Start Here for Tips on Discovering Leatherwork with Fun, Rewarding Beginner Leather Projects
If you enjoy expressing yourself through creative hobbies, leatherworking and leathercrafting are sure to provide plenty of inspiration with a wide range of projects perfect for a variety of skill levels and style aesthetics. To get you started out right, this beginner’s guide to making leather goods is packed with project tutorials, recommended leatherwork tools, basic leatherworking skills, and more!
With just a few inexpensive leatherwork tools, online instruction and tutorials from industry experts, and your own imagination, you’ll be poised to successfully complete your first leathercraft project at your own kitchen table or in your workshop.
6 HELPFUL TIPS FOR MAKING YOUR OWN LEATHER GOODS
1. LEATHER PROJECT SELECTION SIMPLIFIED
When you first embark on your leathercraft journey, take a look at a variety of leather projects for beginners and select one that appeals to your unique interests and sense of style. A smaller leather project with a manageable completion time will give you the opportunity to practice easy-to-learn skills and techniques that will serve as a foundation for more advanced projects in the future.
NEED SOME INSPIRATION?
A leather keychain, a leather mousepad, a leather pouch, a leather card wallet, a leather watchband, leather earrings, and more can make great first projects. Explore some leather project ideas and tutorials to select the right project for you. Also, be sure to download our free leather patterns featuring our popular card wallet holder and shortie belt templates for even more inspiration!
2. AFFORDABLE LEATHER CRAFTING SUPPLIES
As with any new hobby, you’ll want to try out leathercrafting without breaking the bank! Selecting leather and supplies that are easy on the budget allow you to focus your attention on experiencing the thrill of working on your first project and learning new skills instead of worrying about possibly making mistakes and hesitating to cut into higher-priced leathers. Your first leather project is an opportunity to express your creative spirit through the art of leathercraft.
Check out videos on this page for an overview of leathercraft expert Chuck Dorsett’s tool and leather recommendations for newbies as well as a more in-depth explanation regarding the different cuts of leather with tips on utilizing cuts like single shoulders and double shoulders in your crafting to give you both quality and affordability.
3. Basic Leatherworking Skills = Not-So-Basic Results
The key to success in any hobby is focusing on the fundamentals. In leathercrafting, you’ll find learning essential skills like cutting, saddle stitching, edge finishing, and leather dyeing will yield knowledge that will serve you well whether you’re on your first or one-hundred-and-first project. Taking the time to master these basics in the beginning will allow you to build upon this strong foundation when tackling more advanced leatherworking projects down the road.
Learning Basic Leatherworking Skills
4. The Right Leatherworking Tools for the Job
A successful leather project starts with quality tools that get the job done right. When you’re just starting out, you may find you only need a few basics like a steel square, a leather knife, and a cutting surface — a simple piece of plywood can serve as a cutting surface if that’s what you readily have on hand. As your skill level and projects advance, consider adding more supplies including a marble slab, a revolving punch, a set of diamond chisels, a poly or rawhide mallet, a cutting board, and a rivet setter to your toolbox. After experiencing the ease and versatility the right tools bring to your craft, you’ll be on the lookout for more tools that help you work smarter, not harder.
5. Types of Leather Demystified
Whether you’re new to leathercrafting or are a seasoned veteran, the number of leathers available for purchase can be intimidating. Here’s an overview of the main types of leather and some of their ideal uses.
1. Veg Tanned Leather
Tanned without harsh chemicals using a tightly-controlled process that utilizes tree bark and other natural tannins, this leather is prized for both its beauty and its workability. On average, veg tanned hides undergo a one to three-month process that’s reflected in the beauty, workability and cost of the final product. Project Ideas for Veg Tanned Leather: Strap goods, dog collar, knife sheath, holster sheath, wallet, coin purse, glasses case, key fob, notepad cover, journal cover as well as a plethora of projects you’d like to try stamping, dyeing, and forming/molding techniques.
2. Chrome Tanned Leather
The time involved and expense of veg tanned leathers led to the development of chrome tanning in the mid-1800s. Chrome tanning takes about a day in contrast to the one to three-month veg tanning process, making it a more economical choice. Today, about 80-90% of the world’s leather supply is chrome tanned and it is heralded for its stain and water resistance as well as its consistency in color. Project Ideas for Chrome Tanned Leather: Purses, bags, vests, personal accessories, tassels, liners, filigree projects, decorative inlays, and more.
Veg Tanned vs. Chrome Tanned, an Insider’s Look
6. Confidently Buy Leather Your First Time and Every Time
Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced leathercrafter, it’s important you buy from a reputable company that stands behind its leather. Because buying leather online without the ability to see it up close and feel it in your hands can be a leap of faith, look for a leather supplier that offers low cost leather samples and provides Free Shipping on Leather Returns. That way, if for some reason the leather you selected based on an online description and photo does not meet your needs, you’re covered. Our leathercraft expert Chuck Dorsett recommends going with quality leathers in more budget-friendly cuts like a single shoulder or belly in our Affordable Leather for Beginners video. These leathers are available in a range of thicknesses perfect for a variety of beginner-level projects and are economically priced so you can focus on enjoying your new hobby without worrying about testing out your skills on a higher-priced piece of leather.
Your success is one of our top priorities at Weaver Leather Supply! With free online educational resources featuring a wide variety of inspiring leather craft ideas as well as a full range of leather hides, tools, and supplies, you’ll find everything you need to develop your skills for a lifetime of enjoyable leather projects.
Our team would love to see what you make with your newfound skills! We invite you to post a photo of your creation and tag us @weaverleathersupply to share your leather art and influence others new to leathercraft!