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.
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
Step 2: Kippah Pattern Pdf
An additional straight leather strip or strips, 1/2" wide by a total of 14" long, are necessary to join the kippah parts together. No pattern given; measure and cut from any available scrap.
Step 3: Kippah Pattern Cut Out and Positioned on Thin Plastic Pattern Material (a Salad Box Lid)
Cut with scissors, rather than a razor knife, due to the curves. The cylindrical sides of a thin aluminum beverage can cut easily with craft scissors. If your leather pieces are very small or have irregular edges and holes, use the quarter panel pattern. It's difficult to perfectly align such small pieces; more trimming is required after assembly than a kippah made in halves. Mark the circumference on the non-show side of each quarter, indicating which edges NOT to cement together.
Step 4: Plastic Pattern Positioned on a Directional Design Leather Scrap
Step 5: Applying Cement (darker Areas) Along Diameter and Dart Edges
If the cut edges of the leather are a different color than the show side, use a permanent marker in a similar color to dye the cut edges. The seams will be less visible, and the circumference look more finished, if similar in shade to the background color of the show side. (The demonstration kippah has a white background and white cut edges.)
Apply a 1/4" band of cement, brushing from the center of each large piece towards the diameter and dart edges only - not along the circumference.
Extra glue will help the kippah stay in place when worn, but it looks sloppy. Follow manufacturer's directions for contact cement; use wet, allow to become tacky, or set until dry, before assembly.
Step 6: Attaching the Strip Along the Diameter of the First Side of the Kippah
When assembling quarters, first make one half, and then the other, of the kippah. Then join the two halves with the same methods as a two-piece kippah.
Step 7: Reinforcing Strip Cemented to the First Side of the Kippah
Step 8: Beginning to Attach the 2nd Side of the Kippah Via the Seam Reinforcing Strip Under the Diameter Edges
Step 9: Cementing the Reinforcing Strip Along the First Dart, Seen From the Inside
Trim the end of the first dart strip if necessary, so the remainder can be used on the second dart.
Step 10: Cementing the Reinforcing Strip Along the Second Dart, Seen From the Outside
Contact cement doesn't remove from suede, or rough textures, very well.
Step 11: Smoothing the Seams Using the Curved Edge of the Scissors Grip, (or Any Other Smooth, Hard Object)
The idea is to make the kippah curve smoothly, rather than have facets remaining from its flat origin.