The craft of leather working can either be a hobby or a full-time occupation. Learning how to work leather takes time, dedication and talent. If you plan on pursuing leather working as a hobby, you will need to purchase the tools of the trade, read up on the practice and set to work practicing the different techniques of this craft. If you plan to pursue leather working as a career, you can either apprentice with a person who is an advanced leather worker or attend a vocational program to learn the skills you need to get certified in the craft, although some jobs do not require any formal instruction in the craft.
Read up on the practice of leather craft. You can either check out books from a library, pick up magazines on leather working or you can go online to learn what materials, tools and experience you need in order to produce the results you desire.
Purchase the tools you need to get started. Contemporary leather workers have an extensive array of tools available to them, which span from the basic hand tools that leather workers have been using for centuries, to large machines for sewing, cutting or pressing a design into the leather.
Learn about leather and research sources for the different kinds of leather. Leather comes from a variety of animals, such as cows, sheep, pigs, ostrich, snakes, crocodiles, alligators and others. Some forms of leather are more easy to procure than others, so find out where you can get the leather you want.
Take a class or obtain a vocational certificate in leather working. Attending a college-level course of study in leather craft will give you a combination of a broad working knowledge of this craft, along with hands-on experience with the mentorship of a teacher. Also, obtaining a certificate in leather working may improve your chances of landing a professional leather-working job should you want to pursue this option.
Obtain an apprenticeship. Once you have collected all the tools you need, developed a broad working knowledge of leather craft and gained some practice working with leather, you can finish off your education by finding a master leather worker to take you on as an apprentice. Working under someone gives you the chance to have more one-on-one contact time with a mentor, and it also gives you the chance to learn how to work faster. The master leather worker improves the speed of an apprentice by passing the apprentice the majority of the simple work. The master leather worker observes the work of the apprentice and points out ways to improve it.
You do not need to have a certification or have apprenticed with someone become a leather worker. You can buy used tools in good condition at online auction sites.