|Time required||Complexity||Tools & Supplies|
Common for leathercraft
Dive into the world of leathercraft and create a stunning Manta Ray Bag Charm! In this latest addition to our series of tutorials, we’ll guide you step-by-step on how to make a beautifully detailed accessory using veg tan calfskin leather.
Whether you’re looking to add a touch of underwater elegance to your bag or just want to try a new craft, this tutorial is perfect for you. With our easy-to-follow instructions, even complete beginners can make a charming manta ray accessory that’s sure to impress. So grab your tools and let’s get started on this unique and captivating creation!
- 1mm stitching prong
- 2 & 2.5mm hole punch
- Scissors or X-Acto knife
- Applicator for the dye
- 2 leather stitching needles
- Hammer or mallet
- Edge slicker
- Cotton rag
Bill of Materials
- 2/3 oz veg tanned calfskin + a little piece of black leather scrap for the eyes
- 1 key-ring
- Leather dyes
- Leather finishing product
- Leather glue
- Polyester stuffing
The pattern PDF is available for purchase on etsy.
Printing and cutting the pattern
You can get the pattern here if you haven’t already.
Print it on US letter or A4 paper depending on the version you downloaded and cut-out the pieces of the project. Two options (C1 and C2) are available for the top of the Manta Ray. Choose whichever one your prefer. Both designs will be showcased in this tutorial.
Make sure that the pattern is not resized by checking your print settings. You can check if it was printed properly by measuring the reference found at the bottom of each page.
Print on card-stock paper to make it easier to trace the shape on the leather.
Tracing the outline of the pattern onto the leather
Using an awl, trace the outline of the pattern pieces onto the leather.
Don’t forget to mark the positions of the holes that we will need to punch through later on.
Punching the stitching holes
Use stitching prongs or a hole punch to punch the stitching holes for all the pieces using the marks that you left earlier as a guide to position them.
If you went with option C2 for the top portion, punch all the hole with your 2 and 2.5mm hole punch.
Cutting-out the pieces of the project
Using a pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife, cut-out all the pieces of the project .
Dyeing the leather
Dyeing can be achieved through different methods. I will refer you to this Youtube Playlist in order to learn more about the subject from much more qualified craftsmen than I am.
For this project I used a mix of teal blue, grey and white to create a nice contrast between the different parts of the body.
Once the leather is completely dry, apply a coat of oil to re-hydrate it and protect the dye..
Try to be swift in your motions once the oil is on the leather to avoid creating darker spots. If this happens not to worry though, just leave it half an hour under the sun (rough side up so that the top grain doesn’t tan). The heat will help the oil spread out evenly in the fibers of the leather.
Burnishing the edges
Burnish the edges of all of your pieces using the method of your choice. I usually apply some tokonole to the edge and use a wood edge slicker to create the friction necessary for burnishing.
Never apply too much pressure on the edge during this operation. Indeed we want to prevent any mushrooming from happening especially when the edge is damp. It’s all about speed and friction to create heat, not pressure.
Setting-up the eyes
Punch in two dots in a piece of black leather scraps.
Insert the two black dots just punched into each eye socket in top piece (C) and secure by applying glue to the back of each eye.
Apply some pressure with your mallet or else to level the eyes with the surrounding piece of leather.
Preparing the key-ring
Make sure to have the key-ring tab (D) ready to be used with the system of key-ring that you chose.
Stitching it all together
Begin stitching the three pieces (C, B, A) of the ray’s body, starting by the two cephalic lobes (I had to google “anatomy of a Manta Ray” to refer to it with such a fancy term).
Continue by stitching the gills slits on the underbelly (A).
Stitch the three body pieces together along the abdomen, adding the key-ring tab (D) and the tail (E).
Add some stuffing in between the layers to give some thickness to the ray’s body.
Complete you manta ray by stitching along the fins. Congratulations, you made it!
Apply the conditioning product of your choice on your creation and rub vigorously with a cotton rag to polish it and give it a nice shine.
I use a leather balm that I make by gently melting together “au bain-marie” 1 part beeswax and 6 parts olive oil. It’s great for nourishing and waterproofing.
I hope you enjoyed following along this tutorial. Please consider posting a photo of your creation in the comments below. It would mean a lot to me to see my little projects out into the world as you make it your own.
Any feedback/question about this tutorial or project idea that you’d like to see posted here is and always will be more than welcome.
The following online content provided some assistance and/or inspiration during the making of this project: