How to Cut Scrap Leather the Easy Way (Without Ruining Your Tools)

How to Cut Scrap Leather the Easy Way (Without Ruining Your Tools)

Are you an impatient crafter? If so, you’re not alone. One of the most common things we hear from artisans is, learning how to work with and master crafting and cutting leather takes time. And unfortunately time is what most of us don’t have. To make your life easier, we’ve created a step-by-step guide on how to cut leather, and it is super easy, not to mention quite a bit of fun. 

If you are impatient, this easy tutorial will become your new best friend. Not only will you have a new appreciation for creating with leather, but cutting it will be a total breeze, making your craft time more rewarding because you’ve eliminated all the added stress.

Before you get started, you will want to invest in a Cricut or similar fabric-cutting machine. Cricut is one of our favorites because it can be used for all sorts of projects, including scrapbooking, die-cutting paper, felt, vinyl and leather, and it is reasonably priced. 

One of the benefits of having a tool like the Cricut is, you can use it for multiple projects, making it a very versatile product to own. Most people don’t think about using it for heavy material like leather, but you will be amazed at how easy your projects are when you use the Cricut for cutting leather. 

It takes the complication out of any project, which is perfect because instead of being wrapped up in frustration, you are soaking up the joy.  

The Cricut machine makes crafting more fun and enjoyable, but there is a problem that is often overlooked. After you work with the leather, what’s left on your mat will be a potential mess! This is because the residue from the back of the leather will stick to the mat. After taking extra time to clean the mat, we thought there had to be a better way. After doing tons of research and exploring a lot of different options, we found a way to cut leather in your Cricut machine without making a mess and it will certainly reduce your stress. 

The type of leather you use is important as well. When using full-grain leather, the type of leather Portland Leather Company uses, the leather has character and an authenticity that can’t be beat. Think about the final outcome and what you are working toward. If you are creating a durable product that will get lots of use like a classic leather tote bag, a leather wallet or a camera strap, you will want to consider using a thicker hide . But you will need the right leather tools to support the project. For smaller projects like earrings, headbands and rings, we suggest using the Cricut with 1- to 3-ounce leather. 

By knowing your tools and the restrictions they have, you will feel more confident in the outcome of your project. When it comes to cutting your scrap leather, there’s no easier way than using a fabric-cutting machine like a Cricut. The best part is, this easy way to cut scrap leather is foolproof. 

Here’s how to cut leather using your Cricut. 

What you need:

Sharp crafting scissors

Cricut transfer tape 


Scrap leather (Portland Leather Goods is giving artisans scrap leather) 

Cricut Strong Grip mat

Step 1: Get Your Supplies Together 

Take your leather scraps (you can purchase scraps on Etsy, at Portland Leather Goods or at your local thrift shop or Hobby Lobby as they usually have a good leather scrap section), your Cricut transfer tape and your Cricut StrongGrip mat. 

This tape is essential for cutting the leather, as it will create a barrier between your leather and your mat. The reason we love it and it’s so necessary is because it keeps your mat from getting leather pieces all over it! The transfer tape is also important to use because it ensures your leather won’t shift or bunch up during the cutting process. 

You will also need to pull out your sharp crafting scissors. 

Step 2: Match the Leather to the Cricut Transfer Tape 

After you gather all your supplies, you will be ready to cut the leather. Next, take the transfer tape and make it a little larger than the size of the leather you will be cutting. You want to make sure the leather scrap fits within the tape’s dimensions. This is why you make the transfer tape slightly larger. 

The best news is that the transfer tape is foolproof because there are grid lines to assist and guide your cuts. In this step, don’t worry so much about making it perfect. You will be able to trim the leather scraps later. For this step, just make the transfer tape slightly larger than your leather. 

After that, you want to take your leather and place it on the Cricut StrongGrip mat. Next you will cut the leather. 

Step 3: Cut the Leather Scraps 

Next you will want to lay your transfer tape on the table with the grid side facing up. You will notice the grid side of the paper is sticky. This is to help guide your crafts. Make sure your hands are washed and you have plenty of room on your craft table. You don’t want dirt or debris getting into your work area. 

Next you will want to peel the entire portion of your grid paper off the transfer tape. Place the back side of your leather, the flesh side called suede, on top of the sticky grid transfer tape. 

Basically make sure that the back side (or grainy side of your leather) sticks to the transfer tape!

Reference this picture to see what we mean. 

Next you will want to trim your transfer tape so that it is aligned with the leather piece. Making the two pieces match is key for cutting the leather. You don’t want any extra sticky transfer tape to hang outside your leather. This will cause a mess and could ruin the leather.

Do this by flipping over the transfer tape and placing it directly on the mat. You know you are doing this step right when the top of the leather is facing up. 

Now you will transfer the tape to your Cricut mat. Don’t worry about shifting leather, the transfer tape will keep your leather in place. Your leather should not shift while you cut it in the Cricut. 

Once you place your leather in the machine, there you have it! Easy cut leather to use for all your leather scrap craft needs. 

Your turn! Now tell us in the comments what you are going to do with your scrap leather after it’s cut.

Are you looking for more scrap leather for your next epic DIY leather project? 

Portland Leather Goods is giving away boxes of scrap leather—don’t miss out on this opportunity. Check it out here.

This article is brought to you by Portland Leather Goods. We make award-winning handmade leather products in Portland, Oregon, from the finest full-grain hides, creating personalized products to showcase your personal style.