Laser Cutting Leather: Your Complete Guide

by Winnie Li Posted in December 30, 2022

Leather is one of the most versatile materials and can be used for various projects. But if you want to take your leather projects to the next level, laser cutting is the way. You can easily create intricate designs and patterns with laser cutting, and the finished product is sure to impress.

laser cutting leather projects

In this ultimate guide, we'll take you through everything you need to know about laser cutting leather, from what techniques to use to the best materials for the job. So, let's dive in!

In This Article

  • Is Leather Safe to Laser Cut?
  • Benefits and Risks of Laser Cutting Leather
  • Best Practices for Laser Cutting Leather
  • Advantages of Laser Cutting Leather
  • What Types of Leather Can Be Laser Cut?
  • Tips on Preventing Burn Marks When Laser Cutting Leather
  • Best Laser Cutter for Leather
  • Laser Cutting Leather FAQs
  • Conclusion

Is Leather Safe to Laser Cut?

Whether you're a leatherworker looking to take your craft to the next level or a creative looking to explore laser cutting, you may have one question: is leather safe to laser cut?

The answer depends on several factors, including the type of leather you're working with and the laser cutting machine you're using. This article will explore the benefits and risks of laser cutting leather and provide best practices for a successful leather laser cutting experience.

Benefits and Risks of Laser Cutting Leather

When it comes to laser cutting leather, there are many benefits, including the ability to create intricate designs and patterns and achieve impressive precision. Laser cutting is also a great way to create leather pieces that are thicker than what can be achieved with traditional leatherworking techniques.

But it's important to know the risks associated with laser cutting leather. Because leather is a natural material, it can be affected by heat, leading to searing, burning, and other damage. 

Best Practices for Laser Cutting Leather

There are a few best practices to keep in mind to ensure successful laser cutting leather results. 

First and foremost, it's important to choose the right leather laser cutting machine. You'll want to find a machine with adjustable power settings, allowing you to adjust the power of the laser depending on the type of leather you're working with.

Additionally, it's important to use a leather laser cutter equipped with a cooling system to prevent the leather from burning or charring.

It's also important to use the right leather for laser cutting. You'll want to choose the leather that's thick enough to withstand the laser's heat but thin enough to cut easily. 

Additionally, you'll want to use leather that's treated to be laser-safe, as untreated leather may contain materials that could potentially be flammable or emit toxic gas when exposed to the laser's heat.

Finally, practicing proper safety protocols when laser cutting leather is important. These include wearing the appropriate laser safety gear, such as safety glasses, long sleeves and pants, and a face shield. Additionally, you'll want to ensure the area is well-ventilated and that you're working in a dust-free environment.

Advantages of Laser Cutting Leather

Using a laser cutting leather machine has revolutionized how leather is cut and crafted. With a laser cutting machine, you can achieve high-precision results and intricate detail that would otherwise be impossible with traditional cutting methods.

Laser cutting leather has many advantages over traditional cutting, including increased precision and detail, faster efficiency, and cost savings.

1) Non-Contact Processing

The main advantage of laser cutting leather is that it is a non-contact process, meaning that no physical contact takes place between the cutting tool and the material. This ensures that the leather remains undamaged during the process, as it is not in direct contact with any sharp surfaces. 

This is especially important when dealing with delicate leathers, such as suede, as the non-contact process of laser cutting means that these leathers remain unscathed.

laser cutting leather item

2) Increased Precision and Detail

The most obvious advantage of using a laser cutting leather machine is the increased precision and detail you can achieve. With laser cutting, you can cut intricate patterns, custom shapes, and small details that would be impossible with traditional cutting methods. 

Laser cutting also offers a much higher degree of accuracy, allowing for a precise and consistent cut every time.

3) Faster Efficiency and Cost Savings

Another benefit of laser cutting leather is the increased efficiency and cost savings. Using a laser cutter eliminates the need for manual cutting and reduces the risk of human error. With a laser cutter, you can quickly and accurately cut leather in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional methods. This increased efficiency can help you save both time and money.

Whether a leather artisan or designer, a laser cutting machine can provide you with the precision, detail, efficiency, and cost savings you need to craft the perfect leather product. With a laser cutter, you can quickly and accurately cut leather in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional methods, helping you create stunning and unique leather pieces.

What Types of Leather Can Be Laser Cut?

Regarding leather laser cutting, one of the most common questions asked is: What types of leather can be laser cut? The answer is that natural and synthetic leather can be laser cut. Still, each type of leather requires a different laser cutting machine and settings to ensure optimal results.

laser cutting leather item

1) Natural Leathers

Natural leathers, such as cowhide, sheepskin, and pigskin, are best suited for laser cutting. The heat generated by the laser cutter will easily cut through these leathers, making them ideal for intricate designs and shapes. The laser cutter needs low power and high speed to ensure that the leather is cut to the desired shape.

2) Synthetic Leathers

Synthetic leathers, such as faux leather and pleather, can also be laser cut, but they require a more powerful laser cutter. The higher power will create a more precise cut, but it can also cause the leather to burn or melt if the settings are not adjusted correctly. 

Therefore, it is important to use a laser cutter with the right power and speed settings when cutting synthetic leather.

However, don’t laser cut leather that contains Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). PVC is a type of plastic that is extremely difficult to laser cut and can often leave behind a lot of debris. The debris created by laser cutting PVC can be hazardous to both people and equipment, so this material should be avoided whenever possible.

Tips on Preventing Burn Marks When Laser Cutting Leather

When it comes to laser cutting leather, it is important to take the necessary precautions to ensure that you do not leave any unwanted burn marks on the leather. The laser cutting process requires precise settings to achieve a clean cut without any blemishes, and the wrong settings can result in a botched job.

To help you prevent burn marks when laser cutting leather, here are a few tips to consider.

1) Adjust Power Settings

When using a laser cutter to cut leather, it is important to adjust the power settings accordingly. It ensures that the laser is not too high, which can cause it to burn. If you need help with the correct power setting, consult the instruction manual of your laser cutting machine, as it will provide the most accurate settings for the best results.

2) Adjust Speed Settings

Burn marks are an inevitable result of laser cutting leather. While the precision of a laser cutter may be beneficial to a leatherworker, there is still a risk of the material being damaged by the intense heat generated by the laser. To prevent this, it’s important to adjust the speed settings before beginning a cut.

Firstly, you need to consider the thickness of the leather. Thicker leather requires a higher speed setting than thinner leather. This is because thicker leather takes longer to cut and requires more energy from the laser. If the speed is set too low, the laser won’t be able to penetrate the material enough to achieve an accurate cut.

Secondly, different machines have different power levels, so it’s important to adjust the speed settings accordingly. If you’re using a lower power machine, you’ll need to use a lower speed setting to ensure a clean, precise cut. On the other hand, if you’re using a higher power machine, you can use a higher speed setting without risking burn marks.

3) Use Appropriate Laser Focal Length

The laser focal length of your laser cutting machine is crucial when cutting leather. It determines the distance between the laser head and the leather and can affect the cutting precision.

If the focal length is longer, the laser head will be too far from the leather, resulting in a low cut. Conversely, if the focal length is too short, the laser will cut too deeply into the leather, potentially leaving burn marks.

4) Use Proper Nozzle Size

The nozzle size of the laser is also an important factor when laser cutting leather. The too-small nozzle can cause the laser to overheat, leading to burning marks on the leather. On the other hand, a nozzle that is too large can cause the laser to underperform, resulting in a poor cut. It is important to use the appropriate nozzle size for your laser cutter.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you get the best results when laser-cutting leather. With the right settings, your leather laser cutter will produce a clean, precise cut free of burn marks. Whether you are using a laser cutting machine for leather crafting, or a leather laser cutter for industrial applications, these tips will give you the best results.

Best Laser Cutter for Leather

Whether a professional leatherworker or a hobbyist, having the right laser cutter for leather can make all the difference in producing high-quality results. There are many laser cutters on the market today, but two of the best options for leather are the xTool Laserbox Rotary and the xTool M1.

The xTool Laserbox Rotary is a powerful CO2 laser cutter perfect for leatherworking. It features a large work area that can accommodate leather up to 12" thick, and its adjustable laser power allows you to make fine cuts with precision. The xTool Laserbox also has a rotary attachment that makes it easy to cut circles and arcs in leather.

The xTool M1 is a more affordable option for hobbyists and small leatherworking businesses. This laser cutter is smaller than the xTool Laserbox but still offers a large working area and adjustable laser power. The xTool M1 also has a rotary attachment, making it ideal for creating intricate patterns on leather.

Here is a detailed discussion of both products.

1) xTool Laserbox Rotary (CO2 Laser)

Introducing the xtool Laserbox Rotary 40W Desktop Laser Cutter & Engraver!

This all-in-one machine is perfect for DIY projects and professional use. With a powerful 40W CO2 laser, you can cut and engrave virtually anything with a speed of up to 350mm/s.

The xtool Laserbox Rotary includes autofocus, rotary attachment, live camera preview, and air purifier. 

The xtool Laserbox Rotary allows you to laser cut various materials such as paper, corrugated paper, wood, plywood, acrylic, cloth, denim, leather, base plate, ABS-based color board, PET, rubber, veneer, cork, sandpaper, food, glass fiber, plastic, Delrin, ceramic, stainless steel, and aluminum alloy.

You can also engrave on materials such as corrugated paper, wood, acrylic, cloth, denim, leather, ABS-based color board, PET, rubber, cork, and plastic.

The xtool Laserbox Rotary is easy to use and comes with software that supports advanced laser engraving designs. Plus, it has an air purifier for a safe and comfortable working environment.

Whether you're looking for a machine for DIY projects or professional use, the xtool Laserbox Rotary is the perfect choice for you. Get creative with your designs and projects with this all-in-one laser cutting and engraving machine!

2) xTool M1

The xTool M1 is the world's first desktop hybrid laser and blade-cutting machine, perfect for creating gifts. This innovative machine integrates Laser Engraving, Laser Cutting, and Blade Cutting into one, allowing you to craft all sorts of materials with precision and ease.

With a capacity to support over 300 materials, from Vinyl to Metal, Leather to Wood, Paper to PVC, and Fabric to Iron-on, the xTool M1 is the perfect all-in-one tool for crafting needs.

The xTool M1 is also incredibly powerful, fast, and accurate. Dual laser technology can output up to 10W of power, cutting 10mm of wood in one pass. Thanks to its compressed spot technology and FAC lens, it can achieve an ultra-fine 0.01mm engraving precision at speeds up to 15000mm/min. 

And with the blade head, you can safely cut vinyl without the worry of burnt edges, discoloration, or unhealthy fumes.

The xTool M1 is the perfect machine for any creative project! It is equipped with a 16MP high-resolution camera and auto-focusing capabilities, allowing you to quickly and easily get high-quality creations in just three simple steps. Its AI system can do the batch processing and extract images, designs, and drawings for further creative design.

Safety and environment-friendliness are also a priority for the xTool M1. It is a Class I(FDA Certified) safety-rated machine with a viewing cover that filters blue light to protect your eyes. Furthermore, it has a built-in fan with an exhaust pipe to quickly blow away and discharge smoke, dust, and spark.

Not only is that, but the xTool M1 also the ultimate gift-making machine! It can engrave glass, tumblers, and other cylindrical objects when using the rotary attachment (additional purchase required). 

It also has a removable bottom plate that supports unlimited engraving heights of materials. It is perfect for creating custom birthday/holiday/wedding/family/pets/decoration gifts, or even small business projects!

In short, the xTool M1 is the perfect tool for your crafting needs. With its powerful, fast, and accurate performance, you can easily create almost anything you can imagine. Get yours today!

Laser Cutting Leather FAQs

Q1: What is Laser Cutting Leather?

Laser Cutting Leather uses a laser to precisely cut and engrave leather material. It is a great way to create detailed designs and patterns on the leather without the need for complex tools or machinery.

Q2: What are the Benefits of Laser Cutting Leather?

Laser Cutting Leather offers precision, clean and accurate cutting and engraving. It also allows for quick and easy production with minimal mess or waste.

Q3: What Materials Can be Laser Cut?

Laser cutting machine can cut through various materials such as paper, fabric, wood, plastic, and more.

Q4: Does Laser Cutting Leather Require A Special Machine?

Yes, special laser-cutting machines are required to cut leather. The xTool M1 is a great example of a laser-cutting machine that can cut leather.

Q5: How Does Laser Cutting Leather Work?

Laser-cutting leather focuses a powerful laser beam on the leather material. This beam of light is then used to cut and engrave intricate designs and patterns into the material. The xTool M1 can initiate auto-focusing, realize visual processing, and get creations in just 3 simple steps.

Q6: Is Laser Cutting Leather Safe with xTool M1?

Yes, the xTool M1 has a Class I (FDA Certified) safety rating. It also has a built-in fan with an exhaust pipe to quickly blow away and discharge smoke, dust, and spark.


In conclusion, laser-cutting leather is a great way to make intricate designs easily. With the right techniques and materials, you can create beautiful pieces that will wow your friends and family. Whether you're looking to make leather jewelry, wallets, or something else, laser cutting can help you create the perfect piece. This ultimate guide gives you all the information you need to get started with laser-cutting leather.

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