Souvenir from Brazil to DIY bracelet

I’m crazy about striped clothes. Blue and white is my favourite combination, especially when it comes to beach outfits. I thought nothing would go better with my marine stripes than my Brazilian bracelet. This is one of my favourite repurposed souvenirs. I love to wear it not only because of its colours, but also because of its sentimental value, being a reminder of all those nice moments from my trips to Brazil. 

The moment I saw this painted leather bookmarker in a small souvenir shop in Sao Paulo, it was clear to me what it was going to be transformed into. I couldn’t wait to do its makeover. In fact, I bought two of them and turned them both into bracelets. If you’d like to try this idea, check the HOW TO section below. Hopefully, this will inspire you to think of a makeover of your own so that you can also create unique accessories from seemingly ordinary things.


I took a piece of orange leather over which I stitched the bookmarker. I used a normal cotton thread for sewing which, if put double or triple, becomes very strong and makes the whole thing look noticeably neat and tidy. In keep with the style, I also stitched over the letters of the word “Brasil” to make them more visible.

In order to make sure that all the stitches were the same and also to make life easier for my fingers (passing a needle by hand through hard leather can be very difficult and sometimes painful), first I ran the bookmarker through the sewing machine but without using the thread. This way, I got a row of holes at equal distance through which I could hand sew later on. The trick is to choose a soft underlying leather and to make the holes in this piece only when you’re passing the needle to stitch both pieces together. However, if you wish to run the underlying leather through the sewing machine as well, try to leave a smaller distance between the holes so that when you bind the two pieces together you will naturally get a nice curved shape. If it’s flat, the underlying leather will be wrinkled when forced into a bracelet shape.

Once I finished stitching, I cropped the underlying leather into an irregular shape that I liked. Finally, I put a rigid skeleton in between the two layers and I closed both ends. For this step, you can either stitch or glue them together. I used glue because I didn’t want any more stitches and also because it’s faster.

You can buy the skeleton in a crafts/jewelry supply shop or you can take an existing bracelet you no longer use. Since I’m crafting and recycling all the time, I usually buy these kinds of things when I spot them for a good price. They will definitely find their way into one of my projects: the rings and links I’ve removed from one project in particular, I’ve reused for another one.

All photos by Mili