Leather stamping is one of the challenging yet exciting skills you need to learn to improve in the craft. It is the process of creating a three-dimensional impression on leather by using stamps typically made of metal or wood. One of the distinct features of good leather crafts is their imprinted designs. These designs add texture and sophistication to the leather, making it appear more luxurious and unique.
What are the different leather stamping tools? Bevelers are used to create a three-dimensional effect on leather designs. Pear shader and camouflage stamps are used for bordering and design contouring. Pebble and checkered background stamps add texture and depth to the design. These are best used with a mallet made of wood, rubber, or rawhide.
While stamping on leather may seem like an easy task, there are techniques that you need to practice to create seamless designs using your stamping tools. Handling and pounding on bevelers is different compared to how you pound on other stamp tools. In this article, I’ll walk you through those simple techniques along with the things you need to know about the basic leather stamping tools and help you get started with acquiring your own leather stamping tools.
Beveler stamp tools are used to further add depth to the imprinted design on the leather. It smoothes the edges of the design, creating a three-dimensional effect on it. It also produces a nice burnishing effect around the design. It is considered one of the stamp tools you’ll often use, so it’s necessary to have this in your kit.
In using a beveler stamp, it’s normal to see the ridges on your impression. One technique to create a smoother line is to tightly hold your tool with your thumb and index finger, with your middle and ring fingers guiding the tool on the side. To start, make sure that the stamp itself is not pressing on the leather, and only as you gently pound on it will it touch the leather. This way, you’re gently guiding the stamp to create a smoother impression on your surface.
There are different types of beveler tools—smooth, textured or checkered, and undercut. These various types will work well on your designs, based on the depth and texture you want your design to show. For starters, a B198 is a useful tool. If you want a smooth stamp, check out B203 or the B60 undercut beveler. Beveler stamps are sold individually for $6.99 to around $20, and $15.95 to $59.95 per set at different craft stores like Tandy and Pro Leather Carvers.
Camouflage stamp tools are versatile stamping tools that can be used in various ways. It is shaped like a shell and is a great tool to create an effect on the design’s center to highlight it. It can also make a nice border by repeatedly using it around the edge and adding texture to different leather designs, particularly basic floral patterns. It’s great to use for creating depths to define the petals, leaves, and stems.
There are different sizes to a camouflage stamp tool, but it’s not just the usual small to large sizing. There are checkered, fluted, and one that is taller, like the C366, which is a great tool to use when creating depth to a floral pattern with bigger petals. The ideal type for beginners is a C431. Individually, a camouflage stamp tool sells for around $6 to $20 apiece and around $29 per set of three. You can find them at your local leathercraft stores like Tandy or online at Pro Leather Carvers, Weaver Leather, or Etsy.
Pear Shader Stamps
A pear shader stamp tool is used to create deeper impressions on certain parts of the design. With these tools, you can contour your design and give it a more pronounced depth. When used on dampened leather, you can also create a burnished effect on your leather design. It’s a must-have for those who want to venture into floral designs on leather.
Pear shader tools come in a tear-shaped stamp that’s either rounder or taller. Same with the other stamping tools, the designs available are checkered, smooth, and horizontal. Usually, a set of pear shader tools consists of these three designs, P206 for the smooth type, P211 for the horizontal type, and P213 for the checkered type. It’s usually sold individually for $6.99 to 19.95 per piece at Tandy’s and other leathercraft stores. Pro Leather Carvers and Amazon sell a three-piece to four-piece per set ranging from $19.95 to $39.95 per set.
One of the common stamping tools is categorized as background stamps. These tools are used to add texture to your leather. You can use it on its own, whether on the entire leather project you’re working on or just as a simple imprinted design. But, as its name implies, you can use it as background to your main design impression, giving it more depth and emphasis.
There are various background stamp tools you can choose from, but the most common background stamp designs are checkered are pebbles, and most come in sizes and usually in either tear-shaped or rounded stamps. These are mostly sold individually or in sets of different sizes.
There are two techniques to remember when creating your background design on the leather. When backgrounding, you just push the stamp to make a deep impression on your leather. The other technique called matting is basically creating an impression on the leather where the center is more prominent while edges fade to nothing. Ideally, you use the bigger stamping tools because it’s easier to create these blurred edge effects.
Moistening your leather is especially important when you do background stamping. However, it can’t be too wet nor too dried out. If your leather is too wet, it will be too moist to create an impression. If it’s too dry, you’ll have a hard time making your background look consistent. When you moisten your leather, allow it to dry out and wait for its real color to return before starting on your background stamping.
Leather crafters usually use a checkered background stamp tool because of the textured finish it gives off. These are usually available in two shapes of different sizes, one rectangular and another one similar to a tear. The pointed end on the tear-shaped stamp is excellent for reaching small spaces in between the design.
For starters, check out the A104 and the A105 for the checkered design stamps. These two are ideal for almost any design impression on your leathercraft. Tandy and Weaver Leather sell these for $6.99 to around $7 per piece. Other craft stores like Pro Leather Carvers sell a set of three or four for about $29 to less than $40.
Pebble background stamp is a popular tool used to create a matting texture on leather crafts. Similar to other stamps, pebble background stamps come in tear and rounded shapes. However, bigger sizes are also available to make a more prominent matting texture. Good recommendations for good pebble background stamp tools, check out Craftool’s M881 and M882, or Hide Crafter’s CPA003 and PA004 by Hide Crafter. You can buy per piece starting at $6.99 and as part of a set starting at $29.95 at different leathercraft stores like Tandy and Weaver Leather.
To hit the stamps on your leather, you need a good and light hitting tool. A mallet with a head made of either wood, polymer, or rawhide is the right choice. This is necessary to prevent destroying your stamp tools. Another important factor to remember is having a strong and sturdy surface when you’re stamping. A marble block or a sturdy table with a flat surface is good enough.
You want to make sure that your surface won’t bounce or move from the pressure when you start with leather stamping. It’s not advisable to hit the stamp in one go to make a good leather impression. It’s ideal to do it lightly, hitting the stamp several times while slightly tilting to create a more consistent impression.
Mallets are easy to find. Just make sure you look for the mallet perfect for leather stamping. Depending on your budget, you can go for whichever you feel like keeping in your kit. You can buy wooden mallets for under $15 at Amazon. Tandy sells a handy polymer mallet for $26.99. Weaver Leather sells a rawhide mallet for $63.
Leather stamping is a fun skill to learn in leather crafting. It makes the leather look more aesthetically pleasing. Using the proper stamping tools and knowing the right techniques can make your leathercrafts look more exquisite. Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the basic leather stamping tools go ahead and start completing your stamping kit.