top of page
  • Writer's pictureKelly Bazzle

Customized Trucker Hats: Unleash Your Creativity with Laser Engraved Leather Patches (OMTech Laser Friendly!)

Ever wanted to add a personalized touch to your favorite trucker hat or baseball hat? Maybe you're interested in selling custom designed hats online or at a local market? I'm here to share my experience doing just that with tips, tricks, and advice to help you make it a reality.


If you have an OMTech laser engraver, this will be a breeze for you. If you want a laser, but don't know where to start, check out this guide I created to help you decide.


But back to the hats and leather patches... This guide will walk you through the process of creating and attaching custom leather patches, transforming your hat into a unique masterpiece.


I sell custom hats and other laser engraved items that I design and create on Etsy. Check out my Etsy shop!

What You'll Need to Start Your Leather Patch Hat Journey:

  • OMTech Laser Engraver (we'll focus on settings for a 60W CO2 AF2028 model, but the general principles apply to other models)

  • LightBurn Software for OMTech Lasers

  • SVG file of your desired design

    • If you are still learning about basic SVG design principles, that's okay! I'm here to help. I'll share some tips in this article for you.

  • Leather patches (3"x2" with pre-applied adhesive, 1/16" thick - available from various vendors)

  • Baltic birch scrap (for creating a template to hold the patch)

  • Heat gun

  • A Hat (I use Richardson 112 Trucker Hats)


Step 1: Design Your Patch Artwork

If you have LightBurn software, I'll assume you know the basics of the program. If you don't have it, but need it, get it here and use KBAZZLE to get a discount!


Design Software:

  • Canva

    • You can easily create a design in Canva and download it as an SVG with a transparent background and import that into LightBurn to create your design.

  • Adobe Illustrator

    • You can also create designs in Illustrator and save them as SVG files and import those into LightBurn to create your design. (You can also do this with procreate, Adobe fresco, etc.)

  • LightBurn Software

    • Once you import the designs into LightBurn, or if you just design in LightBurn, you'll have to make sure each layer is set to line or fill and to the right power and speed. I'll cover the best power and speed for this type of machine and leather patch in step 3 below.


LightBurn Software screenshare with design in preview mode. Design is the American Flag with South Carolina flag inside of it with the Palmetto moon logo inside of the state.
Preview of Leather Patch Engraving Fill in LightBurn

Step 2: Preparing the Leather Patch

  1. Cut a Template (Optional): Using scrap baltic birch or any other thin wood scraps you have, cut a template the size of your leather patch than your leather patch so that the patch does not move when you're engraving. It will fit perfectly. This helps secure the patch during laser engraving and prevents movement.

  2. Place the Patch: Secure the leather patch into the baltic birch template (if using).

  3. Focus Laser to Patch: Make sure your laser is focused to the distance of the leather patch.


Step 3: OMTech Laser Settings

  • Engraving:  These settings are specifically for a 60W CO2 AF2028 OMTech model:

    • Line:

      • Speed: 251 mm/s (adjust slightly based on design details and to make sure you don't engrave through the patch)

      • Power: 9%

    • Fill (black engraved leather):

      • Speed: 251mm/s (adjust slightly based on design details)

      • Power: 12%

    • Fill (gold engraved leather is more sensitive so I found this setting works best for leather that engraves gold):

      • Speed: 251mm/s

      • Power: 10%

  • Cutting 1/16" thickness:

    • Speed: 12 mm/s

    • Power: 60%

      • Testing on a sample piece of leather is best to determine if this setting will work best for your machine.


Important Notes:  I've found that the designs pop best when you do a line engrave first and then fill after that so that there is a distinct and clear line around your design. Offset is also a really great way to create shapes around your designs. But, in order to do that, make sure the design is grouped together and fully welded.


Keep in mind, these are starting points. It's always recommended to test on scrap leather before finalizing settings on your actual patch.


Step 4: Laser Engraving

  1. Load your design: Import your SVG file into your laser engraving software (Lightburn in this case).

  2. Set Laser Parameters: Use the recommended settings above and tweak if needed for engraving or cutting, depending on your desired outcome.

  3. Test & Refine: If possible, perform a test engrave on a scrap piece of leather to ensure the settings produce the desired results.

  4. Engrave/Cut: Once confident, proceed with engraving or cutting your leather patch design.


South Carolina Flag and American Flag Engraved on Brown Leather Patch that Engraves Gold
Results after using the above settings on my 60W engraver.

Step 5: Attaching the Patch

  1. Heat Up the Hat: Using a heat gun, carefully warm the area on the hat where the patch will be attached. This can be for about 5 seconds or so. You just want the hat to be warm when you attach the patch.

  2. Activate the Adhesive: Following the leather patch manufacturer's instructions, use your heat gun to activate the adhesive on the back of the patch (around 270 degrees for 10 seconds or so). When you notice the patch start to bend up a tiny bit, you know it's ready to go.

  3. Apply & Press: Carefully position the engraved leather patch onto the warmed area of the hat. Be sure of your spot you're placing it because it will stick right away. Apply medium pressure for 10-12 seconds with your hands or a towel and once stuck, you can use the heat gun to give it a little more reinforcement from the heat. Press again and let it sit and cure. It will be ready to go in a few minutes.


Two navy blue richardson 112 twill hats with leather patches created by Kelly Bazzle.
Final Products: The Floridian and the South Carolinian Hats I created.

Congratulations!  You've successfully created a custom leather patch trucker hat using your OMTech laser engraver.


Bonus Tips:

  • Experiment with different laser powers and speeds to achieve various engraving depths and textures. Keep in mind, if you want it to engrave deeper, you could slow the speed vs. increasing the power and vice versa.

  • Explore different leather colors and finishes to match your design aesthetic. There are so many great combos out there. Research in your favorite Laser groups and see what other people are using that has worked for them.

Safety First!

Always refer to your OMTech laser engraver's user manual for proper safety protocols and make sure your workspace is well ventilated. Interested in upgrading your exhaust on the OMTech machine? I have a video on youtube for that! Check it out here ⬇️.



I hope I helped you with your creative idea! By following these steps and using your creativity, you can transform plain trucker hats into unique and personalized masterpieces using your OMTech laser engraver. Happy creating!


What should I cover next? Let me know! I'm always ready to create more OMTech content for my community!

11 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page