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How to Bedazzle Leather

Kathryn Rateliff Barr

Adding studs or gems to your leather jacket, cellphone holder or purse adds a level of customization that makes it uniquely yours. You can add studs and gemstones to leather items in various ways. Heavyweight leather is often too thick to work with products like Bedazzler or competitive products.

However, lightweight leather, suede and deerskin offer a thickness that works well with a Bedazzler. Even so, you may find that pre-cutting the holes for the prongs saves you time, as well as wear and tear on the machine.

  1. Draw your design on a piece of clear plastic placed on top of your leather jacket or other leather item. Make sure the design fits well with the contours of the leather and does not require that you place a stud or gem on top of a seam or in a tight corner where the Bedazzler arm cannot maneuver. Revise any lines to complete the design. Mark the placing of each stud or rhinestone on the plastic with a large dark dot.

  2. Transfer the design to a piece of tissue paper with the correct orientation, using the colored pencils. Turn the design over to trace it, if you use rhinestones with settings, because regular settings insert from the reverse side. Trace the design from the right side of the plastic, if you use studs that enter the leather from the top. Make a copy of the design from each orientation, if you will use both studs and regular settings. Color code the design dots to differentiate between studs and regular settings.

  3. Clip the tissue paper design to the leather using binder clips. Use a sail needle to cut through the leather at design points in the four corners to make sure the top-oriented and bottom-oriented tissues line up, if you're working from both sides of the leather. Place the Bedazzler and the leather on a firm surface that will support firm pressure and will not be damaged by cuts if you pre-cut the holes.

  4. Measure the studs and settings using the Bedazzler's sizing tool, located on the base of the machine. Choose the correct size plunger, and load it into the plunger arm. Load the stud with prongs facing down into the plunger, and place the leather faceup on the setter plate with your insertion point under the plunger. Push down on the arm until the prongs bend and wrap around the leather. Check the back of the leather to ensure that the prongs went through the material and contracted fully. If the prongs didn't go into the tissue or have difficulty closing around the material, pre-cut the holes according to the process in Step 5. Use the blade of a flat-head screwdriver to push down any prongs that didn't properly seat.

  5. Place the leather on the setter plate, and center a stud over the insertion point. Poke the tip of a sail needle or an awl through the marks. Push the prongs through the holes, and center the plunger over the stud. Push down firmly, bending the prongs around the leather. Check to see that the prongs closed around the leather.

  6. Replace the setter plate with the "R" dish for setting rhinestones on your leather. Lay the rhinestone in the dish with the facets pointed down, and place a small dot of glue on the base of the stone. Center the insertion point on the leather over the dish, with the leather wrong-side up. Load the setting into the plunger, and push down until the prongs close around the rhinestone. Pre-cut the prong holes as in Step 5, if necessary to get the prongs through the leather.

  7. Tear off and discard the paper once the Bedazzler has set all the studs and rhinestones. A pair of tweezers will help you remove any remaining shreds of paper.

  8. Tip

    A firm, flat surface allows you to apply enough pressure to bend the prongs. Start the holes with a sail needle if you have problems getting them to go through the leather and fold around it.