My kids and their daddy, have had so much fun making leather crafts over the past few months. They have made knife sheaths, wallets, leather bracelets, and leather bushcraft bags so far. I will share future posts in Homesteading & DIY: Leather Crafts with some of the various projects they have created.
My Grandfather and Dad enjoyed creating things with leather. I have enjoyed watching my family learn how to work leather, and it brings back lots of memories of time spent watching and helping with leather projects when I was a kid. I am so thankful to see my kids pick up these skills and enjoy making projects like this.
After a couple of our older boys expressed interest in learning how to make a custom knife sheath, my husband also realized he was interested in this hobby too. He took the older three boys on a field trip to a leather supply store. There they found different kinds of leather, tools, supplies, sewing needles, and books with tutorials. They also took another field trip to an army surplus supply store and found several ideas of things they could learn to make. They also watched some video tutorials to get a better understanding of how to use, create, and care for leather.
What they have discovered over the past few months is that they truly enjoy working with leather. They enjoy working and creating many things with their hands as well including materials such as braiding and weaving cordage and woodcarving, etc. So the next thing we plan to do build a workbench especially for hand crafting with leather and other materials so they can make even more projects.
One of they books they purchaced is called Making Leather Knife Sheaths Volume 1 by David Holter and Peter Fronteddu. It is very hands on with step by step instructions and lots of pictures of each step of four different sheath projects.
I thought it would be fun to review this book for other Homeschool families who might be interested in teaching their kids about Leather crafts. This is a valuable life skill to have and this book covers some very good information that applies to all leather making crafts and the care of leather in general.
Here is some of the great information I found inside.
Making Leather Knife Sheaths Volume 1
Hardback illustrated book. Contains 144 spiral bound pages divided into 6 chapters. Covers 4 complete projects plus various tools, general leather care, and resources.
If using this as a life skills curriculum, your students will complete 4 projects, plus two additional chapters that pertain to all leather products. You could stretch this learning project into 4 – 6 months, doing 1 chapter / project per month or complete it faster. If you plan on using this for general knowledge, you could plan on covering this material in 6 weeks, completing 1 chapter per week.
The book covers all the basics of leather care, tools, and how to build four different knife sheaths and these same principles apply to all leather crafts.
This chapter covers things like various leather crafting tools, methods, sewing, how to choose different kinds of leather for different kinds of projects.
2. Project l: Quiver-Like Sheath with Integrated Belt Loop
This chapter covers planning and design, creating templates, prepping, creating the belt loop, sewing, cleaning edges, dying, shaping, sealing edges, etc.
This is the perfect project to start out with. This is the biggest chapter in the book and all of the following projects repeat the steps learned in this chapter and project.
3. Project ll: Quiver-like Sheath with Leather Lining and Riveted Belt Loop with Snap Fastener
This chapter covers planning and design, creating templates, prepping, creating belt loops, gluing, sewing, cleaning edges, sealing, etc.
Each project gets slightly more complicated with a few additional steps added and a little fancier end product.
4. Project lll: Quiver-Like Sheath with Protective Strap and Sewed On Belt Loop
This chapter covers planning and design, creating templates, prepping, embossing the sheath blade, dying and varnishing the leather, creating belt loops, creating protective straps, attaching loops and straps, gluing, sewing, cleaning edges, sealing, etc.
5. Project lV: Quiver-Like Sheath with Flap and Sewed on Belt Clip
This chapter covers planning and design, creating templates, prepping and constructing parts, positioning the flap, fitting the welt, sewing, sealing, etc.
6. Tips for Cleaning and Leather Care
This chapter covers caring for leather projects such as cleaning leather with Saddle Soap, impregnating leather twice a year with grease or polish to maintain water proof,
This is the most valuable chapter in the entire book because it covers how to care for leather. So whether you make a sheath or not, this information will apply to everything you own that is made out of leather. This information is good for men and women. Guys if you have leather shoes or boots, or a leather wallet or belt, here is the info you need to take care of them so they will last for a long long time. Laddies if you have a leather purse or belt or wallet or shoes, here is the information you need to take care of them too.
There are Appendix at the back of the book that cover all 4 project templates, plus a list of reputable leather suppliers around the country and additional books and life skill training recommendations.
Homeschool Life Skills Course:
If you plan to use this book and projects as a Life Skills Curriculum, I would plan on doing 1 chapter per month. That gives you and your student (s) plenty of time for planning out what is discussed in each chapter and the projects it contains. Working on leather crafts can be expensive. Spend the first month locating affordable resources to make your projects.
Go over Chapter 1 and sourcing a few leather tools. Set up a general workspace where you will make your leather projects. Also acquire the kind of leather you want to make your projects with.
During month one, go on a field trip and visit a leather store, or visit a leather dealer at a vendor product fair. Take some time to watch a few leather making videos.
Set up a notebook binder for taking notes and jotting down ideas, plans, design templates, etc. Come up with a few general questions to quiz kids on, depending on the age of your students. Ask them about the animals that provided the leather. Ask what different kinds of leather are used to make different projects. For example, soft leathers are usually made into gloves or soft bags and vests or clothing items, where thicker and tougher leathers are made into sturdier products such as saddles, belts, bags, etc.
Have your student label each tool on a print out or one you have copied. Have kids write out an essay of how leather goods have been useful in history and how they are used now. Have them make a graph and evaluate the current market value of leather goods too. Create a lapbook to put into your leather craft / life skills binder with various mini book pages on various topics relating to leather crafts is another great idea.
During the following months, set aside a couple of hours each week and take your time to create a project design using the tips in the corresponding chapter. Have your student put their design into their notebook binder when they are thru using it as a template. You could also have them right out each step they do, and put a picture of their finished project in their notebook binder.
You could also incorporate this learning into other schoolwork your students are doing. For example, our kids have completed unit studies about Native American Indians, the Pioneers, the Minute Men, the Revolutionary War, and more recently Daniel Boone, and they currently working on a unit study about Davy Crockett this school year. You could also add this learning project into curriculum about sewing, or design, or leather upholstery, metal working, history of weaponry, jewelry, horses saddles and tack, owning a small handcraft business, etc. There are many wonderful opportunities to incorporate these skills.
Learning about leather crafts and how to care for leather is fun and is a perfect subject to add homeschool studies.