Introduction: DIY Leather Embossing Stylus

About: Retired military, I enjoy learning and trying new things. Teaching those around me, and helping others.

I have been making these leather ID card slip sleeves for my shipmates while on patrol. Most of the ones that I have made, in which I also tooled the rate (MOS) into have not required much in the way of fine detail. However as I wanted to make some for peoples whose rate had more intricate detail the tools I have on hand will not work.

Because I cannot just pop into a craft store or order up a commercially made solution and have it shipped to the mail buoy (nautical jokes). I had to think outside the box. As they say necessity is the mother of all invention.

Step 1: The Point!

In my meager collection of tools I found that I had a yarn needle. Which I figured would work great for not only transferring patterns onto leather but to also emboss the leather. It works fine by itself, but for longer sessions holding it became rather uncomfortable.

Step 2: A Handle

I considered making a handle out of some wood, and honestly that would have been a great solution if I was home on dry land. There is a lack of trees on a ship, in the ocean. And the wood that is onboard is fir which would have been easy to work with but not very strong for what I was doing. Plus I did not want to take away from our ability to shore stuff up on a project like this.

Lumber might be in short supply, but the lowly Skillcraft Government Pen is not. There is not reason this would not also work with a bic pen or any other disposable pen for that matter.

Step 3: Blank Slate

As you can see the yarn needle is roughly the same size as the ball point pen. Or as they say close enough for government work.

In my case I started by taking the pen apart, with the skillcraft pen it is threaded together at the center under the metal ring.

The yarn needle is a perfect fit, however as you can see there is nothing to keep it in place.

Step 4: Balance

I needed to have the yarn needle protrude enough to allow the control and ability to follow an outline. But not so far extended that it would flex and not allow for fine detail work.

I pondered for a bit, considered making it so the needle would retract. But again, I wanted this to be rock solid. And pens that retract tend to have some lateral movement.

In the end the fastest and most solid solution was glue, in my case super glue gel.

Step 5: Glue Up

Before I added any glue I wanted to make sure I did not make a mess, and we need to keep the glue inside the body of the pen not running out the small gap where the yarn needle sits.

I used some tape to hold the needle in place and to seal the gap. In my case I used gaff tape as it was handy, you could use really any tape for this. The fact that I was using a gel super glue also made it less likely that the glue would run out.

I added glue, the amount I used was my best guess for the amount of space that needed to be filled. I have experienced using to much super glue and know that cyanoacrylate can produce some heat as it cures. I opted for "less is more", not "the bigger the glob the better the job".

Step 6: Finished

There you have it, once I had given the glue a few moments to do its thing I simply reattached the two sections of pen. I did get some glue on the threads, but I am not to worried as I have no reason to take the pen apart.

I used this set-up to complete the ID slip sleeve for the ships corpsman. Which is shown in the first photo of this Instructable.