While working on all of the wedding projects, the one thing that took me the longest to decide on was a wedding gift. I knew I should probably make something for them, rather than buy a traditional gift, but my creative inspiration tank was running low and everything was coming up so quickly! About three days before the wedding, I finally got an idea and ran with it – branded leather luggage tags.
Stencil cutting tool
So once I decided WHAT I wanted to make them, I had to figure out HOW I could successfully accomplish it. I wandered around Michael’s for a while before I saw the stencil cutter. It is essentially just a pointy piece of metal that gets hot – exactly what I needed!
I picked out two pieces of leather that I thought would look good together to use as the front and back of the tags. It turned out that the lighter brown was a faux leather(though convincingly leather-like) which ended up being an issue later on. So make sure that you use real leather, or account for this later on.
Next I measured out rectangles 2.5″x4″ and cut off the corners of one end.
Here is the front and back together.
Next, spread a thin layer of the leather glue on each piece. I used a business card to get the glue nice and thin.
Once glued together, let the tags dry under something heavy. Fortunately I am studying for the MTELs and have a few hefty books laying around that worked perfectly. It only took about 10 minutes to dry.
While the tags were setting up, I started working on what exactly I was going to brand the tags with. I had thought that maybe my technique for the printed wooden signs might work, but sadly it didn’t. What did work was just simply printing out the template and tracing over it with the stencil cutter.
After you’ve traced your stencil, remove it and go over any lighter spots a few times.
Next I used a hammer and nail to poke a hole through the tags for a place where the hanging attachments to go.
I just cut long thin pieces of leather to use as the attachment strings.
Now here is where you can see that the faux leather didn’t work so well with the branding. I had traced their names onto the back side of the tags, but they just don’t show up as well. Here I added little leather hearts to the corners.
I initially tried using watered down paint to fill in the edges that the branding tool made, but it just looked sloppy. So in a last ditch attempt to save these, I whipped out some gold nail polish and painted over their names. Luckily the craft gods were smiling down on me and the nail polish did the trick.
All finished and ready to be wrapped up! This project from beginning to end probably only took a couple hours, and the total cost ran me around $35 and that includes a tool that I can use in the future as well. So if you’re looking to make something customizable either for yourself or as a gift, I would definitely recommend this!