How To

Stablemate Scale Fringe

Something you’re not going to find in model scale is fringe. It only has a handful of applications, but when you want it - nothing else will do. Here’s a quick and easy way to make string fringe in whatever color combination you need.

Materials

Glue - I prefer Tandy Leather Bond but any glue that dries clear and flexible will suffice.
Double-sided tape
Embroidery floss/thread - I’m using pink and metallic silver thread
Tissue-thin leather - this can easily be skived from scrap.
Scissors
Tweezers

Instructions

Place the double-sided tape on your workspace. I like using my grid mat to give me defined boundaries. Remove some of the ‘tack’ from the tape by gently tapping it with your finger tips a few times - this will help the fringe pull up neatly later.

Tack the top 1/8 or 1/4 inch of your thread to the tape. I’m alternating three strands of pink with one strand of silver. Tweezers can be helpful - use them to gently nudge the threads into place or to press the threads onto the tape so that you can avoid touching it with your fingers. Use your scissors to trim the ends; I left 1/2 or 3/4 of an inch. If using floss that’s been wrapped on a card, avoid using the turn; it won’t ever lay flat.

Keep laying thread until you have the length you need. Refer to your project consistently to avoid doing more than needed; this fringe won’t store well.

When all of your thread has been placed, apply glue to your thin strip of skived leather. It should be about as wide as the thread that’s stuck to the tape and about a quarter inch longer; about a quarter of an inch wide by an inch long, in my case. I have skived a piece longer than I need and applied glue only where I do.

Place the leather, glue side down, over the threads on the tape and press firmly. Keep the leather as straight as possible. And then LEAVE IT. No touching until it dries! My leather is so thin that the glue has completely soaked through; this is okay.

Once the glue has completely dried, gently peel the leather - and threads - off of the glue. If some threads come loose, that’s okay - use a toothpick to apply some glue to it’s place and tack it down again. Slow and steady is key.

And there’s your fringe, ready to apply to your project!

I’m using this fringe on a barrel racing breast collar. Glue is applied to the prepared collar piece and the fringe is placed - leather side out - on top, keeping the bottom edge of the leather as even with the bottom of the breast collar as possible.

The raw top edge is trimmed flush and the rest of the fringe is evened up and brought to the correct length.

Finally assembled, the fringe is pretty convincing! It really needs to be secured by glue on both sides, so I don’t recommend storing unused fringe for any length of time. Hope this was helpful!

Psst - want to know how to do the silver studs on the breast collar? Read my blog post about micro beads!

This breast collar is part of a donation to
Candy Land Live 2019.

How To: Western Bridle with Rio Rondo Hardware

How To: Western Bridle with Rio Rondo Hardware

This is less of a tutorial and more of a walk-through. I’m not going to give you a list of materials, tools, or measurements or tell you what leather to use, but I will show you how to figure those things out for yourself as I walk you through my process for making a two-eared silver show bridle. There will be lots and lots of photos and (hopefully) helpful commentary, so buckle in!

NMTM Essential Skills Series: Dyeing Leather

NMTM Essential Skills Series: Dyeing Leather

Most tack makers have a similar progression: we begin with whatever we can scavenge and make, moving on to better materials as our skills outgrow cobbled together supplies. One of the natural parts of this progression is realizing that you cannot rely on found leather. There comes a point when you decide that you need to take the jump and buy natural leather. Unless you intend to only make light oil western pleasure saddles forever, you'll need some dye to go along with it.