Instructions for Handmade Leather Roses

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A rose is an universal symbol of love.
A rose is an universal symbol of love. (Image: Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Roses — a symbol of love and friendship. Real roses, however, fade and die. Roses made of leather are as timeless as your sentiment. They are easy and inexpensive to make. You can even use items around your house, such as old leather purses. Make roses in different colors to dress up an outfit, use as a hair piece or create an ever-lasting bouquet. Leather roses are a fun, creative way to express yourself, and will provide hours of entertainment for you, your friends and your children.

Things You'll Need

  • Drafting compass
  • Scissors
  • Bowl of warm water
  • Yarn
  • Glue (rubber cement or white craft glue)
  • Wrapped florist's wire

Use the compass to draw a circle the size of a half-dollar coin in the center of the paper. Draw three large circles equally spaced around the smaller circle. The three large circles should overlap the smaller circle but not quite touch in the center. The pattern will be similar to the club suit in a deck of cards, without the stem.

Draw a second pattern identical to the first, but about two-thirds of the size. Cut both patterns out of the paper.

Use a pen to trace the pattern onto the back of the leather pieces. Cut out the leather, being careful to keep clean rounded edges. If the back of the leather is too rough, you can use sandpaper to soften it. Cut out two large sets of petals and two small sets. If you are going to add a stem, poke a small hole is the center of the leather pieces.

Place the pieces of leather into the bowl of warm water and let them soak until the leather is saturated. Work the leather between your fingers in the water to help expedite the process.

Remove the leather from the water and pat with a towel to remove the excess.

Lay one of the larger patterns on a flat surface with the smooth side up. Lay the second large pattern on top with the top petals in the gaps between the petals of the bottom piece.

Pull the petals from the bottom piece up through the gaps in the top piece. The tight fit causes the petal to wrinkle a little bit. Use your fingers to roll the top edge of the petals for a softer look.

Gather the three center petals together. The edges overlap just like a real rose. Use a piece of yarn to wrap the petals and keep them in this closed position. Tie the yarn snug, but be careful to avoid marking the leather.

Gather the three outer petals together in the same manner. They also overlap and should fit snugly against the center petals. Use another piece of yarn to wrap the outer petals and secure them.

Repeat steps 8 and 9 for the set of smaller petals.

Allow the leather to dry in this arrangement. You can place the petals near a radiator or use a hair dryer can expedite the process, but use caution to avoid making the leather stiff from the heat.

Remove the yarn after the leather is dry by cutting it with scissors. Use a small dab of glue to affix the smaller petals into the center of the large petals. Gently pull the petals apart to your liking.

Add a stem to your rose by threading wrapped florist's wire through the center. Turn the wire over on itself to create a small knot on the end and prevent the wire from slipping out. It should fit through the holes you punched earlier.

Tips & Warnings

  • Different color roses have different meanings. The rose color chart (see Resources) can help you pick the right color for the right occasion.
  • If you do not have a compass, any object that allows you to draw circles will work.
  • Working with leather may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

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