It’s easier than you think to make elegant and sophisticated leather flowers! Never fading, you can wear handmade leather flowers as jewelry or hair accessories, dress up a bag or belt, or fix them to wire or dowel stems to make a striking and permanent bouquet.
In contrast to many other leather crafts, you actually need very little equipment to start making leather flowers.
The first thing you’ll need, naturally, is some leather. Try to choose leather with a smooth surface on the reverse side – if it is a little ragged then you can gently go over it with sandpaper, but too much sanding may make the leather less absorbent and prevent it from soaking properly. You can buy leather for the purpose from a craft store, or recycle unwanted shoes, bags or leather clothing. Match the weight of your leather to the type of flower you are making – the more delicate the flower, the thinner leather you can use. This gives your handcrafted leather flowers a more natural look.
A pair of strong sharp scissors is a must. For best results your cuts should be neat and clean. I use a good quality pair of general-purpose craft scissors.
For moulding the leather, you need to soak it until it is saturated and flexible. A simple bowl of warm water will do the trick. A bain marie or double-boiler can speed up the process, though you should take care as the hotter the water the more stiff and prone to cracking your finished product may be.
Most moulding can be done simply with your hands and a little effort, but you may wish to experiment with using forms. These don’t have to be expensive purpose-made forms, you could use the back of a spoon, a large marble or rubber ball, or smooth rocks, as rounded and oval forms.
Though not absolutely essential – if you don’t have many holes to make you can use an awl or even a hammer and nail – a good leather punch comes in very useful if you plan to work with leather a lot. The rotary type with long handles makes punching various sized holes even is several thick layers a breeze.
You’ll also need some way of fixing layers and parts together. Rubber cement works well for gluing, if you want to sew your flowers – either in construction or to attach them to things later – then punch holes for the stitches and sew together with a stout needle and waxed thread. Leather will wear through normal sewing thread fairly quickly.
Now you know what you need, it’s time to make some flowers! Why not start with this simple yet lovely leather rose tutorial?