Michelle Steiner-Woods exercises plenty of creativity as a Hallmark Senior Creative Planner by day, but it doesn’t stop there. She’s an avid doer off the clock as well. Today, she and her partner, Faye, are sharing the perfect Father’s Day crafts for the dad who appreciates a cool beverage.
My partner, Faye Steiner-Woods, and I were excited to share some of our leatherworking maker goods by hosting a workshop with a few of our talented Hallmark artists. We made key chains and leather-wrapped Mason jar cozies—both perfect Father’s Day gifts.
It all started when I noticed my eye being drawn to handmade, high-quality leather goods and accessories. With a little bit of investigating and tutorial work, I realized I could probably produce my own. I was always drawn to the leatherworkers at antique- and flea-markets as a kid. You know, the guy who would stamp your name on a belt next to the bald eagle, howling coyote or barbed-wire roses.
After lamenting at the leather shops over the large amounts of leather and prices, I quickly began finding leather treasures that could be repurposed from thrift shops, garage sales and flea markets. I even once stopped on the side of the road and cut large patches of leather off a couch in the middle of the night! It’s not my proudest moment. Or maybe it is: It’s still my favorite piece of leather to “make” with. The cool thing about these found pieces is that they’ve already been dyed, weathered, and oiled, which cuts out a huge amount of time and process for me.
What you need:
You’ll need a few tools, but you probably have some of them hanging around the house already.
- Box cutter
- X-acto knife (with a bunch of brand-new blades)
- Rubber mallet or hammer
- Screwdrivers (flat- and Phillips-head)
- Leather (of course)
- Brads (double-capped rivets, Sam Brown brads)
- Sewing needles with large eyes
- Waxed thread
- T-square and rule
- Awl (or ice pick)
- Leather hole-punch
- Rubber cutting-mat
- Rounded-edge chisel (optional)
- Stitch punch (optional)
- Stitching grover (optional)
What to do:
For the cozie:
- Cut leather about 3 inches tall by 8 to 9 inches wide, depending on your Mason jar.
- On the right and left side of each end of the leather, run your stitching grover or create a grooved line to follow a guide for stitching holes.
- Next, use the stitch punch to create your holes to sew through.
- After you have your holes, you’ll need about 24 inches of thread and two needles. Thread both ends of the thread, and begin criss-cross stitching both ends of the leather piece together around the bottle (like you would lace your shoe).
- When you are at the last hole, tie off and tuck the thread underneath the cozie. And there you have it.
For the key chain:
- Cut a ¾-inch by 12-inch strip of leather.
- If desired, round the edges or create sculpted edges with the rounded/curved chisel.
- Take your clasp and thread the leather through, identifying where you will want the clasp to lie.
- Then fold the opposite end over and identify where it will match up.
- At each end, take your awl and push holes through to the other side.
- Then use your hole punch to create the actual holes.
- Next, place your rivets in place and punch them down to create a tight clasp.
- Then screw on your Sam Brown brad on the opposite end and punch a hole where it will go through.
You can have fun stamping into leather too. There’s tons of fun alphabets, dingbats, stars and random shapes to stamp…and you could always stamp your own howling coyote on your coozie or key chain, too. Have fun! You’ll make plenty of mistakes, and you’ll use a lot of Band-Aids…But once you get the hang of it, I promise: Leatherwork is addicting.
And if you’re not up for making your own Father’s Day gift for Dad, Hallmark has some great leather gift options as well!
Photography by Kevin Hosley.