DIY Leather Litho Rollers (Attempt No.1)

UPDATE: (July 2020) I sold my litho setup to a great up-and-coming lithographer in Arizona. All equipment, including the little roller went to her. Apparently she got the roller seasoned and in use, and it seems to work well enough. So there’s that…glad its all in good hands!

UPDATE: (March 2018) I haven’t moved further than this post with this project. Unfortunately, litho has fallen by the way-side due to changes in schedule, focus of my work and the studio, and the decision to limit the physical toll that the studio takes on my body. Being the newest addition, and least practiced element of the shop lithography won’t be playing much of a roll, unless I end up working with someone who is much better trained than I.

I figured that I would leave the post up either way. Not sure if it is at all helpful. If it proves not to be, I’ll probably just delete it in the clean up.


Being the handy type, and a glutton for punishment, I thought I’d try my hand at making a leather litho roller before going out and buying one.

Scouring the web really didn’t provide much insight, save one forum where a book called, “Making Your Own Artist’s Tools and Materials” by Vance Studley was said to have some instructions on making leather rollers. Well, kinda. It has a quick mention, but nothing too in depth. The bits that were helpful were: to stitch the leather before putting around the felt and core; and to soak the leather in water, before covering the roller so that it will shrink tightly around everything when it dries.

A trip to the hardware store yielded some core possibilities while wondering the plumbing aisle. PVC coupling pieces are a good size for smaller roller cores, it seems. Though, for the big roller, I’ll still go with the maple.

I am trying a couple different approaches. First, I thought I’d try a small roller to test out the stitching and sizing of the felt and leather.

After a few hours of tinkering, here’s what I came up with…

The leather is still wet in these last images. Will update once it has dried.







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