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Laser Engraver for Leather – Creative Options and Uses

Recently I have been looking for unique ways to personalize leather items and found interest in a laser engraver for leather. It allows me to add unique imagery to my projects without needing a custom stamp every time. This makes it a great investment for those who add artwork to leather. 

A laser engraver for leather is a specialty machine that burns the surface of the leather into a programmed design. Laser engravers can be CO2, UV, or fiber, each with its pros and cons. The cost for a laser engraver for leather starts at $200 but can be much higher depending on the application. 

Finding a laser engraver for leather may require extensive research to determine which works best for you. Let’s take a look at various machines and how they perform with leather. 

What Is a Laser Engraver for Leather?

A laser engraver for leather is a specialty machine used to burn designs into the surface of the leather. The heat generated from the laser singes the fibers, following a design that has been programmed for the machine to follow. Engraving leather allows for adding initials, logos, or any other design. 

Many types of leather engravers are powered differently and at various strengths. This includes CO2, UV, and fiber lasers, with strengths starting at 2.5W, depending on the application of the laser engraver.

What We’ll Explore

  • Clearing up Myths & Misconceptions
  • When You Might Use a Laser Engraver for Leather
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Quick Reference Table
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Types and Variations
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Characteristics
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Pros
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Cons
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Manufacturing Process – How They’re Made
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Costs
  • Alternative Options to a Laser Engraver for Leather
  • Experienced Tips for Working with a Laser Engraver for Leather
  • My Personal Research with Laser Engraver for Leather
  • Laser Engraver for Leather Care and Maintenance
  • Helpful Laser Engraver for Leather Insights
  • Key Takeaways
The Letter K Engraved on a Leather Wallet - Laser Engraver for Leather - Liberty Leather Goods
The Letter K Engraved on a Leather Wallet

Clearing Up Myths & Misconceptions

When discussing laser engravers for leather, many think they are high-investment machines only suited for a larger workshop. However, this is often not the case. Since a laser engraver is not made to cut through leather, lower power options are available, keeping the cost lower. A 2.5W laser that costs around $200 would be more than enough to begin engraving leather. 

However, a laser engraver of this power could not cut through leather material. If both engraving and cutting leather are requirements, the investment price of a machine would be higher. Depending on the thickness of the leather that one wishes to cut. However, for those simply looking for a way to engrave their leather, an entry-level machine will be perfect for the job. 

When You Might Use a Laser Engraver for Leather

Using a laser engraver on leather can be versatile, enhancing projects through added creativity. Standard uses included custom logos or initials — a low-cost way to offer customization to customers. 

More creative uses include adding patterns to leather, marking cut lines, and adding details to a tooling piece, with the ability to engraver leathers that may otherwise be a poor stamping material. Laser engravers for leather are ultimately useful for those who often change the designs they add to their leather. 

Laser Engraver for Leather Quick Reference Table

ToolLaser Engraver for Leather
Component MaterialsCO2, UV, or Fiber
Common Sizes12”x12”, 16”x16”, 11”x19”
Cost Range ($)$200–$7,000+
Recommended MaintenanceClean and lubricate the moving rails by applying grease periodically. Clean lens with an approved product by the manufacturer. 
Recommended StoragePowered off, on a flat surface, and preferably covered for protection
Common UsesAdding initials, designs, logos, or patterns to leather 
How Long It Lasts (on average)7–8 years
Laser Engraver for Leather Characteristics

Laser Engraver for Leather Types and Variations

CO2 Laser

CO2 lasers are often suggested for leather work as their costs are cheaper than the other types. At around a third of the price of a fiber laser, CO2 still boasts plenty of strength. While high strength is not necessary for engraving, it may be useful for those looking for a laser that can both engrave and cut leather. CO2 lasers are also faster than their competition. 

Fiber Laser

A fiber laser is the strongest type of laser available. Their purpose is typically to cut material rather than engrave, but the laser can be set to lower power levels for engraving. Fiber lasers are the slowest laser but have high precision to compensate. 

Compared to their competition, fiber lasers have much better longevity, often lasting around 45 years. These high-quality lasers come at an equally high price, starting at $1,500.

UV Lasers

UV lasers are often the least powerful lasers, at under 10W. While this is more than enough for engraving leather, more is needed to cut thick pieces. Where UV lasers excel is in their detail. 

While less precise than a fiber laser, UV lasers can mark surfaces with much less damage and can produce crisp engraving without excess depth, allowing it to be used on thinner leather than other lasers.


Laser Engraver for Leather Characteristics


There are a few popular laser choices for engraving leather, CO2, UV, and fiber. Each leather has its own characteristics, but more importantly, price points also differ. The fiber lasers may be the strongest but come at a higher cost. UV lasers are also more expensive but are specialized for engraving. 

They do not burn the material deeply, allowing for more delicate markings to be made. Finally, the most popular choice is often a CO2 laser. They can be budget-friendly and come in a wide array of powers. Those looking to just engraver can purchase as little as 2.5W. 


Many entry-level laser engravers will be small enough to fit on a desktop. Starting at around 12”x12”, this is more than big enough to engrave most leather projects, and pieces can be readjusted to cover larger areas. Those looking for a larger leather cutter may find square shapes around 16”x16”.

As the price increases for these machines, so does the cutting surface. However, many will opt for a rectangular shape. A common size for rectangular laser engravers is 11”x19”, but it can easily be larger depending on how much one is willing to spend. 


When purchasing a laser engraver for leather, there are a few variations to consider. The laser type and power play big roles in the price. CO2 lasers are the most budget-friendly but may produce less power. Fiber is much more expensive and provides more cutting power. UV may produce less power than the others, but it has a precise laser that is much more delicate. 

Similarly, the work area will affect the price of a laser engraving machine. Lower-cost machines will most likely have work areas around 12”x12”. As the price increases, so does the workspace provided. If you find yourself needing more workspace, it may be best to invest in a larger laser engraver. 

U Venkateswarlu, M Muthukrishnan, R Ramesh, and NK Chandrababu, from the Bio-physics Lab, Central Leather Research Institute, in Chennai, India, describe the variations when using a leather engraving machine. They explore how each leather type will require different settings to produce an equal engraving depth. 

Laser Engraver for Leather Pros

A laser engraver can be a great choice for many crafters, allowing them to customize their projects, adding everything from a stamp to a pattern to the leather with endless possibilities. This is extremely useful for custom projects as it allows customers to add their own flair to each item. 

Since laser engravers have images programmed, there is no need to purchase anything else to add different designs to the leather. Laser engravers are also not limited to leather. They can be used to mark acrylic guides or the hardware used on projects. 

A 2.5W laser that costs around $200 would be more than enough to begin engraving leather.

Laser Engraver for Leather Cons

Although a laser engraver for leather can be a great choice for many, it has various factors to consider. If a crafter only adds their logo as a customization, a stamp will be more durable and budget-friendly. While laser engravers are not excessively expensive at the entry level, those who want more from their machine will pay high prices. 

During the use of a leather engraver, the leather is burned, producing an unpleasant smell that will require proper ventilation each time the machine is in use. Laser machines also require some technical know-how, as they use various computer programs to instruct the machine.

Laser Engraver for Leather Manufacturing Process – How They’re Made

Laser engravers are composed of two main parts, the track the laser runs along and the laser itself. The track of a laser engraver for leather is a set of metal rails and a motor to move the laser around. They also have a work surface for projects to sit on when in use.

The laser part of the machine can be made in different ways, but all focus light into a small beam to generate enough heat. This requires multiple mirrors that bounce the light around before sending the concentrated beam onto the engraved material, where the machine works in tandem like a printer to burn a design systematically.

Laser Engraver for Leather Costs

Since a laser engraver for leather does not need to cut the material, the prices of the leather engraver may be much more affordable, starting at around $200 for a 2.5W entry-level laser. As the cost of the laser engraver increases, so does the power and workspace offered.

At around $500, a 40W laser can be purchased and offers enough power to cut through some leathers as well. Any laser above this price can be well into the $1,000s, with unique benefits that set them apart from desktop-size cutters.

Alternative Options to a Laser Engraver for Leather

While a laser engraver for leather may be a great tool, there are a few alternatives depending on the need. Stamping is a common replacement, as crafters can add any design, letter, or logo to leather as long as they own the stamp. While this is great for those with an extensive stamping collection, it means individual purchases must be made for custom work. In addition, stamping only works on vegetable tanned leather. 

Another option is to brand leather with a pyrography tool. This can produce the same effect as a laser cutter but is done by hand. Those who would enjoy adding their personal flair to projects may find this tool a good alternative. However, learning to use the tool may take some practice.

Experienced Tips for Working With a Laser Engraver for Leather

Working with a laser engraver for leather can be a rewarding and creative experience. To help you get started and ensure successful results, here are some experienced tips to keep in mind:

  1. Always use a test piece of the same leather to dial in the laser’s setting before engraving. 
  2. Start with a singular light path, as the machine can always make an additional pass if needed. 
  3. Mask off the leather when possible to prevent burning the surrounding area when engraving.

My Personal Research with Laser Engraver for Leather

I decided to turn to the community to understand better how a laser engraver works for leather craft. I could see how they implemented this machine in their workshop and the challenges of integrating the technology. 

Use in the Workshop

With plenty of applications for laser engravers, I wanted to see how they are being used. By reaching out to the community, I better understood the real-world applications through the examples presented. 

The first use of a laser engraver I came across was for a company marking their logo into leather. They used a hot stamp in the past but preferred the look of a branding mark. The burnt leather provided a rustic look they enjoyed. With a laser engraver, they could achieve consistent logo markings and quickly scale the size without additional stamp sizes. 

An extremely popular reason for laser engravers for leather craft was expanding their customer base. Through analytics, crafters found that some of the best-selling items offered customization. Many found success from this change and were able to provide bulk orders of customized keychains, coasters, and other small items with the help of a leather engraver. 

Some crafters preferred stamps for simple markings, such as initials, but found a laser engraver much more versatile for designing. The final and most unique use for a laser engraver was as an alternative to hand tools. In this case, an older crafter developed health issues from working with leather. The thin post of a tooling stamp would quickly begin hurting while adding their art. 

With leather craft being a taxing job for our hands, those who spent decades in the craft may have similar concerns. Using a laser engraver, this crafter could continue adding artwork to their projects, drawing them out before scanning them into a program. While it may not replace tooling leather directly, it can often be a good solution. 

In this creative video by Makesupply, we see how laser engraving can mix well with traditional leather tooling. 


Although a laser engraver benefits many crafters, there were still warnings from the community. The most common was lack of use. Many crafters purchased an engraver, thinking they would use it for every project, only to abandon the idea for various reasons. They suggest writing down why you want the machine and the practical ways to use it before purchasing it. 

Additionally, they recommend an entry-level laser engraver before buying a more high-end machine. The smell a laser engraver produced was also a big concern for crafters. Some did not consider the ventilation or felt like the smoke wouldn’t be a problem, only to find they weren’t prepared. 

They advise having a system in place for keeping the smoke at bay. While expensive laser machines will have a cutting container with a vent, most will not. The smoke produced may be dangerous, and precautions should always be implemented to avoid breathing it in. 


A leather engraver has plenty of unique uses and real-world applications for crafters. However, they will need a dedicated working area. For some, this is a great opportunity to expand their craft, while others may turn to other methods to customize their leather. 

Laser Engraver for Leather Care and Maintenance

How To Clean a Laser Engraver for Leather

A laser engraver may get dirty over time, requiring it to be cleaned. Much of the machine can be wiped down with a clean cloth, removing the dust and debris. When cleaning more delicate areas of the engraver, such as the lens, isopropyl alcohol may be used to help remove buildup safety. It is best to use a microfiber cloth in these areas to avoid leaving any loose fibers behind. 

How To Maintain a Laser Engraver for Leather

Aside from routine laser cleaning after use, there are various requirements for maintaining the machine. While each laser engraver will be different, it will need to be lubricated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This will allow everything to move smoothly. The ventilation of any machine should also be monitored and cleaned periodically. 

How To Store a Laser Engraver for Leather

Anytime a laser engraver is placed in storage, it should be completely powered off. The machine should also be stored flat to prevent the alignment from being affected over time. When possible, a dust cover is a great option for storing laser engravers as they can protect the machine from buildup, keeping it ready for use.

Helpful Laser Engraver for Leather Insights

Can you laser engrave leather?

Yes, leather can be engraved with a laser, but ventilation is key. The leather fibers will be burned during this process producing smoke that may be harmful to breathe. These burnt fibers will blacken, showcasing the design engraved into the leather. 

What laser setting do you use to engrave leather?

Each laser engraving machine will require different settings, and trial and error, to set up the perfect conditions to engrave. In general, engraving will use a lower power setting and a faster speed. The goal with the settings is to singe the surface of the leather rather than cutting through it, with speed affecting how dark the areas may become, as well as their detail.

How thick does leather have to be for laser engraving?

Since leather engraving burns away the surface of the leather, it is important to have a thick enough piece that supports a crisp engraving. This is typically a minimum of 4oz (1.6mm), but it is often better to stick to weights above 6oz (2.4mm). 

Key Takeaways

  1. Laser engraving machines can burn any design into leather.
  2. Proper ventilation is needed when operating a laser engraver.
  3. A laser engraver can range significantly in price depending on the intended application.

In Closing

Laser engravers for leather have entirely changed the craft for some, expanding their ability to customize their work and widening their customer base. Engraving leather adds yet another way to personalize leather goods and leave a unique mark on the industry. 

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