Tonights Project - Leather Bracers

These are some bracers Ive been working on. Tonight I got all the straps glued, and the sewing holes hammered through. It took me quite a number of hours, and I still have quite a bit of work left on them. (sewing, lining, more glueing, and this is only the top side!)

Hammering/glueing for 4 hours gives you plenty of time to daydream about how much easier this would be if you had a glowforge to cut all those slits for you! Needless to say im looking forward to seeing how much more efficiently I can put things like this together.


Very cool!

Do you use any type of “layout” material to plan your shapes?
Lets say I am going to make a mask and wanted to build a mock-up out of a material that works close to leather.

I wanted to get some ideas from you, @morganstanfield, @ekla and @chris. as I think you all work with leather.
I think Chris said something about L200 but was wondering if it comes in something closer to the same thickness as the leather I would be using for said mask

At first I use paper to get a rough fit for whatever body part I am building for. I then find something as close as possible to the leather thickness/flexibility as possible to cut out a template. Sometimes eva/craft foam. For this one you can see below a paper wrap template I used and a previous versions foam mockup. The paper was v2, after i decided on a better method of connecting the top and bottom pieces together.

What kind of mask are you making?

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I am thinking a plague Dr. mask, but am still thinking about it… Maybe steam punk of some type.
I have this strong need to work with leather and this just looks like fun.
I really like what this guy is doing.
Cool work:

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yeah masks are fun. I highly recommend doing a head/shoulder casting if possible. It makes working on masks so much easier, and if its something you plan on doing more than once, almost essential. you can then build on top of the head cast with other materials to build out the beak and determine how you would like it to sit on your face. making sure there arent any major pressure points is really important on a mask that has some large pieces.

you could make the beak frame from something like styrofoam covered in worbla or styrene, then use that solid piece to model and put together the leather around it. it might not be necessary to keep the support in there after made, but will definitely help you visualize the form and have something sturdy to work around.

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another similar option is pepakura. there are tons of pepakura files out there for all types of projects. there is probably a design available for that mask that you can mock up out of paperboard or craft foam to test, then once dialed in you can use those pieces as the template for the leather. the glowforge would actually be amazing for pepakura, cutting out all those pieces. heres one I found already:


Very cool idea.
I was spending all my time in Rhino building the mask and thought to myself… Wait a sec… This part of the project should be analog!

I also love this guys work:


those are pretty sweet. i love the metal tips hes made.

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Have you considered doing the mock ups in Grunge paper? This is a specialty paper from Ranger Arts/ Tim Holtz that has a thickness and feel like leather. You might find some in your local Michaels or Hobby Lobby.

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@spike For mock ups I usually just use paper or tag board. The stiffness of tag board lends itself to structural elements. (Tag board is like like Manila folders, can be bought in 36" or 48" wide rolls). If material thickness will affect the project then cheap felt or upholstery vinyl/pleather. I know a shoemaker who uses the thin foam sheets you buy to pack between your plates when moving. Nothing bends and molds quite like leather tho so sometimes I use a cheaper, similar scrap leather or even the final leather for mock ups. When you buy by the hide it’s very cost effective.

And second on Tom Banwell’s work for anyone interested in plague masks and steampunk gear. He’s been using laser cutting for years. There are some cuttable patterns on his site

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My brother makes his bracers all stamped and cut and sewn by hand. He does some wet forming, as well. He sees my GlowForge as a huge addition to his workflow. I see the leather skills he can teach as a huge addition to my own project list.