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Best leather working classes: Leather art lessons, projects, and in-person workshops

Leather working classes_FEATURE

Despite being one of the oldest professions around the globe, funnily enough, leather working doesn’t usually get as much spotlight as other ancient crafts.

Nevertheless, a large community of leathercrafters has kept the art form and tradition alive and kicking, engaging an ever-growing generation of leather artists!

Because the craft does require mastering technique and what may seem like an endless toolset, taking a few leather working classes can work wonders if you’re thinking of taking up this hobby.

Need help getting started? Find our picks for the best leather working classes online below!

Affiliate disclosure: Articles on Tiny Workshops may contain affiliate links.

What to know before taking leather working classes

Before diving in, it’s important to know that leather working is an elaborate craft that demands learning and perfecting skills, an extensive toolkit, and some flexibility on the budget front.

A great way to keep it simple while getting hands-on is taking some leather working classes.

The options below provide the perfect guidance if you’re just dipping your toe into the craft; they’re affordable, project-oriented, offer diverse course durations, and feature excellent mentors. 

Read also: Best online course platforms for creatives

You can also check out in-person workshops if that’s something you prefer, but I have to say that these online leather working classes are a perfect entryway to understanding the craft as a beginner. 

Here are a few things to know and think about before getting started: 

  • Choose the right course and platform for you. Are you looking for a quick tutorial-like class or comprehensive projects and lessons? Do you want to be on an ongoing subscription or purchase courses individually?
  • Watch class trailers before enrolling to evaluate if you can access all required materials. Some items may get expensive if bought individually; looking into leather working kits like this is a great way to cut costs. 
  • Some of the featured classes require a sewing machine, so make sure you either have access to a device or go with courses that focus on hand-sewn projects. 
  • Know that vegan leather (pleather) is a great way to keep your crafting sustainable. You can always use this as a substitute for real leather, although you should be aware that it has pros and cons. You can find vegan leather options for purchase here
  • Research and connect! Besides the leather working classes below, check out online tutorials, buy books, and find ways to network within the leathercraft community for support, advice, and guidance for future endeavors. 
  • If curious about the environmental impact of leather working, the Sustainable Leather Foundation and Leather Working Group are great places to learn more!

Best leather working classes

Scroll down to find the best leather working classes online to learn everything there is to know about the craft!

Leatherworking

Intro leather working classes

Teacher: Natalie Davis
Platform: Craftsy
Level: Beginner

Duration: 7 Lessons (34m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: NA

If you love leather but know zip about leather working, this short Craftsy course is a great first stop for beginners.

Led by long-time leather enthusiast Natalie Davis, throughout these lessons, you’ll learn the basics of the craft through a small-scale leather art project: creating a mini leather tray from start to finish.

Although this is a 34-minute, digestible course and not a comprehensive take on leather working, it’s the perfect match if you like to learn as you work through a project.

Because Natalie is very well-aware of how frustrating it could be to find limited information on the craft, she makes sure you get as much out of the course as possible to prepare you for future leather art projects.

There is also a tad of hand sewing in this class, making it an interesting option for sewers to apply their skills if seeking new ways to express their talent!

You can enjoy this course and more on Craftsy by signing up for a monthly or yearly subscription — you can also buy the class and keep it forever by clicking below.

Leather Brindle Clutch

Leather brindle clutch

Teacher: Elke Bergeron
Platform: Creativebug
Level: Beginner

Duration: 6 Lessons (23m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: NA

Whether real or faux, leather is a popular material many love to incorporate into their closet. Taught by Elke Bergeron, this Creativebug class will teach you the fundamentals to create a handmade leather clutch from home!

One of the perks of this course and project is that a sewing machine will not be required; you’ll be learning how to stitch by hand, which is especially practical if you’re not familiar with sewing or don’t own a machine.

Read also: What is Creativebug? Is it worth it?

Besides sewing, Elke will demonstrate the basics of leather working, including setting rivets and studs, choosing a closure, and tips on embellishing and personalizing your item.

Everything you learn here can be applied in just about any leather art project that comes your way, so if you’re eager to learn but low on availability, this is a digestible option to get a lot under your belt in a short amount of time.

As a quick, project-centered course, keep in mind that your project will result in a more simple and organic-looking bag, rather than an elaborate, detailed item. That said, it probably won’t do the trick if you’re looking for more in-depth leather working classes around larger-sized, intricately crafted bags.

This class is available as part of a subscription below, but you can also enjoy a 60 day free trial by clicking here.

Handmade Leather Bag Creation for Beginners

Handmade bags for beginners leather working classes

Teacher: Gustavo Annoni 
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 19 Lessons (2h 35m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

This Domestika course dives into leather bag-making and will have you creating stunning handmade pieces throughout 19 lessons entirely curated for beginners!

While making a leather bag may seem complex and intimidating, your teacher Gustavo Annoni will walk you through over two hours of techniques, tips, and tricks to get you building long-lasting leather accessories from scratch.

Read also: What is Domestika? Is it worth it?

The expert craftsman will show you everything from designing and sketching to shaping, measuring, seam-marking, and stitching as he guides you in making your own rawhide masterpiece!

Whether you’re looking for leather working classes for fun or professional purposes, this is a great place to get fundamental skills and hands-on experience with this type of item and material.

Although there is a lot to learn here and these bags are beautiful, they are more functional and subdued than fashionable show-stoppers. If your goal is to learn leather bag-making through a more design-oriented lens, the next class is probably the one for you!

Making Leather Bags

Making leather bags leather working classes

Teacher: Don Morin
Platform: Craftsy
Level: Beginner/intermediate

Duration: 9 Lessons (4h 34m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: NA

Have a passion for fashion and adore elegant accessories and bags?

As the most in-depth leather working class in our guide, this Craftsy bag-making course is ideal for beginners looking for the know-how to make high-quality, fashion-forward accessories.

Read also: Best fashion illustration classes

During more than four hours of lessons, bag expert and designer Don Morin will show you the ins and outs (literally!) of putting an elegant leather bag together: how to select the best leather, use a home sewing machine, add zippers, pockets, customize the lining, reinforce the base of your bag, and more.

You don’t need previous leather working experience to take this course. However, it will benefit you to know your way around a sewing machine as you’ll be creating and applying several details on your item that require this skill.

If you feel like this class may be too advanced, taking the previous bag-making course is a really great alternative until you feel more comfortable experimenting with more detailed leather creations.

Professional Leather Handbag Design

Professional leather handbag design

Teacher: Lili Storella
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 22 Lessons (3h 28m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: Yes

As our guide’s last suggestion for bag leather working classes, this Domestika course led by Lili Storella is an excellent pick if you want to take bag-making and leather art to the next level.

As one of the most comprehensive options in our guide, Lili will teach you her 3D sculpture method to get you to create a bag that is aesthetic, functional, and sellable! This is a fantastic option if you’re looking to jumpstart a business idea and make personalized fashion accessories.

Besides fundamental building techniques, your teacher will show you how to make unique padding, design closures, emboss a logo, and add an “invisible” magnetic closer! This is a really complete course that will show you how to refine your approach to leather work with more professional methods.

Although this course is for beginners, having previous leather working experience is recommended. If this is your first time working with this material, I suggest starting with more basic lessons, such as the Creativebug course listed above.

Also, Domestika doesn’t require a subscription, so you can always take this course without committing! On the other hand, if you’re interested in discovering more leather working classes on the platform, you can always sign up for a Domestika Plus membership or buy multiple courses as a bundle!

Make a Magic Braid Leather Bracelet

Make a leather bracelet leather working classes

Teacher: Elke Bergeron
Platform: Creativebug
Level: Beginner

Duration: 4 Lessons (21m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: NA

Besides her Leather Brindle Clutch class, Elke Bergeron also presents this braided leather bracelet Creativebug course to get you making lovely jewelry in just a few steps.

Perfect for beginners, your instructor will guide you through four short lessons on leather working basics. You’ll learn how to condition your leather, bevel edges, use a hole punch, and create cuffs of different weights and lengths.

Read also: Jewelry making classes

A cool part about this course is that you’ll learn techniques that you can apply to make another leather classic: belts. Elke will also show you how to create a leather cuff without using separate pieces, which is a great way to learn a more challenging technique through a simple project. All within 21 minutes!

If you love jewelry and want to experiment with different materials, this is a fun option to look into! Considering this project is also smaller than the previous suggestions, it’s a good way to segue into more complex leather art endeavors.

By signing up for a Creativebug subscription, you’ll be able to enjoy all of Elke’s leather working classes and more on a fixed monthly/yearly fee! And again, or a limited time you can enjoy a 60-day free trial here!

DIY Traveler’s Journal

DIY journal leather working classes

Teacher: Faith Hale
Platform: Creativebug
Level: Beginner

Duration: 4 Lessons (27m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: NA

Who doesn’t love a leather-bound journal? I know I sure do!

Featuring bookbinder Faith Hale, during this Creativebug class, you’ll be creating a gorgeous leather-bound notebook, perfect if you love to write, sketch, or always have a to-do list to jot down!

Read also: Best map illustration classes

Faith will demonstrate the steps to make a sturdy five-hole pamphlet stitch booklet with thick leather, elastic closures, and finishings in less than half an hour — this will look far from your typical DIY project!

Also, once your journal is filled up, you can easily add new booklets, making it the perfect project if you are all about reusing materials and upcycling.

This is a really unique option for travelers and the perfect gift if you have a nostalgic loved one who loves to register memories and thoughts. It’s also a great pick if you want to go with pleather due to its more matte, flat texture.

If you’re interested in several Creativebug leather working classes on the guide, you can sign up for a subscription below for full access or enjoy a free trial here!

Upcycling Leather into Accessories

Upcycling leather working classes

Teacher: Blair Stocker
Platform: CreativeLive
Level: Beginner/intermediate

Duration: 8 Lessons (1h 12m)
Audio: English
Subtitles: NA

If you actively seek creative upcycling projects, this Creativelive class is a great suggestion to learn about the benefits and impact of using second-hand resources to create impressive leather works.

Your teacher, Blair Stocker, will go over the benefits of repurposing leather items and introduce you to a world of tips and tricks to get you transforming these into new works that will be gorgeous enough to gift or sell!

Throughout the course, techniques you’ll learn will include selecting and applying the right tools, prepping, cleaning, cutting leather, and sewing and gluing material.

What I appreciate about this class is that while it runs just a little over an hour, it covers a unique variety of projects and in-depth explanations on how to create easy-to-do projects. Some of these include bookbinding, tassel-making, letter stamping, and photograph printing — I especially love the potential of printing photographs onto leather!

Surprisingly, you’ll get a lot out of this course despite its short duration. It’s a fun option to further educate yourself on incorporating a sustainability-focused perspective into your art and an exciting way to see what just a few skills and lots of imagination can do.

Design of Seam-Free Leather Accessories

Seam-free leather working classes

Teacher: Adolfo Navarro
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 12 Lessons (2h 13m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

This Domestika course covers everything you need to learn about leather working without sewing corners and elaborate assembling to explore leather from a minimalistic perspective.

Your teacher, Adolfo Navarro, will guide you through his experience with this material and demonstrate how to create beautiful items from simple designs. You’ll learn how to sketch your project, choose the right type of leather, round up supplies, and prep, cut, and assemble your piece without seams.

This is a fantastic option for anyone looking to achieve sleek leather items through alternative techniques and methods while also getting lots of know-how on traditional leather working skills.

Although this is a beginner course, having some experience with 2D drawing software is a plus since you’ll be using this tool to plan out your project. The course is also a refreshing suggestion for digital artists who want to explore artisan projects and experiment with applying designs to real-life objects.

Like other Domestika courses on the guide, you can purchase this course individually or add it to a bundle if you plan on taking multiple leather working classes on the platform. Click below to find out more!

Handmade Leather: Learn Wet Molding Techniques

Wet technique leather working classes

Teacher:  José Luis Bazán
Platform: Domestika
Level: Beginner

Duration: 16 Lessons (2h 38m)
Audio: Spanish
Subtitles: Yes

Third-generation leathercrafter José Luis Bazán ends our list or online leather working classes with his incredible Domestika class on wet molding techniques.

Wet molding is a method in which you soak the leather and use a mold to shape it into a long-lasting form that will hold over time. And the results are amazing!

Read also: Best woodworking classes for beginners and up

You’ll learn how to create stunning pieces with this technique and about different types of leather, how to cut material, soften, and shape leather objects with molds made of a variety of materials such as wood and rocks.

This course is for beginners who want to start by focusing on technique and discovering personal style through leather art. It is, however, a more complex course that will demand a range of tools that aren’t the most straightforward if this is your first attempt.

If you’re up for the challenge and putting in the time, go for it! It’s just as good a place to learn as any other option on our list. Just keep in mind that it will approach the craft from a specific angle vs a general overview of the craft.

Where can I take leather working classes near me? 

Leather working tools and supplies

If, besides online leather working classes, you’d like to attend an in-person workshop, here’s a quick list of where you can find some options near you:

UK residents can also find more options here by filtering by location and category.

If you live in the USA, Coursehorse is a great place to find upcoming leather working classes around the country.


That’s it for our list of the best leather working classes online! Do you have any more recommendations? Let everyone know in the comments below!

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