Introduction: Leather Leaf Bowl

About: Hi, I'm Craig. I live in the UK.

This is an easy way to make some little trinket bowls. I must have seen some bowls like this somewhere but it's been churning around in the back of my head for a long time, the originals may have been quite different?


  • Leather
    • I use 3mm veg tanned and I buy bags of off cuts like this Amazon link.
  • Sharp knife.
  • Clothes pegs.
  • Glass of water.
  • Something round to shape the base.
    • A bean tin etc. Depending on size desired. If it's metal cover with clingfilm so as not to discolour the leather when it gets wet.

Step 1: Find a Leaf!

I wanted my bowls to look like autumnal leaves from real trees so I looked for leaves outside and pictures on line. Some shapes seem to lend themselves better to being curled up dried leaves than others, but that could have more to do with those I'm more familiar with seeing where I live?

Step 2: Cut It Out!

It's important to have an idea what you want to use the bowl for, this will put a size on the bowl and will help find a suitable mold for shaping the bowl.

I use tin cans, or a large socket (30mm), I prefer roundish shapes.

I sketched on to the back of my leather and used a sturdy pair of scissors to cut out the basic outline, then used a sharp knife to finish.

I used the knife and a steel rule to give some detail to the midrib and leaf veins.

Step 3: Shape Up!

With the leaf cut I wet the leather, I then placed my bowl base shape in the desired place and began shaping. As the leather dries it will mostly hold the shape its in, so I used clothes pegs to nip up along the major veins and gave the petiole a little twist.

Step 4: Finished

Leave your masterpiece to dry over night. I have heard that drying in the fridge can help it keep the shape better? The smaller red sycamore was dried at room temperature, the larger brown on on a radiator and they hold up their shape nicely.

If you are feeling adventurous then coloured shoe polish or leather dye could add a bit of zing to your leaves.