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 creative hobby.
Need help getting started? Find our top picks for the best online and in-person leather working classes below!
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Best leather working classes
- Handmade Leather Bag Creation for Beginners
- Making Leather Bags
- Leather Brindle Clutch
- Professional Leather Handbag Design
- Make a Magic Braid Leather Bracelet
- DIY Traveler’s Journal
- Upcycling Leather into Accessories
- Design of Seam-Free Leather Accessories
- Handmade Leather: Learn Wet Molding Techniques
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.
And a great way to keep things simple while getting hands-on is by 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 are taught by leather art experts.
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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 consider 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 confirm if you can access all required materials. Some items may get expensive if bought individually; looking into leather tooling kits 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 this material has its 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.
We’ve also listed a few spots to take in-person lessons and workshops at the end of our guide!
Teacher: Natalie Davis
Duration: 7 Lessons (34m)
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 seeking new ways to express their talent and experiment with skill. Taking a few online sewing classes is a great way to complement your learning!
You can enjoy this course and more on Craftsy by signing up for its yearly Premium Membership — it will cost you only $2.49!
Leather Brindle Clutch
Teacher: Elke Bergeron
Duration: 6 Lessons (23m)
Whether real or faux, leather is a popular medium 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.
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 to just about any leather art project that comes your way. So, if you’re eager to learn but low on availability, this is a quick, practical class to get a lot under your belt in a short amount of time.
Keep in mind that your class project will be a very simple item vs. an elaborate leather piece. That said, it probably won’t do the trick if you’re looking for more in-depth leather working classes focused on larger, detailed projects.
This class is available as part of the platform’s subscription plan, but you can also enjoy a 60 day free trial by clicking here.
Handmade Leather Bag Creation for Beginners
Teacher: Gustavo Annoni
Duration: 19 Lessons (2h 35m)
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 these bags are beautiful, they’re more functional, subdued pieces rather than fashion accessories. 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
Teacher: Don Morin
Duration: 9 Lessons (4h 34m)
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.
For over four hours, 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 lining, and more.
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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.
Remember you can enjoy this class and more for only $2.49 by signing up for Crafty’s yearly Premium Membership plan.
Professional Leather Handbag Design
Teacher: Lili Storella
Duration: 22 Lessons (3h 28m)
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.
Your teacher Lili will teach you her 3D sculpture method to have you create a bag that is aesthetic, functional — and sellable! This is an excellent option if you’re looking to jumpstart a business based on personalized fashion accessories.
Besides essential techniques, your teacher will show you how to make unique padding, design closures, emboss a logo, and add an “invisible” magnetic closer! This course will really 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 subscription!
Make a Magic Braid Leather Bracelet
Teacher: Elke Bergeron
Duration: 4 Lessons (21m)
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. All within 21 minutes!
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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 method through a simple project.
Taking a few online jewelry making classes is also a great way to experiment with leather and other mediums. 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 — or for a limited time you can enjoy a 60-day free trial here!
DIY Traveler’s Journal
Teacher: Faith Hale
Duration: 4 Lessons (27m)
Who doesn’t love a leather-bound journal? 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!
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.
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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. Remember that this is also a great way to customize notebooks for left handers!
This is a really unique option for travelers and the perfect gift if you have a nostalgic friend 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 more of the Creativebug leather working classes on our guide, you can sign up for a subscription below or enjoy a free trial here!
Upcycling Leather into Accessories
Teacher: Blair Stocker
Duration: 8 Lessons (1h 12m)
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 art.
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.
Read also: Best leather tooling kits
Skills you’ll learn include selecting and applying tools, prepping, cleaning, cutting leather, sewing and gluing material. What I appreciate about this class is that it covers a unique variety of projects and in-depth explanations in a short amount of time.
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-centered perspective into your art and an exciting way to see where just a few skills and lots of imagination can take you.
Design of Seam-Free Leather Accessories
Teacher: Adolfo Navarro
Duration: 12 Lessons (2h 13m)
This Domestika course covers everything you need to know about approaching leather from a more minimalistic perspective, without sewing corners and elaborate assembling.
Your teacher, Adolfo Navarro, will 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 put together a seamless piece..
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. Having a bone folder will also really help you achieve impeccable results!
While this course is curated for starters, having some experience with 2D drawing software will be a plus as you work through your project. The class is also a great pick for digital artists wanting to explore more artisan projects.
You can purchase this course individually on Domestika or sign up for Domestika Plus to enjoy bundle discounts, free monthly courses, and more!
Handmade Leather: Learn Wet Molding Techniques
Teacher: José Luis Bazán
Duration: 16 Lessons (2h 38m)
Third-generation leathercrafter José Luis Bazán ends our list of online leather working classes with this incredible Domestika course on wet molding techniques.
Wet molding is a method in which you soak leather and use a mold to shape it into a long-lasting form that will hold over time. And the results are amazing!
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You’ll learn how to apply this technique with different types of leather, how to cut material, soften, and shape objects with molds and objects such as wood and rocks.
This course is for beginners who want to start by focusing on technique and developing personal style through leather art. It is, however, a more complex approach that will demand a range of tools that aren’t the most straightforward for most — especially newbie crafters.
But, 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 this class will tackle the craft from a specific angle vs a general 101 overview.
Best leather working classes by theme
Below we’ve set up a few more of our favorite leather working classes by theme to help you find the best course based on your skill set and preferred approach to this medium.
Introductory leather working classes
Bag, accessory, and shoe making leather working classes
Mixed-medium leather working classes
Where can I take leather working classes near me?
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:
- Alden’s School of Leather Trades (USA)
- The Michigan Folk School (USA)
- CraftCourses (UK)
- Fine Leatherworking (USA)
- LeatherCraft Workshop Days (UK)
- Nigel Armitage Handmade Leather (UK)
- Diamond Awl Leather Workshop (UK)
- The Crucible: Leather, Textiles & Fine Arts classes (USA)
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.
Interested in discovering more creative hobbies? Check out our guide with resources for over 100 creative hobbies you can enjoy from home, here!
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!