Book binding

Try leather stamping to add some personality to your DIY leather journals

Before I dive in, let me clarify that you don’t have to necessarily do leather stamping to add character to your leather journals. A simple, well crafted leather journal without any stamping looks beautiful too. It has an understated elegance to it that looks gorgeous.

But, if you’re looking to do something different and want your DIY journal to stand out a little, one method to experiment with is leather stamping. The idea here is to stamp a pattern into your leather, purely for aesthetic purposes. Here’s how Wikipedia describes leather stamping:

“Leather stamping involves the use of shaped implements (stamps) to create an imprint onto a leather surface, often by striking the stamps with a mallet. Commercial stamps are available in various designs, typically geometric or representative of animals. Most stamping is performed on vegetable tanned leather that has been cased. This is the action of dampening the leather with water so that it soaks into the surface fibres. The water makes the leather softer and able to be compressed by the design being pressed or stamped into it. After the leather has been stamped, the design stays on the leather as it dries out, but it can fade if the leather becomes wet and is flexed. To make the impressions last longer, the leather is conditioned with oils and fats to make it waterproof and prevent the fibers from deforming.”


I made a leather journal recently – this one is a hefty 256 pages! It’s covered using a cherry red colored piece of veg tanned leather. I’ve added a strip of saddle shaped leather stamps on the cover. I think it looks pretty! 🙂

You might be wondering how you can make an intricate pattern on your leather, without being someone who can draw. Don’t worry! You can find all kinds of readymade leather stamping tools online, in a variety of patterns. It’s really up to you what patterns you’re looking to create.

So, once you decide to stamp your leather, there are a few things to keep in mind before stamping your leather:

  1. Try and use good quality veg tanned leather. The pattern is clearer when you use veg tanned leather, vs other leathers.
  2. Use a good quality stamping tool. This is really important. If your tool is low quality, no matter how hard and precisely you stamp, your pattern will NOT be clear. I’d initially ordered this set of tools on Amazon – the pattern quality was very poor. I then ordered this saddle pattern tool. It’s so expensive for just one tool! But the pattern quality is really much better. Each saddle is very clear and deep. I recommend buying this one – it’s expensive but if you want your pattern to be clear, this is the best tool I’ve found so far.

Stamping itself is not that hard to do. You have to wet your leather uniformly, and then stamp your leather with the tool, using a mallet. I found this video quite informative for understanding the step by step of how to stamp leather. I recommend practicing first, before stamping your main journal.

Once you get the hang of stamping, you can try all sorts of patterns. Please share what you make in the comments below! 🙂

1 reply »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s