My friend Mat and I make leather DIY kits, so when he got an Apple Watch for Christmas, guess what we did?!
There are tons of great Instructables on making leather projects with traditional tools - here's the one that got us into leatherworking. If you have those tools, the cut file for this strap is at the bottom of this step.
In either case, we hope this helps you add some handmade love to your high-tech watch. :)
Step 1: Tools & Materials
Included in the kit:
- Wooden burnishing tool
- Extra fine grit reusable sandpaper
- Gum tragacanth & applicator swabs
- Organic beeswax
- Fil Au Chinois Lin Cable waxed linen thread
- John James harness needles
- Horween vegetable tanned, full grain cowhide leather
- Stainless steel buckle
- Apple Watch adapters (polished steel)
- Pentalobe screwdriver
- Spring bar replacement tool
Step 2: Laser-burnished Edge
Straight off our laser, the strap has a certain burnish to it. If you like this look, you can skip to Step 6.
Step 3: Raw Edge
- If you prefer the raw edge of most leather products, you can achieve this look by gently sanding the edges of the strap.
- To do this, hold the sandpaper flat on your work surface and gently sand a small section of the edge at a time, working your way around the strap.
- If this is the final look you want, you can skip to Step 6.
Step 4: Hand-burnished Edge
- The final option is a hand-burnished edge, seen on high-end and custom leather goods.
- Follow the video in Step 5 to achieve this finish.
Step 5: Burnishing the Strap
This video shows you how to hand burnish the watch strap.
Step 6: Measuring Out Thread
- The strap is assemble with two kinds of stitches: the x stitch and the wrap stitch. Each needs 12 inches of thread.
- Our thread card is 3 inches wide, so measure out 4 lengths (or 2 full rotations) and cut with scissors.
Step 7: Threading and Securing the Needles
Both the x and the wrap stitch use two needles, threaded and secured to the thread as shown in the video.
Step 8: Stitching the Keeper
- Take the strap keeper and bend it into a circle.
- Use the x stitch shown in Step 9 to put it together.
Step 9: Making an X Stitch
The keeper is assembled with the x stitch shown in the video.
Step 10: Prepare More Thread
Again follow Steps 6 & 7 to prepare 12 inches of thread with needles on both sides.
Step 11: Positioning the First Wrap Stitch
- You will make your first wrap stitch on the square strap piece.
- On the side with four holes, fold the end over so the two sets of holes line up and insert the needle into one of the holes.
Step 12: Making a Wrap Stitch
Follow the video to make the first wrap stitch set.
Step 13: Checking Your Stitch
After your first set of wrap stitches is complete, your strap will look like this.
Step 14: Stitching the Other End
- Fold the other end of the strap piece over so the oval hole is on the crease and the four sets of holes line up.
- Repeat Steps 10 & 12 to make another wrap stitch in the set of holes closest to the fold.
Step 15: Adding the Keeper
Slide the strap keeper into place.
Step 16: Stitching the Other Piece
- Repeat Steps 10 & 12 on the set of holes on the other strap piece.
- When you are done, your strap should look like this.
Step 17: Attaching the Buckle
- Place the eye of the buckle prong into the oval hole in the end of the strap. Insert the spring bar into the side of the end, threading it through the eye of the prong.
- Anchor the spring bar in the hole on one side of the buckle.
- Use the fork end of the spring bar tool to compress the other end of the spring bar and insert it into the other side of the buckle.
Step 18: Attaching the Adapters
- Remove a screw from one of the adapters with the included pentalobe screw driver and remove the attached half of the bar.
- Slide the other bar into the end loop on one of the strap pieces. Make sure that the side with the three black rubber pads is facing up with the smooth side of the strap.
- Replace the bar half you removed, making sure the two halves slide together inside the strap loop.
- Repeat with the other adapter and strap piece.
Step 19: Attaching the Strap
- Make sure the three black rubber pads are facing up and slide the Apple Watch adapter into place on the watch.
- The shorter strap piece goes on the top of the watch.
Step 20: Done!
There you go! A nice hand stitched and burnished leather strap for your Apple Watch. When you show people just say "Yeah, this is the project I worked on with Jony Ive." :)