How To Create Leather Letter Key Chains
I’ve been wanting to make this leather keychain for a while now, but I was worried my Cricut wouldn’t be able to cut through the tough material without purchasing a deep cut blade. Although getting another Cricut blade isn’t a bad idea, I couldn’t justify the $40 cost for just creating one keychain. I experimented with a couple of different techniques and this was the best one I found. So yes! You can definitely cut through thick materials with the blade your Cricut or standard cut machine came with, but there is a hack, so I’ll walk you through the steps that worked for me.
Make sure you are giving yourself plenty of time to complete this project as there are several steps to follow. It’s still so fun and satisfying to create, but definitely not something to rush through.
What You’ll Need
This is a really simple craft, so you only need a couple of items. I purchased a 1 mm inch thick light pink faux leather sheet at my local Michael’s craft store. It was the Cricut brand, and you can purchase it one sheet at a time. It was about $15 a sheet so be careful when you are cutting, cut to the edge, so you don’t waste product and can use the remaining leather for a different craft. The sheet will last through several cuts because it is quite large. So far I have made a keychain and a pair of earrings with the materials so one sheet will stretch.
The only other items you will need are a hot glue gun, a keychain ring and a pair of scissors. Make sure your scissors are pretty sharp. I have a pair of Fiskars scissors for cutting fabric that work perfectly for this craft. Standard kitchen scissors would also work well for this project.
What You’ll Do
The first thing you will need to do is create your letter. I used Canva to make the letter design with the letter ‘M’. My name actually starts with the letter F, but I like to use M a lot for monogram items because it looks better, and I feel like it stands for Mom. So use whatever letter fits you.
Canva is free so if you are not already signed up head over to Canva.com and create an account. You just need an email. Once you are in, open up a new project. Canva has a lot of project options with different sizes. However, you can create your own dimensions so choose that option in the upper right-hand corner and create a project that is 1080×1080 pixels, or a large square.
Once you have your project opened in Canva use the text tool and choose one letter for your initial. I choose a basic font in capital letters but feel free to choose any font you would like as your initial keychain. Remember that your Cricut will have to cut the letter out of thick material, so I would stick to a design that is rather simple and easy for your machine to cut out.
After you have your letter selected, copy it, you now have two of the same letter. Flip the second letter upside down and place it above the first letter. (See photo for reference) Now using the square tool create an inch long bar to join the two letters together. Download the design as a PNG checking ‘transparent’ background the drop-down menu.
Upload your PNG into Design Space. Use the measurements in Design Space to judge how large you want your keychain to be. I made mine three inches long total but make yours however large or small you want your lettered keychain to be. Keep in mind that the smaller your letter is the more difficult it will be for your Cricut to cut through the thick material.
Before you begin to cut, change the cutting material in Design Space to Cricut leather. Cut out your material as usual but do not click the arrow to finish the project. Instead, re-push on the go button (the Cricut C on your machine). Make sure the cuts are lining up, so the machine is cutting out the same design again. Do this for a total of 3 times then click the arrow, so your machine releases the project on the cutting mat.
You should have a deep cut in the leather about 90% all the way through. Take your sharp scissors and cut along the scoring lines that your Cricut made, finishing out the remaining cut.
Now that you have your piece, fold it over so that the letters are touching back to back. Take your hot glue gun and glue the letters together leaving the loop at the top unglued. Wait for the glue to cool down then slip on the key ring for the final step.
Tips and Tricks
If your Cricut slips and doesn’t cut the exact same line the second and third time you will have to re-cut the project. But don’t waste the material simply flip the mat over and try the cut again on the other side.
If you have any extra glue coming out of the sized or jagged edges from cutting you can lightly sand down the seams.
This is the process to cut through leather using the regular Cricut blade, for even better results you can use the Cricut deep cut blade and only cut once. It will cut through thicker material like leather and wood chip.
Check your blade after and make sure there aren’t any leftover threads stuck to your machine that would ruin your next cut.
I have not tried to cut material over 1 mm inch thick. So when you are purchasing your materials for this project I would recommend using the same thickness of material or smaller.
If you are making this project with thinner material, adjust how many times you need to cut. You may only need to cut once or twice for Cricut faux suede for instance.
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