01-12-2017, 03:24 PM
A Beginner’s Guide to Leather Working
Leather working or leather craft is art of making things out of leather. Wallets, belts, shoes, hand bags, and jackets are some of the items made from leather. Like any piece of art, it requires a great deal of skills and mastery to make leather items. But these skills are not hard to learn. Anyone who wants to learn leather working as a hobby or to pursue it as a serious profession may find many useful leather work tutorials online. Getting started with leather work is not as difficult as it appears to be.
The first thing you would learn in any leather work guide is about the tools and raw material required for the leather craft. The most important raw material for leather working is the leather. What type of leather you may require depends upon the project you want to undertake. For example, if you want to copy the designs from the Nordic or the Native American culture, the leather from deerskin or elk skin would serve the purpose best as those cultures used the same material. One can easily find the raw material online from companies that deal solely in leather or other portals (virtual markets).
To make leather items, one also needs threads and adhesives. There are many options to choose from when buying threads for leather working. There are synthetic threads as well as natural ones. Synthetic threads are durable and strong and it is easy to work with them. On the other hand, natural threads go with the tone of the leather but they tarnish easily. Regardless of the type of thread you are using, you need to wax the thread before making any leather item. You have options for adhesives as well. You can either use simple super glue or you can get the glues that are specific for crafting. There are even glues available in the markets that are made to work with leather specifically. The prices of specialized glues are comparatively higher for obvious reasons.
To keep the leather unstained, all the working on the leather need be done on a clean surface with not dirt or dust. Also the surface should be flat so the cutting of leather could be done in precise manner. Mostly, cutting mats are used by craftsmen for this purpose. It would be ideal if the cutting mat is separate from the dyeing and finishing mat. A metal ruler is also needed to cut the leather. The ruler helps in making sharp and clean cuts. Don’t forget to buy a knife as all leather crafting needs to be done with knife. There are specialized knifes for leather cutting available. Beginners prefer to use all-purpose utility knives because firstly they are cheap and secondly if their blade becomes blunt, they could easily be replaced.
After cutting comes the stitching part. Needle is not the only tool that helps in sewing the leather. There is list of other tools that make the stitching of leather possible. First you would need a grooving tool to make scoops in the leather. It is in these scoops that the thread will go into. An overstitch wheel is defines the area where stitches would be placed. A tool named awl is used to make small holes where stitches would be created.
Edge bevelers are used to make clean and round edges of the items. Bevelers also remove the excess leather from the edges and give the items a finished look. They come in different shapes and sizes e.g. English. French and V gouge bevelers. Each beveler creates different style and gives different finishing to the product. If you need to make holes larger than those made by an awl, you will need punching tools that come in different shapes and sizes to make the kind of wholes you require.
To make holes in leather is not an easy task, and sometimes you will need to make holes in the leather to make impressions of a stamp. Remember that the hammers used for this purpose are not the same used to strike on nails. A wooden or rubber mallet/maul is best to use for this as they do not pose any danger of tarnishing the leather.
Leather stamps are an interesting tool used to make impressions on the leather. They are hammered onto the leather to leave engrave a certain symbol or pattern on leather. There are number of options available in leather stamps varying from alphabets and numeric to flowers and symbols. Leather stamps could also be used to engrave initials on the item.
No matter how precise the cutting and how fine the sewing of the item is, the leather looks appealing only when it is dyed or undergoes the finishing procedure. Leather could be dyed using the dyes made for this specific purpose. Ordinary dies would ruin your product. Usually, the dyes for leather are oil based. After dyeing and drying comes the application of leather cream that makes the leather soft and keeps it protected. A final application of clear acrylic gives the leather a refined look, makes it water resistant and ensures the durability of the finished product.
Beginners can start from making simple leather items like knife sheath, belts, bracelets etc. Making shoes and bags from leather require a higher degree of expertise. As they say practice makes a man perfect, so all beginners have a hope to become seasoned craftsman one day.
Making a leather bracelet is simple of all and it requires very less leather. You can also utilize any old leather jacket to make a leather bracelet. You can find the patterns for bracelets online or you can bring in your creativity to make the bracelet. Leather belt is also a good project for beginners but require a little more work compared to leather bracelet. Making the holes into the belt and installing the buckle requires great attention. The holes punched in should be equally distanced and fall in the same line. To practice the basic skills of leather working like cutting leather, punching holes, sewing etc. these simple do it yourself projects prove to be effective. There are many books available written by experts on leather working which can guide you on how to perform a specific task. There are many online forums where expert give advice to the beginners. So in case of any query, you can consult these experts online.
Once you get hold on the leather crafting tools, you can make money out of your hobby as well by making these small items and selling them online. These leather items are also good idea for gifts. What could be a more precious gift then giving your loved ones a leather item made by you?