I have acquired some leather that seems to have been made to be in vehicle interior. I want to use it to bind books with some tooling done to it. This leather seems to be thin compared to the hide that is normally used to bind books. This makes me think that a substrate is needed to allow the leather to be tooled. What sort of material works best? I was thinking of using compressed paper Machee.

Here is a picture of the leather for reference.

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  • My hunch says that is bonded leather since I can see "fibres" but I do not know for sure. What is it about the leather you are curious about? if you can use it to bind a book? How were you planing on attaching to you book? I have used leather and simple fabrics simply by gluing them to hardboard and millboard. Were you hoping to make a soft cover?
    – Matt
    Mar 22, 2017 at 19:29
  • @matt they advertised the leather as a whole hide, and it's cut in the Normal coat shape, so if it is bonded, it's a lot of trouble to fake it.
    – tuskiomi
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:33
  • @Matt i was told that the hide was too low quality to be used commercially, if that makes any difference. Also, I'm curious as to which side I'm gluing down. I'm using contact cement.
    – tuskiomi
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:36
  • Do you have a finished example of what you are trying to do? I have bound leather to hardcover books before using what I have described in previous comments. Once I get home I was just going to take a picture and answer as such. Unless you had a better idea of your end result?
    – Matt
    Mar 23, 2017 at 11:58

1 Answer 1


If you are very careful with the tools you can do some shallow tooling. Tools with rounded tips would be best. You might be able to just kind of smooth out the texture of the leather in certain areas to create contrast. Even if you back the leather, deeper lines and sharper tools will cut through. You might be able to get creative with some colored leather backings so that when the tool breaks through the color underneath will show.

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