Tips on buying leather?

Can folks share some tips on buying leather? Where to buy, what “type”, etc…I don’t know what I don’t know!

I have the samples from GF, and have checked the shop and there isn’t much variety.

I’d like the same sort of thinness and softness, but in different colors.

Any tips/suggestions would be appreciated!!


There are many leather sources. In general, vegetable tanned (veg-tanned) leather is a good start. There are differing opinions on other types such as oil-tanned and chrome tanned. It appears to me that one of the problems in making definitive statements about “laserability” seems to be that the leather tanning process is a closely held secret by each processor. Having said that, I’m now confident that for my purposes, all genuine leather is “safe” to use. It may smell like hell and I wouldn’t necessarily breath a lot of fumes from chrome tanned, but it doesn’t seem that they will harm the machine like PVC will. (Although, much of the synthetic “faux” leather does contain PVC and should be avoided.)

Here are some of the leather vendors I’ve used. The sites have a lot of useful information.


This thread here has a ton of information on the subject: All About Leather


I just bought a random bundle of vegetable tanned leather from Springfield Leather. The quality and quantity was good. I just wanted some pieces for practice. I’m not home right now or I’d provide pictures and which bundles I bought. I’ll try to remember to do that tomorrow if that will help anyone.


Looks like @dan says veggie tanned seems to cut like butter, so I’ll stick with that assuming I can get it in different colors. I want something a bit darker than what GF currently has.

I guess I need ot think about thickness. I thought I noticed some online places say the weight of it vs the thickness…Is that normal? I think I’d lie to stick with the “medium” thickness that came as a sample…

You can also dye or stain veg tanned tooling leather.

1 Like

Tandy has veg tanned “studio” sides available in, I think, seven colors.

I haven’t tried them yet. So far only used natural color veg tanned and stained and finished it myself.

Dan’s leather bag is a veg tanned Kip leather that came pre finished from a Seattle leather store if I recall correctly.

1 Like

I was looking at Tandy however it’s allot of leather which makes it pricey… I want smaller pieces for trying stuff…thx

I tried the PG leather, and while useful for some designs, I have sourced some heavier (4 oz) leather for most things I do. That 4 oz leather is a tad thicker at 0.080, and is much more rigid (if that is a goal for you).
I am not making purses and such, but I use it a lot for earrings and that thickness and rigidity is awesome for that.

Two sources locally for it and even though the overall sizes are different it works out to about the same cost.

Tandy. They have some rather large non-dyed Veg-Tanned leather segments. Have to flip through them for good ones, but once found, you can cull the flappy edges and size for usage. I get about 4 to 5 12x20 sheets from one of these.
I use this for prototypes and things that are not needed to be pristine. Some marks and occasional bug bites, which you have to cut out or mark on the masking if making anything important.

Hobby Lobby. They have sheets of Veg Tanned Tooling leather that is my favorite go to for a final earring design. This stuff is wonderfully pristine and very forgiving to work with. Smaller sized at 8 1/2 x 11 inches, but they always honor their 40% off coupons (don’t go there without one) which makes it comparable priced to Tandy.
Not sure 8.5 x 11 is useful for larger leather crafts, but like I mentioned, you can make a lot of earrings out of that sized leather sheet.

Both need to be masked (both sides is my choice). But I also remove that masking that is painted onto the PG leather and mask it with my masking also, so…


I’ve used quite a bit of it. Cuts like butter.

1 Like

I do have Hobby Lobby nearby, I’ll have to check them out. Do they only have the tooling leather? I read that it is stuff like you mention. I’m hoping to find soft leather (like proofgrade) in different shades/colors.

I’m by no means a leather expert. I’m just experimenting and playing around. Places like Tandy seem to sell large pieces which is very expensive, and that is not what I’m looking for. I’m thinking 12x24 is the largest I’d look to buy of any…

ESteele - do you recall which bundle you purchased? How did lasering it work out? Thank you.

Yep, I still have the invoice in my email…

They also have a lightweight remnants package. I haven’t tried this one yet.

1 Like