First Leather Project - Badge Holder

I haven’t worked with leather before, learned a few lessons trying to make a simple badge holder.

First off, the initial cut off the Glowforge:

This was more or less fine, except I ignored some advice I’d read about suspending the workpiece above the honeycomb with magnets. So the back was needlessly charred. I later did the hanging strap with magnets on top and bottom of the proofgrade and got a perfectly clean front and back.

Here it is with the backing peeled off:

In this case it is my intent to dye it black so the soot being on the leather is no big deal. But if I was keeping the natural leather colour, it’d make sense to either adjust the power settings down a bit or use masking tape to try to pull out the burn residue before peeling off the backing.

To dye the leather, I simply dipped it into a puddle of black leather dye with the bent paperclip shown on the right. This produced what to my eyes looked like very satisfactory results in no time flat, with no mess at all.

I cut a small hanger and put grommets in it for durability:

For sewing I had the bright (NOT!) idea of reusing the magnets to hold the material in place while I sewed instead of a stitching pony. Wrong on two counts: having the leather held was really no help at all, and the magnet left an impression on the leather. I won’t try that again:

Here is the rear view of the finished product:


Nice project. Looks quite professional.


Nice result - complete with lessons learned and shared.


Nice job on the leather, like the clip too! Appreciate your learning insights.


What is keeping me from doing leather is having every available workspace filled with tools for other types of projects and materials. Been trying to find the time to organize and put stuff up and make took kits that can be stowed, but it is a tough battle. Always nice to see leather projects done so well.


A part I skipped showing was 1.5h of cleanup to make a bench to work on previously covered with old projects :slight_smile:


Nice addition of the grommets & retractable lanyard! Thanks for sharing.

I’ve been doing these for years–before got my GF, silk screened designs on, and I also sew clear vinyl over the window (I use an industrial sewing machine for all my leather projects), as my original concept was for luggage tags. I used buckle straps or leather loops for those. But also do versions as con or work badge holders–but dope slap myself, the addition of the retractable lanyard is really nice and may help differentiate their use!

The GF has made it so much easier to add different designs! I love etching leather on it, though a bit less successful cutting, since I use so many different leathers–mostly 5-6oz veg or oil tanned leathers, and come up with ways to use scraps left over from my guitar straps!

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I wondered about doing a vinyl window, but on my vinyl badge holders the vinyl just gets gross over time, because I’m in the habit of stuffing the badge into my lint-filled pocket when I’m not at the office. I decided this would be easier to keep clean. Time will tell!

I also have no talent at all with tools, sewing machines included. That’s why I love programmable tools like CNC, lasers, 3d printers … those tools in combination with openjscad = crafting even I can do!


Oh, well all have our talents with different tools!

Good point about the vinyl for work badge use… since I started with idea for luggage, wanted to protect the ID card inside. Hope your holder works well ! (and what pocket is not filled with lint? mine also usually full of kleenex, too…).

Looks really nice. So far I have avoided leather. More tools and the smell. I have a bad habit of wanting all the tools and accessories for all my crafting. The house has a limit on how much it can hold.


I believe it’s called Zillow.

I’m told they make bigger houses. Afraid to try it myself.


My husband tells me fewer crafts would solve the problem. :slight_smile:

I know he enjoys it all though, he’s not kidding me. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the details. I’m looking forward to working more with leather. So far just a simple dog collar.