From stone carving to woodwork, few fine crafts have survived the test of time as leatherworking has. As a material, leather is unique in its durability and flexibility. This is your guide to begin your journey to harnessing this material to bring your creations to life.
Keep reading below to learn how to get started with leatherworking!
But First the Basics
Leatherworking is the catch-all term used to describe the act of creating an item out of leather. This includes everything from wallets to shoes to upholstered car seats. Whatever you wish to create, there is a way to make it out of leather.
Historically, leather goods are venerated for their quality and durability. There are thousands of leather goods that have survived centuries and still look good as new. These were created by the hands of skilled craftspeople who had an idea and made it a reality.
Tools of the Leatherworking Trade
The maker market is full of tools and machines aimed at making leatherworking easier or more accessible. While these tools can be nice, they are also superfluous. There are really three things that you need to create wonderful works of art.
First off we have the round knife. Round knives are the utility knives of leatherworking, able to skive, slice, mark, and edge with one tool alone. A good round knife is the core of any leatherworking project.
Then there is the needle. A leatherworking needle differs from a regular sewing needle in its size, sharpness, and material composition. While you can purchase a standard metal leatherworking needle from any craft retailer, a quality bone needle can only be acquired from a specialty shop, and for many leatherworkers, it is worth the cost.
The most ancient of leatherworking tools is the burnisher. Also known as a slicker, this tool is traditionally made of bone or wood, and acts as a finishing tool for your leathercraft project. With some oil and elbow grease, a burnisher can elevate your project.
Now that you have your tools, it’s time to source your leather. You can purchase small amounts of leather and leather alternatives from most craft stores like Jo-anne’s or Michael’s. For larger sheets or specific cuts, there are several leather sellers online.
The best place for quality leather is to source a local tannery or leatherworking shop. These shops will often pre-cut leather to the size you need, so you can save money and reduce waste. You can also find industrial offcuts or plant-based leather alternatives at these smaller stores.
If you are looking for a more guided experience, a quality leatherwork kit may be the best solution. Several companies sell beginner leather kits. The best will provide a leather workshop to make sure you have every tool for success.
Go Forth And Create!
Now that you have your tools and materials, the rest is up to you. From a unique concept to a leatherworking workshop, you have the power to create a quality good that will last a lifetime. All it takes now is to get started.
And for more information about how to get started, just keep reading here!