DIY His and Hers Leather-bound Mini Book of Love Necklace and Keychain for Valentine’s Day

0.diyminibooknecklace_introI love taking little scraps of things – whether they be paper, lace, or fabrics – and turning them into pretty accessories.  Plus I also have an obsession with teeny, tiny things…like mini-books, which can hold all your secrets and ideas, stored away on your person.  And what better way to create a personalized gift for a loved one this February?  I dreamed up this DIY for Valentine’s Day – which will use up a very tiny amount of little bits of fabric, leather (or pleather, vinyl, or other fabrics), and cardstock you may have lying around.  Here’s how:

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DIY: Quick n Easy Vintage-Style Iron-On Decal Leather Keyring Charms

DIYleatherirononkeychain_introWhile I was in Japan last April/May, despite the unhappy circumstances of my visit I did manage to go to some craft stores to see the latest trends and products.  One thing I came across were these beautiful vintage-style iron-on decals by Eruberu Co, Ltd.  They’re a company that manufactures a number of craft-related supplies, and these decals were just so lovely and whimsical I couldn’t help buying a few to play with.  Victorian-style kitties, bunnies, little girls, roses, and birds, oh my!

So I brought them home to Oregon to my trusty old iron and ironing board, and decided to whip up some quick little keychain charms using some scrap leather I had lying around.  And if you can wield an iron, you can easily make these pretty little keychain rings and cell phone charms too!  Here’s how: (more…)

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DIY Colorblock Bag A.K.A. How to Paint Leather with Acrylic Paint

70’s-style colorblocking is a hot trend for Fall 2011, seen on the runways and now beginning to trickle down into street style and retailers.  I was hankering after a colorblocked purse, but didn’t want to pay a lot for it.  Thankfully, thrift stores are a wonderful source of older handbags, and I found an adorable cross-body bag for a mere $4.99.  But it was rather beat-up and needed a little makeover, so I figured it was time to break out the brushes and do some leather painting!  Though technically when you paint leather, what is most recommended is to use paint that is specifically formulated for use on leather, like Angelus.

However, if you are feeling squeamish about buying an unfamiliar product online, or they don’t ship to your country, or you want to use some acrylic craft paint that you already have on hand, fear not!  Leather and suede can actually be painted with acrylic paint, with fairly good results if you take the time to prep the piece properly.  So here’s how to add some vibrant color-blocking to some leather or suede pieces you already own:

How to Add Some DIY Colorblocking to a Leather Bag

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DIY Leather Obi Belt Idea from Lucky Magazine

Spent a lazy Sunday pulling apart the magazines that have piled up over the past couple months…and came across this Lucky Magazine feature in one of their issues from a little while ago (not sure which one).  Sure, P.S. I Made This did a DIY of the obi-style belt back in February, but this is a little bit of a different style – plus includes some sources for buying the leather.  Here are the sources mentioned in the blurb above:

All great sources for leather, but I would also add:

(with stores throughout the U.S., this is THE place to get leatherworking supplies, tools, hardware, and skins)

(variety of exotic leathers and hides)

(includes frogskin and metallic hides)

(extremely high-quality, full-sized hides for a variety of end uses)

And, my absolute, all-time favorite:

(beautiful, amazing array of FAUX leathers and manmade vinyls!!  Yay!)

My Tips: When using lambskin or lightweight leather in a loose, tied belt like in the picture – all you need to do is cut and tie.  (Yay for simplicity!  But don’t ever ever EVER use your the same scissors/rotary cutter you use on fabric on leather…that’s a sure way to blunt your instruments.:-(  Have dedicated leather-cutters if you can!  [I use my kitchen shears that I use to cut other stuff in the kitchen with b/c they’re tough and can really withstand the abuse…but I’ll never cut fabric with them! LOL])

If you want a more structured belt, say like Gucci’s S/S 2011 RTW metallic python version with tassels – finishing the edges properly will make all the difference between looking “home-made” and “couture.”  If you’re using real leather, don’t forget to burnish the cut edges!!!  (What is burnishing? you may ask.  A how-to coming in a future post, chickadees!)



Gucci runway photo, Yannis Vlamos /

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Guest Post: DIY Celine-Inspired Leather Pocket Blazer from A Pair and a Spare

Today we have our first guest post ever here at Chic Steals…from Geneva over at A Pair and a Spare!  If you’re not familiar with her fabulous blog, you’ve truly been missing out!  She posts daily DIY inspiration – with tons of runway and editorial photos and DIY hints, as well as simple and chic DIY tutorials and creations of her own.  (A leather bustier trompe l’oiel sweater?  A leather collar blouse?  A lip-print blouse and smudged stripe breton shirt; pleated pants belted super-high?  (And did I mention her incredibly helpful series of articles on how to makeover your wardrobe: DIY Wardrobe Rehab Project?  I’ve begun using her methods and it’s really paying off in my own wardrobe!)  Definitely pay her blog a visit and start browsing through her archives…I guarantee you your fingers will start itching to DIY something within minutes!!  So take it away, Geneva!…

DIY Weekly – Celine Inspired Leather Pocket Blazer

I saw these beautiful oversized leather pockets on dresses and blazers at one of Celine’s runway shows recently, and thought they looked chic and totally DIYable.

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