Sit down, grab a cuppa and enjoy this introduction to the fascinating and rich craft that is leather work. If you are looking to learn a new and versatile skill which can allow you to make all sorts of items then you're in the right place.


If you're new to leather work we would recommend starting with projects like keychains, wallets and purses. When you feel more confident then you can work your way up to more complex pieces such as detailed handbags. Leather work is not only about assembly though, it is about stitching, carving, stamping and a whole world more.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to simply focus on the basic leather working tools you'll need to get started. We'll then show you some of our favourite stamping kits (because let's be honest, stamping leather is very satisfying).

Finally, you can find a beautiful selection of leather crafting kits from a range of talented leather workers. These are kits which contain all the tools and materials you need to finish a project. They can be a great taster into leather work and allow you to figure out if this craft is really for you!

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What is leather work?

Leather work is any item made from leather. This can be almost anything you can think of! Any item of clothing, hats, boots, purses, wallets, keyrings, camera straps, belts and watch straps.

Why leather?

Well, as we know, leather has played a pivotal role in fashion and practicality throughout history, from the Old Wild West to the popular culture of the 1950s right through to the present day. In terms of its practicality, it is strong, durable and looks even better with age, that's why it's a popular choice for jackets and accessories. When we receive something made of leather we know it is a special piece to be cared for and that it will last for years to come, and is certainly not considered fast fashion.

If you want to find more about the rich history of leather, we'd recommend heading to Liberty Leather Goods.

  • Main image: Leather Clutch kit, Buy it now, Not on The Highstreet, £60.00

Where to buy leather craft supplies

Finding leather supplies is so easy, just a simple Google search will take you to a tonne of suggestions. But for a beginner to leathercraft, we understand that might be a little intimidating, that's why we've done the legwork for you.

Below you'll find a selection of our favourite leather working tools, stamps and kits to get you on your way from a novice to feeling confident in the basics in no time. There are plenty of stockists online of high-quality materials, such as Amazon, Etsy and eBay. You'll find all of our top recommendations below.

6 leather working tools: you need as a beginner

There is an absolute tonne of tools out there. But as a complete newbie we're going to take you through the most common tools used for smaller and beginner projects, really just the basics you'll need to get started in this rich and interesting craft. Once you've found your feet the sky is your limit with your leather crafting!

1. Cutting mat

With leather work, and like many other crafts you're going to need a sturdy cutting mat to save your home surfaces from any damage from stamps or blades. This highly-rated cutting matt will do just that! It features both Imperial and Metric guides for both sides of the pond. This cutting mat is available in a choice of colours too, so if you are particular about your crafting space decor, you'll love this. This mat is 'self-healing' meaning any cuts or abrasions will fade away in time making this mat long-lasting and durable.

leather tools - mat

2. Rotary cutter

A rotary cutter or good blade for leather work is a must-have! This popular and highly reviewed tool by Driffer will be just the way to go. It is a low-cost tool yet has an impressive titanium blade (and it even comes with a spare). Your new rotary blade will assist in any leather projects you take on which require cutting and trimming of the leather. It can also be used on other crafty projects, like pattern cutting, papercraft and quilting.

Rotary cutter

3. Scratch awl by Osborne

A useful tool to have in your arsenal, the scratch awl can be found in a variety of sizes and styles. It is used to create small holes in the leather, or use it to help you get your stitches through thicker leather. The taper shape design allows you to poke a hole and then gradually enlarge it as the item slides up the awl. This awl by Osborne is small durable and handy. The perfect tool to get you on the road to pro leather crafter.

leather working tools - awl

4. Leather sewing kit

This one is important if you want to sew your leather, for the likes of wallets, bags, purses and lots of other projects. This handy kit contains 8 spools of strong waxed threads, leather needles, awls and other helpful accessories. At a reasonable price, this would be a good introduction to leather sewing. The kit doesn't come with instructions so you might need to do a bit of research on that first, YouTube is a good place to start.

If you want to find out more about leather sewing we have a fabulous article about how to make a passport wallet, complete with free templates.

leather tools - sewing

5. A mallet

Used for stamping (as below) a mallet is a really handy tool for leather making. Now you might already own a mallet but if not this one is ideal. You should choose one made of wood, rubber or Nylon, this is because a lot of leather tools are made of metal so you risk damaging them by hitting metal on metal (not a good plan). This nylon mallet is the perfect beginner tool to ensure you are stamping safely and effectively into your leather.

leather working tools - mallet

6. Veg-tanned leather

Of course, you're going to need leather! There is a huge amount of leather available on the market. Choosing your leather is really about your project, how do you want it to look? How would you like it to age, and how quickly? Will you be colouring it? If you want that classic lovely leather smell we'd suggest looking into veg-tanned leather.

leather tools - leather

If you are looking into buying more specific cuts of leather or bulk amounts and would like to find out more detailed leather information we'd recommend you check out JWood Leathers.

4 leather stamping tools

1. PandaHall Elite leather stamping set

Would you like to emboss your own leather creations with special initials or words? Then this letter and number stamping kit is for you! These stamps are made of high-quality iron and presented in a tidy wooden box. In the set, you'll find the whole alphabet and numbers 1-10 plus an ampersand symbol. In order to stamp your leather, you will need to place the stamp over your piece of leather and strike it with your mallet. If you are interested in embossing other materials, these stamps will also work on metal and wood. That's what we call good value for money!

leather tools - alphabet

2. KLLsmdesign leather stamping kit

This mega 65 pcs stamping kit has not only the standard alphabet and numbers but also lots of lovely symbols and patterns. These can be used to create things like decorative designs and borders. You'll find 19 different specifications of patterns, such as butterflies, dots, weave, basketweave, bevel and floral so this kit is ideal for all types of projects. As well as the stamps you'll also find other tools in the kit, such as a leather swivel knife, an L-shaped tool, a stamping head mounting rod and a leather collar. That's why we think this kit is perfect for beginners because it'll give you a real boost into the leather craft world, but won't break the bank.

leather tools - alphabet

3. Mogokoyo leather stamping tools

Want to get a little fancier with it? These olde English-style letters will add a classy touch to your projects. They work particularly well if you are making leather bracelets or wallets that you'd like to add a special message to. Perfect for a special occasion, they make a lovely wedding, anniversary or milestone birthday gift. In the kit, you'll find the A-Z in the set, presented in a protective foam casing.

leather tools - alphabet

4. Heated leather stamping kit

If you want to take your leather stamping to the next level, these kits are your ticket to professional-looking leather stamping. With this tool, you can easily brand your leather with stamps such as letters, logos or patterns using heat. Emily Flea Market can also create a personalised stamp for you if you wish. All you need to do is send in your specifications and they'll make it up for you! This is great for small businesses and makers of leather goods.

leather tools - heated

10 leather kits for beginners

1. Leather wallet kit card holder, Challenger Leather

Start your leather-making journey in a stylish way with this colourful leather wallet kit. This kit is ideal for beginners thanks to the precut leather (and stitching holes) so as soon as it arrives you'll be ready to start stitching. The kit is made from the world-famous Badalassi Carlo Pueblo leather, which boasts a high-quality rustic appearance. You can also request for your wallet to be personalised with initials, or a symbol in pretty gold or silver (depending on your preference).

leather kit - wallet

2. Mini leather purse kit, Wolf Workshop Studio

Make yourself or someone you know this special mini purse. With all the holes and pieces pre-cut you won't need to purchase any fancy tools to complete this project. This project doesn't include paints. All you need is acrylic paints or a colouring medium of your choice and you're free to get creative with it!

leather kit - mini purse

3. DIY mini leather tote bag, Todder Leather

An amazing kit for anyone wanting to step up their leather craft skills. This beautiful kit not only teaches you many skills including hand stitching, edge burnishing and assembling a gusset but also leaves you with a bag you can use every day! Included with the kit is everything you need, plus a detailed instruction sheet. The only extras you'll need to have is a lighter and some water. This kit can also be personalised, letting you choose your leather type and thread colour, to make something that truly suits your style!

leather kit - tote bag

4. DIY leather coaster set, Artisans Life Store

Create something unique with this beautiful leather coaster set! Choose from two beautiful colours and choose up to 7 characters to have embossed on the leather. These would make a very lovely gift for a wedding, birthday or any other special occasion. This high-quality kit contains all you need to finish the coasters plus you get a free leather keyring kit to make. Bonus!

leather kit - coasters

5. Make your own leather notebook, House of Devizes

A leather notebook is something to truly love and keep forever! And a leather notebook you've made yourself is even more special. With this beginner-friendly kit, you'll receive online access to exclusive video tutorials to help you become a pro leather crafter. This project will give you a brilliant introduction to leather working and you'll soon be looking for your next project.

leather kit - notebook

6. Leather craft clutch bag kit, Hollie Berries Bags

Do you want a modern twist on your leather work? This kit is for you! With its beautifully modern design, it will accentuate any outfit you pair it with. We love these kits because the leather is upcycled from off cuts; reducing waste production and conserving our resources! You'll also get a choice of paint colours, and you can create your design in any way you like!

leather kit - clutch

7. Messenger bag DIY leather kit, vkDIYplanet

This beautiful bag is designed with a vintage style in mind and we can certainly see that! The beautiful leather in deep rich green or blue and the heavy leather buckles. This kit will certainly be a challenge for beginners, however, once you purchase it a tutorial video will be sent to you to help you master the craft.

leather kit - messenger

8. Make your own leather belt kit, Tanner Bates

The small specialist leather team behind Tanner Bates create a range of handmade leather goods at our workshop in rural south Devon. These charming pieces are high-quality and made from Italian leather. In the kit is everything one needs, from the Italian leather that's been cut to size, to the dauber for finishing the edges. There's no hammering of rivets or complicated stitching involved, so ideal for the new leather crafter.

leather kit - belt

9. Leather clutch DIY leather craft kit, Love and Salvage

Another bold and bright leather piece for our list with this lovely (and eco-friendly) DIY clutch kit from Love and Salvage. As their name suggests the leather in this kit is reclaimed from the upholstery industry and lined with cotton. The kit includes everything you need to finish this bag, including helpful instructions! You'll also get a palette of on-trend modern colours to paint your bag in a fabulous design!

leather kit - clutch

10. Leather bag kit, Louise Buchan

This fun bag is sure enough to bring a smile to anyone who is lucky enough to own it! Each kit contains everything you need to finish the bag including a unique mixture of 'bits and bobs' to decorate in your own style. This kit is ideal for beginners thanks to its simple shape and easy-to-follow instructions.

leather kit - bag

More crafty projects to try

We hope you enjoyed our introduction to leather craft and leather working tools and that it has sparked some inspiration. If you want to try other new crafts we have plenty of beginner guides available, why not try out this guide to macrame, a great tactile hobby for those who want to decorate their homes in a modern way. Looking for an artier hobby? Try these lino printing kits or the paint by numbers kits.


Katie Dolan
Katie DolanDigital Assistant, Gathered

Katie Dolan edits our needlework sections, focusing on our embroidery and cross stitch articles, as well as making videos for our arts and crafts projects. Katie runs her jewellery business, Ophelia Jewellery Art, on Etsy, where she sells beautiful resin-pressed flower earrings. She has a wide range of craft interests including embroidery – she particularly loves all things pop culture and a less traditional approach – The Simpsons and Rick & Morty are among her favourites to embroider. She has recently completed a silversmith workshop and hopes to expand her jewellery business with these new skills. When she’s not crafting, she’s usually fuelling her Harry Potter addiction with a Sunday film marathon and a couple of butter beers!

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