Burned Leather Ornament DIY

Let’s play a quick game of ‘Two Truths and a Lie: Holiday Edition’ shall we?  One: I’ve never sent out a holiday card, like ever.  Two: I’ve never forgotten about/misplaced gifts, only to discover and wrap them Christmas Eve.  Three: I make personalized ornaments for family and friends.

Based on the title and content of this post, you should be able to surmise I do, in fact, make ornaments.  The other truth?  I’ve never sent out a holiday card, but I do love receiving them.

Last year, I put my newest toy, I mean tool, to use by making simple wood burned ornaments.


Following a similar process, I decided to put a spin on the burned ornament by substituting leather for wooden discs.  To get started, I dug through my stash of leather scraps, then tested the wood burner to be sure it would work well on a small corner.  The natural finish leather worked best, whereas a metallic gold finished leather didn’t burn at all.

Armed with the knowledge my plan would work, I created a template in Photoshop, customizing it with family names, printing a sheet full.


Just as I did with the wooden discs, I taped the template in place, with a small piece of carbon paper between the two.


Using a ball point pen, I traced the design, transferring the design to the leather.  It’s a faint line, but it’s enough to follow along with the burner.  Moving steadily along, I trace the design, leaving a darker, slightly depressed design behind.


Up close, it doesn’t look quite as smooth, but I also feel like that’s part of the charm of the ornament being hand-made.  If there are areas of a brand already on the leather, it takes the burning differently, kind of like a harder spot in a wooden piece.


With a fully warmed burner and the right leather, an ornament takes less than five minutes to make.  Even with 12 days until Christmas, there’s still plenty of time to make ornaments for everyone on your list.  Give as a small ‘I’m thinking about you’ gift or use it as a gift tag for a more personal touch.


Other quick gift ideas using this method would be personalizing a wallet or key chain.  Have travel plans for the holiday season, make a set of custom bag tags.

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