How to Punch Holes in Leather for Stitching?
How to Punch Holes in Leather for Stitching?
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Sheepskin is a natural, luxury, expensive and quite strong, hard wearing material. Therefore, leathercraft requires sophisticated skills and techniques, devotion, talent and physical vigor. Stitching holes in leather, you are to be concentrated, attentive and well-prepared, as measuring, marking and positioning means a lot.

Leatherworking Tools and Materials

The problem is that sheepskin is a quite thick material, not suitable for processing it by sewing machine or manually. Therefore, it’s quite difficult to clear a top-quality eyelet in a belt, handbag or bomber jacket.

Make leather wallet

Accurate, neat and clean openings of the proper diameter characterize the highest quality of the finished item. So, they can be made by:

Actually, when we are in hurry and need an additional eyelet in a belt due to weight loss or gain, we can cut it by a knife, a pair of scissors or an awl. Knives are used to add accents and make the special design elements. They are essential for long cuts and rounded belt ends.

Make hole in a belt

Needles and awls are preferable to make small, poke punctures or enlarge pre-existing ones. Chisels are good for straight lines, without corners and rounded areas. They help you to puncture 2 layers of goatskin simultaneously, making multiple holes of the special size, including square and rectangular ones, with the necessary spacing. Additionally, you can make a fast eyelet with a screwdriver.

Useful Information
However, it’s difficult to keep it tidy. Thus the best tool is the leather hole punch that makes round or oval piercings of the necessary diameter.

Complimentary Stuff

To make an accurate perforation, you would need also:

  • a ruler or measuring tape;
  • pliers to remove the awl or drill bit;
  • a permanent marker;
  • a block of wood to protect the table surface from damage;
  • something heavy to hold both belt sides, avoiding any moves.

Holes in belt

It’s essential to measure the distance between the perforations and mark the dots for them. Making it with a permanent marker, be careful, don’t leave stains on the surface. Supposing you use a pen or a pencil, the marks won’t be noticeable, but permanent spots are difficult to clean without damaging the item.

Equal intervals are essential for rivets, stitching and any kind of clothing fasteners, buttons and snaps. A block of wood is very helpful whenever you drill the thick, natural material, use a bit or an awl to puncture it. Taking a piece of another soft material, for example, thick pigskin or cork instead is possible. You can use also the special butting board that protects the tool edges and absorbs noise. A wooden or rubber mallet cold be helpful for multiple applications, as well.

Types of Special-Purpose Hole Punchers

Meanwhile, clearing eyelets in goatskin, consider the special punchers that are not expensive and very handy. It’s much more convenient, fast and easy to make holes with them. A leather hole puncher is preferable as it helps to make really tidy punctures, crafting any homemade items without any efforts or longtime education.

Leather hole puncher

The basic task-oriented tool types include:

  • oblong;
  • arch;
  • hollow;
  • strap end.

Oblong leather punch is used to cut the special-size, oblong piercing, necessary for bag straps, belts, bracelets, purses, etc. (when buckles are required). These slots are really tidy and good for professional or DIY applications.

Strap end perforating tool is needed to cut rounded ends of bag and purse straps. It is commonly necessary for belts making. It can be also called a cutter, as it looks like a rounded sheet of metal with sharp, polished and hardened edges.

Arch punch is the tool that enables making bolt, round holes. It belongs to the tube devices and differs from the hollow one by the shape, as it has a handle and a head, being convenient to use. Hollow (dry) tool looks like a round drill bit that has an opening inside.

It stands out by the generous number of dies and punches. Made of strong, hardened steel, these lasting perforators can pin even the metal sheets, thick plastic and goatskin, remaining sharp.

Meanwhile, when you need oval or round drive punchers, it’s better to select multi-purpose, versatile set. There are rotary models (with the wheels) and the ones with removable handles. The leather hole punch includes several stainless steel attachments of different sizes and shapes (heads).

How to Perforate a Puncture with a Rotary Tool?

As soon as you have purchased a suitable, top-quality tool, it’s possible to start preparations.

  1. Measure the distance between the existing holes.
  2. Mark the next puncture location.
  3. Match the right eyelet diameter.
  4. Squeeze the leather hole punch hard.

Hole puncher for leather

When you use a multipurpose, wheel tool, a wooden or cork board is unnecessary. You still have to position the belt, keeping it taut. It’s perfect to do by placing dumbbells or other heavy objects on both sides. Otherwise, ask somebody to help you and pull it.

Commonly a puncher can pierce 2 layers of thick leather. So, stitching holes in leather, just twist it a bit to avoid squeezing. Strong hands may be required, so just press firmly. Now, push the leather scraps out of the hole, and it’s finished!

Meanwhile, a rotary tool has some disadvantages, as well. It’s tiring for your hands when you make a lot of piercings within the limited time, and you can puncture only the narrow pieces of material, like belts or straps, not the wide items, as it’s limited by the front lever length. So, let’s proceed to the other tools beneficial application.

Making Perforations with a Drill or Dry Punch

The first 3 steps are the same: you need to measure the distance and mark the spots. However, you are to place the belt to the wooden block or a piece of cork and immobilize it. A hollow tool or an oblong punch is to be pushed through by a hammer or a mallet. Only position the sheepskin properly and hammer firmly, that’s all!

Video Tutorial: How to Punch Holes in Leather

Thus, having all the necessary, high-quality, professional or DIY tools, it’s pretty easy to punch holes in leather. Proper measurements, preparations are important, and you may craft all the items you want. You may need also some work clothes like a pinafore or a boiler suit, but for leatherwork it’s not essential.


Steve Coltharp
Hello, my name is Steve and I’m an author of the blog “Leather Toolkits“. The beauty is in simplicity, so learn, train, and make your life maximally simple by creating things that will please people for many years. Let your hobby grow into something more and make this world brighter! Hope, in this blog you will find answers to all of your questions.

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  1. I have never used a leather punch before, but this worked perfect on my first try.

  2. Needed to add new holes to a couple of leather belts. Made nice clean holes.

  3. You are always so informative and helpful, thank you for sharing your knowledge and posting!

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