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Have you wondered about cutting leather with Cricut? Let’s take a look at what you need to cut Cricut leather and debossing and engraving issues.
I have gotten a lot of questions about cutting leather with a Cricut cutting machine so I thought I’d experiment with a few different types of leather and techniques.
When I started making these leather bookmarks, I had envisioned three different ones but they didn’t all work out. I’ll explain why in a minute, but first let’s talk about Cricut leather cutting in general.
Which Cricut is Best for Cutting Leather?
This depends on what type of leather you are wanting to cut, but both the Cricut Explore Air and the Cricut Maker can cut leather!
The Cricut Explore Family will cut leather up to 3 oz with a deep point cutting blade. Cricut makes its own brand of leather that cuts easily with the deep cutting blade (which is what I’ll be cutting today): Cricut genuine leather and metallic leather.
The Cricut Maker will cut the same leather as the Explore family with the same deep point cutting blade (black housing) and also thicker leather up to 4-5 oz with the knife blade. Check out Cricut.com for more information on cutting leather with the knife blade.
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What Tools do you Need to Cut Leather with a Cricut?
Since leather is a thicker material, you’ll need a few specific tools to cut it.
- Strong Grip Mat – this is the purple mat. This keeps the leather in place. If your mat is not super sticky or you have rough material, I’d suggest applying blue painter’s tape to the edges. Ideally, you’ll want to place the smooth side down on the mat.
- Deep Point Blade for Cricut Explore or Maker. Or Cricut Maker Knife Blade for thicker leathers.
- Brayer – not mandatory, but it’s helpful to get the leather to really stick to the mat
Can You Apply HTV to Leather?
Yes, you can apply iron-on vinyl to leather! That was one of the techniques I wanted to test out with this craft and I loved the results!
I preheated my Cricut EasyPress 2 to 305F and pressed for 25 seconds. Then I let the iron-on vinyl to cool for a minute before I peeled it off. But make sure to always check the temperature guide settings for the specific iron-on vinyl you are using.
DIY Leather Bookmarks with Iron-On Vinyl
You can also just insert rectangles and put any image and wording on them that suits you. Totally customizable!
You’ll notice there are three different bookmarks. The first two that I made used iron-on vinyl but I also wanted to try debossing leather with the debossing tip and engraving (with engraving tip). Results a little farther down!
When you cut out leather, you’ll want to place the smooth side down so that the edges don’t get torn up easier so you’ll need to set them to mirror-setting before you cut.
The iron-on vinyl should also be set to Mirror as usual.
I turned my Cricut Explore Air 2 dial to custom so I can pick my material from all the preset material cut settings. I typed in leather in the search bar and chose the Cricut leather I was cutting.
Then I inserted my deep cut blade housing and pushed the rollers on my machine to the sides with my fingers (two to each side).
Again, Cricut recommends that you place the genuine leather with the shiny smooth side down on a strong grip mat. I rolled it with a brayer to make sure it was really stuck in place.
I loaded the mat and pressed cut when prompted. The Cricut might make several cuts through the leather. I cut metallic leather…
and genuine leather for the bookmarks.
The bookmarks are very basic cuts so they didn’t take very long. I peeled off the excess leather and then took off the cut bookmark piece.
Debossing and Engraving Leather
I tried to deboss the leather with the setting on “More”. It definitely made indentations but not really enough to make it out. I put it through a second time and got a little deeper but still not enough for me.
You could probably put some kind of stain on it to make it stand out but I don’t have any.
Then I changed the setting to engrave and tried again, actually twice! I first left the setting at “Default” and then I tried it again with the setting at “More”.
So the engraving tip worked better in the leather and probably would stand out more with some leather stain but it’s still a little hard to read small words.
And I need to replace my deep cutting blade! After years of having it and cutting thick material, it finally stopped cutting well!
Applying Iron-on Vinyl to Leather
I wanted to make sure the leather wouldn’t get messed up by the heat plate so I placed a teflon sheet over both bookmarks and pressed for 25 seconds.
After I pressed, I let the bookmarks cool for about a minute and then I lifted off the plastic backing.
There you have it! A custom leather bookmark with iron-on vinyl.
You could always slice a hole out of the image in CDS if you want to add a ribbon on the top. But I wanted them just plain and I love how they came out!
Perfect bookmarks to use during all the books I’m reading over the summer and for book club!
They also go perfectly with the new leather journal I made using the draw function on leather.
I love this Alice in Wonderland cut file!
If you’d like to save this tutorial for later, simply hover over the top left of the image below and PIN It now!
- Design bookmarks in Cricut Design Space or see post for a link to my project.
- Select "mirror" setting for both the leather background and iron-on vinyl image.
- Place leather with the smooth side down on a strong grip mat and insert deep cut blade with housing (black housing).
- Select "genuine leather" or "metallic leather" in the custom setting drop-down menu.
- Push the white rollers to the sides on the Cricut. Load the mat when prompted and press Cut when prompted.
- Load the iron-on vinyl with the shiny side down on the mat and cut on the iron-on setting.
- Remove leather and iron-on vinyl and weed off extra vinyl.
- Preheat EasyPress 2 to 305F or for whatever temperature your HTV calls for.
- Center iron-on vinyl on the bookmark and secure in place with heat resistant tape.
- Place a protective sheet over bookmarks and press for 25 seconds.
- Let cool for about a minute and then remove plastic backing.
- Enjoy your new DIY leather bookmarks!
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Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!