Engraving on Leather

Hi everyone! My former supervisee in the Air Force is now a pretty hot shot writer. He wrote several fantasy novels that are a big hit. I made him a pen for book signings when he was first published. One of his other friends drew a map of the world he envisioned. I would like to take that map, print it on leather (unless someone can suggest parchment paper of some sort?) and then age the leather (not sure how to do that either. Eventually I’d like to turn some wooden scroll handles and have the map be able to be rolled up. Any ideas?

Engraving on leather does beautifully - just be sure to use vegetable tanned leather (any leather supplier worth their salt will know how it’s tanned). It takes very little power to get a nice engrave.

I would suggest doing the ageing first - then using masking before you engrave

There is also a parchment called Pergamenata that is a nice heavy weight that takes engraving beautifully, but it’s much lighter weight so leather will be a hardier material (I’d totally recommend Perg if you were going to frame it, less so if you want it to be touchable)

There are a few posts on here where folks have made swords - including the hilts by cutting many (many) circles and then gluing them together - you could make your scroll handles the same way


You can also use oil tanned leather–I use 5-6oz for 90% of my jobs–and it’s already dyed and finished. I use a lot of “distressed” looking hides for the guitar straps and bags I make, and haven’t any issues etching it–apart from not always getting the greatest contrast between the original finish and body after cleaning the soot out of the etched areas…

Just don’t use chrome tanned, but that’s usually thinner hides (e.g. garment weight pig skin).

But your choice will also depend how thick and supple or firm (“temper” in leather terms) you want the leather to be. Natural Veg tanned can also be soaked and molded, so that can be a great option for many projects, too.

And be sure to use the Auto focus on it–the PG “thick” leather tends to be pretty thin, but I also have good results with those settings for etching.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.