Leather Stamping vs Hot Stamping Leather

by David

Are you looking for a technique to mark your leather bags, backpacks, or belts? Are you wondering what is the best way to stamp leather? When choosing a method to stamp or brand your leather products you need to consider different factors, such as the leather thickness and the type of leather you usually work with (for example, chrome tanned leather or vegetable tanned leather).

In this article we will present the main differences between leather stamping and hot stamping with an electric branding iron, so you can choose the technique that works best for you.

Gearheart make electric branding irons and leather stamps that are the perfect solution to get your logo or customized design on your leatherwork.

Appearance of Marks Produced with Leather Stamping and Hot Stamping

The appearance of the marks you get using leather stamping and hot stamping is very different. When using a leather stamp and a handheld mallet to personalize leather goods, your logo or pattern is engraved into the leather. So if you like the traditional, old fashioned look of an imprint pushed into the leather, a custom leather stamp may be the right choice for you.

Leather stamp mark

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On the other hand, when you hot stamp using an electric branding iron, the marks are burned onto the leather, resulting in a more modern look, while still retaining the craftsmanship of leather workers and the products they create.

Rustic leather coaster with a branded design


Leather Stamping vs Hot Stamping Leather Tools

A Cold Stamp and Handheld Mallet

The traditional leather stamp with a rod is ideal to stampvegetable tanned leather or cowhide since the imprint holds nicely. However, when stamping chrome tanned leather, a press would probably work better since you can hold the stamp down as opposed to just hammering it.

Can you stamp thin leather? Yes, you can stamp leather of any thickness, but you need to be careful not to punch through the leather. We recommend always stamping leather of at least 1.5 mm thickness to ensure best results.

Cold stamping is straight forward. When tapping the rod with a mallet, the stamp imprints the design into the leather, leaving a traditional impression. Follow these three steps to imprint your favorite design:

  1. Use a sponge or cloth to lightly damp the leather.
  2. Place your stamp against the leather, resting evenly on the leather.
  3. Tap or double tap the mallet down vertically against the top of the tool to imprint your design.

Leather marks using a custom leather stamp

Note that leather stamping has limits with regards to the size of the stamps you can use. We recommend limiting the longest side of your stamp to 1.25" - 1.5" since it is very important to keep the area to be stamped within the ability of a single mallet blow to achieve a clear impression.

Some manufacturers may offer larger size plates, but this means you need to hit it with a hammer several times, which in most cases leaves an uneven impression and causes the stamp to skip across the leather.

Hot Stamping with an Electric Branding Iron

Can you hot stamp leather? Yes! Using an electric branding iron, you can hot stamp all types of leathers including chrome tanned leather, vegetable tanned leather and suede. You should, however, avoid using sealants because the heat may melt them, and the edges of your design may not be nice and clean.

Marks on a leather journal using an electric branding iron

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Hot stamping leather allows you to stamp larger logos, even with thick edges and elaborate designs. It is recommended when you need to brand a large quantity of items and get consistent results, for example, to create custom leather labels for your products.

Cap with leather label featuring a branded logo


The key when using the “hot stamping” technique is to use the right temperature for the leather you are using. Vegetable tanned leather and suede require a lower temperature, while chrome tanned leather requires more heat.

Can you choose the correct temperature for your type of leather? Yes. If you want to select the right heat level for your brand, you will need a heating unit that can be controlled. variable-temperature system allows you to select the right heat level for your brand, maintaining the same constant temperature for as long as you need to. This means that you don't need to have different branding irons (with different voltages) depending on the type of leather that you are working with, but just one tool for all your needs.

Read our step by step guide about How to Brand Leather with an Electric Branding Iron to learn more about this technique.

What to Look For when Choosing Your Leather Working Tool

Whether you choose a custom leather stamp or a custom electric branding iron, there are a few factors that you need to pay attention to to achieve good results over time. Here are some of the most important factors to consider:

Material of the stamps

Most stamps are made of brass or aluminum. Brass is almost indestructible, which means you don't need to worry about damaging your plate. On the other hand, aluminum plates are more affordable, but this material can be damaged more easily than brass.

Size of The Stamps

The bigger the stamp on your plate, the higher the cost will be. Larger images require more metal raw materials, machine time and labor to create the custom plate.

Production process

Stamping tools can be mass produced or CNC machined. Mass produced tools are usually cast, which may cause irregularities on the plates. On the contrary, CNC machined stamps allow for crisp images. At Gearheart we pride ourselves on manufacturing all our parts in the USA, using CNC machines to guarantee quality.

Ready to Stamp Your Leather Products?

Leatherworkers often stamp belts, wallets, or bags to add a distinctive look or simply label their products with their logo or initials. Are you ready to mark your leather creations?

Gearheart make electric branding irons and leather stamps that are the perfect solution to get your logo or customized design on your leatherwork.