When starting a project it is very ideal to figure out what size leather you need.
Many different items can be made out of leather, but not all leather sizes are ideal for specific items. So determining what size leather to buy depends on what you want to craft. Just as there are different leathers there are also different leather thread sizes and types.
We are going to go over a leather sizing guide to help you find the best leather for your project and explain why leather is measured in ounces.
To start we should go over the sizes of each leather, the ounce, millimeter and inches so you can see the difference.
You can start to notice a pattern here.
For every ounce added it will result in an extra 0.4mm or and extra 1/64 of an inch.
This will continue on for however big you see the leather size goes on for. Usually you do not see many pieces of leather above twelve ounces but it can happen.
So what is the ideal size of leather to use for your next project?
Determining the size of leather you want to use will be up to preference on how thin or thick you want your finished project to be.
In saying that, you still want to stay around the recommend sizes listed below so you can maximize your work.
Starting from the thinnest leather you will want to use 1-2oz. for leather crafting, linens, bookbinding, lightweight garments, light bags and wallets. This can include small key chain style key fobs and small accessories.
For example when a company uses a leather piece or logo on a shoe they will use around one maybe two ounce leather. This will cut down on bulkiness that some of the heavier leather has.
From 2-4oz. leather you will focus on furniture upholstery, handbags, automotive seating and clothes. These will give you some extra strength than the thinnest leathers while maintaining some structure.
Especially with making wallets I do not try to go above four ounces as it can create a lot of bulk in your pocket. When building a bi-fold wallet with multiple card slots and a cash slot, it can become thick very fast.
The ideal range would be to use a four ounce piece for the outside and around two to three ounces for the inside pockets. I also prefer thinner wallets and that is why I tend to not buy wallets at stores since they are always built with many pockets and tend to be very bulky.
From 4-6oz. you can focus on pants, motorcycle gear, heavier clothes, heavier bags, cases, shoes and boots. Around this width you can start to make more durable articles of clothes as the extra width will help maintain the item structure.
From 6- 10 oz. which is a big leap, you can focus on motorcycle seats, belts and straps, horse saddles, gun holsters and sheaths.
When using this size of leather your item will probably need some strength for abuse as most of these items will do to the leather. Building a sheath that will be bouncing off your hip and have a blade going back and forth between it needs some strength. Same with saddles and motorcycle seats as for prolonged periods of time you will be stretching out this leather causing it to weaken.
You can check out and use this reference guide to bring along with you next time you are going to purchase some leather. It is also good if you can look at leather in person to really understand how thick it will be when layered.
When I first ordered online I was happy as I got a 4oz piece to make a wallet but realized I might need something a little thinner since I wanted to get into more pocketed designs.
While on the other hand making a sheath, I noticed it was too thin and weak to hold the knife securely.
If you can, you could order a bulk lot of scrap pieces with varying sizes just to get an idea of how big and small each weight really is. Because the Tandy leather image above doesn’t help too much when looking at it on a screen.
To get a good comparison, one quarter is equal to about a 4 ounce piece of leather or 1.6mm or 1/64in.
So why is leather measured by weight?
When the leather is cut and measured it is usually done so when the leather is wet. And since the leather when cut (split) isn’t fully even all the way across they will apply a weight to this measurements.
A leather gauge is used which will display an ounce number on the inside and a millimeter number on the outside. Since this cannot be done throughout the whole piece they take a few measurements and this is why you usually see 3/4oz. or 3-4oz. when purchasing. This gauge is more accurate than taking a ruler to the side of the leather and using the number shown.
So do not get too hung up if you order a piece of leather and it is slightly bigger than expected or smaller because it will vary. Especially when order a big ten sq. ft. piece you can expect there is going to be some change in weight by a small amount.