Stars Play Santa: Desmond Tan

To celebrate the spirit of giving this Christmas season, we’re teaming up with the duke to offer our readers handmade gifts that money can’t buy

Stars play Santa: Desmond Tan
Stars play Santa: Desmond Tan
27 Nov 2015

Stars play Santa: Desmond Tan

Video: Foong Mien Shi, Vina Chia, Teng Siew Eng, Vanessa Lim

It looks like the festive holidays have snuck up on us once again. This time, however, we at Toggle have prepared something a little extra special for all our readers: our exclusive DIY Christmas giveaway series!

Every Monday for four weeks, we will feature a gallery documenting a behind-the-scenes look at four local artistes playing Santa and his elves by handcrafting a range of presents, which readers can stand to win (more details in this gallery on slide #14 and on our Christmas microsite!). Kicking off the excitement today is dashing duke Desmond Tan, followed by Felicia Chin next week, Ian Fang after that, and last but not least, Paige Chua.

For someone taking on the fine art of leather craft for the first time in his 29 years of life, Desmond was a picture of confidence and determination during his virgin attempt at putting together a keyring, coin pouch and cardholder at Bynd Artisan.

However, the duke was also careful and quick to heed the guidance of his mentor for the day – or as Desmond dubbed him, his “guardian angel” – Chong Beng Cheng, a master craftsman of the year-old bookbinding atelier, the retail concept arm of stationery giant Grandluxe.

After a quick tour around the boutique with founder Winnie Chan, Desmond took his seat behind a large wooden table, ready to get his hands dirty with fine Italian leather, boxes of tiny (but very important!) metal hardware and a range of formidable-looking tools.

(Continued on next slide)

Desmond with BYND Artisan master craftsman, Chong Beng Cheng
Desmond with BYND Artisan master craftsman, Chong Beng Cheng
27 Nov 2015

Desmond with BYND Artisan master craftsman, Chong Beng Cheng

“I’m not new to DIY (do-it-yourself), but this is my first time working with leather goods,” Desmond revealed, taking a look at the materials set neatly before him.

The next few hours were spent observing the artist-in-training at work as he cut, sewed, attached, and worked general leathercraft magic with an admirably intense level of focus, despite the fact that four cameras (and many more pairs of eyes) were trained on him, and that he had to occasionally make a quick quip or shoot a smouldering gaze into our lens.

“I’m quite ‘OCD’ (obsessive-compulsive disorder), so everything must be straight,” he remarked as he prudently sliced out the pattern templates from marked pieces of grey leather.

This slow but steady practice continued until finally, Desmond got to pose proudly with his small collection. “With these, wherever you go and whatever you do, you will always be reminded of me,” he announced.

Read on to find out Desmond’s thoughts about his artistic accomplishments, Christmas memories and this year’s festive plans:

Desmond poses with his handmade coin pouch and keyring
Desmond poses with his handmade coin pouch and keyring
27 Nov 2015

Desmond poses with his handmade coin pouch and keyring

Toggle: On a scale of 1 to 10, how challenging was today’s task?
Desmond:
7 out of 10. Technically speaking, it’s not so hard, but it requires a lot of attention to detail and concentration to get the steps right. But at least I learned something, and I put my heart and soul into creating an item that’s worth giving to someone.

How many points would you give yourself, out of 100?
I would say I deserve a 75, especially since it was my first try. At least all three products look like what they’re supposed to look like and are functional! But I deducted 25 points because I didn’t do such a good job on the brand engraving. (laughs) But to whoever gets these: please bear in mind that they’re the only ones in the entire world.

What’s the most memorable Christmas you’ve ever had?
When I was in secondary one or two, my parents had an argument during the festive season and things were very awkward. Back then, we didn’t really celebrate Christmas, but for some reason, I decided to take out some cotton wool from my mum’s cosmetic box and decorate this oriental-looking fake tree at home. When my parents woke up and saw it, their hearts were warmed and they started talking again. From then on, we always put up a Christmas tree.

How are you planning to spend the holidays this year?
I want to spend it outside of Singapore, hopefully in New York City because I want a white – or at least a cold – Christmas. But I might still have filming going on then, so I’m not sure if it’s possible yet.

Continued: Step-by-step instructions on how to create your own leather goods, just like what Desmond did!

Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how

1. Cut out the pattern that has been traced onto a piece of leather.

2. Repeatedly press a skiving knife along the fold lines (this makes it easier to fold the fabric along the right places).

(Continued on the next page)

Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how

3. Punch holes for the placement of buttons, rivets and thread.

4. Attach the snap button pieces using a table-top snap press.

(Continued on the next page)

Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather coin pouch – Desmond shows you how

5. Fold the leather along the skived lines into the shape of a coin pouch.

6. Sew the edges of the coin pouch in a criss-cross pattern.

(Continued on the next page)

7.	Done!
7. Done!
27 Nov 2015

7. Done!

(Continued on the next page)

Make your own leather keyring – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather keyring – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather keyring – Desmond shows you how

1. Cut out the pattern that has been traced onto a piece of leather.

2. Repeatedly press a skiving knife along the fold lines (this makes it easier to fold the fabric along the right places).

3. Punch holes for the placement of rivets.

(Continued on the next page)

Make your own leather keyring – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather keyring – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather keyring – Desmond shows you how

4. Place the strip of fabric through the ring and fold it along the skived line.

5. Insert and fasten rivets using a table-top snap press.

(Continued on the next page)

6.	Done!
6. Done!
27 Nov 2015

6. Done!

(Continued on the next page)

Make your own leather cardholder – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather cardholder – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather cardholder – Desmond shows you how

1. Cut out the pattern that has been traced onto a piece of leather.

2. Repeatedly press a skiving knife along the fold lines (this makes it easier to fold the fabric along the right places).

3. Punch holes for the placement of buttons, rivets.

(Continued on the next page)

Make your own leather cardholder – Desmond shows you how
Make your own leather cardholder – Desmond shows you how
27 Nov 2015

Make your own leather cardholder – Desmond shows you how

4. Attach the snap button pieces using a table-top snap press.

5. Fold the leather along the skived lines into the shape of a cardholder.

6. Fasten the rivets using a table-top snap press.

(Continued on the next page)

7.	Done!
7. Done!
27 Nov 2015

7. Done!

(Continued on the next page)

Want to get your hands on these pretty and practical leather goods handmade by Desmond?
Want to get your hands on these pretty and practical leather goods handmade by Desmond?
27 Nov 2015

Want to get your hands on these pretty and practical leather goods handmade by Desmond?

Visit our Christmas giveaway microsite and tell us how you would celebrate Christmas with Desmond and upload a Christmas-themed photograph.

Contest closes December 6 and the winner will be announced on our site.

Continued on next page: Terms and conditions

Terms and Conditions
Terms and Conditions
27 Nov 2015

Terms and Conditions

- The contest is open to Singapore residents age 15 and above only.
- Readers may make a submission for all four gifts, but can only submit one entry for each gift.

- Each family is entitled to win only once. Same contact address will be considered as the same family.
- Entries submitted after the deadline will not be entertained.
- Toggle reserves the right to pick final winners. No correspondence will be entertained.
- Entry submission forms that are incomplete will be disqualified.
- Previous week's winners will not be qualified to win.
- Any proof-of-entry printouts cannot be used as proof that Toggle has received your submission.
- Toggle reserves the right to change the terms and conditions of the contest without prior notice.
- Winners will be informed via email/phone call from which details of prize collection will be stated.
- Prizes not collected by January 31, 2016 will be considered null and void.
- Prizes are non-transferable and non-exchangeable for cash.
- By entering the contest, you agree to be informed of any future promotion related to Toggle.

WATCH:
Desmond transforms pieces of leather into pretty and practical goods
See who's next in our 'Stars Play Santa' trailer

Related:
KISS AND TELL: Smooching scenes “came naturally” for Desmond Tan & Oon Shu An
Has Ian Fang replaced Desmond Tan as Rebecca Lim’s BFF?
The truth behind Desmond Tan’s failures and “friend zone” story

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