Laser Cut Leather Globe

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Introduction: Laser Cut Leather Globe

About: Designer / maker

Expanding on the butterfly map projection I laser cut on plywood, I wanted to try a new media. Leather is a great material to laser cut because it is malleable but doesn't fray.

I added sewing holes to the file I had created previously, and put it all together with some synthetic nylon cord.

You can download the file here, and try it out for yourself.

Step 1: Laser Cut the Leather

Leather is great because it doesn't fray, so you can cut out all kinds of shapes. I know some people aren't comfortable using animal products, but please don't substitute PVC pleather for leather in a laser cutter - it is toxic!

I ran this file out of illustrator and cut it on an epilogue laser cutter. Whatever machine you use, the controls will be a little bit different. You need a fairly high powered laser cutter to cut through leather, and you will need to try different settings with every kind of hide.

Step 2: Paint and Seal the Leather

I used a non-toxic leather dye and a small paintbrush to colour in the water and land. Without being too precious, I followed along the shorelines and tried to create a watercolour effect. Remember to test your colour and technique on a scrap of leather that matches your piece.

I sealed the dye with a non-toxic sealant that leaves a matte finish. Buff the finish with a soft cloth.

Step 3: Sew the Globe

I used a synthetic nylon cord with two needles sewing in an X pattern. I sewed one X on top, and then one X on the bottom, but if I were to do this again I would come back a second time and stitch on the top and the bottom.

It's pretty tricky to pull the material tightly enough to have the seam flush and strong - I sewing in really short portions of the seam so I could include more knots. Experiments!

I couldn't find any stuffing, so I stuffed this with fabric scraps. The final output is admittedly pretty lumpy. It has been called endearingly lumpy.

Step 4: Cuddle Your Globe!

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    2 Discussions

    I loved it! It is as cool as awful. But i love it.

    This is a really neat idea. Thank you for sharing the laser file!