How to Cut Leather for DIY Home Decor and Furniture Pieces

  • Author : KreateCube
  • 15-Mar-2023

Have you ever wanted to cut leather for your home décor and furniture but didn't know where to start? Leather is a popular material for creating intricate, beautiful designs. But producing some pretty leather patterns requires first learning to cut leather properly.  

Fortunately, various tools and techniques can help with cutting leather. Of course, leather cutting is a skill that requires practice to master, but taking advantage of such tools and techniques makes the job easier. Learn more about them, plus some safety tips below.

Tips to Cut Leather for Furniture Renovation

Safety While Measuring

Safety is essential when working on projects that involve cutting, regardless of the material being cut. Ensure your safety by wearing gloves and a protective face guard as you measure, mark, and cut your leather.

The best way to protect yourself and make accurate cuts in leather is to use a straight edge. Maun Industries recommends choosing one that's precision-engineered to ensure you get a truly straight edge, and if you get one made from carbon steel, it should last longer.

How To Cut Leather

Once you have taken all the necessary safety precautions, take the following steps to finally DIY cut leather for your home decor and furniture pieces.

1. Choose The Right Tool to Cut the Leather

When cutting leather, you have a few options available to you. Each method offers different advantages, so it might be worth trying two or more ways before you decide on your go-to. Here are the most popular materials for cutting leather.

a) Blades/Knives/Cutters

Blades, knives, or cutters are the traditional choices for cutting leather. You'll want to keep your blades sharp to ensure you get the best precision possible with this manual approach. Investing in high-quality blades/knives and cutters is great because you won't need to replace them often. Some popular items include:

Scissors – These are great for quickly cutting straight lines and trimming excess material. Scissors are also best used for light to medium-weight leathers.

Craft knives – These are recommended for more intricate work like fine details or curves. Craft knives are also excellent for trimming small pieces or patterns; just use extra caution when working with the blades.

Rotary cutters - A rotary cutter is ideal for working with light to medium-weight materials like thin leather. It will slice through it quickly and effortlessly.

Punch tools – You can use a punch tool for heavier materials, such as upholstery fabric or thicker leather.

Chisel Tools- A chisel tool can also be used for thicker leather, just like punch tools. Both punch and chisel tools generate plenty of force, so they can easily cut through tough fabrics.

b) Laser Cutting Machines

One of the more modern options is laser cutting machines. They use powerful beams of light focused on a specific area to melt through leather quickly and cleanly. Laser cutting machines might be your best bet if you need to do intricate patterns and designs on your leather cuts, whether for leather sofas or other pieces for your home’s interior area. It will help save time if you need to do many detailed cuts in one go.

c) Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machines

Finally, computer numerical control (CNC) machines are another modern method for cutting leather. They work by controlling automated tools through numerical commands. Basically, you input what type of design or shape you need into the software, and then the machine does the work for you. CNC machining is the most used method for projects that require extremely high precision and mass production.

2. Make Sure You Have a Clean Working Area

Having a clean workshop is vital when cutting leather. So, after deciding which method for cutting leather to use, ensure your work area is free of debris or dirt, as any particles could potentially cause damage to your leather piece if they get stuck between your tools and the material. Additionally, having good lighting will help you quickly see what you're cutting, so you don't make any unexpected mistakes.

3. Use A Cutting Board

Overall, using a cutting board can help ensure all lines are precise and clean, especially when using traditional tools for cutting leather. Cutting boards allow you to achieve more professional results with each project.

It's important to note that you should only cut on one side of the cutting board to ensure the leather has a clean line on the backside. Before you begin, place a piece of waxed paper under and around the leather so it will not move when cutting. Doing so also protects your board and keeps the cutting surface clean.

Using your previously sharpened cutting tools, cut through the leather in an even motion until you reach the desired shape. One great thing about cutting boards is that they come in different sizes, so you can select one that's just right for your projects. You should also choose a board made from a material that's sturdy enough for your needs, like bamboo or hardwood.

4. Utilize A Ruler and Cutting Mat

To prevent any damage to surfaces and reduce any slipping while cutting, it's beneficial to use a cutting mat and ruler. The ruler will help keep your lines straight, while the mat will provide a stable surface for making your cuts. However, for best results, and if the budget allows, use a straight edge in place of rulers.

5. Mark Your Cut Lines

Before cutting your leather, it’d also help to mark your cut lines with a pencil or chalk. This will guide you as you make your cuts and help ensure they're precise and accurate.

6. Experiment With Different Types of Cuts

Don't be afraid to experiment with different cuts, especially if you're trying something new or complicated with DIY home décor and furniture pieces. Leather is forgiving enough that if you make a mistake, you can always start over with fresh material and try again until you get the desired result.

There are several popular cuts with some of the most common types being:

Straight cut: This is the most basic cut, where the leather is cut straight.

Rounded cut: A round cut creates curved edges in the leather. This cut is often used for making cushions, pillows, and other soft furnishings.

V-cut: A V-cut creates a pointed or angled edge in the leather. This cut is often used to make decorative details or create a clean, crisp edge.

Skiving: Skiving is a technique where the thickness of the leather is reduced in a particular area, creating a thinner edge. This is often used to create a smooth edge for folding or for creating a seam.

Punching: Punching involves creating holes in the leather, which can be used for stitching or adding decorative elements.

The specific cuts you choose will depend on the type of work you're doing and the desired outcome.


Cutting leather isn’t a complicated process if you know the right tools and techniques. Plus, following the right steps make the job easier. The most important thing is that you take your time cutting to produce accurate and beautiful results for your home decor and furniture pieces. It’s true whether you’re using traditional tools or going for the more modern cutting machines.

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