Basic leather carving

12 Set

Hi everyone!

In this post we are going to show you how you can easily carve a piece of leather to make a gift for a little girl 🙂

Leather is quite an expensive material, but some artisan may give you his left overs for free, small pieces out of which you can still create something.

With the same tecnique that we used for this door plate, Kaa made my notebook cover, that you can see HERE.

With patience, different tools and tecniques you can have such beautiful works:

… but let’s stay basic for now! 🙂

Here’s what we need:

leather (at least 2,5 mm thick)




wool needle

leather thread and drawstring

hand made tools (or you can buy them)

Draw on a piece of paper the shape you desire, secure the paper to the leather with a piece of tape. Then go over the shape again with a pen, pressing on  the leather.

When you remove the paper, you can see how the shape is now impressed on the leather.

Wet the leather using a small sponge (this will make it soft). Wait until the water is absorbed and the leather regains its original color.

Take your cutter; then cut the shape into the leather. We should cut more or less until the half of its thickness, but I usually cut less. 

It’s time now to make some shades and begin the real decoration.

We use a tool similar to the one shown in the picture n°6. You can buy leather carving tools (online too) but we made ourselves sort of a pear shader:

DIY Pear shader: Take a regular screw, rasp one side, polish it to round it off. You should obtain a sort of half moon tip, with one straight side.

Using this tool and the hammer, we must press the leather along the previously made cut. The tip should be rounded off and used at a 45° angle, in order to obtain a shade that is not too sharp.

So, wet the leather again, put the straight side of the tool along the cut, and hammer lightly. With  lots of patience, repeat for the whole shape. You see the effect in the picture

You can also whatch this video, particularly from 4:20:

Once you are satisfied with the shading, cut the borders of the leather as you like. Punch it twice (with nail and hammer) to make the holes for the drawstring.

With nail and hammer, punch all along the border.

Decorative seam:

Take you wool thread (it’s better if you file the tip, so it doesn’t get stuck in the leather every 5 seconds) and sew along the border.

Add a drawstring to complete 🙂

I hope this tutorial was clear enough, and if you liked it, please comment and share! 🙂


PS: [I beg your pardon for any mistakes I made (grammar and so on)… I am trying my best :)]

2 Risposte a “Basic leather carving”

  1. Tanya Stansberry 16 settembre 2011 a 16:44 #

    That turned out great! Thanks for the tutorial.


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