How to Cut Leather Like a Pro

Cutting the leather is a vital step during leatherwork, irrespective of the leather type you want to use. Well-cut leather helps in giving the product an excellent finishing. So, it’s necessary to know how to cut leather if you intend to make superior leather crafts.

Mastering leather cutting art may look challenging, but it becomes easier if you employ the right tools and apply a lot of patience. So, read on as this guide explains how to cut leather like a pro, whether you’re just beginning leatherwork or you’ve been practicing for a long time.

Tools for Cutting Leather

If you want to know how to cut leather without fraying, you must use the right tools. Some of the necessary tools include:

  • Cutting mat (self-healing)
  • Rotary leather cutter
  • Hobby or Craft knife
  • Utility knife
  • Heavy ruler
  • Vegetable tan leather

Other leather-cutting tools include head knives, skiving knives, heavy-duty scissors, hole punches, and so on.

how to cut leather shapes

Preparation before Leather Cutting

An essential preparation before you begin to cut leather is; to lay out what you want to cut on the leather and mark it out before you start cutting. That is, to create a piece of leatherwork, it’s best to scope out the grain side of the leather to get a part that has no obvious imperfections.

When you find such a part of the leather, turn the leather over and use a silver pen to duplicate the pattern on the fresh side. Then, cut it out from there. You can also choose to cut out the pattern on cardboard and let the edges guide you in cutting instead of marking out the pen on the leather.

Note that if you’re working with patterns that have curves, it becomes more necessary to plan out and create your templates. It’ll make the process easier and give clean, smooth results.

How to Cut Thin Leather

The best tool for cutting a thin leather of about 1mm thick is a sharp rotary cutter. The reason is that you can put more even pressure on a larger area when using a rotary cutter, unlike the hobby knife that might pull and rumple the leather while cutting.

When thin leather creases during cutting because of its fragile nature, it becomes difficult to achieve a straight line. Whether you desire to know how to cut leather strips and straps; or how to cut leather earrings, cutting your leather straight is a necessary technique.

Now, to cut the thin leather, place it on a flat surface and make the grain side face up. Place your ruler on top and make a clean cut using the ruler’s edge as a cutting guide. Ensure that the rotary cutter is as close to the ruler’s edge as much as possible.

How to Cut Thick Leather

If you’re worried about how to cut thick leather without creasing it, then worry less as it’s easier than you think. To cut a thick leather, you’ll only need a sharp hobby knife, a good ruler, and some patience.

Place the leather on a flat surface and ensure that the grain side is facing up. Place your ruler on it and begin cutting with the hobby knife using the edge of the ruler as a cut guide. It is best to make small passes on the thick leather before cutting through.

Tip: while you place the ruler on the leather to cut, remember to keep the ruler steady and fixed while cutting. Also, ensure the edge of the knife is against the ruler.

how to cut leather at home

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What’s the best tool to cut leather with?

Many necessary tools are best for cutting leather if, you want to get the best results. They include skiving knives, swivel knives, utility knives, head knives, rotary cutters, hobby knives, etc. However, some of the best must-haves are rotary cutters and hobby cutters.

Q: How do you cut leather neatly?

Cutting leather neat is necessary for you as a leatherworker. You can cut leather neatly by observing the following.

  • Using sharp knives: when you sharpen your knives, you’ll make fewer mistakes and have smoother cuts. Always ensure your knives are sharp before working with leather and even after work.
  • Keep your knife close to the ruler’s edge: whenever you place your ruler on the leather to cut, always keep your knife close to the edge of the ruler to use it as a cutting guide.
  • Place your knife perpendicular to leather: having your blade erect on the leather will help you achieve neat cuts. Ensure you don’t extend your arm so much while cutting, as this will cause your hands to roll.

Q: Can I cut leather with scissors?

You can cut leather with scissors, but it’s usually not the best. Knowing how to cut leather with scissors may sound great; however, the result is not as great. The cut will not be straight because of cutline movement that happens whenever you move the scissors, and it’ll show during leather burnishing.

Q: How do you cut leather with a knife?

To cut leather with a knife, you’ll need the right kind of knife depending on the leather’s level of thickness. Place the leather on a flat surface with its grain side facing upwards. Position your ruler on top and begin dragging your knife on the cut line using the ruler’s edge as a guide.

Q: How do you cut a large piece of leather?

Cutting a large piece of leather requires the correct materials, such as a paper pattern, ruler, knife, cutter, sticky tape, and pencil. When you have these materials, select a part of the leather with fewer or no flaws, and work on that part.

Place the large piece of leather on a flat surface and place an already designed pattern on its top. Use sticky tape to hold the pattern to the leather, and mark it out on the leather with a pencil and ruler to create lines. Remove the pattern and follow the line to cut the leather.

Q: How do you cut hard leather?

You can cut hard leather using a strap cutter or a rotary cutter. It is essential to place a sturdy and heavy ruler on the leather and make repeated passes before cutting through. It requires the right tools and lots of patience to make a clean, straight cut.

Q: Can you use a rotary cutter on leather?

Yes, you can. A rotary cutter is great for cutting leather as it saves you lots of time while giving you convenience. However, one major thing to note while using a rotary cutter is to ensure that its blades are sharp because a blunt one will make you struggle and not have a clean cut.

Q: How do you cut the sole of leather?

Cutting sole requires beam presses and hefty cutting knives for manual cutting or grading and evening machines in mechanized factories. While cutting the sole of leather sole, it is essential to turn the hide over to enable you to make both the right and left soles.

Wrap Up

Your leatherwork can come out great when your leather is neatly cut. Following the guidelines above on how to cut leather correctly will make your work super easy, give you the best results, and help you produce excellent leather products that you’ll be proud to showcase.

Evina Naomi

Ewofere, Evina Naomi is a biotechnologist and passionate content writer. As a great lover of leather and various leather crafts, she broadly addresses leather-related issues. She is a writer of many excellent articles on leather. With great knowledge and enthusiasm, readers can access researched pieces on various leather types and the best techniques that work on them. Naomi is here to lead you through the journey of choosing excellent leather products and ensure you handle them rightly. So you can embark on your leather sewing and crafting journey with her and have an incredible experience.

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