Leather is a timeless material that’s versatile and long-lasting, making it a perfect choice for craft projects. From clothing to furniture, leather is an ideal material to work with. Whether you’re just getting started in the leather crafting business or have been in the game for years, here are 10 of the best places to get your supplies for leather projects. Let’s get started!
The Leather Industry in 2022
In 2022, the leather industry was valued at $39.6 billion and is projected to reach $52.5 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 3.6%. The demand for luxury goods and accessories is fueling the global leather market, prompting fabric manufacturers to keep up with the trend.
Top Places to Buy Leather Crafting Supplies
Researching where to shop for leather supplies can be tedious and time-consuming, so here are the top 10 online store options where you can find all your crafting needs.
Arguably the biggest online retailer in the world, Amazon offers an extensive selection of leather crafting supplies.
Etsy is an excellent source of handmade leather goods and supplies, with a plethora of vendors offering unique items.
This online marketplace is filled with leather craft supplies at all budget levels, including bulk items and rare finds.
4. Joann Fabrics
Joann’s is a great spot to find leather supplies for beginner and professional craftsmen alike. Their selection includes items such as hides, tools, hardware, and more.
Michaels is a great option for those looking for leather craft supplies, with everything from tools and hardware to hides and accessories.
6. Weaver Leather Supply
Weaver Leather began as a small shoe shop, eventually growing into an elite manufacturer and distributor of quality leather and nylon products.
7. Rocky Mountain Leather Supply
Rocky Mountain Leather Supply in Sandy, Utah provides wholesale discounts on all leather and tools. Discounts for leather depend on the number of full hides purchased, and tool discounts are available for multiples of a single product and size.
8. Tandy Leather
Tandy Leather is the go-to source for leather craft supplies and offers a wide selection of tools, hardware, hides, and more.
9. Leather Craft Tools
Leather Craft Tools ships leathercraft supplies worldwide, caters to beginners and experts, and prioritizes customer satisfaction.
10. Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby has a wide selection of leather crafting supplies that are perfect for those just starting out. They also offer weekly sales and discounts, making it a great place to find the perfect item at an affordable price.
Essential Leather Craft Supply for Your Next Project
When starting a new leather crafting project, having the right supplies is important for success and for making customers happy. Here are essential leather craft supplies to consider:
Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather, characterized by its natural surface without being sanded or buffed. It retains the original texture and markings of the animal’s skin, making each piece unique. This type of leather is known for its durability and ability to develop a patina over time. It is often used in high-quality furniture, luggage, and footwear.
Top-grain leather is similar to full-grain but has been sanded and refinished to remove imperfections. It’s thinner and more pliable than full-grain leather, making it easier to work with for certain applications. Top-grain leather is widely used in making high-end leather goods like handbags, wallets, and jackets.
Split leather comes from the lower layers of the hide that are split off from the top-grain layer. It’s less durable and cheaper than full-grain and top-grain leather. Split leather is commonly used in making suede, which is favored for its soft texture and is often used in clothing, shoes, and upholstery.
Bonded leather is made from the scraps and fibers of genuine leather that are bonded together with adhesives and then coated with polyurethane. It is the least expensive and least durable form of leather. Bonded leather is often used in bookbinding and budget-friendly furniture.
Nubuck leather is top-grain leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side to create a velvety surface. It’s similar to suede but is more durable and thicker. Nubuck is commonly used in making high-end products like shoes, bags, and jackets.
Patent leather is a type of coated leather that has a very glossy, shiny finish. The coating process involves applying a lacquer or varnish. Patent leather is used in fashion accessories like shoes, handbags, and belts, adding a luxurious and elegant touch.
Vegetable-tanned leather is tanned using tannins extracted from vegetable matter, such as tree bark. It is known for its natural and earthy appearance and is more environmentally friendly than chrome-tanned leather. Veg-tanned leather is ideal for tooling and carving, making it popular for custom leather goods like belts, saddles, and holsters.
Chrome-tanned leather uses chromium salts for tanning, resulting in a softer and more pliable material compared to veg-tanned leather. It’s faster to produce and comes in a variety of colors. This type of leather is widely used in the manufacture of jackets, bags, and upholstery.
|Type of Leather
|Highest quality leather with a natural surface, retaining original texture and markings. Durable, develops a patina over time. Used in quality furniture, luggage, footwear.
|High-Quality Furniture, Luggage, Footwear
|Similar to full-grain but sanded and refinished to remove imperfections. Thinner, more pliable. Used in high-end goods like handbags, wallets, jackets.
|Handbags, Wallets, Jackets
|From lower layers of the hide, split off from top-grain. Less durable, cheaper. Commonly used in suede for clothing, shoes, upholstery.
|Suede for Clothing, Shoes, Upholstery
|Made from leather scraps bonded with adhesives, coated with polyurethane. Least expensive and durable. Used in bookbinding, budget-friendly furniture.
|Bookbinding, Budget-Friendly Furniture
|Top-grain leather sanded/buffed on the grain side for a velvety surface. Similar to suede but more durable. Used in high-end shoes, bags, jackets.
|High-End Shoes, Bags, Jackets
|Coated leather with a glossy, shiny finish using lacquer or varnish. Used in fashion accessories like shoes, handbags, belts.
|Tanned with vegetable matter, natural and earthy appearance. Environmentally friendly, ideal for tooling, carving. Used in custom goods like belts, saddles.
|Custom Leather Goods (Belts, Saddles)
|Tanned with chromium salts, softer and more pliable than veg-tanned. Variety of colors, used in jackets, bags, upholstery.
|Jackets, Bags, Upholstery
Rivets and Studs
Rivets and studs are metal fasteners that can be added to leather for both functional and decorative purposes. Rivets are typically used to join two pieces of leather together, adding strength to the craft, while studs are used to add a decorative element. They come in various shapes, sizes, and finishes, allowing for a range of creative designs in products like bags, belts, and jackets.
Leather Dyes and Paints
Leather dyes and paints are used to add color to leather crafts. Dyes penetrate the leather, offering a more natural finish, while paints sit on the surface, providing a bolder, more varied range of colors. They are often used in artistic leatherwork to create unique patterns, designs, or to restore the color of aged leather items.
Edge Coating and Burnishing Agents
Edge coating and burnishing agents are used to finish the edges of leather items, giving them a smooth, polished appearance. Burnishing involves rubbing the edges with a tool to create friction and heat, which seals the fibers. Edge coatings are applied as a liquid, which dries to form a smooth, protective finish, enhancing both the appearance and durability of items like wallets and belts.
Thread and Lacing
Thread and lacing are essential in leather crafting for stitching pieces together. Leathercraft thread is usually thicker and more durable than regular sewing thread, suitable for the tough texture of leather. Lacing techniques can also add a decorative touch, with various colors and styles available to complement different leather projects.
Buckles and Clasps
Buckles and clasps serve both functional and aesthetic roles in leather crafting. They are commonly used in making belts, bags, and leather bracelets. Available in various designs and finishes, they can be chosen to match the style and purpose of the leather item, ranging from simple and understated to ornate and decorative.
Grommets and Eyelets
Grommets and eyelets are metal rings inserted into holes in the leather. They reinforce the hole and prevent tearing, especially in areas of strain. They are often used in leather items like shoes, belts, and bags where laces or straps pass through the leather, adding both durability and a decorative element.
Leather Conditioners and Sealants
Leather conditioners and sealants are used to protect finished leather crafts. Conditioners keep the leather supple and prevent it from drying out and cracking, while sealants provide a protective layer on the surface, safeguarding against moisture, dirt, and wear. These products are essential for maintaining the longevity and appearance of leather items like jackets, bags, and furniture.
|Rivets and Studs
|Metal fasteners for both functional and decorative purposes. Rivets join leather pieces, studs add decoration. Various shapes, sizes, finishes.
|Fastening and Decoration
|Leather Dyes and Paints
|Used to add color to leather crafts. Dyes penetrate for a natural finish, paints for bolder colors. Used for patterns, designs, or restoring color.
|Edge Coating and Burnishing Agents
|Used to finish leather edges for a smooth, polished appearance. Burnishing creates friction and heat, edge coatings form a protective finish.
|Thread and Lacing
|Essential for stitching leather together. Leathercraft thread is thick and durable, lacing adds decorative touch with various colors and styles.
|Stitching and Decoration
|Buckles and Clasps
|Serve functional and aesthetic roles. Common in belts, bags, bracelets. Various designs and finishes to match style and purpose.
|Fastening and Decoration
|Grommets and Eyelets
|Metal rings inserted into leather holes, reinforcing them and preventing tearing. Used in shoes, belts, bags for durability and decoration.
|Reinforcement and Decoration
|Leather Conditioners and Sealants
|Protect finished leather crafts. Conditioners keep leather supple, prevent cracking. Sealants provide a protective layer against moisture, dirt.
|Protection and Maintenance
Leather Crafting Tools for Business
Leather crafting tools are essential for anyone looking to start a leather crafting business. From needles to hole punches, each tool serves a unique purpose. Here are six categories of tools to consider when setting up your leather crafting business:
Leather needles come in various sizes and shapes, each suited to a specific task. For example, harness needles are ideal for sewing thick leather, while glover’s needles work best on softer, thinner leather.
Leather knives come in different shapes, such as the swivel knife, which is used for carving and detailed work.
Rotary cutters offer a quick, clean cut on straight lines. This tool is generally used on a cutting mat and is especially useful on thinner pieces of leather.
Scissors are used for smaller, more intricate cuts. The choice of cutting tool often depends on the thickness and type of leather as well as the precision required.
Pricking Irons and Chisels
Pricking irons and chisels are used to mark and create stitching holes in leather. They come in various tooth configurations, allowing for different stitch lengths and styles. Pricking irons are generally used to mark the stitch line, while chisels are used to actually punch through the leather, especially for thicker materials.
Mallets and Hammers
Mallets and hammers are used in leather crafting to strike other tools without damaging them. A mallet, usually made of wood or rawhide, is used for tasks like stamping, tooling, and setting rivets. Hammers, often with a heavier metal head, are used for flattening and shaping leather.
An edge beveler is a tool used to round off the edges of leather, giving the finished product a more polished look. It removes a small strip of leather from the edge, creating a beveled appearance. This not only enhances the aesthetics but also makes the edges more comfortable to handle, especially in items like belts and straps.
An awl is a pointed tool used for marking and piercing leather. It’s particularly useful for making precise holes for stitching, especially in thick leather that can’t be easily pierced with a needle. Awls come in various shapes, including straight and curved, each suited for different types of work.
Burnishing tools are used to smooth and finish the edges of leather items. They can be made of wood, bone, or plastic and are used to rub the edges of the leather briskly. This process heats and compresses the leather fibers, resulting in a smooth, rounded edge.
Carving tools are used for adding decorative patterns and designs to leather. Stamping tools imprint various textures and patterns, while carving tools allow for more detailed and intricate work. These tools are often used in conjunction with a swivel knife for outlining designs.
Ruler and Square
A ruler and square are essential for measuring and ensuring straight cuts and alignments in leather crafting. They are used to mark out dimensions and cut lines, ensuring accuracy and consistency in the final product.
Hole punches come in different sizes and shapes to create holes of varying diameters. They are ideal for creating holes for stitching or adding hardware such as rivets.
Stamping tools are used to emboss designs onto leather. They come in different sizes and shapes, and the choice depends on the desired design and level of detail.
|Needles come in various sizes and shapes for specific tasks. Harness needles for thick leather, glover’s needles for softer, thinner leather.
|Leather knives come in different shapes, like the swivel knife for carving and detailed work.
|Cutting and Carving
|Rotary cutters provide quick, clean cuts on straight lines, especially useful on thinner leather.
|Scissors are used for smaller, more intricate cuts. Choice depends on leather thickness and precision needed.
|Pricking Irons and Chisels
|Used to mark and create stitching holes. Pricking irons for marking stitch lines, chisels for punching through leather.
|Marking and Punching Holes
|Mallets and Hammers
|Used to strike other tools. Mallets for stamping and tooling, hammers for flattening and shaping leather.
|Striking Other Tools
|Used to round off leather edges for a polished look and comfortable handling.
|Pointed tool for marking, piercing leather, and making precise holes for stitching, especially in thick leather.
|Piercing and Marking
|Used to smooth and finish leather edges, heating and compressing the fibers for a smooth, rounded edge.
|Used for adding decorative patterns and designs. Stamping tools for textures, carving tools for detailed work.
|Ruler and Square
|Essential for measuring, ensuring straight cuts and alignments.
|Measuring and Marking
|Create holes of various diameters for stitching or adding hardware like rivets.
|Used to emboss designs onto leather in various sizes and shapes.
What Are the Most Important Leather Craft Tools?
Leather crafting requires a selection of specialized tools to ensure precision, durability, and aesthetic appeal in the finished products. Among these, certain tools are considered most critical for both beginners and experienced leatherworkers. Here’s an expanded list of the most important leather crafting tools:
- Leather needles, often blunter and stronger than regular sewing needles, are essential for stitching leather. They are used in conjunction with heavy-duty threads to ensure strong, durable seams in leather goods.
- Cutting Tools (Knife, Rotary Cutter, Scissors)
- Cutting tools are fundamental for shaping leather pieces. A sharp knife or rotary cutter ensures clean and precise cuts, while scissors are useful for trimming and making smaller, more intricate cuts.
- Hole Punches
- Hole punches are used to create uniform holes in leather, primarily for stitching or adding hardware like rivets and snaps. They come in various sizes and shapes, allowing for versatility in design and function.
- An awl is a pointed tool used for marking and piercing leather, especially important for hand-stitching. It allows for precise hole placement and can be used to widen holes for easier needle passage.
- Edge Bevelers
- Edge bevelers are used to smooth and round the edges of leather products. This finishing touch not only improves the aesthetic of the item but also prevents fraying and ensures comfort in handling.
- Stamping Tools
- Stamping tools are used to add decorative patterns and textures to leather. These tools can create a variety of designs, from simple geometric shapes to intricate motifs, adding a unique touch to leather crafts.
These tools are fundamental in leather crafting for various reasons:
- Precision and Accuracy: Tools like cutting implements and hole punches ensure that the leather pieces are cut and prepared with precision, which is vital for the overall quality and fit of the finished product.
- Durability: Strong needles and awls are necessary for creating durable stitches that hold leather pieces together effectively, ensuring the longevity of the crafted item.
- Aesthetics: Edge bevelers and stamping tools play a significant role in enhancing the visual appeal of leather goods, making them not just functional but also attractive.
- Versatility: The variety of tools allows crafters to work on a wide range of projects, from simple repairs to intricate, artistic creations.
These tools form the foundation of leather crafting, allowing artisans to produce high-quality, durable, and aesthetically pleasing leather items. Whether for practical or decorative purposes, mastery of these tools is crucial for anyone serious about leatherwork.
How Much Money Can a Leather Crafter Make?
The amount of money a leather crafter can make varies depending on factors such as skill level, niche, and market demand. Successful leather crafters can make a full-time income, with some earning upwards of six figures.
Is Leather Crafting Difficult?
Leather crafting requires practice, patience, and attention to detail, but it is a rewarding and enjoyable hobby or business. With the right tools and guidance, anyone can learn to create beautiful leather items.
Where Is the Best Place to Find Wholesale Leather Craft Supplies?
The best place to find wholesale leather craft supplies is through reputable suppliers and distributors who specialize in leather crafting materials. Online marketplaces, trade shows, and local craft stores can also be great sources for wholesale leather craft supplies.
Image: Envato Elements