by Willow Enright
One thing that I have been asked for in the past few weeks is for patterns. “Where do you get your patterns?” “Can I have that pattern?” “Do you have a pattern for that?” Most of my patterns aren’t directly taken from one place or another, nor do I start off with a perfect pattern when I craft them myself. I will do more research on how to transfer my original cardboard patterns into digital copies that can be shared around the world, but for now I will share a few sites that have free downloadable patterns that you can start downloading and making, today!
First and foremost Leather Craft Library, this site is brought to you by Tandy Leather. Most of their free downloads have to do with the tooling patterns that they show on an item, and aren’t a layout for how to construct the item. That being said they show you what tools it would take to duplicate the process, this means that in order to perfectly copy the pattern, you have to go out and buy a bunch of Tandy tools. I see what you’re doing Tandy. A.k.a. feeding my leather addiction, and creating new fuel for the fire that fills my soul and empties my pocket book.
Outside the Box Patterns is a great way to look for free patterns. They tell you how large the image is, and what is the best item to place that tooling pattern on. You can open the pattern on a new tab on your browser then click the download button, it’s that easy. No wondering if that checkout chart will let you get away without paying a dime. There’s no tricking me into thinking that your messenger bag pattern was actually going to give me a layout pattern for said bag, only to give me the tooling pattern on that bag instead. What you see is what you get. I like this straight forward method of sharing.
Elk Tracks is a nice one if you want to create buffalos and other western themed tooling patterns. I downloaded a few. I really like how they show you the pattern then the finished tooled product for a side by side comparison. I learn really well this way having to look and study at what’s happening and then experiment and try something, leaving me to figure it out on my own. I learn best this way, but this may not be the way you learn to each his own.
If you are a beginner Make Supply is a great place to start making wallets. Not only are the patterns free, but they have video tutorials that compliment those patterns. For those that want a more permanent template that will hold up to repeated use you can purchase the acrylic templates for a fee.
One site that really caught my attention is Leather Craft Pattern, but this site isn’t the greatest if you’re only searching for free patterns. I went onto this site found many free patterns that I would like to look at with a more in depth eye, only to be asked for payment greater than $0.00 at check out. Meaning you have to buy something in order to get the free patterns.
I would stay away from pattern sharing forums like those on leatherworker.net. More than half of the links listed on this forum are so old they are dead ends. If you are up to challenge then this site is fine. I find it to be more frustrating than helpful.
Don Gonzales Saddlery doesn’t have a great selection, I liked the skull pattern. This site is much like Outside the Box Pattern, with its straight forwardness.
If you are looking for patterns for your 2nd Amendment support piece, aka a gun then, JLS Leather is the site for you.
I hope that this list of resources is helpful to you, and will fuel your creativity. I look forward to seeing what you make with this knowledge and hope that you share by leaving a comment below. The inspiration for creativity should always be free, and leather crafters need to share their knowledge.
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.