VIDEO | BASIC LEATHERWORKING TOOLS + SUPPLIES
Happy Monday! This is part 1 of the leatherworking series. If this is the first time you're reading about it, check out this blog post that explains everything in detail. Today I'm going to list off all of the leatherworking tools and supplies that I reach for and use on a regular basis.
First, I want to say that it's not necessary to buy everything I talk about today in one shopping trip. I suggest that you buy each tool as you need it and as your skills improve.
If you're an avid crafter, chances are you already have most of the items listed below.
Let's jump right in.
CLICK PLAY TO WATCH THE VIDEO!
1. Clear gridded ruler. This is probably one of my most treasured craft tools of all time. I love these clear gridded rulers because the transparency makes it so easy for you to take precise measurements. It's such a simple tool, but so nice to have.
2. Scratch awl. I use this tool to mark sewing patterns right onto the leather and also to pierce little stitching holes into the leather before hand-sewing.
3. Poly mallet. This mallet is the perfect size and weight. It'll protect your tools from being damaged and it also gives minimal bounce. That's a plus!.
1. Self healing cutting mat. Use a self healing cutting mat when you cut leather pieces out with a rotary cutter. These self healing cutting mats are important to have. It helps protect your worktable from wear and tear.
2. Cutting board. I use this small poly cutting board when I punch holes out. It helps keep punches nice and sharp.
3. Rotary cutter. Use a rotary cutter to cut into thin leather. Thin leather can have a little bit of a stretch to it. A rotary cutter won’t tug on the leather, ensuring a nice straight line.
4. X-acto knife. An X-acto knife is great for cutting thick leather and curved pieces. The trick to cutting thick leather is to make small passes.
5. Box cutter. I also use a box cutter to cut thick leather. I feel like it’s easier on the wrist and the blade is a little bit more stable than the X-acto knife. This is my leather cutting tool of choice for larger projects.
6. Groover. I use this tool to cut little channels out. For example, if you were using thick leather to make a wallet, you would cut a little channel out in the crease area to reduce bulk. You can also cut a channel out close to the edge and place your stitches within the groove.
7. Punches. Punches are great for cutting holes in your leather. You can get these in different shapes and sizes.
1. Spacer. This tool is great for spacing out and marking stitch holes. Mine came in a set of four different sizes, 5, 6, 7, and 8 holes per inch.
2. Diamond hole chisel. These diamond hole chisels are awesome for fast piercing. I’d say you could get your stitching holes pierced in half the time than when using an awl.
3. Needles. These leather sewing needles have blunted ends. You can get them in different sizes, but sizes 4 or 5 are what I use the most.
4. Pliers. Sometimes it can be difficult to pull the needle through the leather, so flat-nosed pliers come in handy.
5. Thread. They come in different sizes, colors, waxed or unwaxed... For sewing thick leather, I like to use this waxed linen thread (right) and for sewing more delicate leather I like to use this finer wax nylon thread (left). They’re both great for hand-sewing and super strong too!
6. Thread clipper. It’s nice to have a pair of thread clippers near you when you're sewing. This one’s my favorite. It fits comfortably in my hand and it’s super sharp!
7. Binder clips. Use binder clips to hold seams together. I don’t like to leave these on for too long though, because sometimes they leave indentations on your leather. Short term use is fine, but if you have to leave them on overnight, put folded paper towels underneath both sides.
8. Stitching pony. Having a stitching pony is so helpful. It holds your project for you while you hand-stitch. There's an upcoming tutorial on how to saddle-stitch. I'll show you how to use the stitching pony. Stay tuned for that. (stitching pony below)
1. Aleene's leather and suede glue. I like to use Aleene’s leather glue for smaller projects. The glue dries a little shiny with a tint of yellow, so use this in places where the glue is hidden.
2. Renia Aquilim 315 contact cement. For a stronger bond, I like to use this non-toxic water based contact cement by Renia. It’s a safer option and works great. According to the shop that I ordered it from, “The concentration is about 3 times higher than what you find in classic Neoprene glues. This means that with the same amount, you can do a lot more work!" It dries clear and allows a wide range of material combinations
EDGE FINISHING TOOLS
1. Fine grit sandpaper. I like to use this fine grit sanding sponge to clean up edges and curves. I like to get the sponge instead of the paper because it's easier to hold on to.
2. Edge beveler. An edge beveler rounds off corners. You can get these in different sizes but I mostly use a size 2 and a 3.
3. Gum tragacanth. Gum tragacanth is an edge buffing agent. This is applied at the very end. You apply it, then use a slicker to burnish the edges of your leather. Burnishing basically means, polishing.
4. Wood slicker. the wood slicker is used for burnishing your projects. Like I said earlier, you would apply gum tragacanth, then use this slicker to burnish the edges of your project. Doing this gives your edges a shiny look.
Ok, last but not least…
1. Mesh plastic canvas. This is completely optional. I like to use this mesh plastic canvas to stiffen the bottom of bags. I cut it down to the size that I want, then I sandwich it in between two pieces of leather and sew my project as usual. You can find them in most craft stores.
That's it for basic leatherworking tools + supplies.
There are so many other useful tools that I didn’t go over today, but you’ll discover those as you move onto more advanced projects.
If you are just starting out, here’s a list of 8 tools that I think are super helpful to have on hand.
- Clear gridded ruler
- scratch awl
- A mallet
- Xacto knife
- Self healing cutting mat
- Poly cutting board.
As usual, I’ve made a free printable shopping list for you to download. You can find it in the library section.
I hope you found this information useful. Join me again for part 2 (how to choose + where to buy leather). Talk to you then. Have a wonderful week.