Basic Leather Carving Instructions Part I
Leather And Pattern Preparation

Before starting any leather working it is necessary to case the leather.

1. Casing the leather - Using a moistened sponge wet the leather. Do not soak it. The leather should be slightly moist throughout. Once the leather dries to near its original color, it is properly "cased". 2. Prepare a pattern - Lay your tracing film atop your pattern (matte side up) and trace the pattern as accurately as possible with a pencil. If using a Craftaid, skip this step.
3. Position the pattern on the leather. Trace all the pattern lines with a stylus using gentle pressure.

If using a craftaid, place it texture side down on the leather. Use a spoon shaped modeling tool to burnish the back of the craftaid to transfer the pattern.

4. It is a good idea to rubber cement the leather down to a piece of thin cardboard (like oak tag or shirt box material). This will help keep the leather dimensionally stable during the carving process. This was not done on this project, and later photos will show how distorted the leather can get from the stamping process if this is not done.

5. You are now ready to start carving. Try to avoid letting the leather dry out as repeated moistening and drying will make it harder to carve. If you need to take a break place it in a zip lock bag. If the leather starts to dry while working with it moisten again as needed. Please note: do not store wet leather for more than a few hours this way, or it may get moldy.

The pattern used here is from the excellent tutorial book The Leatherworking Manual. I highly recommend this book.

Click here for Transfer Film and Sponges.

Click here for Leather.


Disclaimer: The information presented here is accurate to the best of my knowledge and common leather working practices as of the time of this writing. This article was originally published to the internet in June 2009 and has been modified and republished in April 2012. The author and the publisher accept no liability for the use or misuse of any of the information presented in this article. This article is presented for informational purposes and is used at your own risk.

Author: Bob Sherman

Publisher: Bobby's Craft Boutique Inc.

This article is provided free of charge for use.

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