If you’re a leatherworker or simply a user, at some point, you’ll need to punch holes in your leather. But what do you do if you don’t have a punch?
Don’t worry! There are several ways to make do without one. Here’s how to punch holes in leather without a punch.
Let’s first find out why you would want to punch holes in leather and then move on to the different methods of doing so without a punch.
Reasons You Might Need To Punch Holes in Leather
Punching holes in leather is beneficial for various reasons. It can help you;
- Stitch leather parts together
- Attach hardware securely
- Reinforce stress points in a leather project
- Install rivets or eyelets to strengthen the leather
- Put holes in belts and straps
Different Ways To Punch Holes In Leather Without A Punch
Here are a few different ways to punch holes in leather without a punch.
1. Using A Drill
This is one of the most effective ways of punching holes in thick leather without a punch. You can use either a hand drill or a power drill.
This method is great for belts, straps, and other projects that need to have a few holes added. You will need a drill and the right size leather hole punch attachment.
This is perfect if you already have a drill at home. Here are a few important things to keep in mind when using a drill to make a hole in leather when you do not have a punch;
First of all, make sure you’re using a power drill. Secondly, make sure the drill bits you’re using are between 4mm to 6mm.
This is mainly because the average hole size for most belts and straps is around 4mm to 6mm.
Lastly, make sure the leather you’re drilling is firmly secured on a wooden board (at least 2 inches thick). This will help to prevent the leather from slipping while you’re drilling.
How To Use A Drill To Punch Holes In Leather
Here’s how to use a drill to punch holes in leather.
- Step 1: Secure the leather to a wooden surface with clamps or tape.
- Step 2: Attach the 4-6mm drill bit to your power drill.
- Step 3: Mark each spot where you’d like to make a hole with an awl, pencil, or similar tool.
- Step 4: Carefully and slowly drill the holes in the marked spots.
- Step 5: After drilling, use a bit of sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges if needed.
There you are! You’ve successfully punched holes in your leather without a punch using a drill.
2. Using An Awl
An awl is a sharp, pointed tool that can easily be used to punch holes in leather if you do not have a punch.
So if you do not have a punch, an awl might come in handy. This is because it allows you to make holes without much effort.
It is especially helpful if you do not have any surface to fix the leather onto. You will still be able to hold your leather firmly in one hand and use the awl to pierce it.
You will want to be careful when using an awl, as it can be sharp and may slip or damage your leather if you’re not careful.
How To Use An Awl To Punch Holes In Leather
Here’s how to use an awl to punch holes in leather;
- Step 1: Select the appropriate awl for your leather thickness.
- Step 2: Mark the surface of the leather where you want to punch a hole.
- Step 3: Place the awl onto your marked spot, and press down firmly with your thumb.
- Step 4: Twist the awl clockwise in a circular motion until it has pierced through the leather.
- Step 5: Once the awl has pierced through the leather, carefully pull out the awl and continue to pierce if you need more holes.
3. Using Hot Nail
If you do not have an awl or a drill, you can use a nail to punch holes in leather.
This method is ideal for thin pieces of leather and can be used on relatively thick leather.
How to Use a Hot Nail to Punch Holes In Leather
Here’s how to use a hot nail to punch holes in leather;
- Step 1: Heat up the nail with a lighter or stove.
- You can use pliers to hold the nail over the heat.
- Step 2: Once the nail is hot enough, place it on your marked spot and press down firmly.
- Step 3: Allow the heat from the nail to penetrate through the leather.
- Step 4: Once the leather is pierced, carefully pull out the nail and continue piercing if you need more holes.
4. Using Electric Screw Driver
Another effective way to punch holes in leather is by using a power screwdriver.
This method can help you make multiple holes in a short amount of time.
With the right screwdriver size, power screwdrivers can penetrate through all kinds of leather
How To Use a Power Screwdriver To Punch Holes In Leather
Here’s how to use a power screwdriver to punch holes in leather.
- Step 1: Choose the right size bit for your desired hole size.
- Step 2: Secure the leather on a wooden surface and hold it down firmly.
- Step 3: Attach the drill bit to the screwdriver.
- Step 4: Place the drill bit onto your marked spot, and press down the trigger while pushing the drill down gently to pierce the leather.
- Step 5: Continue drilling until you have pierced through the leather.
- Step 6: Once you are done, carefully remove the drill bit and continue making more holes if needed.
5. Using Hammer & Nail
If you do not have access to any of the tools listed above, you can use a hammer and nail to punch holes in leather.
This method is best for thin pieces of leather or if you only need one or two small holes.
How To Use A Hammer & Nail To Punch Holes In Leather
Here’s how to use a hammer and nail to punch holes in leather;
- Step 1: Place the leather on a wooden surface, and hold it down firmly.
- Step 2: Mark the spot where you want your hole with a pencil or awl.
- Step 3: Place the nail onto the marked spot and hit it with a hammer.
- Step 4: Continue hitting until the nail has pierced through the leather.
- Step 5: Once you are done, carefully remove the nail and continue making more holes if needed.
Things You Shouldn’t Use To Punch Holes In Leather
There are some alternative methods for punching holes in leather that you should avoid. Here are a few of such things you should definitely avoid or use with extreme caution.
Using a knife to punch holes in leather can be dangerous and may also damage your leather. It can leave tears that could become enlarged over time.
Using knives can also be time-consuming and is not suitable for large projects.
Using scissors to punch holes in leather may seem like a good idea, but it can lead to poor results. The scissors can also tear the leather which could then unravel and become larger over time.
In addition, it can also expose the fibers of the leather and make them vulnerable to water damage. It is best to avoid using scissors when punching holes in leather.
Finding alternatives to punching holes in leather is not as hard as it seems.
With the right tools and techniques, you can easily create perfect holes for whatever project you are working on even if you do not have a traditional punch.
From using a hot nail to an electric screwdriver and hammer & nail, you have several options to choose from when it comes to punching holes in leather.
Just be sure to use the right tool for the job so that you can get the desired result without damaging your leather.
Q: How do you poke small holes in leather?
A: You can poke small holes in leather using a stitch punch. Alternatively, you can use an awl if you do not have access to a stitch punch.
Q: What is the best tool for punching holes in leather?
A: The best tool for punching holes in leather depends on the size of the hole you want to create. If you want to make small holes, then a stitch punch is your best option. For larger holes, a drive punch will work best. Alternatively, you can also use a power screwdriver or hammer & nail if needed.
Q: How do I prevent leather from tearing when punching holes?
A: To prevent leather from tearing when punching holes, make sure to use the right size tool for your desired hole size. Additionally, always secure the leather on a flat surface and use gentle pressure when punching. This will help to prevent the leather from tearing.
Q: How do you keep leather holes from fraying?
A: To keep leather holes from fraying, you can paint or dye and burnish the leather edges. You can also apply water or Tokenole to the leather edges and burnish to seal off any loose fibers that could fray.