View Full Version : Leather Tutorial

12-07-2006, 02:22 PM
Ok here is the thread I will use to describe some of the leather techniques I have picked up. Mainly I will talk about some of the techniques I and my room mate used to make some of the leather on my Link costume. I'm not gonna reveal all my techniques or his cause I don't want people making exact duplicates of our work.

The main reason we chose to use leather instead of vynil or pleather as many do (which I can't fathom why) is as follows. Leather has a much much nicer look to it as far as making armor and bracers and bandoleers, this is because no matter how pleather tries it just can't copy the look you get from real leather. This is mostly due to the fact that leather was at one time alive and therefore has all sorts of little things to it that add so much more. Small flaws, gradients to it, scars, grain, and many more. Pleather is just uniform, stamped and the same through out. Leather is alot easier to shape than pleather due to how it can be scrapped off and shaped like wood while pleather just tends to very fakely tear.

Almost all tools and leather were bought from a physical store of the following company.


The etching tool is in the carving section of the handtools part of the site. Same with the blades we used.

After looking at the art and watching videos of the game I would definatly say that they are leather arm wraps made of a softer leather then one arm has a very hard leather bracer straped over that.

The bracers we did are not actually wraps but stiffer bracers due to us feeling like it added more believeability to it as far as it being something protective.

The way me and my roommate made my leather bracer was I took cardboard and cut it into the rough shape I wanted bent it around my arm and kep cutting it and cutting it till it was the right size and shape. He then took cow leather and cut out two copies of the cardboard shape slightly larger than we needed to. I then got the leather wet, and bent it around my arm's shape and held it there till it was formed to that shape. We then got a pipe to lay it over all night for it to dry out. He then stabbed four holes in the bottom layer of the two leather layers (and only the bottom one). He then riveted on two straps to hold it to my arm that we had measured out beforehand. Then taking the top layer we slathered leather glue (esentially a version of rubber cemet we bought at the same store as the leather) on it and the bottom layer and stuck them together. I then held it that way pretty tightly for about 10 minutes till it was pretty well stuck togheter. I then drapped it back over the pipe and waited for it to dry. My roommate then etched the designs on the top with a leather etching tool. Then after that was all done we applied leather stain to it and then trimmed the edges and put edge coat over them to hide the seam of the two layers.

Some of the tools we used are pictured here.


The original uncut piece of leather we used to make ALL the leather stuff on my costume minus the gloves and not pictured boots is here. It is what is refered to as a double shoulder, which should be for obvious reasons due to where on the cow it came from. Excluding some things like the straps which were from another set of older elather since we already had like 20 feet of specially cut strap leather.


The gloves I bought off Ebay and modified by removing the lineing, cutting off the fingers, and carefully restictching the pieces of the seams that became weak. I then melted the thread after tieing it in knots so it would stay in place permantantly but wouldn't leave lumpy bits as the gloves are pretty tight on my hands.

Here is the link to my thread containing most of the pictures of the completed or mostly completed items. It contains more info and stories about the costume's creation.


I just remembered pig suede is useful in things like sheath covers, and arm wraps that don't need to have much physical strangth but still need to get that leather wrapped look. I used pig suede to cover my sword sheath.

12-07-2006, 04:14 PM
Thank you so mcuh! I have benn trying to make a Tifa lockheart cosplay outfit!

Ari Powwel
12-24-2006, 03:28 AM
Two questions: One, roughly how much did all that leather cost you? And two, was it worth it? I'm looking at getting some leather from Tandy for a Penelo cosplay, but the idea of paying nearly $200 for the leather is reeeeeeally... not making me a happy Ari at the moment. >.>;

12-27-2006, 12:07 AM
Two questions: One, roughly how much did all that leather cost you? And two, was it worth it? I'm looking at getting some leather from Tandy for a Penelo cosplay, but the idea of paying nearly $200 for the leather is reeeeeeally... not making me a happy Ari at the moment. >.>;

The tools cost more than the actual leather. Not including the pig leather I used to cover the sheath. The cow leather was about 55 for a double shoulder which was enough to make ALL the leather pieces of my link costume with about a 2 foot by 3 foot piece left.

I say yes definatly using real leather is ALWAYS worth it over vynil or pleather. I am an advocate of using leather, I will never understand why people use vynil and pleather when leather is DRASTICLY better quality and look. The only time to use vynil or pleather in my opinion is when the original your working off of was vynil. A great example of this is darth vader, darth vader was vynil to begin with so it would look stupid to make it out of anything but vynil. But that is an exception.

洪飛龍 -Fei lung
11-24-2013, 02:31 AM
What's a good material to rest the leather on if I'm making armor or to you just fasten it together and wear it? Do I need to a specific brand or texture of leather if I plan on using this for action film props?