Whether you want to reinforce holes created in leather or simply decorate a piece of leather to use as a bracelet, choker, bookmark or scrapbook page embellishment, use metal eyelets to get the job done. Sold at scrapbooking, rubber stamping, sewing and craft shops, eyelets--and their larger, industrial-looking counterparts known as “grommets”--are available in an assortment of colors, finishes and shapes. Use a simple technique and the proper eyelet tools to securely affix the accents to the durable pieces of leather.
Cover a work table with a sheet of plastic or layers of old newspapers to protect the surface. Since you’ll be using a hammer, consider working on a solid surface such as the garage floor if your table isn’t sturdy.
Place the leather piece on a self-healing cutting mat sold at sewing, scrapbooking, craft and office supply stores. The mat will keep the cutting and setting tools from etching your work surface.
Grab an Anywhere Hole Punch or a hand-held hole punch that will create a hole that’s the same size as your eyelet. If you’re using 1/8-inch eyelets, for example, use an Anywhere Hole Punch or hand-held hole punch that will create a 1/8-inch hole. Determine which type of punch to use by the desired eyelet placement--if the hand-held punch won’t reach the desired spot, use the Anywhere Hole Punch instead.
Create the hole in the leather. If you’re using a hand-held hole punch, simply slip the leather between the jaws of the punch and squeeze the handles together. If you’re using the Anywhere Hole Punch, place the tip in the desired spot, hold the tool straight up and down and tap the back with a hammer to cut a hole in the leather.
Push the smaller, unfinished end of an eyelet through the front of the leather. Flip the leather over and ensure it’s still sitting atop the self-healing cutting mat.
Nestle the tip of an eyelet setter that matches the size of your eyelet in the center of the eyelet. Hit the end of the eyelet setter with a hammer to split and flatten the back of the eyelet. Flatten the eyelet completely by turning the leather over, covering the eyelet with a soft cloth and giving it a gentle tap with the hammer.
If you’re making an eyelet-embellished leather bracelet, for example, use eyelets shaped like hearts, stars, holiday trees or letters. Set the shaped eyelets by tapping the back with a hammer, but skip the step that requires you to tap the front of the eyelet with a hammer since this may disfigure the custom eyelet shape.
Do not let young children help you set metal eyelets. Not only can the small embellishments become choking hazards, but the Anywhere Hole Punch has sharp edges.