How To Burn Leather: Leather Pyrography Guide

by Albert Varkki updated 08-14-2023

Table Of Contents

man burning pattern into leather

In the distinctive art of pyrography, aptly named leather burning, designs are burned into leather.

This ingenious craft marries elaborate patterns, monograms, and other unique creations with leather goods.

The following guide will take you through the entire process of burning leather, including tool selection and creating a custom design.

Materials and Tools

example of leather pyrography

The primary tool in leather burning is a pyrography pen, a specialized device that heats up to burn designs into leather.

Pyrography pens come in various formats, such as solid-point and wire-nib burners.

While wire-nib burners have adjustable wire tips, solid-point burners have a larger and more solid brass tip that heats up.

The pen you need depends on your project and preferences.

Here is what else you need:

  • Leather: The best leather to burn is vegetable tanned. It has never been treated and therefore burns uniformly.
  • Safety gear: Since burning leather can release gas, work in an area with good ventilation and consider wearing a mask. You may also want to stow away your hot tool in a secure place when you don’t use it.
  • Design: You’re free to create your own design or use one already made. You can draw your design on the leather or use transfer paper for the pre-made one.

Preparing the Leather

workbench preparing to burn leather bag

  • Get the leather ready before you burn it.
  • Remove dust and dirt with a wet cloth first.
  • Afterward, trace the design onto the leather with transfer paper.
  • You can sketch your design directly onto the leather using a pencil.
  • Always keep it simple, especially if you’re starting out.

Burning the Design

  • You can start burning after preparing your design.
  • Heat your pyrography pen and follow your design’s lines when you burn the design into the leather.
  • To guarantee an even burn, maintain a steady hand and move at a constant speed.
  • If you’re new to leather burning, you might want to practice on a small piece of leather first.
  • Remember that the longer you keep a burning pen in one spot, the darker a burn you will get.
  • You can produce various colors and depths by adjusting how long you use the pen and how much pressure you apply.
  • That way, you achieve outstanding depth and detail.

Wrapping Up

  • Let the leather cool down after you’ve completed burning your design.
  • Then, you can use leather paint or dyes to color your design.
  • Whether you should do this or not depends on the style you want to get.
  • Ultimately, seal the leather with a finish to protect your design and achieve a polished look.

How to Burn Smoothly

  • You can use a spoon-shaped pen tip to achieve a smoother burn.
  • The burn will be smoother because the spoon’s rounded edge makes it easier to glide over the leather.
  • Also, try to keep your pen’s heat low for greater control.
  • That way, the leather won’t burn so quickly.

Crafting leather burns is an exciting and rewarding experience. With proper equipment and know-how, gorgeous, personal leather goods are yours.

To achieve the best outcome, make it a point not to rush and exercise caution.


We hope you enjoyed our article on how to burn leather.

If you have any questions or comments, contact us at, or leave them in the comments.

Want to read more? Check out our Leather pages.

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Author: Albert Varkki

Albert Varkki is the co-founder of Von Baer. He understands leather products as a consumer, supplier, and a manufacturer, helping you with the inside knowledge you need, to choose the perfect leather product for you.

We always aim to have the highest editorial standards, and only publish accurate information on our website.

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