Leather Book Cover With Pyrography (Time Lapse Video)




About: Whatever you do take care of your shoes
Here I'll show you how to measure, cut, sew and burn a design out of leather to cover your book.  Pretty simple and straight forward to do so get on with it!  I picked some nice light colored vegetable tanned leather for outside and purple suede for inside flaps.

The bulk of your time in this project is the pyrography ( I just call it leather burning but... whatever).  I do quite a bit of leather burning for  my leather projects which is very time consuming and actually very exhausting.  I used to do framing carpentry which surprisingly was less tiring.  A laser cutter would truly change my life as it would be used to etch my designs directly onto the leather.  It would be a beautiful thing...but...I digress.

-Leather-  slightly more than the outside of your book plus purple suede for inside flaps
-UHU glue or a leather glue.  
-Ribbon- for a book mark
-Nylon sewing thread
-Thin card board,chip board or even paper for pattern

-Razor- Snap off kind or utility knife
-Cutting board
-Wood or leather burning tool (Got mine at Michaels)
-Sewing machine (Doesn't have to be industrial if your leather is soft)
-Leather sewing needle for machine- chisel or diamond tipped 
-Cloth tape measure
-Scratch awl

Step 1: Measure Book

You need two measurements:

1-Up and down on front of book
2-Around book from cover edge to cover edge

Step 2: Make Pattern

For paper back books:
Take your two measurements and add 7/16" to each one

For hard cover:
Take your two measurements and add 9/16" to each one

Cut your piece of card board perfectly square (90 degrees each corner) to your measurements.

Step 3: Cut Your Leather

You can cut one piece of leather for your outside cover if you want one solid color.

 I wanted an accent that will be incorporated into the design later.  Follow pics on how to fill in missing corner.  Make sure you sew it together before moving on to next step

Step 4: Cut and Glue Flaps

Cut two pieces for your inside flaps that measure the height of your pattern by however wide you want it.  Mine were 5" wide.  You can use a pen on the back side of the leather for your measurements.

Glue your flaps onto the cover by making a thin bead of glue around outside edges.  Just use enough to hold it in place until you sew it.  Don't run your glue bead to run past the inside edge of the flap.

Let dry.

Step 5: Sew

Starting on what will be the back bottom corner of your book sew around the cover about 3/16" in from edge.  Make sure you back stitch where you start and when you end.  Snip thread off about 3/8" out and melt tips with a lighter.

All done with cover.  Try it on.  If it doesn't fit, too bad.  Start over...

Step 6: Burn It

Here's the time consuming part.

You can draw on a piece of paper to plan out your design and then use a scratch awl to transfer image on to leather.

I just go for it.  Practice on some scrap leather first.

Take your time planning out where you want to go with your design.  Don't stop the leather burner from moving because it will make a hole.  For shading lightly scribble back and forth like you are using a pencil.  Practice makes perfect!
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    20 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Can this be done with faux leather?


    6 years ago

    Looks an awful lot like a TMS book... Do you sell those online?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you so much! Some people see these and think they are stamped on, but I do each one by hand.


    6 years ago

    this is excellent I am about to do something similar when my laser cutter arrives! yes it will change the way I produce my stuff but I can go from the original drawing to the finished article.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    That would be so sweet! I prefer drawing with pencil or ink on paper than the leather. But, gotta make a living too.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Try to find a store nearby, they are kind of like big warehouses. Way over priced but, whatcha gonna do? Fun to walk through. Easy to spend a butt load. http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/enusd/home/locations/storesearch.aspx
    Sometimes you can find a few of their tools at Michaels craft store but no leather.

    This site shows C. S. Osbourne Co. tools which are a bit better than Tandy's (not much) but you have to ask for a catalog and where to buy.
    Get hardware and tools here.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I'd also like to know, any good places online?
    I'd love to give this a shot, need to get a finer point for my iron though.


    6 years ago on Step 6

    Will eventually have to try this for my D&D Rules Compendium...