Leather 101: Veg Tanned Leather

There are a number of different DIY tutorials out there for leather cuff bracelets and many of them will call for leather. As a rather generic term, it can become overwhelming to realize that not all leathers are considered equal.

3oz and 5oz Leather
3oz and 5oz Leather

I thought leather was leather so in my head craft store leather was a  good place to start . Unfortunately, the leather can change from a really great piece to a really bad piece in the time it takes you to pull two of them off the shelves.  Even bags of leather remnants can be 50/50 considering most of them come in odd color lots, ounces, and can be heavily damaged.

Most vegetable tanned leather (Veg Tanned) is minimally processed allowing you to be able to design, paint, and seal to your heart’s desire. It is also know as a Full Grain Leather.

These Ounces are typically used to create small accessories such as wallets, masks, wrist bands, cuffs, key chains, phone cases, some purses. The higher the ounce dictates the thickness of the leather. Higher ounces mean more durable leather for saddles, bags, holsters, knife sheaths, straps, spurs, and anything else you would want to create.

1 to 2 oz being the thinnest and I find that this is common in garment and lining leathers

2 to 3 oz leathers

3 to 4 oz leathes

5 to 6 oz leathers

Some Leather bracelet cuffs are not veg tanned leather especially if they come already dyed. Once dyed and sealed it becomes a finished product and no longer veg tanned leather. Although this may work, especially if you are planning on doing some mixed media work and do not want the added hassle of dying a piece. However, it is important to designate the differences between Suede Leather and Veg Tanned Leather.

They are not the same thing and although many DIY blogs call for “Leather” in actuality what they are using is Suede which is a different cut of leather and may not stand up to the durability of a 5oz piece of leather whether dyed or left natural.

Another thing people need to be aware of is the difference between full grain and top grain leather. Full Grain still has the imperfections of the scars and blemishes that came from the hide while top grain has had them removed.

Veg Tan Leather

When creating pieces, it is very important to be able to choose the right leather for the job. whether dyed/treated or untreated/veg-tanned.

More Information on Leather:

Adam’s Leatherwork: Leather Types and Terminology

Kaufman Mercantile

Where to buy Leather:

Tandy Leather Factory

Wickett and Craig

Springfield Leather





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