Sunday, August 14, 2011

How to Stud a Leather Jacket

Got an old boring jacket that could use some sprucing up? Have some article of clothing you wish had some more zing to it, but you're not sure what you could add? Well, studds are a great way to add a nice little something extra to any piece of clothing. Best part is, they're washable and you'll never have to worry about them flaking off :') In this tutorial, I'm going to be studding a leather jacket with the Daft Punk logo.

- Jacket
- Refrence picture
- Exacto knife
- Metal tipped throwing darts
- Studs
- Pliers
- Double sided tape

Total cost estimate: $50
(based off what I had to buy)

Project Duration Estimate: 4-7 hours

Many of the things in this tutoral can be found at your local art and craft stores.

This tutorial is for adding studs to a piece of clothing. The recommended article in this case, is a jacket. Studding things such as sleeves, pants, or shoes may be difficult since you won't have as much space. Either way, once you stud one thing, it's very similar to stud something else.

An exacto knife is an EXTREMELY sharp knife, and should be handled with EXTREME caution! If you don't feel comfortable using an exacto knife, it can easily be replaced with a pair of scissors.
The steel tipped darts and studs themselves both have very sharp points and if mishandled, they can cause injury. Be careful when handling both!

Always make sure you read through the entire process before beginning to avoid mistakes and get a general idea of how the project will progress.
Now let's make get started:

Step 1: Making your stencil
Now the very first step to this process is making an accurately sized stencil of the design you'd like to studd onto your jacket. Since studding is more difficult and sloppy than tracing or sewing a design on, you're going to want a very accurate stencil so you can get the details perfectly. When you're deciding the size of the stencil, you need to take into account that if it's too small, you won't be able to get some of the details. For this tutorial, I decided to do the daft punk logo. If I had made the logo any smaller, I wouldn't have been able to create the curves of the letters as well, especially since the studs are usually not that small. Take the complexity of your logo into account, along with the size of your actual studs.
Anyway, once you get the logo you'd like, bring your article of clothing and compare the size to it. Try to think about the location of the logo as well. For instance, if it's on the back, don't allow it to get too close to the arms or it won't sit flat on your back and will curve. When you've decided on the size, screenshot the photo and print it out. In my case, the daft punk logo was much to colorful to print out and I didn't want to waste a gallon of ink, so instead, I simply placed a piece of paper over my computer monitor and carefully traced the silhouette, getting as many details and curves as I could. This is a ghetto way to do it, but it works.

Step 2: Cutting out the stencil
To cut your stencil, you can either choose scissors or an exacto knife. If you're doing the daft punk logo like I am, you're going to want an exacto knife to get all the inside spaces of the letters. If it's a different design, you may be able to use scissors. If you do end up going with the exacto knife, be sure you have some sort of cutting board or cardboard underneath so you don't scratch up the floor, desk, or any other workspace surface you're using.

Step 3: Tracing the pattern
Now to trace the pattern onto your jacket so that you can follow it while you add the studs. But hold on just a second. Before we mess with the stencil, take your jacket, pants, or whatever surface you'd like to stud and lay it as flat as possible. Take your double-sided tape and apply it to the bottom of your stencil, trying not to let any of the tape interfere with the outline. Once your stencil has tape in enough spots to keep it held down, press it down against the jacket in the position you'd like, making sure it and the jacket are as flat as possible. Once it's in a spot you'd like, trace the outline with a pencil. If you're using leather like I did, don't worry about the pencil marks showing through or staying after you've studded or anything, the pencil literally starts to disappear faster than you can stud, so make sure that you're darkening the lines as you see them beginning to rub off as you progress.

Step 4: Adding the Studs
And now for the longest, most tedious step~ Adding the studs. Depending on the material you're studding, this process COULD take much longer. If you're going to be adding studs to cotton, denim, nylon, muslin, polyester, or any other thin fabrics, you may not need to use the darts. Faux leather and leather may require the use of the dart, it depends on the article itself. The thicker the fabric, the more likely you will need to use the dart.

When you look at a stud, you can see that it is essentially a half circle above (usually)4 metal spikes. The stud's spikes have to pierce the fabric completely and then you will need to bend them inward with the pliers. The smaller the pliers you use, the easier this will be. Bend them toward the center of the stud, and then clamp the pliers down onto the spikes so that they point inward towards the inside of the rounded head of the stud. If you're studding a leather jacket as I am, the leather itself is not so hard to pierce as the inside lining is. You have to hold the stud tightly to make sure it pierces both, and then bend the spikes inward.
Sometimes, you may come across a lined area that will have 2 layers of leather, or possibly, your fabric may be too thick for the studs to pierce through by themselves. This is where your dart comes in handy. You're going to need a metal-tipped dart- very important. Take your stud and stab it into the fabric as hard as you can and then remove it. Take your dart and enlarge the small indents that your stud left behind from when you stabbed it. The dart has a fine and sharp enough tip that you will only really need to poke it through to break the fabric. Just a nick for each spike should do it, don't start tearing through. The exacto knife COULD work as well, you will just have to be extremely careful that you don't stab too deep or the knife will slice a large hole that you won't be able to fix. I'd recommend the darts.
Another thing, when it comes to studs, there are several different sizes. The size I went with was 7mm. Depending on how you'd like your jacket to look, you may want to use larger or smaller studs. When looking at my picture, just try to remember I'm a very small girl who's only 5'2 and I have a back that's approximately 13 inches wide, so the studs may appear larger on me. I would recommend 5mm for a small girl such as myself to make the studs appear more as they do on daft punk's actual jacket. For a larger person or a guy, I would say 7mm works pretty well. The smaller the studs or the larger the design, the less you have to worry about losing detail from the design.

And there you have it!
A spiffy cold-be-mistaken-for-a-brand-new-jacket!

For more information on purchasing jewelery and other props in my tutorials, requesting a custom item, or an idea for a new tutorial, feel free to email me at Kanti-Kane@hotmail.com (:


  1. Woahhh
    Thats one of the best daftpunk jackets Ive ever seen!!

  2. Really its amazing and the emboss on leather jacket looks cool.
    Buy Leather Jackets