When I look for where to buy leather online, I generally choose one of the highly-rated leather stores that specialize in quality leather. Before the pandemic, I found the best deals on leather and craft supplies in-store, often on clearance racks. I love the smell and the feeling of being in a leather store. But now I do all of my shopping online.
When buying leather online, you must buy from a company that you trust. When you buy in-store, you can see and feel the leather before buying it. So at first, it can be tricky to buy online since all you get to work with is a picture and a list of details. But in the end, I find that purchasing leather online works out well – as long as I choose the right store.
Getting Started Buying Leather Online
|Company||Vegan Leather Options||Price Per Square Foot||Free Shipping|
|Buy Leather Online||No||$3 to $5||No|
|Tandy Leather||No||$3 to $7||$150+|
|District Leather Supply||No||$10 to $20||No|
|Weaver Leather Supply||No||$5 to $15||$100+|
|Springfield Leather||No||$3 to $8||No|
|The Leather Guy||No||$6 to $15||$175+|
|Rocky Mountain Leather||No||$10 to $20||All orders in the USA|
Note: the price per square ft is the price for the natural veg-tanned leather on the site, as it is my top choice. I gave the price for the shoulder (or similar) at 4-6oz for comparison.
It can be intimidating to buy leather online the first time. There are so many options that getting lost in them is easy. You can buy from department stores, or you can buy from leather specialty stores. I prefer the latter because the employees know what they are doing, and the leather is a top priority to them and not just another thing that they sell.
Buy Leather Online with a Checklist
Before buying anything – especially something online – I make a checklist of things to look for. This helps me know that I am making a solid decision and reduces stress significantly. Some points are more important than others, so make sure you create the checklist with your preferences in mind.
Check the Return Policy
Every store has a different return policy. I don’t generally shop at a store that doesn’t have a return policy unless it’s I believe it is something that shouldn’t be returned. When it comes to leather, uncut/marked leather should have a good return policy.
Make a List of Specs
Make a list of what you want when you shop for leather. This includes thickness, type of leather, and size. Look into the different cuts of leather as well because not all parts are created equally.
Ask for Leather Recommendations
Whenever you buy from a company, it’s not a bad idea to ask them what they recommend for the project you have in mind. I typically ask them to give me a cheap option and their best option.
Pay Attention to Shipping
Shipping can stack up. So there are a couple of ways to approach this. Find stores that have affordable shipping or bump up your cart to reach the minimum you need to get free shipping.
Check for Markings
Some projects look better with markings, while others can be ruined by them. So whenever I shop, I pay attention to which cuts have markings and which ones are nearly perfect. I prefer to keep some of each on hand.
Best Specialty Places to Buy Leather Online
These specialty stores are my go-to places for buying leather online. These stores have physical locations throughout the country – and often the world – but you can also purchase from them online. Since they are already trustworthy stores, I feel comfortable buying leather online at their websites.
Buy Leather Online is a great place to buy Italian leather. Their prices are surprisingly good – often the cheapest you can find – and most of their products have an array of reviews you can read through. Each product also has as many specifications as you can imagine. You can request custom splitting as well! All around, Buy Leather Online is a solid place to buy leather online. Everything about Buy Leather Online is fantastic.
Tandy Leather is where I buy most of my leather and leather supplies. They have the most chrome-tanned leather pieces with a great variety of veg-tanned as well – which is my choice leather for new projects. Their prices are fair, and I’ve never been dissatisfied with an order from Tandy. You can also buy a lot of their tools and more on sites like Amazon and eBay. But I always prefer to buy directly from the supplier.
District Leather Supply is quite pricey, and I’ve never purchased from them. However, they sell some of the best Italian leather in the world, as you can select leather from specific tanneries in Italy and the USA. They are also my favorite choice for pre-dyed leather. I always dye my leather, but if I wanted a clean color that looked extremely high-end, I’d consider them for my project.
Weaver Leather Supply is one of the most popular places to buy leather online. They have a great selection, and one of the best prices ranges around. The store is similar to Tandy, but they have plenty of unique items to offer. They offer kangaroo, Cordovan, goat, latigo, lamb hide, and more. It’s difficult to find everything you can buy at your fingertips when you visit Weaver Leather Supply.
If I had to choose one specialty leather store for those working with a budget, I’d choose Springfield Leather. I used to visit Springfield in person regularly, and I regret not visiting the Springfield Leather Company brick and mortar store more often. Thankfully, you can buy from them online. Again, the prices – especially when you purchase from clearance – are hard to beat.
I’ve purchased leather from The Leather Guy on a couple of occasions. The reason I chose The Leather Guy when I did is that the chat assistant was helpful and quick to reply. Other companies took days to reply, and I purchased from the company that replied the quickest. I needed someone to let me know which leather they would use for the project I had in mind. Since his prices were fair, it was an easy choice.
Rocky Mountain Leather Supply is special to me because they have leather from France, Italy, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the USA. I love diversity, and I love to see the differences in the leather even more. However, I do have one complaint – the leather from Rocky Mountain Leather Supply is not cheap. It’s gorgeous and likely worth the price, but they have some of the most expensive leather from standard leather supply stores in the United States.
Best Places to Buy Leather While You Shop
These stores don’t specialize in leather hides, but you can find leather for your projects while you do your shopping on their sites. There’s nothing like combined shipping to make me want to add something to my cart.
If you want small pieces of pre-cut leather, Amazon is not a bad option. They also sell full shoulders, bends, and more. Their prices are about average, but the quality varies greatly considering you’re buying from different sellers. The free, quick shipping for Prime members makes it worth it for small projects.
If you want cheap, then you won’t beat some of the prices on eBay. However, the quality is rarely guaranteed, and returns are rarely accepted. I wouldn’t invest too much in eBay’s stores unless they accept returns. Although, I haven’t found a better place to buy scraps of leather online than on eBay.
I would not buy exclusively from Hobby Lobby, but it’s not a bad idea to bookmark it. They have amazing sales a few times a year where you can purchase simple tooling leather and leather tools.
Etsy is a wonderful place to buy leather that you can’t find anywhere else. They sell in bulk, and they sell scraps at amazing prices. Since most of the sellers on Etsy are independent, each small piece of leather will likely be hand-picked and hand-checked before it is sent to you. The sellers are often very helpful, and Etsy backs you up on any problems you may encounter.
Joann is a great place for fake leather, but they don’t normally sell real leather. So if you want a simple faux leather purse or you have a special order, it’s worth checking them out because their prices are fantastic. Not to mention, Yaya Han – cosplay queen – sells her fabrics through Joann.
Michaels is my favorite place to buy crafting supplies. While I rarely buy leather goods from Michaels, they do offer a few options for faux leather and supplies that always has a couple available.
Where to Buy Vegan Leather Online
Although I work with real leather, I 100% commend using vegan leather. It’s generally better for the environment, and when I think about working with it, I don’t have to block out its origins too. Let’s go vegan leather!
Simplifi Fabric is one of the best places to buy vegan leather online. Their choices are gorgeous and look real. The store is located in Canada, but as far as I know, you can order from the United States and likely most other countries.
NAT Leather sells real leather, but they also have a great selection of some of the most beautiful faux leather I’ve ever seen. If I had to choose one place to buy vegan leather, it would be NAT. Their website is easy to find as it is called LeatherAndFabric.com
Fabric.com is a company owned by Amazon. They sell fabric of every type, including real leather and faux leather. Their vegan leather is gorgeous, and they have a wonderful selection. If you keep an eye on the store, you can find fabrics 50% throughout the year. I suggest waiting for a sale unless you’re in a hurry because the savings are insane.
Exit 15 doesn’t make their leather, but they sell PETA-approved vegan leather made by other companies. Because they do sell from multiple other companies, their selection is grand and diverse. Exit 15 is definitely worth the visit a few times a year.
Question: How Much Should Leather Cost?
Answer: Most real leather will cost somewhere between $10 to $20 a yard. However, if you buy from a discount store or wholesale store, you can get it for less. But if you buy from an international seller, it may cost more.
Question: What Leather is the Highest Quality?
Answer: Full-grain leather is the highest quality leather. It is made from the top layer of the hide and is more difficult to work with. However, any real leather is valuable in the leatherworking world.
Question: Can You Buy Leather Directly From Tanneries?
Answer: Most tanneries sell their leather through other companies. However, your best bet is to ask local farmers who sell their hides. That way, you can buy locally and perhaps cut out the additional cost that retailers add.
Finding Leather Near You
If you prefer to shop in person, then maybe it’s time to browse the leather shops near you. Some of the supply stores – like Weaver and Tandy – have locations all over the country. You can search for “leather stores near me” on Google or ask around. It’s great to get in a leatherworking group on Facebook where you can share leather store locations and your latest projects. That’s also a fantastic way to find free patterns, which is one of my favorite things to find.
If you can’t find any leather stores near you, then don’t be afraid to order online. If you follow the checklist I made, you can rest assured that the leather you will receive is exactly what you’re looking for.
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