For the last few months, I have been trying to learn more about working with leather on the laser. I've made a few different wallet designs and wanted to share one of my favorites. My family and I are huge Harry Potter fans and I decided to make a Hogwarts inspired single piece wallet. Which Harry Potter house are you in?
LASER MACHINE SETTINGS
Laser specs: 60 watt Epilog Fusion M2 40
Engraving: 80% speed, 20% power
Vector Cutting: 20% speed, 90% power
Engraving time: 5 minutes
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES USED
Thread Zapper: https://bit.ly/3aCtb4v
Black Veg Tan Leather: https://bit.ly/2KzdCjp
Leather Adhesive: https://amzn.to/3eNrc0y
STEP 1: Mask the Leather with Masking Tape
When using a laser to cut the leather, it is best to add some type of masking prior to cutting it. Otherwise, the leather will end up with a surface finish that is less than desirable.
This masking should be taken off before engraving for better results.
STEP 2: Laser Cut the Wallet Design with Stitching Holes
I don't have pricking irons to be able to add stitch holes to the wallet. Therefore, I decided to use my laser to cut both the outer design and the stitching holes.
After cutting the leather, simply peel off the masking tape and wipe down the cut edges. If desired you can add Tokonole to the edges to keep more of the laser cut edge.
STEP 3: Engrave the Design
The design on this wallet has some intricate details. For the best results, make sure that the leather lies flat in the laser. TIP: Use painters tape on the back side to hold it in place. This will prevent the leather from moving around during the engraving process.
Once the engraving has been completed, wipe down the leather with a dry shop towel. DO NOT use any kind of water or liquid to clean it as this will cause the engraving dust to become a permanent part of the wallet.
STEP 4: Thin Out the Leather at the Fold Line
This design is intended to be folded in half and because of that, it's necessary to thin out leather thickness along the fold line. Most leather workers use a skiving knife for this process. In a pinch, you can use a razor blade similar to the one that I used in this project.
When thinning out the leather, make sure to take small light strokes and be patient. If you try to take too much leather off at once, you may end up damaging the fold line.
STEP 5: Fold the Wallet in Half and Glue Together
Gluing the wallet together is going to be a little tricky because the stitch holes were cut with the laser. Typically, wallets are glued together and the stitching holes are added later using pricking irons.
Apply glue to the outer edge of the wallet where the stitching holes are. Make sure to just use enough to cover the surface in a thin layer. Let it sit for a few seconds after applying the glue to let it setup and start to get tacky.
TIP: Use two needles to help align the holes on either face of the wallet. This will help make sure that a needle can get through every stitching hole.
STEP 6: Stitch the Wallet Together
Most leather workers use a stitching pony to sew leather goods together. I don't have a stitching pony and decided to use the next best thing, my woodworking clamps.
Prior to stitching, I applied Tokonole to the edges of the wallet, but this is not something that has to be done at this step.
For stitching, you will need two needles and leather working thread. For tips on stitching, I recommend checking out videos by Little King Goods.
Once the wallet has been stitched together, I backstitch three stitch holes and cut the thread. DO NOT tie it into a knot. After cutting the thread, I use a Thread Zapper to burn the end of the thread and complete the stitch. In lieu of this tool, you can also use a lighter.
STEP 7: Apply Tokonole and Enjoy!
Once the wallet has been stitched together, it's best to apply Tokonole to the edges of the wallet and burnish them. I typically apply the Tokonole by hand and use a burnisher to burnish the edges.
Once the edges are burnished, you get to enjoy your new custom Harry Potter wallet!
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