Just in time for Hanukkah, here are directions for a beauteous no-sew leather kippah (yamulkah ). Make kippot as gifts…and then later fry latkes and sing "S'vivon Sov Sov Sov".
Read Me First! The leather or suede should be 2-4 oz./sq. ft. or 1-3 mm thick. It should be fairly stiff, such as the type used for wallets, handbags, and bookbinding. Garment and glove leathers, such as cow split, lamb, and deer, are much stretchier and don't hold shape well. Upholstery vinyls and leather substitutes without fabric backings; flexible long-fiber heavy papers such as cotton and mulberry; even fiber-supported plastics such as Tyvektm, will also work. Materials thicker than 2-4 oz. or 1-3mm are too difficult to cut without special shears. Fabric backings fray. Garment PVC isn't stiff enough. Texture or design should be 2" or less, to fit on panels. Additional leather area will be needed if the design will be matched or centered.
Contact cement is available in both petrochemical and water-soluble latex variations. Use either with plenty of ventilation. Neither sticks well to dirty, greasy, or shiny surfaces. Cement should be flexible when set, and not dissolve the coloring or substance of the kippah.
Cut patterns and parts with craft shears, or a razor craft knife. A roller razor knife (such as an Olfatm) isn't practical, due to the many small radius curves. Professional leather workers use a clicker die and mechanical press - similar to a heavy-duty steel cookie-cutter - to rapidly cut large numbers of identical small pieces. This isn't financially practical for fewer than several hundred items. A plastic or metal flat pattern as described here is good for dozens of uses, but of course each has to be positioned, marked, and cut individually.
These directions and patterns won't work with woven fabrics. Fabric kippot need to be sewn and lined, allowing for fabric bias.
Some Jews avoid hides from non-kosher animals (pigskin, snake, lizard, ostrich, amphibians) or fish (shark, ray, eel).