Project Summary: Learn to make a basic leather mouse pad with a beautiful border stamp. In this tutorial we’ll cover a good variety of basic leathercraft tools including the edger, stitch groover and stamping tools. Additional techniques include gluing a backing leather, cutting round corners and adding a dye, antique and top coat.
Approximate Time to Complete: 2 hours (not including drying time for stamp, dye & finish)
Step-by-Step Instructions (with pictures):
- Begin by taking your Steel Square and making an 8” x 8” square pattern onto a piece of Copy Paper.
- Use your Utility Knife and your Steel Square as a guide to cut the pattern from the Paper.
*Tip: Always cut with the straight edge inside the project pattern area; that way if your knife slips, it will cut outside the project area and won’t ruin your pattern.
- Now that the square is cut, we want to round the corners. You can use anything you have on hand for this, but we will be using a Glue Can in this tutorial. Place the bottom of the Glue Can in the corner of your square and trace the curve with a Pencil. Repeat this for all 4 corners. Trim the corners with your Utility Knife.
- Next you will trace the finished pattern onto your piece of vegetable tanned Leather; use your Steel Square to keep the pattern from sliding around.
- Using your Steel Square as a straight edge, cut the pattern from the Leather with the Utility Knife. Trim out the rounded corners.
- Take your Groover and run it along the edge of the mousepad, making sure the shank is flush with the edge of the Leather. This groove will serve as a guide for your stamp border later in the tutorial.
- Next take your Edger and run it along the edge of the Leather to give it a nice rounded edge.
- Your mousepad is now ready to begin the stamping process. Lay your Leather piece on the Quartz Tooling Slab and case the Leather by dipping a Foam Brush into water and brushing it over the entire surface of the mousepad several times. Make sure all areas are covered so there won’t be any water spots or stains.
- Take your first Stamping Tool and place it right along the edge of the groove we made with our Groover and give it a firm hit with your Maul. You want a clean, crisp stamp.
- Take your second Stamp Tool and line it up right beside the first one along the edge of the groove line and continue the pattern, alternating stamps all the way around the edge of the Leather. We are using a Veiner stamp and a Mules Foot stamp to give it a nice, clean pattern.
- Allow the tooled Leather to dry for at least 2 hours.
- While the leather is drying, prep your dyeing area. We recommend laying down a piece of plastic or a plastic bag with some packing paper on top to prevent pooling and protect your surface from stains; this will also allow for easy cleanup. You will also want to wear Rubber Gloves to prevent staining your hands. Pour about an inch of Fiebings Pro Dye in a container wide enough to fit a Foam Brush. We are using Light Brown in this tutorial; however, you can use the color of your choice.
- Once your Leather is dry and you are ready to dye it, dip your Foam Brush into the Dye and brush it onto the Leather, trying to get as much as possible onto the Leather on your first go. Because we are using an oil dye, you can go ahead and put a pretty heavy coat on.
- Let the Dye dry for at least 2 hours.
- Once the Dye is dry, you are ready to apply the Fiebing’s Antique Finish, which will make the tooling really pop on your edge. Take a Cotton Rag, dip it into the Antique Finish and rub it onto the entire surface of the Leather. Now take the clean part of the Cotton Rag and wipe away the excess Antique Finish.
- The tooled part of the mousepad will have some spots where the Antique Finish didn’t reach, so take one of your Wool Daubers and work some of the Finish into those areas, making sure to get all the spots. Use your Cotton Rag and wipe away any excess, making sure to also wipe the edge of the Leather so it matches the front.
- Allow the Antique Finish to dry for 1.5 hours. While the Finish dries, prep your area with clean paper and plastic so you will be ready to apply the top coat.
- Once the Antique Finish is dry, pour a small amount of Fiebing’s Leather Balm into a container, dip a clean Cotton Rag into the Leather Balm and apply a small amount to cover the entire surface of the mousepad. Let dry for just a minute or two. Now come back with your Cotton Rag and start to buff the finish until you get a nice sheen.
- The mousepad is now ready to have the Suede backing applied. Leave the Suede untrimmed for the gluing process. That way you don’t have to worry about matching the edges exactly, and when you do trim it, you will have a nice, clean edge. Make sure your area is well-ventilated while gluing.
- Take the Glue and apply it all the way to the edge on the back of the Leather mousepad, making sure to cover the entire surface. Cover the Suede piece in glue also, coming to within ½” of the edge.
- Allow the Glue to dry for 5-8 minutes.
- After the Glue has dried for the allotted time, place the Leather mousepad on top of the Suede and press them together firmly. Because you haven’t trimmed the Suede, you do not need to be precise or worry about getting it exactly straight. Use a Rolling Pin and press the entire surface, making sure to pay close attention to the edges. This will ensure the two pieces are glued firmly together and won’t come apart after trimming the Suede.
- The last step will be to trim the Suede. Use your project as your guide, and with your Utility Knife go ahead and trim away the excess Suede. You should have a nice, clean edge and a beautiful mousepad.