diy project: leather watchstrap

by

I read an article recently about the demise of watches. It seems most folks these days don’t wear them, preferring instead to constantly pull their phones out of their pockets. Sure, it’s one less accessory to deal with, but I can’t imagine going a day without a watch on my wrist.

So, as a great excuse to buy a new watch, I figured I should do a little DIY for a leather strap. Timex has released the Weekender model, and it’s a simple, classic, timeless look with easily modified pass-through straps. They are really inexpensive and accessible, too, but if you don’t want to look like everyone else, why not personalize it? — Matt

See the full how-to after the jump!

This little project is really easy. You’ll use the strap that comes with the watch as a guide so you can fully cut and punch all the holes in your new strap to match the original. Now, unless you have some watch buckle hardware lying around, you’re going to have to cut that strap up. If you don’t want to cut it, Timex actually sells additional straps for about $7. Go buy the ugliest color you can think of, since you’ll only need the metal bits!

Materials

  • 3–5 oz. weight leather
  • heavy waxed thread

 

Tools

  • leather punch #00
  • leather sewing needles
  • rotary knife
  • ruler
  • end punches or scissors

 

Instructions

1. Cut a long strip of leather for the strap. If you’re using the standard Weekender watch, it should be 13/16 inches wide and 11.25 inches long. Round the ends, or use an end punch to cut a clean end.

2. Once your strap is cut, you can lay the donor strap over it and mark where the buckle holes will be. Then lay them side by side and mark where the buckle hardware will go — one hole on each side to stitch. You can punch the holes with a #00 punch, or use an awl for the stitch holes and a larger punch for the buckle holes.

3. Once your hardware holes are marked, you can cut the hardware loose from the ugly strap and stitch them into the new leather piece. You can experiment with stitches and designs; I just used a simple boxed layout for mine. When you’re done stitching, tie the ends together underneath the fold of the leather and cut your ends.

  1. Lisa A says:

    Nice look. Why on earth would anyone want to keep pulling their phone out of their purse/pocket? What a hassle? I wear a watch every day.

  2. Andrea says:

    oh wow! the end result is awesome! really cool DIY. thanks for sharing :D

  3. Neada B says:

    i have a 500$+ raymond weil watch that i got for 5$ at a tag sale–it’s outlasted 3 cell phones. long live the wrist watch! (and by the way, this is AWESOME!!!)

  4. Erica says:

    really nice!!

  5. Danielle H. says:

    You all take DIY to the next level. I like that you post DIY’s that make something like working with leather more accessible instead of basic cut and paste projects (not that those aren’t fun too ;) Keep em’ coming. I think the watch is making a big comeback and I’m excited about it!

  6. Katie says:

    I love wearing a watch (mine recently broke, but it’s on the list of things to get). My only necessity with watches is that they need to be scuba rated – it tends to be a little nicer that way, and I can be a little rougher on it without worry of it getting wet.

    This turned out very well! Love the brown leather!

  7. Kelsey says:

    Oh this is cool! :) I’m bias on watches, though, my boyfriend is a hobbyist watch maker and collector. He wears a Rolex sub on the day to day, though.

    (my wrists are bare, but I don’t have a cellphone, either. I’m weird, honestly.)

  8. Laurey says:

    This looks awesome! I was just wondering if anyone has found a good place to buy leather? That’s always my hang up with these projects… I can never find a good place for leather.

  9. karoline says:

    Oh wow, how inspiring! I love wearing things that are unique, even more so when it’s homemade. And I wear a watch every day, so I might just try out this DIY. :) Thanks for sharing, brilliant idea!

  10. This is a cool project. leather strips, remnants are available everywhere. Luckily I live close to NY so I just go to Fashion district or shop my vendors

  11. Maria says:

    This is fabulous! I love watches too and I actually have that exact same model! This is great and I can’t wait to make it, thanks for the tutorial. :)

  12. Marnie says:

    After not wearing a watch regularly for over a year, I just bought that exact Timex Weekender last week. Love the homemade leather strap…will definitely have to try this (if I can find all the materials)!

  13. eva b. says:

    love this! thanks for the idea!

  14. Kari J says:

    Thanks very much, this is great! I have the leather and some of the findings, and have been intending to make a watch band for about (muffled) years! And now I have instruction–This might actually happen for me!

  15. Susan Stanley says:

    I really like this because my daughter and I have large wrists. I think I will look for a belt to recycle.

  16. Jenine says:

    Laurey, don’t know where you’re at, but in Seattle there’s a great leather goods store in the International District called MacPherson’s:
    http://www.macphersonleather.com/
    It’s kind of a no-frills joint, big piles of hides on tables that you meander around in. They have a great selection and very knowledgeable staff. I’m always inspired when I go in there and come out with 5 new projects (you know, because I need 5 more projects…sigh.)

  17. brittany says:

    wrist watches will never go out of style. i’m wearing mine now….dead battery and all! it’s a timeless fashion statement. hardy har!

  18. Jacqueline says:

    I can’t go out without a watch on my wrist. :P
    This is such a beautiful makeover for the watch!

  19. Melissa says:

    I can’t go without a watch. The one time I forgot to put mine on in the morning, I ended up stopping by the Swatch store in Grand Central just to get a cheap one to get me through the day. This is a pretty nice DIY, though I favor metal bands.

  20. This is great. seriously. I love watches but have a small wrist so the bands are never quite right. I’m headed to thrift town to salvage some castaway leather purse.
    So excited.

  21. Sara says:

    Aah! This is so gorgeous!
    I have none of these tools and I fear it would be more expensive to make it myself than to buy.

    I wish I could buy this one from you!

  22. This is wonderful. Thanks for this.

  23. Claire says:

    Love this. I don’t think I could cut up the band for my Weekender, though…I may have to see if the local Tandy Leather has some attractive hardwear for it.

  24. Amazing! It’s great!

  25. eva says:

    This is so cool. I wanted to start doing stuff with leather 2 weeks ago, but didn’t know where to get the tools. Will give it another try now I see this.

  26. jash says:

    Awesome! I wonder about the thickness of the thread and the needles? I am a newbie to this…

  27. You have this way of making things easy! I love your ideas and my week is never complete without visiting this blog! I’ve got a few watches needing straps and I think it’s time to make one. :)

    Annabella Merlin
    Creative Photo Albums

  28. Charlotte says:

    I have a beautiful men’s Tourneau watch that I got as a gift and I work those poor leather straps to death! I haven’t worn it since because of it but now I know how to fix it so I can wear it again!

  29. Gabby says:

    ugh! I love your leather DIY’s, but the trouble that I’ve always come across with concerning DIY’s is the fact that I don’t have the proper tools. Do you have any advice on which items are good ones to purchase for projects like this one & your previous leather Passport DIY?

  30. Jesùs says:

    Hey men this is very cool !!!!! i did it with my watch and now im wearing your idea

  31. Jeremy Smith says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to do this soon. Anyone know of a good website for the hardware?

  32. Chrus says:

    Great tutorial, I followed it to make my Dad a strap for Xmas using some beautiful Horween leather, pics can be seen on my blog; love to know what you think of the results!
    http://clamldn.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/how-to-make-a-leather-watch-strap/

  33. Chris says:

    Great tutorial! I used it for making my Dads xmas present using beautiful Horween leather
    Love to know what you thought-
    http://clamldn.wordpress.com/2013/12/22/how-to-make-a-leather-watch-strap/

  34. Ryan says:

    Where can I buy the hardware for the strap and clasps?

  35. Joe Atkins says:

    It’s interesting to note that a tremendous number of watch wearers are looking for a stratp, it’s almost exactly like yours. Nice job.

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