How to Cross Stitch Leather

Cross stitching on leather is methodical and can seem tedious because it takes a lot of time. Yet, cross-stitching is the simplest most stitches you can choose to use on leather.

You must be wondering how to cross stitch leather because of its nature and thickness. Leather can be challenging to work on, and it doesn’t matter what kind of hand stitching you are making.

Here, you will learn easy and quick ways to cross stitch on leather.

How to Cross Stitch Leather?

Acquiring the skill of hand stitching leather is easy and quite important. But, you should be aware that cross-stitching leather is different from cross-stitching fabric.

You will need to punch holes into the leather, unlike cross-stitching fabrics. Cross-stitching leather is advantageous because it requires less concentration than cross-stitching fabric.

One of the reasons for this is the size of holes you will punch on leather.

What Will You Need to Cross Stitch Leather?

1. A Piece of Leather

There are different qualities of leather in the market. Always go for the best quality piece of leather.

2. Grid Paper

The grid paper will guide you when making cross stitching holes on your leather. You will need this when you cross-stitch a pattern on the leather.

3. Leather Needles

Leather is thick and hard; thus, you will need sharp and thick needles with a big eye.

4. Beeswax

Beeswax is for greasing your cross-stitching thread.

You will only need beeswax if your thread is not pre-waxed. But to save yourself the extra process of waxing it, buy pre-waxed ones.

5. Stitching Thread

Cross stitching leather needs a thick thread. The thread should be proportionate with both the hole size and stitch size.

Buy a pre-waxed thread to make your work easier. But you can buy an unwaxed one and then wax it before you start cross-stitching.

6. A Knife/Cutter

Always choose a very sharp knife because it will make your work easier and make neat cuts. Struggling to cut your leather with a blunt blade or knife may result in untidy work.

7. Leather Skiving Knife

You will need a skiving knife for thinning your leather to make it supple. Besides, you can also use the skiving knife to trim your piece of leather bulky seams.

8. Wooden Awl

You will need an awl to make holes in your leather before starting cross-stitching. A punching tool is also ideal for making stitching holes. You can choose either of the two devices.

9. Scissors

In any stitching, scissors are an essential tool for cutting threads and fabrics. Always choose sharp scissors.

You can replace your blunt scissors with a sharp one for neat and easy work.

10. Sewing Tape Measure

A sewing tape measure is for measuring the size of materials you will need to cross-stitch. It saves you the agony of approximating and making mistakes that will force you to work back and forth.

11. A Stitching Pony

Your sewing will be easier if you hold the leather pieces together using a stitching pony. The stitching pony will also make your cross stitching work go faster.

It is optional because you may prefer stitching on the leather without the stitching pony.

How to Prepare Leather Before Cross Stitching?

Leather is not like linen or Aida that you will pick and start cross stitching on it. Leather is thick and lacks holes to guide you while cross-stitching.

You should, thus, make a few adjustments to prepare it for an easy stitching process.

Step 1: If the leather you are using is very thick, you may need to gouge it. It should lessen the thickness to make your cross-stitching work easier.

Step 2: Get a grid paper piece the same size as the leather you want to cross-stitch. You can choose either a finer grid or a more giant maxed grid, depending on your preference.

Step 3: Lay the leather on a flat surface with the grid paper on top, ensuring you align the edges. Use tape to hold the pieces together to prevent any movements that will ruin your work.

Step 4: Start punching holes at the grid paper’s crossings using an awl. Once done, you can separate them, and your leather is ready for cross-stitching.

Using grid paper to make holes on your leather ensures evenly spacing of the holes. It is when you want to make a cross-stitching pattern on the leather.

How to Prepare a Thread for Cross Stitching?

Step 1: Use sharp scissors to cut a piece of thread you will be using for cross-stitching.

Step 2: Always avoid cutting the thread into very long pieces. Long ones will make your stitching process difficult and even slow it down.

Also, avoid cutting your threads into pieces longer than 3 feet.

Step 3: Thread your needle with your cut piece. It will not be necessary to make a knot at the free end on your thread.

Knots make your work untidy and so avoid them as much as possible.

Step 4: After threading the needle, you should start cross-stitching your leather.

Stitching leather may need two needles or one. It will depend on whether you are cross-stitching two pieces together or a pattern on one.

A Step by Step Process to Cross Stitch Pieces of Leather

Below is a process on how to cross-stitch your pieces of leather in 12 simple steps. After the process, you will realize that cross-stitching leather is so much easier and quicker.

Play with thread colors to produce a nice piece of art instead of a plain and rather boring one.

Step 1: Use leather glue to stick the pieces together and ensure the edges are in line. Gluing the leather pieces will make sure the holes are uniform and at a fixed distance.

Step 2: You may want to leave a small gap between the leather pieces to tighten while stitching. As you sew and pull the stitches, the gap will also shrink. Gaps will be a sign of how tight your stitches are.

Step 3: Cross-stitching two leather pieces together will need using two leather needles.

But, you will not need two thread pieces for each needle but one for both.

Step 4: Thread both needles with one piece of thread. Take one from each terminal, and pull the ends a few inches.

Step 5: Start stitching from one edge of your two glued leather pieces. Push one needle through one punched hole on one piece of leather.

Then, push the other needle through the adjacent hole on a different leather piece. Pull both needles to tighten the stitch.

Step 6: Push both needles through the same punched holes but on the opposite sides.

You can do this from the underside of the leather pieces. Bring both needles back up.

Step 7: Pull the threads to tighten your first stitch before working on the cross-stitch. It will mark and secure your start point.

Step 8: Pull both needles to tighten the stitch and ensure the thread is equal on both sides of the stitch.

Step 9: Bring one needle and push it through the hole on the opposite side of the next set of holes. Draw the thread all the way to complete your first half cross stitch.

Bring the other needle and push it through the other hole opposite the next set of holes.

Step 10: Draw the thread all the way to tighten it and to complete your first cross-stitch. Repeat the process to complete your next stitch.

Step 11: Continue with this exact process onto the next cross-stitches to the end. Always make sure you tighten every stitch before working on the next one.

Step 12: End your cross stitching project by pushing the needles into the opposite holes. Tighten the thread from both sides and make a knot from underneath the leather pieces.

You can also stitch over the last stitch and bury your thread in the finishing stitch to secure it.

Cut the remaining excess thread to finish your project.

Why Should You Use Waxed Thread to Cross Stitch Leather?

Waxed thread is good when cross-stitching leather but not a must. The wax’s work is to grease the threads to make stitches stick tight on your piece of leather.

Wax also prevents the threads from tangling. Using waxed thread will also ensure the thread does not pull out of the needle while stitching.

What Are the Types of Thread Suitable for Cross Stitching Leather?

The leather is strong and very durable. Cross stitching leather needs a thick and robust thread that will not wear out quickly.

If you use cotton thread to cross stitch leather, the leather’s tannins will erode the thread. It will reduce the durability of the cross-stitches.

Use polyester or nylon threads when cross-stitching leather. Bonded threads will also be perfect for cross-stitching leather.

Always use heavy-duty threads when cross-stitching leather for durability and a nice look.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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