Introduction: Crafting a Leather Waller Using a Laser Cutter
As my old wallet was starting to rack up some miles, I took on the challenge to craft another one using my laser cutter. Even if this method might not be the fastest one, it allowed me to craft really neat looking leather goods without having to buy a whole bunch of expensive leather tools from the start.
This pattern may be bought online from this -shop- but I thought it would be a great way to showcase the techniques I use to craft laser-cut leather goods. In this tutorial I will provide some patterns that will allow you to practice your glueing, stitching and leather finishing skills before attempting a more complex pattern like this one.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials!
These items are mandatory in crafting this item and are easily sourceable
- 3oz leather ( vegtan or oil-tan, NEVER CHROME TAN leather on a laser)
- 2 needles
- 0.8mm - 1mm thread ( flat or round)
- masking tape
- a piece of cardboard bigger that the piece of leather used
- utility knife
- PVA or Polychloroprenic glue
- a small drillbit
- rough sandpaper ( a rotary tool is a great help ! ) and fine sandpaper (1000 grit)
- laser cutter
These items are nice to have and they will drastically improve the final look and feel of the finished item. Those are used exclusively in finishing the edges of the leather
- edge beveler
- leather burnisher
- edge filler & paint
- bee's wax
- Tokonole ( or any other gum tragacanth)
Step 2: Prepare the Leather for Laser Cutting
When crafting anything on a laser cutter you have to remember a golden rule: SOOT = SMELL. The last thing we want is our fancy looking leather goods to smell like a burnt cow. In this case, we shall be taking all the precautions needed to protect the leather from being contamined by the soot.
In this case, the leather should be covered with masking tape on the inside part(the fuzzy one), the tape cut around the contour and then, the leather should be masked on the "good" side and taped on a piece of cardboard to keep it flat.
After all the preparations, cut the leather using your laser cutter.
Step 3: Clean Up the Soot
Yet again, SOOT = SMELL, so let's get that out of the way.
It's important to not peel the masking tape from the leather during this step. Using a small drill bit, use it to clean up every hole so the soot inside will not dirty the thread(especially if it's a light colored one). Using the small grit sandpaper ( on a rotary tool if you have one), clean up all the edges of the leather.
After all this is done, use a damp cloth to wipe all the remaining soot and remove the masking tape from the leather.
Step 4: Check Out That Everything Is Aligned
After you have properly cleaned up the leather, check if you have all the pieces necessary and that everything aligns nicely. The backside is a bit longer to allow the wallet to fold nicely.
Step 5: Preparing the Pieces for Stitching and Glueing
Using a piece of the utility knife razor, by holding it perpendicular to the surface of the leather, scratch the glueing surface to increase the adhesion. The pieces that must be prepared for glueing are 2, 4, 5 and 6.
This tutorial by Corter Leather is amazing in explaining the technique for saddle stitching without a pony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIGT_RXi8ZM
Step 6: Glue and Stitch the Pockets
General rule of stitching: The size of the thread should be approximately 4x the length of the stitch. ( in the case of really short stitches, add to that the size of the needles)
In this case i am using a classic saddle stitch without a stitching pony.
Firstly, stitch piece 6 to piece 5 and then stitch piece 5 to piece 4. After stitching the piece together, glue them up(don't forget to glue piece number 7 aswell) and then stitch them together.
Step 7: (optional) Finish Up the Inside Edges
This step is not mandatory but it sure helps with the final look of the wallet.
Using sandpaper level up the inside edges, apply a bit of tokonole and burnish them with a cloth or a leather burnisher. If you like more advanced stuff you can use edge paint to give them a nice finished look. I will not go into details because the internet is full of tutorials that will help you finish the leather in any way you want.
Step 8: Glue and Stitch the Left Side
Now it's time to glue the left side together.
Remember to glue the back part aswell before stitching. To keep everything aligned you can put some needles / awls through the holes and then clamp everything together while the glue dries. Don't worry if thing don't align perfectly because leather can be easily sanded down.
Step 9: Glue and Stitch the Right Side
After the left side is stitched it's time to glue and stitch the right side. Same technique, same steps.
Step 10: SMASH IT IN
Using a hammer, give the stitch a proper tap as to flatten the thread and give it increased resistance to wear and tear.
Step 11: Finish Up the Edges
Now it's time to finish up the outside edges. Using sandpaper ( on a rotary tool if you have one), sand down the edges of the wallet. After that, apply bee's wax generously and rub it with a cloth ( i use a jeans cloth). The heat will melt out the wax and give it a nice shine.
And this tutorial(also by Corter Leather) shows you how to easily finish up your edges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qu_VO7BY_6Q
1 Person Made This Project!
- istylishwears made it!