Burning leather in creating a work of art is a very flexible and rewarding hobby. With the use of a soldering iron or a pyrography pen, you can create various designs with different effects and tones. You will learn more through trial and error since there are really no set rules on how to make a design.
Once you master the skill of Pyrography, you can easily make a lot of products. Knowing how to burn leather to make nice designs is very useful in creating a lot of useful items that you can personally use or sell to make a profit. Here are some tips you need to know how to make beautiful examples of pyrography on leather.
Leather cut to size. The best leather to use is the tooling leather or Vegetable tanned. Other kinds are not recommended because there are harmful chemicals used in the tanning process so it’s carcinogenic when burning and if inhaled.
Also use thick, split vegetable tan leather. If the leather is very thin, it wrinkles when touched by heat. A good alternative is a suede that has an unfinished and natural surface.
Leather cords. The cords will be used to complete your bracelets and as accessories to some other products.
Beads. Have an assortment of beads ready. You can use these as added accessories to your finished products.
- Woodburning tool (check out our top tools here). Never leave the tool unattended because it tends to get very hot.
- Bench Knife. This comes in handy when you need to cut leather to sizes you want.
- Cut or use a strip of leather measuring 1 ½” width and 8” long.
- Choose a design that will fit the leather strap. Draw the design on the leather using a pencil.
- Using a pyrography pen or a soldering iron, trace the design that you drew on the strip of leather.
- Punch a hole in the middle on both ends of the leather strip.
- Cut 12” of the leather cord. Bend it in half until it makes a small loop.
- Insert the loop into the hole you made until around a centimeter appears on the other end. Insert the lower half of the bent cord into the loop and pull.
- Repeat the procedure on the other end.
- Insert a bead on the loose ends and tie them up to secure.
- Cut a piece leather measuring 4 ½” x 2” wide.
- Punch a hole on each side of the leather enough to fit a bamboo skewer.
- Cut a wide arch on the top edge of the barrette by using a salad place placed in the center.
- Using a bench knife, trace, and cut. The sides of the barrette can be curved using lids of medicine jars.
- Sketch your design on the smooth part of the leather and trace using the pyrography pen.
- You can add decorations to the barrette by hanging colorful beads on the other edge of the leather and by fastening it with a bamboo skewer with a bead on one end.
- Use a plain leather wallet. Make sure the leather is genuine, preferably suede or vegetable tanned.
- Clean with a soft cloth before burning.
- You can draw a pattern of your chosen design on one flap of you’re the wallet or on both sides to make it look more dramatic.
- Use the pyrography pen and follow the sketch. Use slow circular movements and low heat.
Leather Bags & Belts
Follow the same procedures mentioned above. You have the option of designing the entire bag or just the flap that covers the bag. If your bag has a leather strap, you can make it look unique by just burning your design on the strap itself.
You can burn a design on your leather belt using the same procedures mentioned above. A good choice of design is tribal and symmetrical patterns like the ones used in tattoos.
Now Go and Get Creative!
When working with a woodburning tool on leather, always be careful. Set it less than 1100 degrees.
It works better in its lowest heat then just bring up the heat as you work the pen into a circular motion while working on the leather.
Slower movements create darker burns and you must keep moving the tool at a constant speed.
It is difficult to make straight lines so the best way is to work fast with a circular motion while building up the tones carefully.
Being impatient will lead to sudden blasts of heat and mottled burning of the leather. It might even catch fire. Be gentle when working on leather skin.