The leather that has to be used for stamping and carving is called tooling leather, vegetable tanned leather, bark tanned leather or carving leather. This type of leather is an undyed firm leather that is a natural pinkish type color as shown with ths stampings above. These leathers will retain the stamp image but other leathers such as garment leather and soft bag leathers are chrome tanned and will not take the stamped image. All stamping is done before the leather is dyed.
First you need to dampen the top surface only of the leather with a damp sponge of water. The leather is ready to be stamped when the water darkens the leather. When the color starts to lighten, you will have to dampen the leather again with more water. Don't add so much water that there are pools of it sitting on the surface. It should all be absorbed into the leather.
Leather workers also carve leather. Carving is when pictures are decorated into the leather using a combination of carving knives for making lines followed by tapping different stamps into the leather. Leather crafters that do this type of work often like to case their leather first. This involves putting the damp leather in a plastic bag for a certain period of time.
You need to have a smooth solid surface without any bounce to tool leather. We suggest using a smooth quartz slab on a solid work bench. You should strike the stamp tool with a rawhide mallet, wooden mallet or polly mallet. Using a metal hammer will cause the stamp handle to mushroom.
The leather stamp tools can be combined to make interesting geometric patterns. You can use a protractor or compass tool to make a slight line to follow. People love to have their leather craft items personalized by using the alphabet stamps and number stamps.