I am a self-taught leather crafter/ craftsman/ artisan learning this trade from people online, or finding my way by sacrificing pieces of leather, as Singapore is a rather academically-driven country, and art & craft isn’t widely appreciated here, so there’s no one here that really teaches it. The online community has definitely been of great help to me. That’s why, I am gonna dedicate this post to the people that have helped me these past 6 years, and help budding leather crafters in this tutorial on how to make a leather name card holder. You may not have all the tools required, but hey! Who cares? Nobody starts with having a full tool set. That is unless you are damn bloody rich and wish to jump on the hipster bandwagon of leather crafting.
I usually use a 2-3 oz. vegetable tanned leather for my name card holder projects. The good thing about vegetable tanned leather is that I am free to manipulate it anyway I want. Colour, shape, texture. So…..let’s get started.
This piece was dyed in Fiebing’s Light Brown leather dye, after I have outlined my project on to the leather, using an awl. I usually put on 2-3 coats of dye, depending on the outcome that I wish to achieve, and it is best to wait for each coat to dry completely before coating again, so that you will have a rough idea of the final colour.
After which, we cut out each piece that we have outlined.
For corners, I like to make small incisions, instead of doing a full curvature. It gets it nice and tight. Also, having a sharp penknife helps a whole lot.
So, the pieces have been cut out. For this project, it is rather straightforward, requiring only the main piece, and a strap piece. Straps are longer than the main piece, as it is easier to trim it down later, than try and scramble and make it longer, when it’s near impossible.
Stamping done. Logo on the main piece, and my client’s name on the strap.
Burnishing hard to reach areas first, in a hard to see photograph.
Maybe this will help…….or……maybe not. I’ve got to improve my photography skills.
I like to make grooves in areas where there are folds. This makes folding much easier, neater, and flatter.
Using a bone folder, gently fold at the grooved area.
After which, apply a layer of contact cement. FYI, be patient in this process. You’ve gotta wait for it to dry and get a little tacky before closing the folds together. This prevents the cement from overflowing, and it also ensures that it sticks well.
Once it is dry and tacky, fold it together and position the area where the strap will be. Do remember to sand the area where the strap piece will sit before applying the cement. This makes it easier for the main piece and strap to stick together.
We then cut and round the corners and use a spring divider to draw a guiding line.
These guiding lines are for punching and stitching purposes. Create holes so that you can sew the pieces shut.
Starting from the end, we start sewing towards the front. Saddle stitching ensures that even if the front thread comes loose, the piece will still remain intact as the seams won’t break free, unlike machine sewn pieces.
Once the sewing is complete, we then tie a knot, cut off the excess, and burn off the string’s end.
Here’s another attempt at showing my burnished edges.
It may seem long and tedious, but it really is fulfilling to see how a name card holder, or whatever you want, can be made using leather.
Once all is completed, hammer down the thread and polish the piece.
Package it up, and we’re done!