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). 


Step 1: Materials and Tools

  • Leather 7" x 7" - preferably 2-4 oz. calf, goatskin, suede, or equivalent. Design repeat less than 2".
  • Contact cement
  • Pattern material - cardstock, thin plastic, or an aluminum beverage can
  • Kippah Patterns (Half and Quarter) .pdf
  • Work surface - cardboard, section of newspaper, or cutting board
  • Craft scissors or razor knife
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Optional: waterproof marker - same color as leather background shade
nice kippot. original. mazeltov
Excellent instructable. I have a really nice hand woven kippah that I purchased in the Russian-Jewish section of Toronto a couple of years ago (that's Steeles and Bathurst). I've always wondered how they're made. Thanks.<br /> <br /> Shalom.<br />
hurray yidishishcite!<br />

About This Instructable


16 favorites


Bio: Britex Fabrics is an amazing, family-run, 4-story fabric store in San Francisco. Britex sells a selection of our fabrics and notions online, and blogs about ... More »
More by Britex_Fabrics: Make a Tasseled Chiffon Scarf! Fabric Upholstered Bed Headboard NO-SEW LEATHER KIPPAH OR  (Yamulkah)
Add instructable to: