Laser Cut Leather Stamp

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About: I have another website at http://www.curiousfarm.net where we are starting to document a lot of our small farm-related projects. I love making, and I'm currently focused on electronics and programming with ...

Stamps for tooling leather are usually metal and can cost quite a bit of money. If you have access to a laser cutter and some patience, you can create a stamp that works just as well as a store-bought leather stamp but uses your own custom art.

Step 1: Equipment, Tools, and Supplies

You'll need a few things in order to create your stamp:

  • Laser cutter (the one we use at the Claremont Makerspace is a GCC Spirit
  • A black and white vector design (here's a great Instructable for creating vector art from a drawing)
  • Coreldraw (this came with the GCC Spirit)
  • Dowel or block the size and shape of your stamp. We'll use a 1-1/4" piece of dowel from Home Depot.
  • Delrin sheet. You want to make sure you're buying Delrin and not HDPE. We initially ordered from Amazon and although the listing said it was Delrin (which is the tradename for DuPont's acetal products) it was definitely not. If you have a lot of problems cutting the material, it might be that you picked up the wrong type.
  • Cyanoacrylate glue (aka CA glue or super glue)

To stamp your leather you'll need the following:

  • Leather (vegetable tanned -- almost any thickness will work)
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Hard surface
  • Water
  • Sponge

Step 2: Bringing in Your Art

Load your black and white vector art into CorelDraw. You might have also just created your vector art in CorelDraw, but either way you need some art on the screen.

Draw a shape that will be the final shape you want the stamp (in our case a circle the size of the 1-1/4" dowel. If you were using a block of wood, you'd probably want to cut a rectangle.

Step 3: Inverting Your Art

To make the laser cut away the area around the art, we'll need to invert the colors. To do this, change the fill of your shape to black (no outline). You'll also need to send the shape to the back so that the graphic can sit on top. Once it's sent to the back, select the outline of your art and change its fill color to white. You'll be left with an inverted version of your graphic.

Step 4: Set Your Cut Border

Once your art is mirrored, you'll need to draw another copy of your shape (or copy and paste the one you already made) and set it to HAIRLINE and the RGB color red. This will be the outline of your stamp that gets cut out.

Step 5: Cut the Delrin

Here are the settings we use for cutting Delrin on the GCC Spirit. You want to set it to Manual Color Fill because otherwise it will create a dithering pattern instead of just engraving away the black areas. The black color is engraved and the red color is cut. You'll notice in the video that our stamp is readable. This is incorrect, but it made a nice pog.

For the engrave, we used 35 speed and 70 power. For the cut it is 2.5 speed and 70 power. Make sure you have raster on and vector off for the engrave and raster off and vector on for the cut.

Please note that these may not be the exact settings you need for your particular laser cutter, but they should be a good starting point.

Step 6: Attach Stamp to Dowel

Put a little CA glue on the dowel and attach the stamp. Let the glue dry stamp side down so the weight of your wood pushes it down.

Step 7: Stamping Your Leather

I'll admit that I'm not a professional leather worker, so the tips and tricks you'll read here are more about wanting to get a stamp on a piece of leather once -- not do any actual tooling. So, my method of casing (prepping the leather to stamp) was to simply run the sponge across it and wait for the water to not look like a puddle on top. I've used a spray bottle as well with good success. Although I was stamping on a granite slab, I found the Delrin stamps better when there's a little give behind the leather. A piece of scrap leather works great for this.

Step 8:

Although the stamp works great on any thickness of leather, it really shines on the thinner leathers. Unlike a metal stamp there are no really sharp edges to bite through and cut into the leather.

Leather Challenge

Second Prize in the
Leather Challenge

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    14 Discussions

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    Cherzer

    2 months ago

    That turned out great! I think I need to see if there is a maker space near me that I can join so I have access to fun tools.

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    NickM211

    2 months ago

    I've been doing laser etched stamps with acrylic and a C clamp. My logo stamp has made dozens of stamps and shows no visible wear. I've used as thin as 3/8" acrylic.

    The best part of acrylic stamps is seeing through them and getting perfect placement.

    You can leave the stamp under pressure until the leather dries for extra crisp lines and a deeper impression.

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    patneff78

    Question 2 months ago

    Love it! What thickness Derlin did you use?

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    RobertP106

    2 months ago on Introduction

    Nice project. Am at the other Claremont, CA makerspace called maker's makerspace :)

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    audreyobscura

    3 months ago

    This came out so well! I kind of can't believe how good the impression looks! Well done!

    1 reply
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    Doug Paradis

    3 months ago

    Really enjoyed your Instructable! Can't wait to give it a try.

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    curiousgoodDoug Paradis

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thank you! And just favorite-d your robot wheel Instructable. I'm in the process of working on a sumobot.

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    Nick70587

    3 months ago

    I really like this. I'm hoping to buy a laser cutter soon and would love to try this for my leather work. You're right about the cost of metal stamps being really high, and the press to put the stamps into is also kinda ridiculous.

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    curiousgoodNick70587

    Reply 3 months ago

    Thanks! I love your adventure bag project, it definitely would really pop if you had a small stamp on the center panel.