Scouts who complete the requirements to earn the Leatherwork merit badge will explore leather's history and its endless uses. They will learn to make a useful leather item using the same types of raw materials that our ancestors used; be challenged to master skills like hand-stitching, lacing, and braiding.; and learn how to preserve and protect leather items so they will last a lifetime and beyond.


  1. Identify and demonstrate to your counselor the safe use of leatherworking tools. Show correct procedures for handling leathercraft dyes, cements, and finishes. Know first aid for cuts, internal poisoning, and skin irritation.
  2. Explain to your counselor
    • Where leather comes from
    • What kinds of hides are used to make leather
    • What are five types of leather
    • What are the best uses for each type of leather
  3. Make one or more articles of leather that use at least five of the following steps:
    • Pattern layout and transfer
    • Cutting leather
    • Punching holes
    • Carving or stamping surface designs
    • Applying dye or stain and finish to the project
    • Assembly by lacing or stitching
    • Setting snaps and rivets
    • Dressing edges
  4. Recondition or show that you can take proper care of your shoes, a baseball glove, a saddle, furniture, or other articles of leather.
  5. Do ONE of the following:
    • Learn about the commercial tanning process. Report about it to your merit badge counselor.
    • Tan the skin of a small animal. Describe the safety precautions you will take and the tanning method that you used.
    • Braid or plait an article out of leather or vinyl lace.
    • Visit a leather-related business. This could be a leathercraft supply company, a tannery, a leather goods or shoe factory, or a saddle shop. Report on your visit to your counselor.



  • Burnett, Paul. Basic Leatherwork. The Leather Factory, 1986.
  • Grant, Bruce. Encyclopedia of Rawhide and Leather Braiding. Cornell Maritime Press, 1972.
  • Tandy Leather Co. Lacing and Stitching for Leathercraft. 1997.
  • Tandy Leather Co. Leather Crafting. 1998.
  • Michaels, Valerie. The Leatherworking Handbok: A Practical Illustrated Source Book of Techniques and Projects. Cassell PLC, 1995.
  • Moody, Ben. Just Tooling Around: Easy-to-Do Leather Stamping. Hot Off the Press, Inc., 1994.
  • Richards, Matt. Deerskins into Buckskins: How to Tan with Natural Materials/ A Field Guide for Hunters and Gatherers. Backcountry Publishing, 1997.
  • Stohlman, Al. The Art of Making Leather Cases, Volume I. Tandy Leather Company, 1979.
  • The Art of Making Leather Cases, Volume II. Tandy Leather Company, 1983.
  • The Art of Making Leather Cases, Volume III. Tandy Leather Company, 1987.
  • Coloring Leather. Tandy Leather Co., 1985.
  • How to Carve Leather. Tandy Leather Co., 1952.
  • Leathercraft Tools (How to Use Them, How to Sharpen Them). Tandy Leather Co., 1984.