Bracelet Making Bummer.

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Last night, I was humming along, making a bracelet out of a natural leather cord, pearls and silver spacers.  I’ve had this knotted, multistrand leather design in my head for quite a while now and I was finally getting around to making it a reality.  I was 75% of the way finished with this bracelet, I went to tie another knot in the leather, I pulled, and CRASH!  My arms flew apart, hit the desk and I almost fell off my chair!  The leather split in two, pearls went flying and so did a few choice words !*?

Another roll of bad natural leather.   I’ve had some tough luck with the natural leather cording.   The first roll I ordered was completely brittle, I called up Leather Cord USA and they sent me another.  The new one felt a little brittle too- but nothing like the first.  I tested a knot or two, it seemed fine.  I proceeded.

I was too discouraged last night to try to start over for fear of the same thing happening so I will be on the phone again today to see what the deal is with this color of natural cord. I have other natural colors and they are butter soft.  I am thinking I just need to use a leather moisturizer – but it will likely darken the leather.  What to do?!

I will report back again with better news, a completed bracelet and perhaps some advice on how to handle leather cording that gets brittle.  I would hate to waste another entire spool of leather cording!

Let me know if you have ever experienced leather cording breaking in your jewelry designs or if you have any suggestions for what to condition it with.  I am trying to avoid buying an expensive bottle of special leather conditioner.

More soon.



  1. Too bad! What a fabulous design you have going! Where, oh where, do you get the pearls that can be strung with leather and similar cord? Hope you get this problem solved.

    • Hi Sharon. Pearls I had with slightly larger holes and I electric reamed them. However, they are getting more popular and can be purchased at Nina Designs and Fire Mountain to name a few places. : ) They are a bit pricey – that is why I did my own. BTW – just saw you are from WI. I grew up in southern WI. My parents and sister still live there. I went to Undergrad at UW Oshkosh. ; )

    • Ahh, that has happened to me as we’ll and it really is annoying. My rule is to use 1.5mm leather if incorporating knots. If I must I just do not tighten them up too much. The leather that snaps on me the most is the natural as well.

      I think you can fix it though.


  2. Bummer! Hmmm… could you turn that into part of a necklace? I think that is what I would do with it. Or tie it off shorter and do something different on the back side? I haven’t worked with cording like this before, some really skinny stuff, but not like this. I am not sure that I would have a good answer. I wonder if rubbing it with something would help make it supple, or if different colors are just more brittle than others. Interesting. I will watch to find out what you learn. It is looking pretty sweet though!
    Enjoy the day, Tracy!

    • Thanks Erin! Good idea. It will become something eventually.

  3. Was is 1mm or 2mm cord you were using?

    • Patti – it’s a 1.5 mm cord. I find 2mm tough to knot sometimes… – Tracy

  4. Tracy — You’ve been eating too many Wheaties!! The smallest leather I’ve used has been the 2mm and I’ve not ever had that break – but it’s been in either brown or black – not the natural. I’ll be interested to hear the outcome and whether you think it was the size, the natural color or just that particular brand that was the issue.
    If it’s any consolation though, it’s an awesome design! I like Erin’s necklace idea OR it looks like you might have just enough to knot that broken strand below the pearl (Carefully!) and use it as a key fob or as the dangly piece at the end of a bookmark. :o)
    ~ Tess ~

  5. Tracy – I’m not sure if it’s the exact same color, but I had brown cord from them break on me, too – just as I was tightening a knot. It was the ‘regular color’ in light brown. It was my first order from that company so I bought just 2 yards of several colors and this was the only one that appeared to be brittle – even the metallic colors feel more supple. I was hoping that I had just gotten a bad piece from a larger roll, but if it’s the same colored cord as what you bought, maybe there’s something about that color that damages the leather. Which is a HUGE bummer, because I really wanted more of it!! Sorry, but I have no idea how to condition it to make it better – I’ll be looking to see if anyone has any suggestions!

  6. Tracy, your bracelet is so beautiful…really is a bummer that this happened! I love the pearls mixed with the natural leather. I’ve never had this happen but I haven’t used leather as frequently. Keep us posted and I hope the next one turns out without breaking. 🙁

  7. Tracy, your bracelet is so beautiful…really is a bummer that this happened! I love the pearls mixed with the natural leather. I’ve never had this happen but I haven’t used leather as frequently. Keep us posted and I hope the next one turns out without breaking. 🙁

    Did I post twice? Sorry about that!

  8. Hey,Tracy…just wanted to let you know about a woman who sells leather on etsy. I have been using it for my wrap bracelets…1.8 mm to 2mm. It is soft and really very nice. And it knots easily because it is soft, yet weighty. It is Indian leather. Her prices are great…think I paid $36 for 100 meters. Her store name is WILDABOUTPEARLS. She has different colors and lengths. I love your design, too. Was trying to make something like that yesterday…trying to figure out how to keep the beads on because they move. Good luck to you.

  9. Your problem is the kind of leather. There are generally two different types of leather: Indian leather and Greek Leather. Indian leather is cheaper and it’s terrible (1.00 per yard versus 2.00 per yard at a small bead store). Most Indian leather is dry rotted by the time it hits the country and is made of assimilated cow parts. Greek leather is the premium leather cording you want to use. It has a shiny finish and holds color well. It will not bleed or break however it does cost about double. I have used Greek leather in a 1mm cord and it knotted just fine, no breaks, cracks, etc. You may want to condition it a little with some leather car seat conditioner (like two dollars a bottle). Other than that you shouldn’t have any problems, most of the time I don’t even condition mine.

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