Sunday, April 2, 2017

How to make a padded crystal browband

Before I left for Texas, I encouraged interested parties to submit guest blogger posts. The young but accomplished Australian tack maker, Bronwyn Ahyong, answered the call. Her post arrived after we'd left, but it's just as good now as it would have been then. Thank you, Bronwyn!

How to Make a Padded Browband with Crystals

by Bronwyn Ahyong

Materials needed
- 3mm (1/8") leather lace
- SS4 Rhinestones (here is one source)
- Glue
- A sewing pin
- Very thin leather (skiver works well)
- X-acto knife with a sharp blade
- .5mm or .7mm mechanical pencil punch
First I prepare my leather lace. This involves skiving, dyeing (if needed), and treating the lace with gum tragacanth. I skive the lace the same thickness or a fraction thicker than I would for the cheekpieces of a bridle. Then I set the leather lace aside so that the gum tragacanth/dye can dry and start on the padding. 

I measure from the top of one side of the crownpiece to the same spot on the other side. This will determine the length of the padding.
The width of the padding should be a bit more than three times the width of the 
lace. If this is too wide, I can always trim it later. 
I spread glue onto one edge of the flesh side of the leather, and then fold it a little over a third of the way across the leather.
Next, I fold over the other side so that the finished piece of padding is a tiny bit wider than the leather lace. I trim the edges of the padding for a tapered look. 
Now it's back to the browband! I cut a piece of lace that is the same length as the piece of padding. Using a pin, I put a tiny dab of glue about 2mm from the end of the lace and carefully place a rhinestone on the dot of glue.
I repeat this until there are rhinestones all the way to 2mm from the 
other end of the lace. The line of crystals should be straight and in the centre.
Next, I take a longer piece of lace that will actually form the browband itself. I punch two holes, side by side, in the middle of the strap. The holes will be connected to form one long hole. The length of ling of rhinestones determines the length of the hole. For example, if the line of crystals is 4cm long, there will be a 4cm gap between the two holes. 
I use the X-acto knife to very carefully ‘join up’ each hole. When I am done I should have with a piece of leather with a rectangular hole cut into it. 
Next I coat the flesh side of the leather in glue, going about 5mm past the ends of the rectangular hole. 
I lay this piece of leather over the top of the piece with the rhinestones. The rhinestones should poke through the gap in the leather.
Now it’s time to make the strap into a browband! I double check the length, keeping in mind that there will be padding under the browband. Then I get a piece of unfinished leather lace (I like to use unfinished as it give a little extra room for the straps) and fold the end of the strap around it. 
I repeat this on the other side.
To attach the padding,  I place glue on the side with the ‘seam’. Then I place the padding on the underside of the browband and make sure that everything is even and secured.
The padded browband with crystals is now complete and ready to display on your favourite horse!
Thanks again, Bronwyn! Be sure to check out Bronwyn's studio page for more photos and information about her tack.