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Cutting Leather with Cricut: Plus Debossing and Engraving

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.

In the past, I have made faux leather earrings and faux leather bookmarks but I wanted to try cutting genuine leather and also see if I could apply iron-on vinyl to it.

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.

applying htv to leather pinterest

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.

cutting leather with cricut

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.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from Shareasale, Awin, and Amazon.com. I receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using my links (purple text). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Deep Point Blade for Cricut Explore or Maker. Or Cricut Maker Knife Blade for thicker leathers.
  3. 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

cricut leather

Ok, so let’s get into the project! You can access my project in Cricut Design Space here. I found all of these images in Cricut Access.

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!

iron on vinyl on leather cds

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.

cricut leather cutting

The iron-on vinyl should also be set to Mirror as usual.

htv mirror setting cricut design space

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.

cutting leather with cricut custom
leather cutting settings design space

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).

cutting leather with cricut
pushing rollers to side cricut

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.

cutting leather with cricut
cutting leather with cricut

I loaded the mat and pressed cut when prompted. The Cricut might make several cuts through the leather. I cut metallic leather…

cutting leather with cricut

and genuine leather for the bookmarks.

cutting leather with cricut explore

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.

cricut leather cutting
cutting leather with cricut
cricut leather bookmarks

Debossing and Engraving Leather

Before I apply the iron-on vinyl to the leather, let’s take a look at how the debossed leather and engraved leather came out. I switched to my Cricut Maker to use the extra Cricut Maker blades.

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.

more setting cricut design space

You could probably put some kind of stain on it to make it stand out but I don’t have any.

cricut leather debossing

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”.

cricut leather embossing

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.

engraving debossing cricut

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 cut the Cricut brand iron-on vinyl pieces out on a blue mat in mirror setting and then weeded out the extra vinyl.

iron on vinyl on leather

I preheated my EasyPress 2 to 305F. I placed the cut-out leather bookmarks on an EasyPress mat and used heat resistance tape to keep the HTV in place.

cricut leather bookmarks diy
applying htv 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.

applying iron on vinyl to leather

After I pressed, I let the bookmarks cool for about a minute and then I lifted off the plastic backing.

htv on leather how to
iron on vinyl on leather diy

There you have it! A custom leather bookmark with iron-on vinyl.

leather bookmarks with htv

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!

cutting leather with cricut

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.

cutting leather with cricut

They would also make great party favors or gifts for really anyone.

I love this Alice in Wonderland cut file!

diy cricut leather bookmarks
applying iron on vinyl to leather pinterest
cutting leather with cricut

DIY Leather Bookmarks with a Cricut

Yield: 1 or more bookmarks
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $2

Use a Cricut Explore Air or Cricut Maker to cut out leather and then apply iron-on vinyl to it for customized leather bookmarks!

Instructions

  1. Design bookmarks in Cricut Design Space or see post for a link to my project.
  2. Select "mirror" setting for both the leather background and iron-on vinyl image.
  3. Place leather with the smooth side down on a strong grip mat and insert deep cut blade with housing (black housing).
  4. Select "genuine leather" or "metallic leather" in the custom setting drop-down menu.
  5. Push the white rollers to the sides on the Cricut. Load the mat when prompted and press Cut when prompted.
  6. Load the iron-on vinyl with the shiny side down on the mat and cut on the iron-on setting.
  7. Remove leather and iron-on vinyl and weed off extra vinyl.
  8. Preheat EasyPress 2 to 305F or for whatever temperature your HTV calls for.
  9. Center iron-on vinyl on the bookmark and secure in place with heat resistant tape.
  10. Place a protective sheet over bookmarks and press for 25 seconds.
  11. Let cool for about a minute and then remove plastic backing.
  12. Enjoy your new DIY leather bookmarks!

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Thanks so much for stopping by and have a creative day!

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diy leather bookmarks pinterest

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