Introduction: A Leather Gift Card

About: we enjoy working for habitat for humanity.volunteering at our state park.and participating with our leather guild instructing 4H groups, home schoolers,scouts and other young people interested in leather work.

  About 8 or 9 years ago we were attending an International Leather Show.  One of the employees of Tandy Leather Company was sitting around demonstrating how to make a leather gift card.   Aha!!  A solution to my gift dilemma for Grandchildren. I had seen other cards in leather, but had not thought of making gift cards.  Since that time I have been making gift cards for the grandchildren for Christmas and birthdays.  It includes their favorite gift, MONEY.

Step 1: A Leather Gift Card

     Marble slab
     Ruler or straight edge
     Swivel knife
     Hair knife(optional)
     Modeling spoon
     Craftool F897 (optional)
     Craftoo lB 197
     Tracing Stylus or pencil
     Punch (optional)
     Eyelet and setter(optional)
     Weight bag Optional)
     Alphabet Set
     Paint brushes
     Water and sponge


Step 2: A Leather Gift Card

     1 piece of 3/4 ounce carving leather 6 1/2 by 4 inches
     1 piece of leather slightly larger than the carving piece
     Tracing film  
     Acrylic paints of choice
     Contact Cement
     masking tape

Step 3: A Leather Gift Card

     Take the masking tape and cover the back or rough side of the 6 1/2 x 4 inch carving leather.  This keeps the leather from stretching while tooling.  
     Dampen the carving leather  with the sponge, just enough to darken the leather thoroughly.  You do not want the leather soaked.  Let the leather return to almost its natural color. 

Step 4: A Leather Gift Card

     I put a border on the cards.  It gives the card a more finished look.  Set your calipers at about 1/8 to 1/4 inch.  Mark in each corner the vertical and horizontal depths.  Before using the swivel knife, strop the blade.  This keeps the blade sharp.  Lay the ruler between the two marks.  Place the point of the swivel knife in the top mark.  Take the swivel knife to the other end and put the point facing the first end and line the ruler up with the knife.  This will be the stop point of the line so you won't cut too far.  Using the swivel knife, cut between the two points.  Continue all around the card.

Step 5: A Leather Gift Card

     Take the F 897 beveler and bevel all four lines.  This pounds down the leather next to the lines and makes our border.  This job can be done with any size beveler.  I like the bigger one because it goes faster and, for me, makes a smoother line.  Nothing in nature is square.  Take the modeling tool and round out the inside edge of the border and smooth out any rough areas.  

Step 6: A Leather Gift Card

     Trace the pattern on the dull side of the tracing film with a pencil.  Transfer the pattern from the film to your damp leather with the tracing stylus or a pencil.  You may tape the pattern down to be sure it doesn't move while tracing.  I usually check before removing the pattern that I have traced all lines of the pattern.  This particular pattern I found in a coloring book.

Step 7: A Leather Gift Card

     W are now ready to cut the pattern.  Take the swivel knife and before beginning to cut, strop the blade.  This keeps the blade sharp.  I like to use the weight bag to keep the leather from moving around while I am tooling.  This is optional.  Holding the knife vertically, cut all of the outside lines, around  his hair, vest  and pants.  Make a light cut on the inside of the hair line.  Take the B 197 tool and bevel along the outside of the figure, away from the body.  Do NOT bevel the fingers. At the ankle area, you must switch to bevel toward the leg, so that the leg goes into the boot.  Lightly bevel the hair line in the face area.

Step 8: A Leather Gift Card

     Using the modeling spoon, round all of the edges and smooth out any rough areas
     Use the modeling spoon to flatten down the facial area.  This makes it so that the hair line is in front of the face. You may need to remark the facial features.  Use the hair blade or the swivel knife to add hair.  Use the spoon to put in the facial features.  Use the spoon to form the buttons and the fingers(the hardest part). 

Step 9: A Leather Gift Card

     Since I do this for the grandchildren, I stamp there names on the card.  The stamps are made so that spacing is present.  
     Now is the time to decide where to put the opening for the important part of the card--MONEY!  On this design, I decided the front of the leg.  Use the knife, to slice along the leg.  
     On the back side of the card, mark where the money will slide in .

Step 10: A Leather Gift Card

     Lay the carved piece of leather on the back piece of leather.  Mark around the card with the pencil.  Also mark the area where the money will go on this piece of leather.
      NOTE:  The contact cement should be used in a well ventilated area.  
     Apply two light coats of cement to each piece of leather. Do NOT glue the areas where the money will slide into the card.   Make sure that the edges are well covered.  The cement should feel tacky to touch.  Line up the edges and the unglued sections .  Stick the pieces together and press firmly
     Place the card on a cutting surface and cut off the excess leather.  

Step 11: A Leather Gift Ccard

     Take the edging tool and skive off the edges on the front and back of the card.  Sand the edges.  Dampen the edges and using the slicker, smooth and compact the edges.  I like to put an eyelet on the card so the kids can hang the card.
     I use acrylic paint, that can be picked up in  any craft store or department store.  I chose to use red, green and brown on this elf.  Any color of your choice is acceptable.  I coat painted areas with super sheen twice, to protect the paint.  The paint should dry overnight before applying neatsfoot oil to the card to protect the rest of the card.

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