How to Transfer Tracing Patterns to Tooling Leather

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Tooled leather decorates shoes, handbags, belts and other leather items.
Tooled leather decorates shoes, handbags, belts and other leather items. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Homemade clothing can be a rewarding and productive hobby. Leather is a common and simple material to work with. When you handle it correctly, leather will accept patterns that can become permanent on your shoes, belts and other leather clothing. Once you have traced a pattern, you can transfer it onto your leather material and then tool it into place permanently.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Masking tape
  • Traced design
  • Ballpoint stylus

Dampen a sponge with plain warm water and wipe the water onto both sides of the leather to moisten it. Do not soak the leather with water, because that will make the material too soft to accept the pattern accurately.

Apply folded tape to the back side (the rough side) of the leather and adhere the leather to your table or workspace. This will prevent the leather from sliding while you transfer the pattern.

Hold your traced pattern onto the right side (the smooth side) of the leather. Hold the pattern as still as possible so that you do not slip when forming the pattern.

Trace the pattern onto the leather with a ballpoint stylus, a leather-working tool available at most arts and crafts stores. Press firmly with the tool so that it leaves indents in the form of your pattern on the leather.

Lift the traced design to check on the pattern. You should be able to see the indent of the pattern on the leather. Continue until you trace the entire pattern.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have a ballpoint stylus, remove the ink cartridge from a ballpoint pen and use the tip to trace the pattern.
  • If you make any mistakes while tracing your pattern, smooth them over with the back of a spoon.

References

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