Essential Leather Craft Books For All Levels

Education is a big part of leather crafting. You never stop learning the craft. From starting as a wet-in-the-ears leather crafting rookie to a seasoned veteran in working leather, all the way to becoming a professional and master crafter. It does not even stop there. The more you become better, the more you feel you have to learn. Self-studying is an excellent way to educate and discover new skills and techniques at your own pace. With the COVID-19 pandemic still hanging around, it’s a perfect opportunity to pass the time and learn more about your hobby. Here are ten books that could help you in your leather crafting career, no matter what level you are at right now.

In this article, I will talk about the books you may want to have as part of your leather crafting toolkit. Look back and learn when you need to or further your knowledge with these suggestions. I have grouped them by skill-level for easier browsing and have also included the price, which, unless specified, is in U.S. Dollars.

The Top Leather Craft Books For Beginners

Starting your leather crafting journey is exciting and, at the same time, challenging. All the techniques and skills that you need to create your first projects can be overwhelming. Here are some books to guide you as you begin your leather crafting hobby.

Leathercraft: Traditional Handcrafted Leatherwork Skills And Projects

First on the list is a book from a master crafter, Neil Armitage. He believes in creating leather products that are high quality. This one is for leather crafters who want to practice traditional, timeless projects but want to add or apply a modern touch.

The good thing about this book is that it can be helpful whether you are just starting as a beginner and intermediate leather crafter or a seasoned professional who wants to go back and refine the basics. It’s something that you could consider of great value.

Modern tools and materials are used and explained in the book, but the techniques that you will have to apply are time-tested and traditional in their foundations. For example, a laced belt may look fancy and stylish, but it will not last longer than a saddle-stitched bag because the latter’s technique stands the test of time.

The price is $16.49 for a paperback copy.

Leather Crafts: In-Depth Information On Tools, Materials, And Techniques

This book is from authors Valerie Schafer Franklin and Geoffrey Franklin. They believe that the Artisan and DIY industry emphasizes authenticity and quality in materials used, techniques applied, and craftsmanship meticulously ensured. As explained in the book, leather is an artisan material used for various goods that are supposed to be both fashionable and functional.

It is part of the “Idiot’s Guide” series of books that simplify complex topics. The focus is on leather crafting, emphasizing the modern aspect of the art.

It’s perfect for crafters who are just starting to become intermediate practitioners who would like to build more on previous projects’ techniques and skills. The items in this collection are minimal, elegant, functional, and very hipster.

The price is $9.75 for the paperback edition and $7.99 for the digital version.

The Leatherworking Starter Handbook: Beginner Friendly Guide to Leather Crafting Process, Tips, and Techniques (DIY Series)

From author Stephen Flemming, this book is made for leather crafters who want to learn from a seasoned veteran who has seen failure and success first hand. He went through the same hardships that you will encounter as a beginner and knows how to do it right by applying what he learned through experience.

The information is rooted in a necessary and minimalist school of thought: you must complete your first project—something that all beginners might be nervous about doing but excited to accomplish.

The book covers the basics in history, tools, patterns, skills, and techniques, coloring, and tips for starters in the industry. It’s best for leathercrafters with zero to around three years of experience.

The price is $11.57 for the paperback copy.

The Leathercraft Handbook: A step-by-step guide to techniques and projects, 20 unique projects for complete beginners

This one is from author Candice Lau and came out in 2020, so it’s relatively modern. It offers a contemporary twist to traditional, old-school leather crafting and contains fundamentals, techniques, and tools for elegant, long-lasting leather projects.

The templates are scalable, and the author provides step-by-step instructions. It also comes with a guide to help you personalize your projects for that artisanal touch.

The price for the hardcover edition is $20.44.

Top Leather Craft Books For Seasoned Crafters

As you gain more experience in leather crafting, your skills also require an upgrade. You have to pay more attention to detail from simple crafts and make sure your projects have an air of refinement around them. These books will allow you to take the next step and make your leather crafts look as good as your skill level.

The Hobbycraft Series – Leathercraft

This book crosses the realm between beginners and intermediate leathercrafters. Though some consider it to be for leather working neophytes, crafters with a few projects under their leather belts could use the information in this classic work.

William H. Johnson authored this extremely detailed handbook on leather crafting as an art form. It’s an antique guide with timeless instructions on the design and creation of leather crafted items. Talk about being timeless.

It’s a must-have for aspiring leather crafters, whether amateur or seasoned professional, in working and crafting leather into functional works of art. The publisher decided that its contents are so valuable; it just has to be republished.

The paperback edition costs $31.99.

Advanced Leatherwork Volume 1 – Interesting Braids And Flat Plaits

From author Ron Williams comes the most comprehensive book on braids and flat plaits. If you’re into interweaving leather to create beautiful details and accents for your projects, you will enjoy this.

The book is geared towards leather crafters who already have a firm grasp of the basics and are interested in advancing their skills to provide more form, function, and style into their works of art. The braids and plaits are diverse, from the primary and accessible to the unusual, complex, and complicated.

Consider acquiring this if you are looking for an upgrade and a challenge after doing the usual patterns and designs.

The price for this book is $43.27.

Coloring Leather By Al Stohlman

One of the pioneers in leather crafting, Al Stohlman, authored several instructional tutorials for aspiring leather crafters. This book is a thorough guide to adding color to leather which is an essential skill to learn but will take time, patience, and experience to the prefect.

Coloring is an essential leatherworking skill that needs to be upgraded if you are looking to cross the line from seasoned amateur to budding professional.

The guide also includes a dye-mixing chart to help you understand the art form even better. Stohlman’s techniques help make coloring leather understandable. Think of it as being put in layman’s terms.

The price of the guide is $22.08.

The Top Books For Leather Crafting Professionals

Once you’ve amassed enough experience and skill in leather crafting, you cross the territory of professionals. You will need to refine your skills and techniques. It’s not about just creating leather projects now. If you’re looking to showcase your products in the market and start selling them, these books will benefit.

Advanced LeatherCraft For Professional Goods

From Studio Tac Creative comes this instructional book to help you create professional-looking leather projects. This tutorial is a thorough, step-by-step guide to complex projects that also contain techniques and tips.

The text is in its original Japanese format, but the photos contain what you need to know. You may want to get a translation app on your smartphone and hover it over the text so nothing will be lost in translation.

The book contains seven detailed projects, complete with patterns, for aspiring professional leather crafters. Consider buying this once you have decided to go pro and require projects to enhance your skills.

The price for this book is $47.50.

Belts Galore By Al Stohlman

Al Stohlman makes another appearance in this list, and this time, he’s back with a gamut of belts.

This book is detailed with over 70 belt designs and patterns, and you’ll go crazy for belts after finishing the guide, cover to cover. Professional leather crafters will benefit from the wealth of knowledge Stohlman imparts in this guide, especially if you are looking into specializing in selling belts.

Designs can range from simple leather belts to more complex structures and are perfect for all kinds of fashion and function tastes. It’s available on the internet as a stand-alone book or bundled with belt-making tools.

If you want to purchase the book individually, it costs $12.99. For the bundle, it’ll be a worthwhile investment of $99.99.

Sheridan Style Carving

Sheridan-style carving is a western floral style of leather carving popular in the United States and Mexico. 

Bill Gardner and Clinton Fay co-authored this book which contains properly illustrated examples of works and tools used to carve leather in this unique style. It’s great for aspiring professionals because you get a chance to upgrade your skill and learn better design techniques or use the knowledge to focus on a niche.

The book also includes works of Sheridan-style masters in photographs.

It costs $55.00.


Your journey as a leather crafter can be challenging, but you can master the techniques needed to become a successful master craftsman (or woman) with enough education. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or expert, you can always go back and read some more and be educated or refine your techniques. These ten books can all be purchased online and can be shipped to you.

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