06 August 2008

DIY leather mudguards for bicycle fenders

Our friend "Baldman" has graciously offered to share his top-secret mudflap-making recipe, in order to up the cycle chic quotient in our beautiful world. Here's the protocol:

Find some scrap leather. He bought his for $4.95 at Tandy Leather. Cut out your mudflaps with an xacto knife.

DIY leather mudflaps bike bicycle fenders mudguards

Next cut out a stencil. He made his on a plotter, which is a machine that cuts out motifs from rolls of adhesive vinyl. Any sign shop can cut you custom letters or graphics.
I happen to know that his wife's name starts with an "A", so I bet we can work out who these flaps are for!

stencil bike mudguards personalization

Attach the stencil to the flap with the adhesive vinyl sticking to the leather.

monogrammed bike mudflaps

He says he just uses a standard propane blowtorch to burn the leather where the stencil reveals it. It seems that my kitchen crème brulée torch will work just fine, however this is the step you don't want to mess up!

finished monogrammed mudflaps
At this point he says we want to treat them with the same proofhide that we use on a Brooks saddle. This will make them a bit more weatherproof.

OK, next step is preparing to attach them to the fenders. Punch holes in the edges of the mudflaps and string your attachment through (leather cord, hemp twine, funky yarn, whatever)

strung together mudguards bike bicycle
Drill holes in the bottom of your fenders to loop through:

drilled fenders for mudguards
Attach, and don't you look good!

installed custom mudflap


Thom said...

Sweeeet! Leather punches, also available at Tandy (or probably craft stores), would also make some pretty spiffy designs. I'm sure a body could also turn up some DIY leather punches on the interwebs.

Tom said...

Unrealted... I thought you would enjoy this magazine cover...http://bikingbristol.blogspot.com/2008/08/chic-in-1901.html

click the photo to enlarge.


Alexandra said...

As and architect who uses plotter like most people use xerox machines, I can say I have NEVER seen one plot on adhesive vinyl. I want one!!!

And more than that, I want personalized mudflaps - they will go perfectly with my spinning metal dice/keychain on my handlebars!!!

Anonymous said...

How about some copper rivets? Would make the whole thing look downright sexy.

Charlotte said...

Aren't they great? I want some too but I've promised my baby sister she gets some first. She had never seen anything like this.

Anonymous, I agree that copper rivets would be stunning, especially if you had one of those Brooks saddles with the copper rivets.

2whls3spds said...

Sweeeet! I have mud flaps on a couple of my bikes. Some are made out of plastic soda bottles. I do have one set of leather, but I purchased mine from Velo-Orange.


Carice said...

For those not in biking distance of a Tandy leather- just found a great place in Maine that specializes in scrap and odd lots of leather- They have a form on their site where you can describe the size, color and consistency and they'll let you know what they've got.

They've also got a huge amount of their inventory photographed online- including some really wacky stuff (yellow lizard print anyone?) I bought some really thick tough leather to make replacement skirt guards (a mudflap too if there's enough)
They were also really friendly on the phone.

Charlotte said...

Thank you for the link and all that research! Please please please tell me you are making yellow lizard print mudguards - that would be beyond cool.

reverend dick said...

Great post, Great Idea!

I will definitely be applying this one. I currently run a leather flap that my daughter decorated in school, but never thought to go further. Thanks.

Todd said...

Very excellent idea! I made one this weekend with great results. I used an xacto knife to cut my initials out of an unused bumper sticker, as my local sign shop wanted $60 to supply me with a ready to go adhesive vinyl initialed piece.