Online Store

Subscribe to our blog for exotic leather education news

Your email:

Caiman Skin Guide

Follow us for exotic leather educational resources, news updates, new product releases, and more

Pan Am Leathers: Exotic Leather Blog

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

Learning Exotic Leather: Nile Crocodile


The Animal

The Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus) is native to the African continent, mostly in the central, southern and eastern areas. Its average size ranges from 13-15 feet with the longest of the species reaching lengths of up to 26 feet. Around 200,000 Nile crocodiles are farmed annually.

The Nile crocodile is one of the premier leather materials used for footwear, handbags and other leather products.The Skin

The Nile Crocodile’s skin is often compared to the American alligator because of its low bone content. It is relatively long compared to its width and it has a particularly long, narrow tail.

One of the very distinct features of the skin is the tiny follicle on each of its individual scales. 
The scales on this croc are very large and more square than round towards the corners of the tiles.

Using Nile Crocodile Hide for Your Leather Project

Use Nile crocodile skin on your next project as an alternative to Ameriacan alligator hide or for a tighter texture with better breaks in the skin.Nile crocodile skin is commonly used in footwear (particularly cowboy boots), handbags, belts and small leather goods. 

As one of the premier textures on the market and a top-tier alternative to American alligator skin at a slightly lower price, the Nile crocodile presents a unique set of features for your upcoming designs. And we look forward to supplying the hide to you. For more on how to use Nile crocodile in your next leather project, contact us to set up a FREE project consultation today!

Download the Free Exotic Leather Handbag Guide Now!

Learning Exotic Leather: American Crocodile (Acutus)

The American Crocodile (acutus) is the perfect alternative for a less expensive leather project.

The Animal

The American crocodile (crocodylus acutus), native to Central America and Northern South America, is considered the largest reptile in the Americas. The average size is about 14 feet fully grown and about 180-450 kg (400-1,000 lb.). The largest of these crocodiles can reach lengths of 25 feet and weigh up to 2,000 pounds. 

The Skin

The plates on the acutus skin have no bone. Their belly scales are small-to-medium sized and have small follicle markings that you can find on the belly scales of several other croc species. The acutus crocodile skin has a narrow flank section (in terms of both width and length) and a wide belly section compared to other related species. 

It is worth noting that the acutus crocodile skin is not yet permitted in the USA.  

Using American Croc Hide for Your Leather Project

The lack of bone and relatively wide belly section give the acutus crocodile skin a very clean look and wide usable area, ideal for handbags. Zero bone also make it especially soft and supple for ready-to-wear, like jackets, pants, skirts and other garments. 

As the perfect in-between texture, well-treated crocodile leather can surpass your customers’ expectations, and we’ll proudly be the one to supply it to you. For more on how to implement top-tier American crocodile in your next leather project, set up a FREE project consultation with us!

Download the Free Exotic Leather Handbag Guide Now!

Learning Exotic Leather: American Alligator


Welcome to the second installment of the crocodilian leather series! Here, we’ll tackle the makeup, size and characteristics and leather quality of the American alligator (alligator mississippienis). Native to the American southeast, this gator is found in freshwater habitats as west as Texas and as north as the Carolinas (but predominantly Florida and Louisiana).

American alligator is perfect for simpler projects like belts and small leather goods due to its soft and flexible hide.

The Animal

American alligators can reach lengths upwards of 20 feet and can weigh up to 1,000 pounds! Normally, most of this specie sis about 8-10 feet long, fully grown.

The alligator can be told apart by its tooth placement. Most crocodiles tend to have their fourth lower-jaw tooth placed on the outside when their mouths are closed, but alligators have a place for it inside their mouth. Another tell-tale sign of their difference is with their snouts. Gators will have rounder noses (U-shaped) whereas crocodiles will have sharper, more pointed noses (V-shaped).

Like their crocodile counterparts, the American alligator faced extinction at one point in time. However, due to massive efforts called “conservation through utilization,” we’ve been able to protect them to continue their existence in safer, healthier habitats. About 200,000 of these alligators from farm-raised environments are used for leather projects, whereas 50,000 are collected annually from the wild. 

The Skin

The plates on the alligator skin have relatively little bone. Their belly scales are medium-to-large sized and do not have the follicle marking (single dot) that you can find on the belly scales of several other croc species. The alligator skin has a large flank section (in terms of both width and length) and long and narrow belly section compared to other related species. The tails on alligators also tend to be wider than tails on a similar size crocodile of another specie.

Using Alligator Hide on Your Next Leather Project

The lack of bone and follicle markings on the belly scales give the alligator skin a very clean look, ideal for handbags and luxury accessories. The wider tail also makes the yields attractive for watchtraps and footwear. 

Hipster Cognac Wallet

The availability of lower grade wild skins also makes using alligator skin economically feasible for products like belts and small leather goods that allow you to cut around defects, since lower grade wild skins are typically less expensive per usable area than top grade farmed skins.

No matter the use of your alligator skin, it will likely be an easy process to make your product. The skin of an alligator is soft and very flexible which makes for simple, hassle-free craftsmanship that’s bound to amaze your end consumer.

For more information on alligator skin or any other exotic leather for that matter be sure to contact one of our expert representatives. We’ll give you the full rundown of each and every kind of material to help you select the perfect material of your next leather project!

If you want more information on alligator skin, be sure to download our FREE Alligator Skin Guide right here.

  Find what your looking for on our online store

NEW Exotic Leather Series: Crocodiles!



Did you know over 1 million crocodilian skins are traded internationally among roughly 30 countries? As one of the most sought after skins on the luxury market, the unique and tender skin from both crocodiles and alligators can be seen on high-end handbags, wallets, watches, footwear and more.

American crocodile hide is the perfect alternative to the skin of American alligator.

In our previous posts, we highlighted the nature of each type of python and the special qualities that it brings to the table for buyers. We’ll do the same in this series as we’ll compare the American alligator (mississippiensis), American crocodile (acutus), caiman (fuscus), Nile crocodile (nilotocus), saltwater crocodile (porosus) and Siamese crocodile (siamensis) which are the subsection of the 20+ crocodilian species whose skins are most commonly traded.

During this upcoming series, we'll break down the essential facts for every type of leather buyer. Whether it's alligator or crocodile skins, we'll give you the necessary information so you make a confident, informed decision.

Stay tuned as we'll soon go into detail to discuss animal origins, skin sizes, bone content, scaling patterns, pricing and much, much more!

Free Project Consultation

Comparing the 3 Most Commonly-Traded Python Skins


A python skin handbag created from bleached, back-cut skin.Welcome to our finale on python skins! First, we had a brief overview of the three most commonly-traded python skins, then we had a more in-depth look at each of the three. Today, we’ll be doing some direct comparisons between the three so that you can choose the right type of python skin for you next exotic leather project.

Comparing Measurements

Of the three python skins that are commonly available commercially, the Brongersmai, or short tail python, is the smallest. The average measurement of the short tail python is roughly 1.6 meters in length and 28 cm wide at the center, tapering down to 15 cm wide at the ends. Generally speaking, this means that you can expect to get roughly 5 sq. ft. of hide from the average short tail python skin.

The Burmese python’s hide is much larger than that of the short tail python. On average, the skin of a Burmese python, or python bivitattus, measures 3.25 meters long and is 28 cm wide at the widest point of the belly. When you purchase an average-sized Burmese python skin, you’ll probably get around 10 sq. ft. of hide to work with.

The diamond python’s skin, interestingly enough, has the same measurements as that of the Burmese python’s skin for average length and width at the center. However, the diamond python tends to have a slightly smaller yield per skin than a Burmese python because it tapers more severely from the center to the ends.

Another difference between the three hides is their thickness. The Burmese python has a thinner hide than the other two species of python mentioned here. This makes the hide of a Burmese python easier to flex than the others. Additionally, the Burmese python should be easier to sew, as needles will pass through the thinner hide more easily than they would with the other types of python leather.

Comparing Appearances

Visually, the Burmese python is the most distinctive of the three.The hide of the Burmese python features large, rounded color patterns arrayed in a somewhat random fashion. The hide of the diamond python skin has more geometric, net-like patterns. Another telltale sign that a skin is a Burmese python skin instead of a short tail or diamond python skin is that the Burmese python’s center belly scales are much narrower than those of the other two snake species.

Telling diamond python skin from short tail python skin, on the other hand, can be a little trickier if both skins are bleached. Currently, short tail python skin is only available in a back-cut, bleached style, so skin in that style and cut with wide belly scales could be from either type of python.

The two telltales that a given bleached back-cut skin is from a diamond python rather than a short tail python are:

  1. Length of the hide. Remember, the average short tail python skin is only 1.6 meters in length, whereas a diamond python hide averages 3.25 meters, or double the length.

  2. Tapering of the hide. A diamond python’s skin tapers more severely from the center to the ends than the skins of the other two python species. If you lay down a diamond python hide next to a short tail python hide of equal length, then the diamond python skin will become skinnier noticeably faster than the short tail skin does.

Using these two distinctive factors, you can differentiate a back-cut bleached diamond python hide from a similar short tail python hide.

Types of Projects Each Hide is Suitable for

Elton John made his bed frame using python skin!When choosing between the three kinds of python hide for an exotic leather project, here are a few ideas for project types that each hide might be suitable for:

  • Belts. Any of the python skins can be used for exotic leather belts quite easily. For larger belts, however, Burmese and/or diamond python hides are your best option.

  • Boots/Shoes. For footwear projects, consider using either short tail or diamond python hide for boots and heavy-duty footwear that should be stiff. Burmese python hides can be used for more flexible footwear, as their thinner hide flexes a bit more easily.

  • Furniture. Celebrities such as Elton John have used python hides to add some personality to their furniture and bedding. For such large items, the 3 meter or longer skins of the Burmese or diamond pythons are typically best.

  • Garments. For garment items, Burmese python hides are the best. These skins not only come in the massive sizes needed for garment panels, they also are thinner than the other skins on this list. This thinness is a must for garments, which have to bend and flex with the wearer.

  • Handbags. Any of the three hides might prove suitable for use in handbags. Even the short tail python, being half as long as the others, is still plenty large enough to fill the panels for a handbag project.

  • Luggage. For these large-scale projects, Burmese and diamond-python hides are your best bet to fill the large panels these items require.

  • Wallets and small accessories. If you’re making wallets, any of the python hides can be used to make several such items per hide. However, consider focusing on using short tail python hide if you’re only focusing on small accessory items, especially if you’re trying a new concept and want to experiment.

With any of these python hides, you can rest assured that you’ve got a top-shelf material for creating products that will delight the demanding tastes of your ultra-wealthy clients.

Wondering how you can work python skins into your next exotic leather project? Contact Pan American Leathers today for a free consultation using the link below:

Free Project Consultation

Learning Exotic Leather: Diamond Python Skin


the shapes on a diamond python's back tend be very large and regular compared to the Burmese python.You’ve heard all about the short tail and Burmese pythons in our previous posts, now it’s time to talk about the last, but not least, of the three most-commonly traded python skins: the diamond python.

Another alias by which this type of python is known includes the scientific name of python reticulatus, or the reticulated python. This name is derived from the regular, geometric scale patterns on this python species’ back, as the term reticulatus means “net-like” in Latin (the diamond shapes resemble the pattern of the ropes in a fishing net).


While most commercially-available diamond python skins are about the same length as their Burmese python counterparts, they tend to have less total sq. ft. area.Commonly recognized as the world’s longest snake species, the reticulated python can grow to an astonishing 6.95 meters in length (with one specimen as being 7.67 meters in length).

However, while the reticulated python can grow to be very long, such large specimens are rare. The average commercially-available python reticulatus skin is roughly 3.25 meters in length and 28 cm (11 inches) wide at its widest point tapering down to 15 cm (5.9 inches) at the ends, making it similar to the measurements for the average Burmese python hide.

What separates the measurements of the diamond python from the Burmese python is the fact that the hide of the diamond python does taper more severely than that of the Burmese python. This reduces the total square feet area of the diamond python’s hide in comparison to a Burmese python skin of equal length.

On a side note, this smaller area per skin is typically reflected in the cost of the diamond python, making it less costly per meter than Burmese python hides.


As was noted above, the python reticulatus has a very distinctive pattern of colored scales on its back that resembles the ropes of a fishing net or large playing card diamonds separated by black lines. Unlike the Burmese python, with its rounded, irregular shapes, the patterns on a diamond python are very regular, remaining well-defined on the majority of the hide.

Another thing that makes the diamond python easy to tell apart from the Burmese python is the width of its belly scales. The belly scales of a diamond python are very wide in comparison. This can make the belly scales of the diamond python a great focal point for display in a large item if the hide is a back cut.

Much like the Burmese python, the diamond python is available in both front and back cuts, in bleached or unbleached varieties. Typically, designers who want to emphasize the wide belly scales will want a bleached back cut, while those who want to emphasize the python’s natural scale color pattern will go with an unbleached front cut.

Working with Diamond Python Skins

Many of the tips that you’ve seen in our Burmese python blog post can be applied to working with diamond python skin.

However, when planning out your panels for diamond python hide, keep in mind the fact that diamond python skin tapers more quickly than Burmese python skin. 

When using multiple hides for a large project, it may be possible to use two unbleached back-cut hides side by side if the scale patterns are the same size. However, it is typically easier to use two bleached hides if they are back-cut or simply use a front cut so the plainer belly scales can be matched up.

A well-made diamond python skin product is a true work of art, one that will have ultra-wealthy clients demanding one of their own.

Learn more about how you can work with python skin to create unique, striking, and top-quality exotic leather goods today by requesting a free consultation at the link below:

Free Project Consultation

Learning Exotic Leather: Burmese Python Skin


A sample of Burmese Python skin's appearance when left unbleached and without dye.Last time, we talked about the short tail python, the smallest of the commonly-traded python species. Today, we wanted to share with you the details regarding one of the most popular, and large, python skins on the planet: the Burmese python.

Measurements of the Burmese Python

Python bivitattus, or the Burmese python, is one of the top five largest snake species in the world, ranging from 2.5 meters (8.2 ft.) to 6 meters (19.6 ft.) in length, and 25 to 60 cm (9.8 to 23.6 inches) wide at their widest point.

The average size of a commercially-available Burmese python skin tends to be right around 3.25 meters (10.6 ft.) long, and 28 cm (11 inches) wide at the center, tapering down to 15 cm (5.9 inches) at the ends. The tapering of the hide is very slight until you near the end of the hide, which makes the yield size for a Burmese python of any given length a little more than the yield for a diamond python of similar length. This produces an average of 10 sq. ft. (roughly 0.93 m2) of exotic leather per hide, about twice that of the short tail python.

This large size makes the Burmese python’s hide suitable for a wide variety of large-scale leather projects, including large handbags, exotic home furniture, and vehicle upholstery. These pythons come from farms in Southeast Asia.


The hide of the Burmese Python is riddled with rounded, irregular color patterns.Burmese python skin has an irregular series of rounded color patterns in its scales. This creates a somewhat random, yet almost instantly recognizable pattern in the hide of a Burmese python that separates it from the more regular geometric scale pattern of the python reticulatus (diamond python).

Unlike the other two commonly-traded types of python skin, the hide of the Burmese python has relatively narrow center belly scales, making them less pronounced than those of the short tail and diamond pythons.

Compared to the short tail python, the hide of a Burmese python is thin. This helps to make the Burmese python’s skin more malleable than the other python species.


These hides are available in both front and back cuts, and in bleached or unbleached varieties. Bleaching the python’s hide removes the iconic scale colors, but makes it easier to get an even dye color in the hide. Meanwhile using unbleached skin preserves the Burmese python’s unique scale patterns, making it easier to identify the hide as being a genuine python leather product and adding a visual flair to the final product.

Tips for Working with Burmese Python Hides

Because these skins are so valuable, you’ll probably want to get as much out of each hide as you possibly can. Since these skins are so large, odds are that you’ll have a great deal of scrap material left over from each hide. If the scraps are large enough, you could easily use them to make small accessory items such as watch straps. If you have multiple lengths of very thin hide, you could braid them together into a cord and use that to make a purse strap or some similar item.

When working with the hide of a Burmese python, keep in mind the thinness of the hide. Normally, when working with scaly reptile hides, we would recommend thinning the hide out with a dremel or other tool to reduce wear and tear on your sewing equipment. Because python hide is thinner, this is not typically as necessary.

If you do decide to thin out your sewing lines with a dremel, be very careful not to take off too much hide, or you may weaken it.

Since python scale color patterns are more irregular than diamond python color patterns, consider using bleached hides for projects that will use multiple hides for one item. This way, you can ensure a more consistent look and avoid having mismatched scale patterns running parallel in a larger piece of work. Or, you could choose to use front-cut skins so the plainer belly scales at the edges of the hide are interconnected.

For big-scale exotic leather projects, few hides are as ideal for the job as Burmese python hides. With their large size, flexibility, and popularity, these exotic hides are an ideal way to meet the needs of ultra-wealthy clients with ease.

If you want to work with Burmese python hides, or have questions about how to work with it, contact Pan American Leathers today, or check out our free Python Skin Guide at the link below:

Python Skin Guide

Learning about Exotic Leather: Short Tail Python Skin


In our last post, we discussed in brief the three different types of python skin that are commonly traded: the short tail python, the Burmese python, and the diamond python.

Today, we’re digging into the details regarding the short tail python as an exotic leather.


While smaller than the Burmese Python or the diamond python, the short tail python still gives a respectable yield per skin due to the very slight taper from the widest part of the hide to the narrower ends.Of the three most commonly-traded python species, the Brongersmai, or short tail python, is the smallest. However, this does not mean that the short tail python is a small animal by any means.

On average, the short tail python tends to be 1.6 meters (roughly 5.2 ft.), and 28 cm (11 inches) wide at the widest point of the belly, slowly tapering to 15 cm (5.9 inches) at the ends. This means that for the average short tail python skin, you can expect to have about 5 sq. ft.  (0.46 m2) of skin.

The reason the amount of skin you can get from a single hide is so high is that the tapering of the hide is very slight until you near the ends. This width and length makes the short tail python great for use in many different applications, such as handbags, belts, footwear, etc.


Short tail python skin possesses wide belly scales that stand out in manufactured goods.The center belly scales of the short tail python tend to be several times wider than the rest of the scales on the hide. This makes the belly scales of the hide stand out next to the rest of the animal’s smaller scales, drawing the eye easily in any item that displays belly scales. In fact, the center belly scales are substantially wider on the short tail python (35 mm in the center and 20 mm toward the ends) than they are on the Burmese (25 mm in the center and 20 cm toward the ends). 

Contrary to the other species, these hides are pnly available in a back-cut bleached style. A back cut means that the hide was split down the back, leaving the belly scales intact and on display in the center of the piece. Bleaching the hide removes the natural markings from the hide, ensuring a smooth, consistent color once the hide is dyed.

One other thing that you might notice about short tail python hides is that they tend to be thicker than the Burmese python’s hide. The short tail python is approximately 0.6/0.8 mm thick, while the Burmese averages merely 0.5/0.7 mm. This gives your product a little fuller body and plush hand. 

Tips for Working with Short Tail Python Hide

If you want to reduce wear and tear on your sewing needles, or just want to have a thinner, more flexible hide, you may want to sand down the underside of the hide to reduce its thickness. When doing so, it is important to be careful not to reduce the hide’s thickness too much, or else you risk compromising the integrity of the hide.

Treating the scales of the short tail python with conditioner formulated for snake hides can help add luster to your finished product, making it more attractive when on display, in addition to providing protection against contaminants.

While short compared to the other species of python that are commonly available, the amount of skin you can get with a single short tail hide is still considerable. In many cases, this might mean that you will have some leftover hide after you cut out your panels for your project. Depending on the size of the scraps you’re left with, you may be able to make other items from the spare hide, such as watch straps, wrist bands, wallets, and other small accessory items to go with your primary product.

As a material for exotic leather projects, short tail python hide is an excellent choice for meeting the needs of your most discerning clients. With the bleached appearance and wide belly scales, you can easily create a sleek piece that draws the eye.

Interested in working with short tail python skin, or any other exotic leather? Contact Pan American Leathers today for a free consultation using the link below:

Free Project Consultation

A Brief Overview of Python Skins


In many of our recent blog posts about high-end handbags, we’ve discussed the use of python skin. In those posts, we discussed how python skin makes for a great material to use for large fashion accessories. 

However, what we didn’t mention earlier was that there are actually three different species of python that are frequently used for exotic leather. They are:

  • The Short Tail Python.

  • The Burmese Python.

  • The Diamond Python.

Each of these python species have their own distinguishing characteristics that separate them from one another, which we will discuss in brief here.

The Short Tail Python

Here's an example of a red short-tail python skin. Note the wide belly scales going across the center of the skin.The short tail python, which has the scientific name of Brongersmai, is found in western Malaysia, Sumatra, and several islands in the Strait of Malacca, preferring marsh-like tropical swamp environments.

Averaging a length of 1.6 meters and a width of 28 cm in the center and 15 cm at the ends, the short tail python is smaller than the other python species. However, the hide of a short tail python possesses a full-bodied thickness with only slight tapering, meaning that the yield for a hide of a given width will be relatively high.

The center belly scales of the short tail python are relatively wide, making a great focal point for an exotic leather piece. Currently, these hides are only available in a back cut bleached style. This shows off the wide belly scales, and ensures that the hide will be free of natural markings.

The Burmese Python

When most people think of python skins, the patterns of the Burmese python spring to mind. The round, irregular shapes are a defining characteristic of Burmese python hide.The Burmese python, also known by the scientific name of Python bivittatus (it was once considered a subspecies of python molurus, but has more recently been recognized as its own unique species). The Burmese python is natively found in Southern- and Southeast Asia. In recent years, the Burmese python has also begun to spread throughout the southeast United States as an invasive species, displacing or threatening other animal species native to the Florida Everglades.

One of the largest snake species in the world, Burmese pythons range from 2.5 to 6 meters long, and 25 to 60 cm wide at their widest point. The average size of Burmese python hides found on the market tends to be around 3.25 meters long and 28 cm wide at the center (15 cm at the ends).

The natural markings on the Burmese python are more random than other python species, and a little more rounded in shape. The hide of the Burmese python is also relatively thin, making it ideal for garment pieces where thick material would otherwise have to be shaved down.

Because the hide only tapers slightly until you near the ends of the skin, the yield for these skins tends to be high for their width. However, combined with the high demand for Burmese python hides, this means that you can typically expect to pay a little more for these hides than their counterparts.

The scales of the Burmese python’s belly are relatively narrow compared to the other two python species on this list.

As one of the most demanded python skins, Burmese pythons are available in both front and back cuts. Also, many designers like to take advantage of the natural color patterns in the hide of the Burmese python, so they are available in both bleached and unbleached varieties.

The Diamond Python

Here is a front-cut diamond python skin. The patterns in this skin tend to be more regular than those of a Burmese python, and these skins taper more severely from center to end.The diamond python, also called python reticulatus by the scientific community, derives its name from the regular, diamond-like color patterns common to this species of snake. The scientific name, reticulatus, means “net-like” in Latin, which would be another appropriate way to describe the color patterns in the hide.

Native to Southeast Asia, the diamond python grows anywhere from 3 to 6 meters long, and 25 to 60 cm wide. The average size for commercially-available skins tends to hover near 3.25 meters long, and 28 cm wide in the center.

The diamond python’s hide tends to taper more severely than the others on this list. What this means is that a diamond python skin that is equal to another type of python skin in size will actually provide a smaller yield. Because of this, the cost for a diamond python skin tends to be a little less than that of an equivalent skin from another species of python.

Similar to the short tail python, the diamond python has wide center scales, making them stand out in exotic leather goods.

Learn More

In the coming weeks, we’ll be adding more blog posts that talk about each of these three python species in detail, so check back with our blog later for more info.

If you need to know more about our exotic python skins right away, contact Pan American Leathers today to learn more, or check out our guide to python skin for free using the link below.

Python Skin Guide

Tips for Making Handbags from Python Skin


Natural python scale patterns create a truly one of a kind handbag.Not long ago, we made a list of the reasons why python skin is a great material for handbags. Python hides, which are collected from both farmed animals in Southeast Asia, can be up to 60+ centimeters wide and 6.5 meters long, has beautiful natural markings when unbleached, and becomes highly flexible when tanned.

Today, we wanted to share a few basic tips for getting the most out of your python skins when using them to make handbags:

Tip #1: Selecting a Skin

Before you can start crafting that perfect python skin handbag, you first have to choose which python skins to use. When selecting python skin, consider the following:

  • Grade. Handbags normally have very large, open panels. Because of this you typically need large, grade I skins. In a large handbag panel, there is little to no room to hide or work around flaws in a hide.

  • Size of the Handbag. Are you creating a small clutch bag, or a big bag? The bigger your project is, the larger the skin you’ll need. If you want to minimize your expenses, you’ll want to make sure that the skins that you order are only as large as you need to fit your panels. However, some handbags are so large that they need to be seamed regardless. If you are flexible, try working from what you can find in stock at tanneries and resellers.

  • Colors. Do you have a specific color in mind for your handbags, perhaps to match other items in your collection? When shopping for hides, it’s important to make sure that you get the colors you want so that your final product can match your creative vision. Here, buying your skins directly from a tannery can be helpful, as they can dye the hides any color you want during the tanning process.

  • Skin Patterns. One of the most distinctive features of a python’s skin is the patterns of colored scales on it. When ordering python hides, you often have the option of ordering either naturally-patterned skin, or ordering skins that were bleached to remove these patterns. Using natural patterns helps to quickly establish the finished piece as a genuine python skin product, while bleached skins often have a cleaner, more uniform appearance.

Keeping the above in mind while selecting python hides for your handbag project can help you ensure that the skin you get is suitable for your needs.

Tip #2: Using Scrap Material

With the largest python skins, it is often possible to get multiple panels for a handbag from a single hide. However, material near the tip of the tail tends to be much more narrow than material from the midsection. This makes materials near the tip less useful for large sections of the handbag. Instead, use these portions of the skin for straps, trim, zipper pulls and other smaller details.

By using material that would otherwise be scrapped, you can get more from your exotic leather purchase, and add a more personal touch to your designs.

Tip #3: Creating Shoulder Straps

Finding a use for scrap materials can help you get more from your python skin order.When creating handbags that use carry straps, consider buying a few extra small, low grade to use specifically for making carry straps. These skins do not necessarily have to be grade I skins, as you will have a little room to work around flaws in the hide here.

The other way to create shoulder straps would be to use sections of skin from in-between the areas cut out for the larger panels of the handbag. Unfortunately, this limits the length you can get without seaming.


Tip #4: Where to Buy Your Skin

With the above tips in mind, where should you go to buy your python skin for your next handbag project?

For exotic skins, there are two types of businesses that can furnish you with tanned hides:

  1. Tanneries. These are the businesses that actually process raw hides and turn them into leather. These businesses can process skins “to order,” putting them through tanning processes that best suit your needs. Every order from a tannery will include a surcharge to cover setup costs, whether you order one skin or a hundred skins. Tanneries are the best option for large custom skin orders where time is not an issue.

  2. Distributors. Unlike tanneries, distributors don’t process the skins themselves. Instead, they order skins from tanneries in bulk, storing them for a quick sale to their own customers (such as you). Most distributors keep a large stock of popular exotic skins in a few different colors. The big advantage here is that the skins you order from a distributor are already finished, so they can ship you your order as soon as it’s complete. However, distributors do charge a markup over what the tanneries charge them for the skins they sell. Distributors are generally best for small orders of commonly-available skin colors and finishes, especially when time is a factor (such as when you’re in a rush to get a prototype finished for a fashion show or other event).

In addition to the two businesses above, you can also place an order with a manufacturer, who will order their skins from either a tannery or a distributor, and then handle the process of turning your skins into a finished product. This is a good choice for designers who don’t have an in-house production team to work with, or who simply want to focus on the design aspect of creating products without having to worry about managing a team of workers.

We hope that you find these tips useful. If you want to learn more about working with exotic leather for a variety of projects, contact Pan American Leathers today, or request a consultation at the link below:

Free Project Consultation

All Posts