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Guide to What is Leather Crafting Singapore [2024]

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What is Leather Crafting Singapore

What is Leather Crafting Singapore
What is Leather Crafting Singapore

Leatherworking is a time-honored craft that has managed to survive the test of time from being a practical skill to now a hobby and even a profession. This little craft is, however, becoming quite popular in Singapore, where natives and even visitors alike are taking a keen interest in the craft, creating their very own leather handcrafted products.

This guide will provide an overview of leatherworking in Singapore, delving into its origins, tools used, techniques, and where to learn and make your own leathercraft.

History of Leather Crafting

The art of leatherworking can be documented as far back as ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome where evidence of the simple utilitarian leather articles produced then can still be seen today after three thousand years. Clothing, footwear, and protective armour were the predominant leather goods produced back then by simple leather working tools.

Leather work is having something of a revival in Singapore, not least because it arrived in the city-state during the colonial era: leather hacks were popular workwear during the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, it is treated more as a creative outlet, as workshops and small studios continue to spread across the island.

Understanding Leather

There are different types of leather. These types have their own special features and purpose.

The most common types we can see around us are:

  • Vegetable-tanned Leather: Takes complementary colours and patina very well, and can last a lifetime if cared for. Works best for objects that are used often, and become more useful as they age, like belts and bags.
  • Chrome-tanned Leather: Easy to work with and more pliable than vegetable-tanned leather, this type of leather has less strength and is perfect for creating clothing and accessories but it doesn’t develop a patina and is less environment friendly due to the chemicals used during the tanning process.
  • Full-grain Leather: the highest quality and strongest grade of leather. Full-grain leather has the full thickness of the hide and has all the original grain and blemishes. Full-grain leather breathes, ages beautifully, and is used for high-quality leather goods.
  • Top-grain Leather: Top-grain leather is like full-grain leather but the top layer is sanded off to remove imperfections. Found in furniture and high-end leather goods as well.

It also depends on the project. For beginners, vegetable-tanned leather might be the best choice since it is somewhat forgiving and easy to shape and mold.

Essential Tools and Materials

When you decide to make accessories from leather that you can use with your friends, make sure that the tools you use will be the best-suiting ones. Here is what you need, to start a journey to craft high-quality leather goods.

  • Cutting Tools: Rotary cutters, leather scissors, and utility knives are essential for cutting leather into custom and regular geometric shapes (squares, rectangles, triangles, and circles) and sizes.
  • Stitching tools: Pricking iron, stitching awl, and needle are for making holes and sewing together pieces. Waxed thread as this is stronger and more durable.
  • Edge bevelers and burnishers: These are small tools that edge bevelers will smooth the edge, while the burnishers slice the outer surface.
  • Punches: Hole punches and rivet setters are necessary for adding hardware to leather goods.
  • Measurement Tools: Rulers, measuring tapes, and calipers ensure precise cuts and measurements.

The tools and some quality leather make up the basic tools of any good leatherworking project.

Basic Techniques of Leather Crafting

Starting with the basics, leather crafting involves several fundamental techniques:

  • Trim and Prep Leather: For any project that you want to create using leather, trim and prep it first! Trim and prep consists of drawing a pattern on a piece of leather, and then cutting it out with sharp tools.
  • Methods of stitching: Saddle stitching is a typical method of hand-stitching. A binding stitch is attached and folded into the inner façade, forming a strong, durable finish. Sewing by machine is another typically used method for larger projects.
  • Edging and Finishing: When all the pieces are stitched together, the edges require finishing: bevelling them around the join and burnishing them smooth with small tools and beeswax.

These simple techniques allow makers to develop a tool-bag of reusable stitches that they can adapt for more ambitious projects, and to attain greater levels of skill.

Advanced Leather Crafting Techniques

As crafters become more proficient, they can explore advanced techniques such as:

  • Tooling: This is marking the surface of the leather with designs using specialised tools, and Carving takes this process further and deeper to make even more detailed designs.
  • Dyeing and Coloring: Applying dyes and finishes to leather can beautify the surface as well as protect the material from use and wear. To achieve this, techniques include hand-dyeing, airbrushing, and pigments.
  • Add Hardware: Buckles, rivets, snaps, and zippers can be used to fasten projects or add embellishment, so it’s important to learn to set hardware correctly for strength.

These complex methods enable the crafter to begin to design and make modern personalised leather products and to move beyond the boundaries of tradition.

Leather crafting offers a wide range of project possibilities, from simple to complex:

  • Beginner: Pieces such as wallets, keychains, and coasters exemplify great and simple projects that are technically easy to do, but don’t seem too complicated right off the bat.
  • Intermediate: Bags, belts, and journals are a little more advanced, which requires more exacting cutting, stitching, and finishing.
  • Experienced: On the other hand, Shoes made from leather and fabric, detailed accessories, and large objects such as furniture require advanced technique and skill.

But each project is a practice and an opportunity to produce something better the next time.

Leather Crafting Workshops and Classes in Singapore

Singapore boasts a variety of workshops and classes for aspiring leather crafters:

1. Crafune

Do you hear the word Crafune somewhere in the Southern part of Singapore? Yes! It is the name of a place where you can learn leather crafting. You can make wallets, purses, and accessories out of leather under an experienced instructor’s guidance. Crafune workshops are offered at four levels of expertise.

2. Maker Project

A training campsite that introduces the basics of leather design, offering classes in techniques and projects for beginners and expert crafters alike.

3. Hides and Thread

Personalised atelier workshops that teach you how to make your own leather goods.

The workshop not only provides instructions and experience, it also connects the attendees with like-minded group of people.

Community and Resources

Leather crafting in Singapore is supported by a vibrant community and numerous resources:

  • Online Forums and Communities: Reddit and other websites with online forums dedicated to leather crafters around the globe have a ton of information, tips, and tricks available.
  • Local Suppliers and Stores: A handcrafted leather cowboy boot covered with tooled leather. Photo courtesy Ae Buyer. For tools and materials, check out A&J Leather Supply on High Street, Artisan Artist on Reynolds Street, and Leathersmith on Collettsville Road.

Engaging with these resources helps crafters stay informed, inspired, and connected.

What is Leather Crafting Singapore

It is a hobby that calls for dexterity, time, and artistry, but there is nothing quite as creative and fulfilling as leatherwork.

More and more Singaporeans are finding their interest in the craft, and as a result, we are fortunate to see many workshops and studios open up, as well as growing local interest.

Be it as a beginner who wants to try a new hobby, or as an established crafter who wants to take your interest in leatherwork to the next level, the possibilities are endless.

Sign up for a workshop, and pick up some tools – start creating your own leather pieces today.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you have any questions about Leather Crafting in Singapore, you can refer to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) below:

What is a leather crafting workshop?

A leather craft workshop is a hands-on class where participants learn leather crafting skills such as cutting, stitching, and finishing leather to create unique items. These workshops are popular in Singapore for their creative and therapeutic benefits.

What can I expect from a leather crafting experience?

A leather crafting experience typically includes learning the basics of leatherworking, using various tools, and crafting your own leather items. These workshops offer a comprehensive introduction to leather crafting, often culminating in a handcrafted leather product you can take home.

Are there virtual leather workshops available in Singapore?

Yes, several providers offer virtual leather workshop. These online sessions allow you to learn and practice leather crafting skills from the comfort of your home, making it accessible regardless of your location.

What makes leather workshops in Singapore unique?

Leather workshops in Singapore are unique because they often combine traditional leather crafting techniques with modern design trends seen on the Singapore fashion runway. Additionally, some workshops are led by professionals with an extensive corporate background, ensuring a high-quality learning experience.

Can leather crafting workshops be customized for corporate events?

Absolutely! Many providers offer leather crafting workshops tailored for corporate events. These leather making workshop options are perfect for team-building activities and often include the option to create branded, and offering handcrafted leather goods.