Thursday, November 21, 2013

Handmade Cowgirl Country Christmas Tree Series, Episode 1, Leather Star Ornaments, A Tutorial

It's getting to be that time of year. I just love Christmas! And this year I am going to have the tree I
have always wanted and that makes me even more excited!! If you read my last post where I made a Cowgirl Inspired Tree Skirt from Denim Jeans, you know that I have always wanted a "Cowgirl Tree." But I found the commercial ornaments too expensive to justify. So since I have most of the materials, and tools already I thought I would make my own ornaments and decorate the tree I have always wanted! I hope you are as excited about this as I am! I have enlisted some really fun contributors for this project and can't wait to introduce them and their ideas on ornaments to add to my tree.

For the first ornament I chose a leather star. Stars just go with Christmas for me! They signify the night the Savior, Jesus Christ was born. There was a bright star in the sky that led the Wise Men and others to find the baby Jesus. The Shepherds were out amongst the stars tending their herds when an Angel appeared to them and said "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11) Because I know the true meaning of Christmas and what it means I love stars and the bright hope they represent! And because this is a Cowgirl tree, leather and bling was perfect!

So to make these leather star ornaments you will need:
Leather, Tandy Leather is where I got my leather and supplies, it should be a leather that is stampable.
Leather Scissors
Leather Stain and Finisher
Quartz Slab or other hard surface to work on
Leather Stamping Tools
Spray Bottle with Water
Leather Hole Punch, if you are a Cowgirl you probably already have one out in the tack room of your horse trailer!
Star Template, either draw one yourself or Google Star Template, print out, cut out and use to trace on the leather.
Leather Lacing
 Embellishments such as beads, conchos, rhinestones and lace.

To begin, assemble all tools and materials. Then use star template, laying it down on the leather and trace around it with a pen. Then use leather cutters/scissors to cut out the star. (I found it worked best to cut the star legs from the outside working in, and line the scissors up so the end of the scissors ends right where you want it and then snip.) Once you have cut out the star completely, then the tooling begins, lay the leather star down right side up on the Quartz Slab, spray with water to wet thoroughly and evenly (don't make water spots and leave or it will end up that way, instead spray and then use finger to spread water evenly if needed) and use the stamping tool of your choice to stamp designs onto the leather. You use the Mallet to firmly hit the top of the tool until a design is indented into the leather. This is the fun part! You can do whatever your creative mind desires! Once stamped you can then leave the leather un-stained and apply Leather Finish to make soft and shiny. Or you can then apply a Stain. I did some natural light leather color and some I stained a darker brown. Tandy Leather had many different colors of stains to choose from if you wanted a specific color scheme. Once stained you need to let it dry before applying the Leather Finish. I used a soft sponge and circular rubbing to apply both. Allow to dry. I made a hole with Leather Punch toward the top of the ornament to be able to hang it. Then you can embellish the ornaments as you wish. I chose to embellish with rhinestones, conchos, and cowgirl themed pendants. I used E6000 to adhere the rhinestones. I used a brown suede looking, leather lacing to go through the hole at the top of the ornaments and tied a knot at the top. Then tied a cream colored lace bow around the bottom near the hole. When attaching conchos I used the hole punch to make a hole then put the concho through.

Here are some pictures to show what I did:


Trace the stars onto Leather.

Again do opposite of what is shown here! Line up the end of the scissors with the end point and then snip.


Here is a cut star. Notice how the top of the star is nice and crisp cut and the bottom half kind of straggly? This is when I learned to keep the scissor tip lined up and end right at he end of the line!
Now tooling the star with the stamping tool and mallet.
Tooled/stamped Star.
Add stain now if desired. Leather absorbs the stain better if already moistened with water.
Use Leather Punch smallest hole size to make hole in top of star.

This Star has been stained and hole has been punched.
Use the Lacing Cord to go through the hole to be able to hang up. Tie knot at top. Embellish with anything you like.

I left the lace off of this one to show that these could easily be made for a Cowboy Tree and not so girly!


  1. amazing! I love those!!!!! Oh I am so excited to see the completed tree!!!!!

    1. Hey Suzi! Thanks!! I'm excited to see the end result too. I can't wait to see your contribution also!! This is so fun!!