Leather is a known versatile yet durable material that any craftsman can use in their art or craft. Many people are very fond of leather, and those that love to travel can indeed add leather to their travel accessories, such as a bag tag. This is one of the easiest to do, yet you can still show your creativity and touch on the final product.
How to make a leather travel tag? First, plan a design, then gather all the goods, including all the materials you need. Next, make a pattern and cut out your tags in the leather, then execute your design. Dry and flatten, lastly string them along, and you’re done.
Whether you’re taking a summer trip or heading on a holiday vacation or travel, you’ve gotta tag that bag! It’s so easy to lose your bag, suitcase, or luggage in a sea of similar baggage, but it makes it easier and way more fun to spot your suitcase if you have a unique travel tag. In this article, you will learn how to make a leather travel bag that is beautiful, sturdy, simple, and totally customizable.
- Plan Out Your Design
- Prepare Your Tools
- Choose The Ideal Leather Type To Use
- Create the Pattern
- Cut Your Tags the Proper Way
- Shape The Holes For the Tag String
- Play With Leather Techniques
- Flatten and Dry Your Leather Tag
- Add A String, Polish and Flaunt It!
- The Must-Have Leather Tag
Plan Out Your Design
Before starting any leather products, you must plan your design carefully. This step is crucial because this will be the blueprint of what you will be doing. It will also guide you along the process. You can make your own design or get ideas on the web.
Planning the design can usually be done digitally or through classic pen and paper. Anyhow, plan your design and execute it.
Prepare Your Tools
Once you have already pictured your bag tag design, you are ready to gather the tools and materials. This includes the tools and especially the leather that you will use for your tag. Here is the list of tools you have to prepare. Some tools are optional, and they will only depend on your need.
- Leather Hole Punch
- Low-temp Hot Glue Gun
- Cutting Machine (Optional)
- Cutting Mat
- Rotary Cutter
- Embroidery Needle
- Mechanical Pencil
- Utility Knife
- Metal Ruler
- Leather Stamps
- Leather Hole Puncher
- Embroidery floss
- Cardboard for your pattern
- Leather cording
Choose The Ideal Leather Type To Use
You may choose from many leather types available in the market. However, if you are low on budget, you can recycle scrap leather from your previous projects. Also, for a newbie, it might be daunting to choose your leather. Here are some of the leather you can check out that are affordable yet still yield the tag you need.
Veg tan leather is the most common and the most appropriate leather material to use for this project. “Veg Tan” means vegetable tanned leather, this material has been a tanned cowhide and put into leather. The term “vegetable” is because of the natural materials used during the tanning process, as the tree bark.
Due to the delicate tanning procedure and its natural tannins, vegetable tan leather develops a beautiful and rich patina. This result would make it get better through time and use.
This leather type of material does not dry or crack thus, and it has a very long lifespan. The tone of Veg Tan Leather is natural, and it has an earthly scent and is non-toxic, but do note that Veg Tan Leather is only water-resistant and not waterproof.
However, if you do not have veg tan leather or if this type of leather material is not available in your area or local market, then there are still other leather materials that can be used as substitutes.
Faux Leather can be used to make a travel tag. Faux leathers are made out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). PVC lacks pores, and its multilayer structures make the Faux Leather more durable; and this material does not peel off, is waterproof, and is flexible, so it will more likely also last for years. However, Faux leather is toxic or can be harmful to one’s health. It can leak toxic chemicals and emit toxic gas when it gets burned. So be very careful in handling this type of material.
Create the Pattern
Pattern making can be technical, especially when making complex shapes; however, it can also be made simple. So the first thing that you must do is to envision and design your project. Layout some designs from which you can choose patterns just in case.
Look for different methods or techniques for construction that may work, and then start making your pattern. You can actually play around with your pattern to make it look more classy and sophisticated. The pattern you have to make should be “two-dimensional,” this template should have the information you need to cut specific shapes out of a flat material such as your cardboard which you can assemble to form your design. Ensure that your pattern must have rivet holes, seam allowance, folded lines, sewing lines, pattern label, and, lastly, cutting lines. Folding/Fold lines: these lines are the internal lines that indicate where your leather should be creased and folded upon assembling your design. You can use a red marking pen to trace it up to make sure you don’t get confused.
Sewing lines will indicate that two or more leather pieces will be joined together by a line through the stitching. You can put dotted lines or small circles for this. Then start sewing using your embroidery floss and embroidery needle.
The holes needed for punching the snaps, buckles, or rivets will be included in your pattern. Use your leather hole puncher in doing so to have a more flawless and precise hole.
Ensure to include a seam allowance for you to sew, rivet or glue your leather pieces together using your glue gun. You will need to leave a space between the attachment point or sewing line at the edge of your leather piece. The allowance will depend on the design you’ve made.
The most important part is to make pattern labels; you must put a label on your material or information for it to be identified. To determine the areas that need to be cut and how many copies of the leather piece should be cut.
Make sure your measurements are correct, use your metal ruler to be precise, then use a rotary cutter for cutting out your tag. Or the final material (Veg Tan Leather / Faux Leather). Cut out a few more tags in case you make mistakes. You would have extra material to use.
Cut Your Tags the Proper Way
The cutting lines you made in your pattern have a role in making your final pattern piece. You can indicate your cutting lines with a black solid line. These lines on the pattern indicate where you need to cut your leather piece; this line is usually the outside borders of your pattern and includes the internal cutouts. Cut using a utility knife or cutter on a cutting mat.
Once you already cut the pattern, lay it out on the leather you want to use and cut along the pattern; make sure to follow the cutting lines indicated in your pattern to maintain the correct measurement.
Shape The Holes For the Tag String
What you need for this step is a leather puncher. It s a tool used with rounded blades which are used in cutting holes into your leather. It is generally perfect for cutting circular holes. The blades are interchangeable, and it will allow you to change the size of your hole.
First, use a mechanical pencil or awl to mark the leather on which area you need your leather to be punched. Just make sure your leather material is way darker because it’s easier to see the points marked by your awl or pencil. Then create the largest hole setting on your “leather hole puncher” to create the string holes of your leather tag.
Please don’t squeeze the hole puncher too hard because it will distort your hole, and the hole punch should be perpendicular to your leather piece.
Play With Leather Techniques
When you already have your main leather tag, what you have to do now is to play with leather techniques to make it even more aesthetically appealing. One of the techniques you can apply is leather stamping which is a fun method you can use. It may sound complicated but worry not because stamping on leather is actually easier than you think. All you need is your leather stamp and your hammer to do it. So enjoy and be creative!
To start, take your now cut-out leather piece and then wet it out. Remember that your leather is hard thus needs to be wet properly for the stamping to work. Put your piece on a hard surface with your stamping side facing upwards.
Take your stamping mold and press firmly against your leather material, and hit the backside of your mold using your hammer several times. Make sure to add a personal touch. You can also engrave and emboss on your leather or put a card inside your travel tag with your information printed on it to make it more convenient for you.
Flatten and Dry Your Leather Tag
Flattening and drying your leather tag must ensure that it has completely developed and is ready for use. Set it aside and let the material flatten and dry overnight. When you’re done with your stamping, lay your tags flat on a very hard surface and let them dry overnight.
The drying process might actually take too long, and the process may seem to curl and bend the material a bit, but it’s okay because it’s completely normal. Just try to manipulate your leather piece by bending it and rolling it in on your hands to get it flat, soft, and smooth again.
Add A String, Polish and Flaunt It!
You can use scrap material (cut thin strips) from your leather piece or shoelaces, perhaps. Whatever you choose to use. You can also use leather cording or leather cord if you don’t have shoelaces or any extra leather material, and you can also add and use rivets and buckles for your strings. A rivet is a mechanical fastener that will help you secure your strings if you don’t just tie them out.
Cut your materials in a long piece, make sure they’re of equal size, and leave space for you to be able to tie your knot. If you choose to use your leather piece scrap, then you can use buckles and rivets for your string to be more secure or fastened well. Always check the materials to make sure they’re not damaged and are in good condition.
You have all the freedom to choose the string you can use. Get this opportunity too to design yourself, even more, your leather tag. Once done, you are now ready to use and flaunt your own leather tag.
The Must-Have Leather Tag
Making a leather tag need not be expensive. Here is how much it cost and why do you need to try this.
Estimated Cost of a Personalized Leather Tag
The main reason why you need to know the cost of your materials and tools is for you not to be way over budget and save more money by using and utilizing the materials that you already have at home, which you can still use in making the leather tag and also if you plan to make a leather tag business you already have a budget plan outlined and proper costing of materials.
The materials, as summed, can cost you up to $52 to $135 depending on the brand you chose and the type of material you want to buy and use.
For leather, the veg Tan is about $30 to $75 on the market, while faux leather is around $4 to $35. Sometimes, they are price differences when you get it from an online shop or a physical store.
For other accessories, the rivets will cost you $8 to $11. The buckles approximately cost $1 to $6. At the same time, the cardboard for the pattern is usually $1.80 up to $3.50 or so.
There is no need to buy new tools for making a leather tag if you already have yours; you can save more if you use what you already have.
The Benefits of Having A Leather Tag
If you are probably interested in making a leather tag, you know the travel accessory’s primary purpose. Well, here are still other reasons why you need it.
It is important to have a travel tag on your bag. A travel tag is needed for you to identify your bag in a bustling, crowded state easily. We all need travel tags for our getaways to avoid mix-ups during our trips, and we don’t want to switch our bags from one person to another now, do we? Leather travel tags can be made out of scratch or any leather piece you have. As long as you have the rest of the materials needed for the job to be done, then you’re good to go.
Leather is one of the top choices for making a travel tag because it is a sturdy material that makes it more durable, it can’t easily be torn, a more long-lasting material to use, and lastly, it’s a “rain or shines” type of material. Still, it doesn’t necessarily mean all materials can be waterproof, resistant perhaps.
Leather tags are not just for you personally but will be a perfect gift for your friends who love to travel around the globe.
Whenever you travel, you shouldn’t be without a leather travel tag because, as they say, “safety is the best policy.” Leather travel tags are one of the answers to make your luggage extra safe. It may seem to be like an indulgent, luxurious thing, but they’re not. They’re incredibly easy to make yourself, and your bags can easily find their way back home to you, in case you lost it during your flight or trip. So you will be ready to roll on the next trip! Read over the steps and enjoy making one yourself.