How to decorate a leather watchband

Instead of throwing away an old, worn watchband use some of these tips and techniques to decorate it instead.

Sometimes we get attached to a favorite shirt or pair of tennis shoes and it's difficult to make the decision to finally give it up. In some cases you don't have to give up a favored garment or accessory if you only decorate it instead. Make a simple leather watchband look a little ritzier by using certain techniques to bring it back to life.

Small stick-on jewels can make an ordinary watch look dazzling. Instead of relying on the adhesive found on the back of the jewel use glue to keep it attached to the band. Place a line of the jewels down the middle of the band or use tiny ones to line both edges of the watchband. The jewels are available in multi-colors or a diamond look. Most people have seen the jewels that are round and faceted but they also come shaped like crosses, pyramids or even tiny creatures.

Glitter paint, especially on a white or light-colored band, is an elegant look. Don't brush the paint on thickly. A thin coat of the paint goes a long way towards making the band sparkle. The paints also come in pearl tones for a totally different appearance.

Metallic studs are inexpensive and easy to attach. The choices are vast: flat ones, spiked ones, silver or gold ones. They're made to where you push or tap them into place. Very small ones allow you to make patterns like triangles or diamond shapes at intervals along the band.

Use stencils to make tiny painted designs along the band center. Flowers and vines for women or maybe a southwestern pattern of cactus or suns. Stencils offer the most options since there are literally hundreds of stencil patterns available at craft or department stores. For best results use paint markers rather than a paintbrush to make the pattern. The markers come in a wide range of metallic, glitter, acrylics and more.

Use fusible web or decoupage glue to attach strips of eye-catching fabric to the band. Cut the desired length and width then use fusible web and the tip of the iron to attach the cloth to the band. Or brush on decoupage, attach the cloth, then cover with another thin coat of decoupage.

Buy tiny brass letters to spell out your initials on the watchband. You can also spell out your horoscope sign or your nickname.

Stickers now come with a clear backing rather than white paper backing making them more compatible with many crafts. After applying the stickers cover the face of the watch and spray the band with a sealant.

Rub on appliqués can add a lot of flair to an ordinary watchband. The design shows up best when placed on a light-colored watchband. Align the tiny appliqué and use a coin or Popsicle stick to rub the transfer the design to the band. It's a little difficult to transfer the rub-ons because the band and the appliqués are so tiny. Be sure the pattern doesn't slip while rubbing it on by using tape to secure it temporarily.

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