Sponsored Tutorial: Tribal Leather Vase


This post is sponsored by Art.com. Find your art and love your space with art.com’s prints and museum-grade framing.

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This month Art.com is focusing on Americana. Let’s talk about that movement for a minute. Americana is one of those many-faceted movements that tends to get pigeon-holed into one very specific thing. When I was younger, Americana was to me a specific distressed style with stars, stripes, dusty blues and muddy reds, and Norman Rockwell front and center. It’s more than just that. America is a melting pot of a million different cultures and histories, and its art movement is indicative of that. My favorite part of Americana showcases the history and culture of the West. It’s my blood. I have Apache on my dad’s side (the cheek bones are a giveaway, no?) and my great-great-great grandfather on my mom’s side settled Salt Lake city.

You can see how vastly different each piece above is from one another. But each tells stories of my personal history, so they work together. Any one of these would look fantastic next to my leather piece, a tribute to the connection I have on both sides with the southwest and Native American cultures.

The Golden Nugget by J.R. Eyerman reminds me of fond memories of visiting family in Las Vegas. I hated the smoke-filled casinos, but I loved gawking at all the beautiful type and bright lights. It was also in Las Vegas that my Grandfather struck out on his own (at 15!), which was a huge turning point for him.

The skis by William Swartz  represent my fond memories in Park City, Utah. My grandparents had a condo and it was SO seventies ridiculous. It was decorated to the brim with old ski posters, macrame and shag rugs. I remember getting snowed in one weekend where we spent an entire day trying to skis with equipment identical to the image above. It was impossible!

The aspens by William Hook remind me of driving and hiking in the canyons on Sunday evenings with my family.

Another facet of Americana is craftsmanship. Art.com wants to showcase their amazing framing craftsmanship this month as part of their Americana theme. Their framing craftsmanship is really amazing. You can see for yourself in Art.com’s craftsmanship video. I got goosebumps the first time I watched it.

Do you have any Americana in your home? Would you like to make some with me? Follow the instructions below to make your own 2-d leather sculpture.

Tribal-Inspired Leather Sculpture


  • 2-3 ounce veggie tan leather
  • ink, fabric paint or sharpie
  • sharp scissors
  • brush
  • pencil
  • tape
  • template
You can find leather at Tandy Leather or on Ebay. Use the above search terms to find the right kind. You don’t have to use paint, you can use a sharpie instead. I felt like paint was more legit.

Cut out the template (link provided in supplies list) and tape to the underside of the leather. This will give you a smooth cut on the front side.

Cut out and tape the template to the front side and trace over the shapes or make your own.

Trace over the template with a fair amount of pressure. This will lightly emboss your pattern to the surface.


Rim the edges with black ink for a really polished look.

With a folded piece of cardboard, cut out a stand (provided in the template). Or use a pretty upholstery tack to pin it to the wall.


This tutorial/freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. Do not copy this post, publish more than 2 photos or outright steal this idea for commercial publications. If you would like to use this tutorial for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

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    1. Lindsay says:

      This is fantastic! I love how you pointed out that Americana is not just rustic stars and tattered flags — and I adore southwestern style like that tribal vase.

    2. […] Sponsored Tutorial: Tribal Leather Vase – 2 freebie(s) […]

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    6. The leather vase which you prepared looks like a pot made of mud. The design and your step by step instruction, is really interesting. We are waiting here some more information in your next post. Thanks!!!

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