Build Leather Animal Figures From Leather Scraps

Transform leather scraps into leather animal figures for the enjoyment of young and old alike, includes animal patterns and step-by-step directions.


| July/August 1982


Create leather animal figures from leather scraps, includes animal patterns and step-by-step directions. (See the leather figure craft patterns in the image gallery.)

Build Leather Animal Figures from Leather Scraps

The little leather creatures I make for my daughter have provided her with hours of playtime fun. I patterned my creations after some similar animals—which I saw on display in a gift shop—that had been handmade in India and were thus pretty costly. However, anyone with a few basic leatherwork materials and tools (all of which are available at most craft stores) can easily duplicate my efforts.

Before you begin, you'll need to gather together the following items: a sharp knife (either a tool especially made for use on leather, or an X-acto-type knife, or some other heavy-duty cutting implement) . . . a sturdy, large-eyed sewing needle ... some waxed cotton or linen thread . . . a rotary punch or an awl . . . leather dye in a color of your choice, plus cotton cloth to spread the dye . . . and, finally, the leather itself (five- to seven-ounce hide holds its shape best).

When drawing a pattern, keep in mind that the end product should be a stylized—rather than a realistic—representation of the animal. Practice cutting patterns out of paper and folding them until you find a shape that works. To begin with, however, you may want to try one or both of the animals pictured here.

Leather Animal Figures: Step by Step Instructions

First, enlarge the pattern and cut it from the leather with the knife. (A separate short strip is used for the tail.) Now—using the awl or rotary punch—make the holes indicated by dots on the pattern, both those that will serve as eyes and those that allow access for the needle when you're ready to do the stitching.

Johan Potgieter
12/11/2008 7:41:41 AM

I looked all over and cannot find the patterns mentioned at the top of the article! please help! JOhan






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