7 Ways To Improve Your Leathercraft Skills
“Without a solid foundation, you’ll have trouble creating anything of value”
If there is one thing that we learned with our years of experience in the leather industry, that is, basic foundations are everything. Not only in leather but life in general. Creating something valuable and luxurious is not a one day task.
Before you get started on your masterpiece projects, here are a few ways to help you set your foundations right. These skills are like an arsenal for your creative mind, mastery in these skills will let you create/evolve your creativity even further down the road.
Our master artisans have these tips to offer you such that you can improve your leather crafting skills to your fullest potential.
Draw and Transfer Design
Before diving into working on leather, we recommend you to slow down and think about what kind of product you are going for. One of the mistakes leather beginners make is to start out without a plan, and it is such a waste.
This underrated leathercraft skill involves just a few simple tools everyone has in their homes; a paper, a pencil and a ruler if required. Slowly, draw the pattern you are looking for. To make your life simpler, here are some free patterns you can download right now! [add a link here to artisan’s pattern]
To transfer your pattern over to the leather, put your paper pattern right over your leather and put some saddle tags to hold your pattern in place. Then, slightly scratch your pattern, to get a subtle mark on the leather. Simple yet effective.
All leather was not created equal. So, before cutting leather, you need to know what type of leather you will need/want on the product you are making. So, the first thing you will want to find out what quality of leather you are looking for. For the best quality, select a full-grain leather, it is the uppermost part of the leather. Second to that is top-grain, which is the part just below the top-grain. If you are just starting out on leather, low-quality leathers such as genuine leather or bonded leather can jump-start your leanings as you will not have to be too careful around ruining them.
To know more about leather in detail, here’s our definitive guide to knowing all about leather in detail. Knowing what leather to get is an important leathercraft skill that you must know.
After choosing the leather and transferring the sketch on the leather, comes the daunting task of cutting leather. If you are on a budget, this can be very challenging because there is no going back, but we do not mean to scare you. With the right tools and technique, you will master this leathercraft skill in no time.
When it comes to tools, you have various choices and tools to use that have their own unique importance and knowing the right fit makes all the difference. There are two must-have leather cutting tools; a utility knife and a small craft knife. Additionally, you can indulge yourself on these knives for that extra premium cut.
- Rotary Cutters
- Heavy-Duty Scissors
- Head Knives
- Swivel Knives
- Hole Punches
- Skiving Knives
- V-Gouge Knives
Burnishing leather is a leathercraft skill to smooth out the edges of the leather. It sounds simple, but it is very important because it helps the leather look professional and luxurious. A little effort on this can make a huge difference in how your product looks at the end, so we definitely recommend this.
Edge burnishing relies on applying friction on the edges of the leather, which in turn produces heat and compresses the fibres of the leather. One of the simple ways to burnish leather is sandpaper. This will not only smoothen out the edge but also remove any excess glue stuck on the leather. If you have two pieces of leather glued with a minor difference in length. Sandpaper can help level them out easily.
Traditionally, a canvas was used to burnish leather by rubbing it on the edges of the leather. But now, professional tools such as a hand burnisher/edge slickers are a common choice among leather artisans. And if you are thinking about going all out on this, a drill mounted burnisher is also available in the market. It is all a matter of preferences.
When it comes to stitching leather by hand, saddle stitch is everyone’s first choice. But you might wonder why, since it consists of using a long thread with a needle connected at both ends, the stitches are doubled and provide more friction. This helps to prevent sudden failure even if the threads were to break.
If you are new to leather-working, this one stitching skill will be a valuable asset in your leather journey. We have a perfect guide to teach you all about how to sew leather by hand and things to avoid while doing so. Check out this guide here.
If you want to learn and start making your very own leather project immediately, Artisan has gathered a bundle of useful kits that everyone gets their hands on easily. Getting started with leather-working is now only a click of a button away.
We cherish people who are deeply enthusiastic about working with leather and have collected a gallery of useful tips and tricks, pattern samples and leather-working kits to help them.
Check out some of these amazing articles and videos:
And to get started with leathercrafting right away, check our .Ar:ti|sans beginner friendly leathercrafting kit which will help you master the basics and kickstart your leathercrafting journey. Get any of these products today and get started today!