Today I have a fun Cricut Maker leather project to share with you. DIY Leather Bookmarks!
I’ll show you how to make both of these fun bookmark designs, plus give you the link to the project in Cricut Design Space which includes three additional designs.
For the first bookmark I designed, I used the Cricut Engraving Tool to engrave the words into the piece of tooling leather before cutting it out with the Knife Blade.
On the second bookmark, I used Cricut Everyday Iron-On in gold for the letters.
I think they both turned out awesome, but my favorite is the engraved one.
Today, I’m going to show you the RIGHT way to engrave on leather with your Cricut Maker!
It took me some trial and error to get here, but I’m absolutely thrilled with the results.
I’ll also show you how to put HTV on leather!
Plus, I’ll teach you how to make a bookmark tassel out of yarn and out of embroidery thread to finish it all off.
That’s a lot of tutorials packed into one post so I hope you’re ready to get creative today with your Cricut Maker!
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The leather that I’m using in this tutorial was very generously given to me by the kind folks over at The Leather Guy. That’s one of my favorite places to buy leather and you should definitely check them out!
Before I show you the tutorial, let’s talk about engraving leather with the Maker.
I’ve tried engraving on a few types of leather without a lot of success. Most times, the engraving didn’t really stand out without using a marker or a pen to trace over it.
I started thinking about the leather carving and tooling I’ve done in the past. One very important fact about leather carving is it’s done on veg tan tooling leather. But what is veg tan leather?
Basically, there are a couple of ways that leather is tanned.
One is called veg tan, and this method uses natural tree barks and plant matter that produces tannic acid to tan the leather. Because of the way it’s processed, it works really well for carving and stamping designs.
The other way is called chrome tan, and that method uses chromium sulfate, salts, and chemicals to tan the leather. You can’t tool chrome tan leather.
When I started thinking about this, it dawned on me that veg tan leather should theoretically work much better with the Engraving Tip on my Cricut Maker.
And guess what? I was right!
Another important tip about engraving veg tan leather with your Cricut Maker is you need to dampen the leather beforehand.
This is called casing the leather, and it will cooperate much better if you do this first. I’ll show you how I did it in the tutorial below.
Let’s get started!
Supplies You’ll Need to Make Engraved DIY Leather Bookmarks with your Cricut Maker
Once the bookmark designs come up, chose which one you want to engrave. I recommend one of the ones with larger fonts for the best results. The other ones are better suited for Iron-On.
Hide the other bookmarks by clicking the eye icon for each one in the Layers menu. (Check out my Cricut Design Space Tutorial to learn more about the different functions.)
Next, select the bookmark and click Ungroup. Then select the text only. Change the cut type to Engrave.
After that, select both the words and the bookmark and click Attach. Click Make It.
Move the bookmark down and to the right a bit on the mat preview so that the masking tape won’t go on the actual bookmark and mess up the leather.
Now it’s time to prep the leather.
Before you put the leather on the mat, cut a piece of Contact Paper the same size as the piece of leather and apply it to the back. This will save your mat, and believe me, leather will dirty it up fast without it!
Dampen a washcloth or a sponge with cold water and wring it out well. Look at the mat preview in Design Space to see which area of the leather will be engraved.
You’ll want to dampen that area of the leather until its evenly moist but not soaked. Let the leather sit for about five minutes before loading it into your machine.
Apply the leather onto the StrongGrip mat Contact Paper side down.
Next, you’ll want to put masking tape on all the edges of the leather. Keep the masking tape off of the part that will be cut so it doesn’t mess up the surface.
Move the Star Wheels on your Cricut all the way to the right. Load your mat.
In the settings, choose 3-4 oz Tooling Leather as your material type.
Since the words are being engraved, it will prompt you to insert the Engraving Tip. Once you’ve done that, hit the “C” button to engrave the words.
When it’s finished engraving, it’ll tell you to remove the Engraving Tip and replace it with the Knife Blade. Do that and then hit the “C” button again to cut out the bookmark.
You may have to cut a few extra passes after it finishes cutting, I did.
Carefully try to lift the bookmark up when it’s finished cutting and see if it needs another pass or not. Just make sure you don’t unload the mat until you’re sure it’s cut through.
If it’s mostly cut and there are just a few spots hanging on, you can always use an Exacto knife to finish it.
Unload the mat, remove the leather from it and peel off all the tape and Contact Paper carefully.
I’ll show you how to make the tassels at the bottom of this post. Now let’s make a DIY Leather bookmark with Cricut Everyday Iron-On!
Supplies You’ll Need to Make an Iron-On DIY Leather Bookmark
If you haven’t already, click this link to go into Cricut Design Space and get to the Leather Bookmark project. Click Customize.
Once the bookmark designs come up, chose which one you want to make. Any of the designs will work with HTV.
Hide any of the designs you don’t want to cut by clicking the eye icon in the layers menu. Click Make It. Now it’s time to prep your leather!
Apply Contact Paper to the back of the leather. Line up the edge of the leather with the top of your StrongGrip mat and press it down firmly Contact Paper side down. Put masking tape on all four edges.
Make sure the Star Wheels on your Maker are pushed all the way to the right and you have the Knife Blade inserted. Then, load your mat.
Check to see which mat the Cricut is planning on cutting first. For mine, it wanted to do the Iron-On mat first, but I already had the leather ready to go so I clicked the leather mat and did it first.
Set your material type to 4-5 oz Tooling Leather and hit the ‘C’ button.
Once the leather is done cutting, check to make sure it’s cut all the way through. If not, hit the ‘C’ button again to go for another pass. It took mine a few extra passes.
Unload your mat and remove the leather. Carefully peel all the tape and Contact Paper off the bookmark and set it aside.
Put your piece of Everyday Iron-on onto the StandardGrip mat, shiny side down.
Remember to Mirror the design! (I may or may not forget to do this almost every stinking time.)
Load the Fine Point blade into your machine, move the Star Wheels back to their normal positions, and load your mat. Hit the ‘C’ button and let your machine cut the iron-on.
Once it’s finished, unload the mat and weed the design. While you’re doing that, heat up your Easy Press or iron.
I used an iron set on the highest setting (which is Linen for mine) with NO steam. For the Easy Press, set it to 300℉.
Line the weeded iron-on up on the leather bookmark, cover it with a piece of parchment paper or a cover cloth on a heatproof surface or ironing board.
If you’re using an iron, press it down firmly for 15 seconds and then check to see if it’s transferred. If it’s not quite ready, recover it and press again in 10-second increments until it’s completely stuck to the leather.
For the Easy Press, firmly press down on the leather for 15 seconds.
Once you’re sure it’s stuck on, carefully peel off the plastic.
Done! Now it’s time to move onto the bookmark tassels.
Supplies You’ll Need to Make DIY Bookmark Tassels
This is a super-easy way to make DIY tassels without any special equipment.
First, wrap the yarn around your hand several times. The more you wrap, the bushier your tassel will be.
Once you’re happy with the number of wraps, cut the yarn even with the bottom of your hand.
Carefully remove the yarn loops from your hand but keep them together and set them aside on your work surface.
Decide how long you want the tassel to be on the bookmark, double that, add two inches, and cut a piece of yarn or thread that long.
Double the piece of yarn over and tie an overhand knot about ⅔ of the way down, closer to the ends.
Then, tie the loose ends around the loops you made. Double knot it so it’s really secure.
Now, cut another piece of yarn or thread that’s about four inches long. Wrap it around the tassel close to the top. Tie it with a double knot.
After that, I used a small crochet hook to pull the yarn ends over and behind the knot to help blend in the ends.
Cut the tassel ends at the length you want. I cut mine about halfway because I didn’t want a super long tassel.
Then, just thread the long loop end of the tassel through the hole in the bookmark and make a lark’s head knot to secure it.
I love how these bookmarks turned out! These would make a perfect gift for the book lovers in your life.
- How to Cut Leather with the Cricut Maker
- Cricut Design Space for Beginners
- Must Have Cricut Maker Accessories