DIY Leather Journal with Cutwork made on a Cricut | Heart Rose SVG Cut File | how to cut leather on a cricut

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Day 9 Gift for MAKE IT MERRY: 25 Days of DIY Maker Projects & CraftsIt had to happen eventually. I’ve admired the Rose Gold Leather at my local craft store many times. But I had no idea what to make with it, so I never bought it. Then inspiration struck and I rushed out to get it. So today, on Day 9 of my MAKE IT MERRY: 25 Days of Maker Projects, I’m going to show you how to make a lovely gift for someone special—a DIY leather journal with gorgeous cutwork and scalloped edges.

The inspiration for the idea came from the packaging for the Rose Gold Leather itself. There’s a picture of a cutwork leather cover on it. I searched for a cut file for that specific design, but couldn’t find it anywhere in Access or online, nor any reference to it anywhere, for that matter. So I set out to design my own journal cover with its own lovely cutwork, only even more detailed than the one pictured.

I used the Cricut brand Rose Gold Leather for my DIY Leather Journal

My design combines both roses and other flora (as a nod to the color of the leather) and a heart (my favorite symbol). I also added a scalloped edge because, well, it’s very pretty and unusual.

This was also my first time cutting leather on my Cricut. (I have done some other more traditional leather work, like this leather-wrapped stone.) I learned a lot about how to cut leather, and I’m happy to say that I was successful and didn’t waste my one precious sheet of leather. I did a lot of testing beforehand to be sure that my first leather cut went well, and I’ll pass along everything I learned about cutting leather on my Cricut in this tutorial.

Several readers have made this journal already! Here are two pretty versions of my journal made with faux leather by AmyGonnaCraft:

Green and blue faux leather journals designed by JenniferMaker and made by AmyGonnaCraft

And here are two variations on this by Misty at CardsbyGeyda — one is a leather journal, but the other is the same pattern in paper to make a card!

Brown leather heart cutwork journal designed by JenniferMaker and made by CardsbyGeyda White and red heart cutwork card designed by JenniferMaker and made by CardsbyGeyda

Let me show you how to make this DIY Leather Journal. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)!  Read my full disclosure policy.

Materials for the DIY Leather Journal with Cutwork

How to Make Your DIY Leather Journal with Cutwork

First, download Design #72 which is my free SVG cut file from my free resource library and upload the file to your design software.

Tip: If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.

Uploading the rose heart design to Cricut Design Space to make our DIY Leather Journal

Click the Make It button to send your image for preparation. On the next screen, click the toggle next to “Mirror” — mirroring is necessary when cutting leather.

Change your Cricut dial to “Custom” (if you’re using an Explore) and click the “Continue” button in Cricut Design Space.

Select “Metallic Leather” as your custom material, then click “Done.”

Choosing the Metallic Leather as a custom material in Cricut Design Space

Change your pressure to “More” (just to be sure it cuts through your leather).

Change your pressure to "More" in Cricut Design Space for the DIY Leather Journal

Move your “Star Wheels” (the white wheels on the front bar of your Cricut) all the way over to the right. Do this to avoid having the star wheels put marks on your leather. 

Move the star wheels all the way over to the right to avoid marks on your leather

Insert your Deep-Point Blade into Clamp B on your Cricut.

Inserting the Deep-Point Blade into Clamp B on the Cricut to cut leather

Cut a piece of leather 11″ wide and 7″ long. Cricut recommends this size to avoid getting grooves in your leather from the star wheels.

Using a StrongGrip mat for your rose gold leather

Put your leather on your StrongGrip cutting mat SMOOTH side down. I highly recommend a brand new mat. It’s SO important that the leather stick to your mat, or it just won’t cut out properly.

Cutting a piece of leather to the right size for the DIY Leather Journal

Load your mat and cut out your leather. Your Cricut will automatically go over each cut four times because you choose the “Metallic Leather” custom material. Note: If your leather starts to slip on the mat, pause the cutting and tape down the edges with tape.)

Cutting leather on a Cricut is amazing!

When done cutting, remove the excess leather by poking at it from the front. This doesn’t take long. If you have any bits that didn’t cut all the way through, just snip them off with some scissors.

Poking out the cutwork pieces of our rose gold leather

Poking out the cutwork pieces of our rose gold leather

Here is the leather, all cut:

The rose gold leather, completely cut and ready to be turned into a DIY leather journal

Get the entire piece of leather wet, soaking it in water for a couple of minutes.

Getting the leather wet

Fold the leather in half while it’s still wet, matching up the holes on the right side.

Fold the leather in half while it's still wet.

Place something heavy on the folded leather and leave it there for a few hours or until the leather is dry. This will help your leather stay folded.

Put something heavy on the wet leather so it dries folded.

While the leather is drying, cut your letter-size paper in half long-wise.

Cut your paper in half

Now fold those cut papers in half, for a finished size of 4.25″ by 5.5″.

Fold your paper in half

Your folded papers!

Cut off a piece of string about 18″ long and insert it into the holes at the top and bottom of the leather cover.

Inserting the string into the holes in your leather cover

Slip in the pages and tie the string to secure the pages in your journal.

Securing your pages in the journal with string

Now, cut off a piece of string about 8″ long, put it through both the front and back holes on the right side, and tie your journal closed.

Tie your journal closed

And that’s it! You now have a beautiful DIY leather journal with gorgeous cutwork!!

The finished size is about 5″ wide by 6″ high.

My Cricut Leather Cutting Tips

  • Works on both Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore (I tried it on both of my cutting machines)
  • Remember you need to use a Deep-Point Blade
  • If possible, use a brand new StrongGrip cutting mat—your mat needs to be as sticky as possible for the best cut
  • Don’t get too crazy detailed on your cuts. I designed this rose heart specifically for leather. If your design is too detailed, it just won’t look great.
  • Be sure to mirror your image before you cut.
  • Remember to move your Star Wheels all the way over to the right before you cut.
  • Put no more than 11″ (wide) of material on your mat to avoid having it scuffed up by the Star Wheels.

Get my free template and cut files for the DIY Leather Journal

This would make such a fabulous gift, especially for someone into journaling or rose gold!  If you make a leather journal, please share a photo in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.

By the way, there is a matching heart cutwork box you might enjoy making to go with this journal, too!

3D Paper Heart Box with Cutwork Tutorial | Valentine Gift Box | Cricut Silhouette | Free SVG Cut File | #valentinesdaygift

This leather journal was made during my MAKE IT MERRY: 25 Days of Maker Projects Christmas! Click the link to view all 25 projects.


Want to remember this? Save the DIY Leather Journal to your favorite Pinterest board!

DIY Leather Journal with Cutwork made on a Cricut | Heart Rose SVG Cut File | how to cut leather on a cricut

DIY Leather Journal with Cutwork made on a Cricut | Heart Rose SVG Cut File | how to cut leather on a cricut

This DIY Leather Journal with Cut Work was created using a Cricut. You can find the cut file and tutorial on my website. #cricut #cricutmade #cricutmaker #cricutexplore #svg #svgfile

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  1. Thank you! I bought this beautiful piece of leather from Cricut last week and now I know how to get it cut out using my Maker! Thank you so much!!!

      1. Hi Jennifer, I just tried this and used a new blade and new mat. I had a few difficulties, the thicker leather had difficulties cutting all the way through so I used a faux leather material from Cricuit. The cut was better most of the time but it wasn’t cutting all the way through. I maybe need to do more research on how to change the blade settings in “Design Space”

        Do they sell replacement blades for the Deep cutting black housing blade?

        1. Hi JoEtta! They do sell replacements on the Cricut website for the blades. You can access custom settings by clicking on the hamburger icon in the upper left corner of Design Space and go to “Manage Custom Materials.” You will then select your machine if you have more than one and look for the faux leather material in the list. From there, click on edit and try sliding the bar up 10 to 15 points and save and close. Next, try cutting out a 1-inch diameter circle to see if that helps. If not, bump it up another 5 to 10 points and try your circle test cut again.

  2. Any tips on making this with an Explore? I don’t know if we can move the rollers to prevent the marks.

    Thank you and I love all your designs. Great job!

    1. Hi, LeAnn! You can move the Star Wheels on the Explore, too. I just moved them on mine. And it’s basically the same whether you’re on the Explore or the Maker. Use the Deep-Point Blade (I use the same one for the Explore and Maker), use a new StrongGrip Mat, move the rollers over and cut! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes. You use the same blade for the Maker that you use for the Explore. Make sure you get the one with a BlACK housing, not a BLUE housing (the blue housing one is for the older Cricut Expression).

  3. Is there a way to change the heart cut out shape to a diamond with cut outs? I just unboxed my cricut last night and want to make one with the heart for me and one with a diamond as a gift for a friend πŸ™‚

  4. Ive tried many times and no matter how hard i try i cant seem to get it to cut. im totally lost.

    1. Hi Taylor! Try working on increasing your pressure and settings. Cutting it a couple of times might help too!

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