How to Make a Lashed Chain & Leather Bracelet

July 2, 2013

Lashed wrapped leather bracelets aren’t just popular because they look great — they’re also a hit because once you know a couple tricks to get started, they are an easy and fun DIY jewelry project to make! A great twist on this hugely popular style is to lash chain instead of beads to leather cord. Read on to make your own leather and chain wrap bracelets!

The main difference between lashing chain to leather and lashing beads to leather is that chain doesn’t have “hidden” holes to allow you to work down both sides of the leather at the same time. So, when lashing chain, you’ll lash one side of the chain and leather first, then lash the second side.

Lashed chain and leather bracelet

“Tree of Life” Lashed Chain & Leather Bracelet

Supplies and tools you need to get started:

***Tips for picking your chain:

  • Choose a style that will lay flat!
  • Choose a style with links that are large enough to easily thread the needle through.

Choose from several styles of chain.Choose from 275+ styles of chain, sold by the foot and spool!

For the bracelets pictured, I used different types of curb chain:

Cut your chain:
Wear safety glasses or goggles! Eyes are a valuable commodity, and it’s not unusual for a cut chain link to fly up or out.

Cut the chain 2 inches shorter than your final bracelet length:

  • For a 7.5” bracelet, cut 5.5” of chain.
  • For a 15” (double-wrap) bracelet, cut 13” of chain.
  • For a 22.5” (triple-wrap) bracelet, cut 20.5” of chain.
Choose from several colors of leather cord.

For both bracelets pictured, I used 2mm wide Greek leather cord.

Cut your leather cord:
Cut the cord 2x the length of your finished bracelet, plus about 12 additional inches:

  • For a 7.5” bracelet, cut 27” of leather.
  • For a 15” (double-wrap) bracelet, cut 42” of leather.
  • For a 22.5” (triple-wrap) bracelet, cut 60” of leather.

Cut your threads:
You will use two separate pieces of thread to lash your chain to your leather, one for each side. A good general rule for each side is to calculate 3x the length of the bracelet, add 5-10 more inches for good measure, and double that:

  • For a 7.5” bracelet, cut two 54” threads.
  • For a 15” (double-wrap) bracelet, cut two 100” threads.
  • For a 22.5” (triple-wrap) bracelet, cut two 155” threads.

Now, the fun starts:
Thread your button onto the center of your cut piece of leather.

Thread one needle onto the middle of your first length of thread, and knot the ends. Repeat with your second length of thread and your second needle.

Secure the thread:
This method will keep the ends of your threads from loosening up and/or sliding down the leather cord once the bracelet is done.

    1. Loop your first thread around the LEFT side of the leather cord, and back through itself, creating a lark’s head knot. Tighten right under the button.
How to make a lark's head knot.

Lark’s Head Knot

    1. Create a second lark’s head knot with your second thread around the RIGHT side of the leather cord. Tighten.
Attaching your thread to your leather using lark's head knots.

Tie both threads to your leather using lark’s head knots.

  1. Create a single overhand knot with both sides of the leather AND both threads together. Pull taut under the button.
Creating an overhead knot.

Then, combine both sides of leather and both threads into a single overhand knot.

Attach your button to a sturdy work surface (a clip board works great). Now, wrap the left-hand thread several times around both leather cords in a figure-8 (infinity) pattern.

Figure-8 or infinity wrap.

How to wrap your thread in a figure-8 (infinity) pattern around both sides of your leather cord.

Infinity or figure-8 wrap.

Now, the first thread is wrapped.

Repeat with the right-hand thread. Use the needle to intersperse the right-hand thread with the wraps already made by the left-hand thread.

Creating the second half of your infinity wrap.

You can use your needle to intersperse the second thread with the first thread.

Tightly knot both threads together on what will be the BACK (underside) of the bracelet. Now your threads are secured for lashing.

Move the right-hand piece of leather and right-hand thread out of the way. NOTE: If it feels more natural for you to start on the right side, then move the left-hand leather and thread out of the way instead. The important thing is to lash only one side of the bracelet at a time.

Lay your cut chain in the middle between the two sides of leather cord. If you find that your chain likes to roll to one side, use masking tape to secure the bottom of the chain and leather in place while you lash.

Use masking tape to secure your chain.

Secure the bottom of your chain and leather to keep the chain laying flat while you lash.

Begin to lash by bringing your needle UP through the first chain link, and then OVER the left side of the chain link. Continue OVER and around the leather cord, then UP through the next link. Pull tight.

I like to lash the first link twice, to give it extra hold, and then commence with one lash for subsequent links. (If you want to double lash every link, you will need to cut more thread than described above!)

Starting to lash.

Double lash the first 1 or 2 links, then single lash each link after that.

Stay on one side, and continue lashing each chain link to your leather. It’s normal for the thread to go slack and the top of the chain to slip a bit as you get started. Adjust it as needed, and keep going. Every once in awhile, check the tension of the lashes and keep them consistent. … Once you get a rhythm going, lashing is fun and easy!

Lashing pattern.

Continue the same pattern you started with: UP through the chain link, then OVER the leather.

TIP: When you’re making a double or triple wrapped bracelet, the threads will seem really long to start with. To help prevent them from getting knotted or otherwise caught up, use your thumb and fingers to keep the thread taut as you pull it through.

When you get to the end of the chain, double lash the final link, then wrap the thread around the leather a few times.

Finishing the first side of lashing.

At the end of the first side, double lash the final link, then wrap your thread around the leather a few times.

If the chain has slid down from it’s starting place, adjust as necessary.

Add a Bead Stopper or binder clip to the bottom of your first side, to hold the thread in place. Do NOT trim the thread or remove the needle. You will finish the ends of both sides at the same time.

Using a Bead Stopper.

A Bead Stopper works great to temporarily hold your first side of lashing. Notice how the chain has moved down from the figure-8 wraps? I will adjust that before starting to lash the second side.

Binder Clip

A binder clip also works great.

The second side:
Lash the second side the same way. Double lash the first chain link, then single lash subsequent links. Double lash the final link and secure the second thread with another Bead Stopper or binder clip.

Lashing the second side.

Lashing the second side.

Finishing the End:
At this, point, make any adjustments needed in the tension of the overall design. Has the chain pulled away from the button end? Is the chain by the binder clips scrunched up?

After making any necessary adjustments, remove both binder clips, and create the same figure-8 (infinity) wraps that you made at the other end. Then, tie the opposing threads together, again on the back / underside.

Finishing with more figure 8's.

After you’ve completed lashing both sides, make more figure 8’s with both threads, then tie the threads together, as you did at the beginning.

Grab both thread ends and both leather ends. Tie a single overhand knot with all 4 ends together. As you tighten the knot, be careful to not let the chain get bunched up.

Finishing a lashed bracelet.

Make another overhand knot with both leather ends AND both ends of your thread.

Oops - scruched chain.

Oops! When I first tied my overhand knot, I tied it too tight, and the chain got scrunched up. If this happens, untie your knot and try again.

Trim the ends of the thread, and (optional) add a dab of glue for extra security.

Completing the clasp:
Use your button to determine where to make a second knot. This knot will create the loop part of your clasp.

Creating the clasp's loop.

Use your button to measure where to make a second overhand knot. This knot will create the loop end of your clasp.

Option: If there’s enough leather left, you can create a third knot to make an adjustable bracelet.

Option: once you’re done, add a dab of glue to all your knots for extra security.

To add more color and create a slightly different look, thread an appropriate width of suede cord or ribbon through the chain once your bracelet is done. For the bracelet pictured below, I threaded 1.5mm imitation suede lace (#61-790) through the 6mm anitique copper hammered curb chain (#40-099-04-7 / #40-090-04-7).

Burgundy Bliss Bracelet

“Burgundy Bliss” single-wrap lashed chain & leather bracelet.

Happy lashing! Let us know what new variations you come up with. ~ Melissa

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  • jahna newsom July 5, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    you just make my old heart sing!!!!!
    Thankyou so very much

  • Melissa July 5, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Jahna, So glad to hear it. Enjoy! 🙂

  • Jill July 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    These are so pretty! I’m attempting to make all my Christmas gifts this year as on a really tight budget so it’s great to come across some ideas that are different to what you can get in the shops!

  • Melissa July 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    That’s great, Jill! Handmade gifts are the best.