I guess answering this is as good of place to start as any. So what is leather work? It’s the art of taking leather hides and turning them into something amazing. These goods can be wallets, saddles, boots, clothing, purses, furniture, backpacks, and whips, just to name a few.
Leather work is a pretty general term that covers a wide variety of styles, skills, and types of crafting done with leather. Someone can be an expert in one area of the craft and a complete beginner at another. For instance: I’ve been doing general crafting for 2 years. I’m by no means an expert, but I can pretty effortlessly put together small goods like wallets, knife sheaths, small bags, etc, but I have never even tried tooling leather. I’m pretty sure when I try it, it’ll look ridiculous. The same would be true if I were to try making a saddle or pair of chaps.
There are a bunch of different specialties within leather work that you can pursue once you have the basics down.
What is Leather Work to YOU?
This becomes the real question. Everyone needs to get the basics down. We all need to understand and practice the fundamental leather work techniques but once you have those, what kind of leather work are you going to get into?
Chances are good that if you are reading this, you have some idea of the type of leather work you are interested in. If you are requiring some inspiration, though, I’d recommend getting on Instagram and following some leather workers and related hashtags. There are also some great communities out there that are quite helpful. I’ll drop some links at the bottom of this article.
How To Get Into Leather Work?
Ok, so you’re going to take the plunge, but don’t know how to get started? It’s one of those things where you can do all your research and due diligence but ultimately, you’re just going to need to take the plunge and start buying a few tools and cheaper leathers to see if it’s right for you.
To start, I’d recommend reading a ton, watching leather workers on YouTube and getting into leather craft communities. You can learn a lot just by seeing what other leather workers are talking about.
Check My Video on Getting Started in Leather Work
This video is one of my quickest growing ones. I go over what to do before you’ve even bought anything and I’ve had a ton of positive feedback on it.
Also check out my blog post from my main website about this video for a bit of added info here:
Leather Working Resources
As I said earlier, there are a ton of great resources online to learn what leather work is and how to do it. You just have to do a bit of digging.
Great Instagram Hashtags to Follow:
#leatherwork #leather #leathercraft #handmade #leathergoods #handcrafted #leatherwallet #leatherbag #leatherworks #edc #handstitched #style #handmadeleather #leatherhandmade #leathercrafts #leatherfashion #everydaycarry #leatheraccessories #leatherjacket #leatherworking #customleather #leatherbags #leatherart #leathercrafting #handmadeleathergoods
*This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a good start to get your IG feed filled up with cool leather pics.
Reddit has a couple great communities worth checking out:
r/Leathercraft and r/Leatherworking. There is also r/Leatherclassifieds, but it is more for selling/trading leather goods.
I’m only in a couple of these but I’ve heard there are a ton! Search “leather work” and filter by groups and you should see a bunch. The ones I’m in are:
Leathercrafter Tips & Share Your Work, Leather Work Patterns, and Canadian Leather Crafters.
I hope This Helped
To you aspiring new leather crafters out there, I hope this was of some value to you. It’s my goal to get you from the idea face to the making awesome stuff phase of your journey. Keep checking back as this site evolves into an authority on how to leather work!