Tooling Leather with Cricut
Tooling leather with your Cricut? Yes! It can be done. In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process step-by-step and teach you everything you need to know to tool leather with your Cricut Maker or Cricut Explore. Think of all the fantastic leather crafts you can make with this technique!
We will be creating a leather patch to place on a hat to demonstrate how to use your Cricut to tool leather, but once you see how easy it is, you can use it for nearly any leather project you want.
Tooling Leather with Cricut
- Tooling leather: https://amzn.to/3Q5s0k2
- Leather Satin Sheen: https://amzn.to/3Obsnbi
- Leather Antique Gel: https://amzn.to/3y9ZIOv
- Hat – https://amzn.to/3MAXFa7
- Engraving Tool – https://amzn.to/3aGdS0o
- Cricut Foiling Tool – https://amzn.to/3zJL2XF
- Deep Cut Blade – https://amzn.to/3xwUX0Z
- Cricut Strong Grip Transfer Tape – https://amzn.to/3zrmvpW
- Vinyl Gloves – https://amzn.to/3QeTiV2′
- Sponge: https://amzn.to/3n9G4vH
- Wool dauber
- Our Favorite Cutting Mats: https://amzn.to/3pdN1KN
- (Nicapa) Scissors: https://amzn.to/3mJPddo
- Measuring Tape: https://amzn.to/2Y1wtvv
- DAP Rapid Fuse Glue: https://amzn.to/3HFh8FL
- Fabric Glue: https://amzn.to/3N8HQrp
- Rotary tool
- Transfer tape
Cut Files/Fonts Used:
Monoline desert (note: this is a special monoline version of our regular desert file)
Before we get started, let’s go over a few important things to know:
Let’s begin by looking at the difference in the results you will get from the Maker and the Explore. The patch on the top was made with the Explore and the one on the bottom with the Maker. As you can see, you do get richer detail from the Maker, but they both give beautiful results.
Why is there a difference? With the Maker, we are able to use the Engraving Tool, Deep Cut Blade, and Foiling Tool. WIth the Explore, we can only use the Deep Cut Blade and Foiling Tool so the results aren’t quite as detailed.
Through trial and error, we found that mono-line designs and fonts work the best for this. You can use some double-lined designs if they are very simple and not too detailed. Stay tuned though. We are coming out with more mono-line designs that will be perfect for this technique!
How to prepare the leather:
1 – Using a rotary tool, cut a piece of leather the size needed. Put a piece of transfer tape on the back of the leather. This helps protect your mat and your leather.
2 – Place the leather right side up on a FabricGrip cutting mat. Using a dampened sponge, wet down your piece of leather with nice even strokes. Allow it to dry.
Working in Design Space:
3 – Import your monoline design into Design Space. Your design needs to be changed from cut lines to pen.
4 – With it selected, add an offset. Change the offset line to Cut.
5 – With the pen lines selected (your design minus the offset), change to Foil, Medium Tip.
6 – Duplicate the foil design 4 times and the offset once.
7 – Select all layers and Align Center. Use Arrange to send both of the Basic Cut layers (the offsets) to the back.
8 – If you’re using a Maker, select the first of the foil line design layers and change it to Engrave.
For an Explore, you should have 5 foil layers and 2 basic cut offset layers.
For a Maker, you should have 1 Engrave, 4 foil, and 2 basic cut offset layers.
9 – With all layers selected, choose Attach.
10 – Measure the hat to determine the size you want the patch to be. Size your design in Design Space accordingly. Click Make It.
Tooling and cutting your patch:
10 – Move your design so that it’s a little below and a little to the right of where you put your leather. (Reminder: we put ours at the 2 inches down and 2 inches from the left mark.) Click Continue.
11 – Select your materials, choosing Kraft Board. Also choose More Pressure.
12 – By now, your leather should be dry, but cool to the touch. That indicates it’s ready to be tooled. Place the engraving tool in your Maker and load the mat with the leather on it.
Pro Tip: Be sure that all star wheels are moved over to one side.
13 – Once your leather has been engraved, DO NOT unload the mat. Remove the engraving tool and replace it with the foiling tool. Start your machine again.
14 – After the foiling tool has done its job, it’s time to load the Deep Cut Blade into Clamp B and cut out your patch. Note: Design Space will be prompting you to load the Fine Point Blade but you really need to use the Deep Cut Blade for this. We find that we need two passes to get a deep enough cut.
Staining the patch:
15 – Unload the mat and remove the patch from the cutting mat. Place it on a paper plate or other protected surface and be sure to put on your gloves. Using a barely damp sponge, apply the Satin Sheen liberally over the surface of the leather patch.
16 – Allow the patch to dry well. This will take around 6-7 hours.
17 – Using the wool dauber, apply a small amount of the gel stain to the patch. Wipe away the excess with a paper towel. Let it dry.
Pro Tip: It will color the surface a little bit, but the Satin Sheen will help prevent most of the color from adhering except in the detail lines of the design.
18 – Attach the leather patch to the hat using the fabric adhesive in the center section of the patch and Dap glue around the edges.
Tanner, Courtney, and the rest of the Makers Gonna Learn Team are all here because we love die-cutting and especially love sharing fun projects and tutorials with fellow makers. We are all great friends and are always having a blast when we are together- you will see this on camera, especially during live streams! We are here to inspire and support you in your crafting journey!