Knowing how to work with leather is a valuable skill to have in your cosplay toolbox. It’s not a bad idea to get started with a smaller project like a bag or a mask to figure out the basics of carving, sewing, and shaping the material, and there are endless resources on the internet to help you learn. LiveJournal user merimask created a helpful tutorial that shows her process as she built a complicated mask.
It started with a sketch that she cut out of brown craft paper; it was then transferred to 1/4 inch thick leather. It took her an hour to cut out the mask by hand. Here’s how she softens the edges to make them more comfortable to wear:
The cut mask has sharp edges. This mask has so many long “roots”, it’d be madness to round every edge but around the eyes & along the base, I need to smooth out the edges to give the mask a finished look & to make it comfortable to wear. I use a tool called a “skiver” to cut the sharp edges on both sides of the mask down…
wetting the edges makes this easier to do. I can’t tell you how many times the damn skiver skips or slips & I gouge myself instead (I hate skiving!!). I replace that damn tool once a month so it’s always as sharp as I can get it (you can’t really sharpen these tools).
Then, after the edges are cut off, I wet the leather again (warm water works best) and smooth the edges to a nice rounded finish with the “spoon” end of a stylus.
Read the entire tutorial at LiveJournal.
This video is also helpful:
And this one is interesting: