Preparing For a Leather Craft Project

Once you've decided on your leather craft project, you'll need the right tools and room to do the work. Being prepared ahead of time will make your task more enjoyable and give you a sense of satisfation when you're done. If you're like most of us you'll probably be working on more leather craft projects over time, so creating a designated area is probably a good idea.

What to Cut On:

Regardless of the project, you'll need to cut your piece of leather. Choose a flat surface protected with a rubber mat. The latter will help protect your tools and prevent them from becoming blunt. Alternatively, you can purchase a self-healing cutting board that comes with a grid work. Any cuts made in the board seal up. This product is readily available at such shops as Staples.

Marking the Cut:

Use a ruler or yardstick and a pencil to mark the cut. Just make a light mark with the pencil. A rounded edge will help if you're cutting a curve. Then place a metal straight edge along the line you have drawn. Using the tip of an X-acto knife, cut along the line, keeping the knife against the metal edge

Trimming the Edges

If you want to trim the edges of the leather, lay the piece out on a flat surface. Make sure the leather is damp, and keep it so by using a spray bottle full of water.

You'll need what's called an edge beveling tool to smooth the cut edges. The two prongs that form its V shape need to be positioned so that they are facing upward on both sides of the edge.

Keeping the tool at a 45 degree angle, with your index finger on the top of the tool, push it away from you along the cut edge, holding the leather craft piece firmly with your other hand.

As you work, small strips of leather will come off. It's a good idea to practice on small scraps of leather before using the leather craft beveller, so you feel comfortable with it and what it can do.

Tools to Use

* Cutting board, preferably self-healing kind

* Ruler, pencil, metal straight edge, rounded edge

* X-acto knife

* Leather craft edge beveling tool

Summary

* Use a cutting board

* Mark where you want to cut before you cut!

* Dampen the leather when trimming the edges

* Butt the knife against a straight edge or a curved edge for more control

More on Tools

For working in leather crafts, consider the basics: an awl and spare point, a retractable X-acto knife and spare blades, a retractable knife with a break-off blade and a rotary punch.

In addition, you'll need needles, a lump of beeswax and some waxed linen thread. As well, a pair of pliers to pull the needle through the leather is a must, and scissors you can use for cutting the leather.

Then there are edge slickers and bevellers that are used to finish the edges, drive punches for bigger holes and thong cutters for making laces. A T-square, compass and yardstick are essential to ensure that your leather craft piece is measured accurately.

If you're just starting out with leather crafts, you might not want to spend a lot of money on tools. Once you've worked with the basic set and completed a few leather craft projects, you'll have a better idea of what tools work best and what you use most.

At that point, a little research and some comparative shopping can lead you to acquiring better quality leather craft tools that will enhance your work. Of course, even the most expensive tools won't help if you haven't taken the time to develop and perfect your skills.

If you do your very best with what you have, it doesn't matter if you can't afford the most expensive leather craft awl or the latest knife. Quality will show anyway.

Summary

* Start with a basic leather craft tool set

* Buy better quality tools once you've completed some projects and have a better idea of what will enhance the quality of your work

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