

      it IS magic! :)

    8. jen says:

      that is freakin’ awesome! how on earth did you figure that out?

    9. Brianne says:

      awesome! now…what do you use to write on your photos? it looks like you’re using a bamboo tablet/pen…i’m intrigued!

    10. Gentri says:

      Just watched you on studio 5 and LOVED it!!! Awesome tutorials! I am hoping to try them out! :D

    11. Oh I love this! It really is magic :) I just may have to try using something like this for summery-fabric purse handles. Bookmarked!

    12. Summer says:

      Such an awesome tutorial! I was actually just trying to figure this out, because I saw a shirt with the back braided just like this. Thanks!!

      And if anyone is confused about the untangling part (I certainly was), the video helps a TON!

      Thanks again!

    13. Rachel says:

      This is really beautiful, and does seem pretty simple. I don’t think I ever would’ve figured it out, haha :) I love that you do all this crafting while watching House – that’s totally my kind of working!

    14. meredith says:

      i have a bracelet just like that from Hawaii. i love it! great tutorial.

    15. Bellesme says:

      Aww you look so cute! =D Love your voice =D It was nice to see you sort of live… I need to buy some leather..

    16. Bellesme says:

      omg! I just noticed everything is lower case so my smiley faces look weird…

    17. […] A magic braided leather bracelet tutorial, I really want to make […]

    18. Bmerry says:

      I’m sold on the braid.

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    21. […] Jeans: Gap Shoes: Gap Blazer: Jacqui E Broach: Madewell Bangles: Braided Leather cuff- made using this tutorial , Pandora- gift from my parents, Silver cuff- gift from my SIL, Watch-Fossil, gift from my SIL […]

    22. Limar says:

      This is fantastic! Looks so nice, must give it a try :) Thanks for the tut!

    23. Annie says:

      Martha Stewart has a tutorial that has you loop through sooner, I think after three, so it’s not so confusing for those who need a little extra help, but this one looks really good. And I did not know that about wearing it in to make it lay flat. PS – LOVE the leather you used.

    24. […] also love these magic braided leather bracelets via I Still Love […]

    25. […] bloglandia! I came across this great Magic Braided Leather tutorial today and immediately had to try it with our pre-made leather cuff bracelets. In less than 5 […]

    26. Cindy says:

      Thanks for the great instructions!

    27. betty2dogs says:

      I love it. I’ve looked at those braids often and wondered how it was done. Thanks for cracking the code!

    28. ann says:

      thank you for reintroduction me to this magic I remember doing this as a brownie 45 years ago

    29. […] illusion in this leather bracelet from Melissa of I Still Love You is really cool and fun. See how it’s done over on her blog — via CRAFT This entry was […]

    30. Jan says:

      Thanks for such great instructions. And my first thought was for purse straps/handles. I have a design file full of purses I’m itching to work on but haven’t been able to get my head around what kind of strap to make. This will totally work for several of them. In particular, the little ones I’m making out of jean parts, and a couple of little pouches to slip on a belt. Now I can make the belt as well as the pouch!

    31. Syd says:

      I love this bracelet! A few months ago I came across a kit that had instructions to making the same thing, but with a different method that allows you to do more braiding. I thought I’d leave a comment just in case you are curious for an alternate way to make this. You first flip the bottom of the bracelet up between the 2nd and 3rd strand. Then you braid three times. Then you flip the bottom up again through the 1rst and 2nd strand (counting from the bottom of where you just braided.) If done right it should look very pretty with no random twists. You then repeat the pattern however many times you want to make it as tight of a braid as you like. Thanks for this tutorial! I am always looking for different ways to make things!

    32. Veronica says:

      This is so cool! Where did you find the snaps?

    33. […] Magic braided leather bracelet. (via CRAFT) […]

    34. Jenn says:

      I have a bracelet like this and every time I wear I wonder and wonder how they did it. Now I know! Thanks for the tute!

    35. […] If you're like me, you keep an eye open at thrift stores for any cheap leather items to cut up and turn into other things.  (Who can argue with a couple yards worth of leather for just a few bucks?)  Here's a project that's great for using up a little bit of that stash: magic braided leather bracelets!  Melissa from I Still Love You has  an awesome tutorial on her blog, including a printable template, so you can learn how to make this easy but impossible-looking design.  [how to make a magic braided leather bracelet] […]

    36. […] Magic Braided Leather Tutorial […]

    37. […] If you’re like me, you keep an eye open at thrift stores for any cheap leather items to cut up and turn into other things.  (Who can argue with a couple yards worth of leather for just a few bucks?)  Here’s a endeavor that’s terrific for using up a little bit of that stash: magic braided leather bracelets!  Melissa from I Still Love You has  an awesome tutorial on her blog, including a printable template, so you can learn how to create this easy but not possible-looking design.  [how to create a magic braided leather bracelet] […]

    38. tallin says:


      I have a bracelet like this that I always manage to undo. I always had my dad fix it, but now I can do it on my own! Woohoo!

    39. Rich says:

      Thanks for the wonderful instructions and the animation. It helps out a lot. I will work on one or two of these and then expand to five or seven strands to see if I can do the same thing. Thanks Again!

    40. wenwens says:

      I discovered your weblog web website on google and examine a number of of your early posts. Proceed to maintain up the superb operate. I just extra up your RSS feed to my MSN Information Reader. In search of forward to studying extra from you afterward!

    41. Jessie says:

      I just now made two of them from scraps I bought at Tandy leather — they’re so adorable! I will definitely be making these for friends and family as little gifts. I can’t get over how easy they were, thank you so much for posting this!

    42. Katelyn says:

      Thank you Thank you for sharing this! I have an old purse from the seventies and the handle is braided like this, and I have always wondered how they did it! No one I’ve met has been able to figure it out. And now I know!

    43. […] Magic Braided Leather Tutorial » ISLY | I Still Love You Seriously this tutorial is magic. I've been wanting to share it with you for about a year now, but it's taken me so long to sit down & figure out the best way to. .. […]

    44. Ceecee says:

      You are too sweet for sharing this. Thank you!

    45. Alexandra says:

      Seriously, this has bothered me for YEARS. Thank you so much for sharing!

    46. Justyna says:

      I love it! just made one myself and it turn out great :) haven’t thought it would be so easy, wonderful tutorial! thank you for sharing!

    47. Tricia says:

      Thanks so much for this tutorial. I’d been trying to figure out in my mind the best way to make a braided leather bracelet. I was thrilled when I saw this tutorial in your year end wrap up. Thanks again!

    48. erin says:

      I FINALLY got around to making one of these tonight. Actually I made three in about 30 minutes. I can’t believe how easy it was. Thanks Melissa!!

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