I Tried Making a Leather Watch Strap at a Local Workshop

Leather Watch Strap

As a self-proclaimed cheapskate who can never justify spending more than 10 bucks on a leather watch strap, I’ve always been curious about the art of leatherworking.

So when I heard about Yogyakarta’s reputation for leather crafting, I knew I had to dip my toes and try it out for myself. That’s how I found myself signing up for a leather making workshop for beginners at Kaula Leather Workshop, eager to satisfy my long-held curiosity and finally experience the thrill of making my very own leather watch strap.

Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta
Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta

The Workshop: Chill Vibes and Knowledgeable Teacher

Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta
Easy enough to find the workshop – thanks to the signboard
Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta
Upon arriving at the workshop, I was struck by the relaxed vibe of the place.
Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta
It even has a pool!


Before we arrived at the workshop, I had already let them know that I wanted to make a leather watch strap and that my sweet husband wanted to make a leather purse for me. When we arrived, I showed the teacher the watch strap sample that I had in mind, while my husband chose a design from their purse collection.

The teacher was so friendly and knowledgeable, and he quickly helped me cut the calf skin to the perfect size for my 20mm black leather watch strap. I was making the strap for my husband’s Hamilton Intra Matic Chronograph H watch.

Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta
The teacher helped us cut the calf skin according to correct sizes


As I brushed on the black paint onto the leather, I felt my excitement building up as the leather watch strap began to take form. It took a few layers of paint to achieve the deep black shade that I was going for.

Kaula Leather Workshop, Yogyakarta, Watch Strap Making
Circle, circle, straight
Drying Leather Watch Strap
Drying – the most time consuming part


While waiting for the paint to dry, the teacher suggested making a keychain and bracelet as a bonus activity, which turned out to be a fun way to pass the time.


When the paint had dried, I noticed that the color wasn’t as black as I had hoped. The teacher advised me to brush another layer of polish, which helped to darken it.

Making Leather Watch Strap
Painted another layer of polish of some kind, to make it shinier and darker

After the teacher did some stitching on the strap, I then punched some holes, put some glue, sanded the edges, and applied wax to give it a smooth finish. Putting on the buckle was a bit challenging, but with some adjustments, I was able to complete the watch strap.

Leather Watch Strap Making
Cut it precisely to make sure both upper and lower straps are of same width
Making Leather Watch Strap
Put on some glue
Leather Watch Strap Making
Punched some holes
Leather Watch Strap Making
Grooved/Indented it out


The entire process took a while, as my husband was also making a leather purse for me at the same time, but the end result was worth the wait. I felt proud of the finished product and can’t wait to show it off. It was a fantastic learning experience, and it gave me a newfound appreciation for the art of leatherworking.


20mm Watch Strap: 350 000 IDR or USD 23
Big Purse: 625 000 IDR or USD 40

I won’t lie, the workshop wasn’t exactly cheap, but for almost 7 hours of creating something with my own two hands, I’d say it was worth it. There’s just something special about being able to proudly wear a watch strap that I crafted myself.

In conclusion, I highly recommend checking out Kaula Leather Workshop if you’re interested in trying your hand at making leather goods. It’s a great opportunity to learn a new skill and gain a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship that goes into creating beautiful leather items.

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