How to Emboss on Leather

How to Emboss on Leather
How to Emboss on Leather
Leather is a very strong material and that makes it a good choice for a gift that can last for a longer period of time. Leather comes in different forms whether it be jewelry, ottomans, trays, handbags, gloves and so much more. It is an elegant gift to give to someone to someone who is special in your life.


To make it more special, leather is customizable in the sense that you can emboss it. There are unlimited designs we can choose from that can be embossed onto the leather. It's a process when learning how to emboss on leather but it is always worth it in the end.
How to Emboss Leather Leather working bench picture by Leather Classifieds reddit user yuGenFranklinKirby

Leather working bench with embossing tools. picture: r/LeatherClassifieds by GenFranklinKirby

Embossing vs Engraving

The leather embossing process is different from leather engraving. Leather embossing compresses the leather while leather engraving removes some amount of leather by scrapping or cutting. Each process will achieve different results depending on your preference.

Embossing vs Debossing 

Embossing are two sides of the same coin. Or two sides of the same fabric. One process raises the material, while the other process lowers the material. 


a raised embossing

An embossed image

With embossed designs, the image "pokes up." Embossing creates a raised image. The design is raised, pushing outward from the surface, like a building on a flat ground.

Debossing is the opposite. 


Debossed leather design

A debossed leather image design

Debossing uses a 3-D image to imprint a design into a flat surface. Debossing is much easier to do yourself.

Read more about the art of debossing on our blog.

Embossing vs Debossing: Bottom line: Where embossing is convex, debossing is concave. People use the terms interchangeably.

💳 Fun fact: The text on your credit or debit card is both. 💳

While you have your credit card out, shop our store. Ha!
Leather Stamping tools

How to Emboss Leather

Here is the process of how to emboss leather:
Start with a piece of leather that has been cut in the outline you desire. Use a pencil to trace out the design on the front of the leather (or freestyle sculpt if you have a fine-tuned eye).  

1. Use a damp sponge and moisten the leather we want to work on. This process makes the material easier to manipulate. Be careful not to soak the leather because the more water it holds, the longer it takes to dry. Make sure to wipe the surface you’ll be working on.
2. Fasten the leather onto a steady surface so it doesn’t move when you start to work on it.
3. Use the stamp and leather embossing tools in one hand, and the mallet in the other hand.  
4. Arrange the stamp front side up on the surface of the leather.
5. Using the mallet with your dominant hand holding it, press the stamp into the leather. Practicing this step will make it perfect and you’ll be able to fine-tune the technique eventually. 
6. Follow the pattern you traced on the leather with a pencil. 

Basketweave pattern Maverick Leather Company

Embossing Happy Face Basketweave pattern Maverick Leather Company

how to make a sheath

image courtesy of Bailey Knives

Readers, do you dye the piece before binding it together or after

Use dyes to finish the process

For example, Antique Leather Finish Dye will impart a subtle two-toned effect on the leather giving it a classic patina. Another option is Fiebing Leather Dye  - comes with a wool applicator. Use the wool dabber to apply the dye to the unfinished embossed piece, giving it a different color and lustrous finish. 
Both products exist in order to specifically work on embossed leather. They're liquid enough to be incorporated into the leather but solid enough that they bind together creating a semi-water-proof seal. 
When buying leather dyes be sure to use product that can work deep into the crevices and grooves caused by your skilled craftsmanship. 
(cover image: Embossed Leather Medici Lion Red Foglizzo 1921)

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