Wednesday, July 30, 2014

How to (Actually) Lace Reins

I have another rein to lace today, and I figured there might be inquiring minds wanting to know how that's done- so here's a quick n' dirty tutorial! I have no idea how helpful this will actually be, but I gave it a shot.

First, some required reading:
Done reading? Understand the basics of how laced reins look in real life? Great.

Worth noting:

Braymere does have an excellent laced rein tutorial of her own right after that post, and I imagine it would work excellently for Traditional scale reins, but there's a couple adjustments to be made for mini scale. Speaking as someone who's attempted her method on SM reins, (and every other method I could think of!) lacing leather with leather is actually easier. In this scale, messing with trying to punch holes without breaking your strap, or pulling a needle through that tiny lace, is just too much of a headache to deal with. Making little tiny slices in the rein looks just as clean when you're done, and doesn't put so much stress on your lace. Off we go!

What you're gonna need:
  • Very, very thinly skived skiver cut into lace and sealed with Gum Tragacanth- a wider width and a width about half or a third that wide. Here's how I've been cutting my lace lately.
  • X-Acto knife (very sharp! Don't be afraid to replace your blade if it hasn't been updated in a while... I change my blades probably twice a week!)
  • Regular ol' Tacky Glue
  • Tweezers with an itty-bitty tip
  • Your favorite flavor of lemonade to sip
  • A peaceful album playing gently in your studio (last night I was totally zen-ing out to the "Peaceful Indie Ambient" playlist on Spotify)
  • Optional: a bridle to complement your awesome new reins.
First, cut your lace down to what looks like a good rein length. I usually eyeball this based on the specific horse the bridle's for, but a general rule of thumb is that the rein should be long enough to secure to the bit and reach the cantle of the saddle. (Remember, English reins are actually two parts buckled together- right now you're just cutting one half). 

Then, make little fingernail dents or other marks to indicate where the lacing should start and end. Because you know where that should be, because you read the required reading, right?

Cut your narrower lace to two copies of a length that's about one and a third times as long as the section you marked off for lacing, and set one section aside for now.

Starting on one of your marks, use the tip of your X-acto knife to make itty, bitty slices right down the center of your wider lace. To avoid breakage, leave a space about as long as each slot in between each cut.

Drawing time with Grace

Use the tip of your tweezers to gentle wiggle open the first slot. Cut the tip of your thinner lace into a point, then feed it through the slot you've opened, going in the good side of the wide lace and coming through to the flesh side.

Glue the little bit of thin lace you poked through down the the center of the flesh side of the wide lace, good side of the thin lace to flesh side of the wide lace. Then take the long end of your thin lace and drape it over the wider lace.

(Shaded or scribbled areas represent the flesh side)
Use your tweezers again to open up the next slot, and poke the end of your thin lace through.

(The tail of your thin lace will be much longer, I was just lazy)
Repeat this procedure for each slot, looping the thin lace over the same edge of the wide lace. You're always poking the thin lace through the flesh side of the wide lace, and pulling it through the good side.

Continue this through all the slots you cut!

When you reach the end, trim your lace down and glue that little end tab down to the flesh side of the wider strap. If your rein is wanting to twist and spiral at this point, don't worry! The other half of the lacing should take care of that.

Find the other piece of thin lace you cut before, and repeat the exact same process on the other side of the rein. Glue the end down right exactly on top of the starter end of the first piece (on the flesh side). 

Use the same slots you cut for the first half, and loop your lace over the other side of the rein. Just like before, you're poking your thin lace through the flesh side of the wide lace and pulling it through to the good side, making sure the good side of the thin lace is up when you pull it tight.

Once your rein is laced through on both sides, it might still want to be a little twisty. Smooth some Gum Tragacanth over the whole thing to get it nice and wet, then lay it on your tabletop to dry neatly flat.

Cut another length of wide lace, and repeat the whole process again! When you have two laced reins, add a little buckle to the end of one, buckle the other one through, attach the ends to the bits, and voila! Reins!

Go forth and take the hunter ring by storm.

I hope this was somewhat follow-able, and as ever, if you have any questions or suggestions for future tutorials, drop me a comment!


  1. Very helpful! But..... So...... TINYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY :O

  2. So tiny! Thanks for the great tutorial! May have to attempt this some day...

  3. This is great! Thank you so much! I've broke soo many reins!