Leather Rose Tutorial
If you’re looking for a cute DIY Valentine present these leather roses are a great choice. This tutorial will take you through creating your very own leather rose.
You can create this piece from scrap leather. I recommend an 18″ x 18″ piece for the petals but it doesn’t have to be perfectly square, just big enough for you to cut the petals out of. You want to use a thinner leather for this, I prefer 3-4 oz. I have the best luck with cowhide suede. It can be whatever animal you like but I find cowhide does the best. Stay away from lamb and pigskin suede as they don’t quite have the mass to stand up to the heat gun.
You will want to download this pattern and print it out. Right click on the image> Open in new tab>, Right click on it again, > Save image as to download. When printing click the Fit to Page box so that the pattern takes up the entire page in the print preview before printing. Print on standard 8.5×11 letter size.
Cut out the shapes.
Once you have the pattern and all of your supplies take the piece of leather you have chosen for the petals and select the side you want to be the underside of the petal. Begin tracing each petal piece onto the leather. You can use a ball point pen or a sharpie for this.
The numbers on each petal indicate how many of each size you will need for your rose, but I advise cutting at least one extra of each size just in case one gets extra crispy later.
When you have all your pieces traced cut them out, try and keep them organized by size. It will help you later.
Next you want to cut out 2 strips of leather a half an inch wide and 1.5 times longer than the stick or skewer you have chosen. Then you will need a 4″x 4″ square of leather. These are going to form the stem and base of your rose, so I recommend either green or black. They should also be a thinner cowhide leather.
I highly recommend watching the video for this part. Now take the 4×4 square and fold it corner to corner so it forms a triangle. Take your scissors and make a half inch cut in the very center of the folded side, pointed at the corners you brought together to create the fold. When you unfold it there should now be a 1 inch slit in the middle of the leather square. Repeat this process folding the square to the two corners you didn’t use last time. Now you should have a nice X shape cut into the center of your square.
Unfold your square. Starting with each corner you want to cut a large triangle out of the square from each flat side. See pic below.
Set the stem pieces aside for now, grab your petals, heat gun and needle nose pliers and head outside with an extension cord. You could do this step inside but its almost guaranteed to set off the fire alarm and your house will smell like burned leather.
Starting with the smallest petal, grip it with the needle nose pliers near the bottom point. Grip it high up enough that you’re holding the petal flat and its not drooping over.
Turn the heatgun on and aim it at the top edges of the petal. This is a time consuming process so be patient. Eventually the petal will start to curve toward the heat. It may smoke a bit and even char a little. This is normal. Make sure to move the heat away from a section and move to another once it starts curling. Only do the top rounded edge of the petal.
Make sure to hold the heat gun at an angle that isn’t aimed toward your hand or anything beyond the petal that you don’t want burned. This includes other petals.
You could do this step with a candle, but it does leave smoke all over the underside of the petal and if you slip it can get on the front of the petal as well.
You don’t need the petal to curve a lot, just enough to tuck under a bit.
When all your petals are curved it’s time to move on to the next step. Plug in your glue gun and let it heat up. Make sure your petals are separated by size and grab your skewer.
Take one of your smallest petals and cover it with hot glue only on the lower 40%. Then roll one side of the petal over the tip of the skewer, then fold the other side over the petal over those as if the petal is giving the skewer a hug. A hot glue filled hug.
When the glue has set pic up another of the smallest petals. You’re going to do the same thing with this petal only its going to hug the petal already around the skewer. You want the center of this new petal to cover where the first petal folds over, almost as if the petals are facing each other.
For the third small petal you want to do the same thing but you want to cut a slit in the petal from its point to about a third of the way up the middle. I also cut off the very end point, but this is optional.
Now you’ll glue this petal to the others. I prefer to place it on one of the sides where the second overlaps the first.
From here you’re going to want to move to the medium petals and cut off the tips as well as slit them about a third of the way up. I start on the opposite side of the last small petal and then move in a clockwise motion around the rose, each petal overlapping the previous by about half.
It’s a good idea to kind of place the petal without glue so you can see where you want it to go before adding the glue. You want to keep gluing each petal to the outside of the others, not going further and further down the skewer. A little bit of this is inevitable, but what you’re aiming for is for the rose to grow outward, not downward.
When you’ve run out of medium petals, move on to the large continuing around your circle. Add petals until your rose is full and symmetrical. Sometimes adding all the petals will make your rose lopsided, so stop when you have a nice full circle.
Now grab the strips you cut for your stem. You want to cut them in half, leaving about a half inch at the end uncut.
When you’ve cut both in half, glue the tabs to the sides of the bottom of the rose across from each other. Now you should have 4 strands of leather dangling from the bottom of the rose.
Take one strand from each side, the two that are closest to you, and cross them over each other. Hold two strands in each hand, one of the crosses strands and one of the free strands. Find the strand that crossed on top. If the strap on top crossed right to left then take the free strap on the right and bring it behind the skewer and up between the two strands in your left hand. Then cross it over so that it is now on the right side.
This is a 4 strand braid with a core. If you need a more in depth tutorial you can find one here on Youtube. The only difference in our rose is that the wood core stays in the center. Whenever a strand goes behind remember it goes around the wood.
When you have the entire strand braided, glue the opposing strands flat against each other. Cut off the excess but make sure your skewer is completely covered.
We are close to being done! When your stem braid is complete grab your leather star thingy that you made from the 4×4 square. Push the stem through the X in the center and slide it up until it meets the base of the rose.
I prefer for the fuzzy side of the leather to face up toward the rose and the shiny side to be down toward the stem, but its a personal preference. Glue all around the star and press it up to the bottom of the petals.
And TADA! You have a leather rose.
If you’re super enterprising you could always make your Valentine a bouquet. These can also be attached to headband, just put a loop of elastic in the place of the skewer, or on a bracelet or bag. Make the rose without a skewer, then chop off the bottom so it will sit flat and glue it to whatever you want.
If you have questions, please email me at Nix@firebirdleather.com
If you have advice as to how I can make future tutorials better, I would love to hear it. I’m very much a novice and still working on details like the camera focus and good lighting.
And if DIY isn’t your style you can always purchase a rose from me directly at my Etsy Store.