Book 'em


Andy’s leather bookmark… His design (with a little prodding).

The book in the picture is one from the GALAXY GAMES series by Greg R. Fishbone. I highly recommend the series. Book 3 is due to come out Spring 2018 and Andy’s pretty excited about it.

Holding the book upside down was his idea… and I thought it was hilarious.

I should have done a better job with the Reading Olympics logo. I mean, I saw it had yellow in it. Did I bother adjusting that? No. I could have. I should have. I was lazy about it.

This is my first leather work with a laser.

  1. It smells almost exactly like burnt hair with just a hint of drilled tooth.
  2. I had no idea what to expect as far as shading gradient. Got way more than I expected. I wonder how different leathers will differ.
  3. I don’t know what I should do with this leather. Do I need to seal/protect it? It seems that just touching it has left a couple of sort of smudges. I don’t know what to do about that. The back is rough/raw. Can I do something to it to make it more like the front in order to put images on that back as well? If I wanted to make it darker, do I stain it with something? What I don’t know about leather could fill a book.

Anyway… Enjoy! :slight_smile:


I plan to make a lot of bookmarks for a couple of charities, but had planned to use thin wood veneers for it. I’ve got several large stacks awaiting my GF. However, leather looks like a nice option, too. Looks great!


Thanks! That’s a good idea, too. I tutor for the United Way’s Ready.Set.READ! program here. Now that I have a Glowforge, I plan on making a personal bookmark for by RSR student this year. I’ll have to consider veneer vs leather for that.


I bought a bunch of 6" x 2" wood veneers from Cards of Wood, choosing the ones that were on sale at the time


Not an expert by a long shot, but been studying up for the past couple of years. There are a lot of different approaches you could take to the leather. I would probably use a conditioner on it at least, just to protect it a little. As far as the smudges, do you mean just finger prints showing, or soot from the engraved part smearing around. In the long run, the oil from your hands will actually help to keep your leather conditioned. I’ll shut up now and let someone with more knowledge that I speed :wink:

Edit: By the way, love the bookmark!


Actually, I don’t know. I was weeding the masking and when I was done I noticed the smudges (see the one to the left of between the upper and lower A’s). Can’t tell if I smudged the burn, or what. Afraid to try and clean it. :slight_smile:

Heh. Thanks! It’s one of those silly little things that was so much fun to make. My younger daughter’s next for a bookmark. (I’d offered to make her one first, but she wasn’t interested… until her brother wanted one.)


Paging Leather Lady, aka @morganstanfield :wink:


Awesome bookmark–the photo came out great! I love the embellishments (tassel, beads, jumprings etc) as well.


Some interesting information on finishes:

Using a finish might darken the image too much so the contrast may need to be adjusted to keep a finish in mind.


Thanks, @dwardio. Veg-tan leather will absorb pretty much anything that touches it–including oils from your fingers, dirt, ink from wet paper, you name it–and whatever it absorbs darkens it. For some pieces, leaving it unfinished allows a desirable patina of wear to develop on it over time, and that looks great. It also means, though, that veg-tan’s original pale, skin-colored finish is pretty impossible to keep in place unless you keep your item framed under glass, because any preservative you put on it will darken it to at least some degree.

I’ve tried quite a number of sealants for veg-tan, but I only kept a spreadsheet for veg-tan that was dyed a light, saddle-tan color. I did experiments using the following:

  • Tandy Professional Finish
  • Tandy Eco-Flo Satin Shene
  • Tandy Eco-Flo Super Shene
  • Meltonian Neutral Polish
  • Lexol Neatsfoot Leather Dressing: Non-Darkening
  • Liquitex Satin Varnish

The Eco-Flo Satin Shene and the Liquitex Satin Varnish darkened the leather the least and were the least smeary of ink I’d applied to the leather underneath. They looked great, but because they were finishes that sat on the surface, they would certainly be subject to wear and wouldn’t last forever. They also likely wouldn’t look especially good if the finish was re-applied (so, likely best for low-handling projects). The Eco-Flo darkened the leather when first applied, but the color went back when it dried. The Liquitex had a less glossy sheen to it, which I prefer, and on future projects, I’ll try a Liquitex Matte Varnish as well, because I tend to prefer matte finishes on leather.

For what it’s worth, the Neatsfoot Non-Darkening darkened the leather the most of these experiments and was smeary, and the Meltonian Neutral Polish darkened it some and was the most smeary.


That’s a great comparison. I hadn’t tried the NikWax, but I definitely will for high-use projects. I have in mind a few ideas for bags that will need something like that.


OMG! So much useful info! THANKS!
My wife picked up some leather sealant crap from a craft store tonight. I didn’t look at it. But now I’m thinking maybe it’s not the best idea. Should probably test on something nobody cares about. :slight_smile:


Aside from Andy’s cool bookmark, you’re one hilarious guy!


Aussie Leather Conditioner has been suggested to me.


Can you tell more about what it was suggested for and what it’s supposed to do, @walterpalmer? Specifically for lasered goods? Surface protectant? Water sealant? Does it leave a glossy or matte finish?


Nicely done! I really like it. The tassel makes it so official.



So we go to the craft store specifically for a tassel. I mean, where else does one go for such a thing?! We look around, find nothing. So we ask. The nice lady says “Oh… Let’s look over here. They were just on sale and they move things all… the… time.” So we follow, looking everywhere, and see none. So she asks somebody else. The answer? “Oh. No. They were on sale last week and we’re completely sold out.” And I’m kinda standing there thinking “That’s like McDonald’s saying they ‘sold out of burgers!’”. So we found that thing in the bead section (which is vast, BTW). It was literally the only thing we could find at that store to suit the need. So we bought it. Frankly the thought of having to go to a 2nd craft store simply to get a tassel just struck me as wrong. :wink: But now my daughter wants to make one, and guess where we won’t be shopping anytime in the near future.


Have you looked at a sewing store like Joann? I bet they would have some.


I actually ordered a giant tassel from Amazon for part of my family joke thing this past July. And, fabric stores…especially large ones (unlike my small-town version), would also carry stuff like that.

…what Bruce said.


Yeah, these are, among others, things I don’t know. Thanks! It’s a whole new world for me. My Mom was the arts and crafts person in the family. My Sister and my younger daughter inherited the trait, but it skipped me. But I’m learning! :slight_smile: