What is this material, and how do I cut it?

I have a few sheets of this mystery faux leather stuff. The front is soft and supple, and is backed with this fuzzy fabric.

It’s tougher than I thought to cut — I can hardly get through with a sharp exacto knife.

Is this vinyl? I’d like to laser cut some patterns out of it, but if it is, that’s a no-go.

Have you tried a rotary cutter?


Plus one for rotary cutter, or get a sharper blade in that knife. Definitely looks like PU upholstery vinyl. I’m guessing you’ve tried scissors? I think @stepho got some new ones in the textile lab for fabric.

There are some new scissors in textiles. They are in the “tools” box. That said, they are not overly heavy duty scissors, so it’s possible that (even being new) they won’t stand up to very heavy fabric.

A rotary cutter allows for you to put some of your own body weight into the cut. But do be careful, as….you know, circular razor blade and all.

There is the large green self-healing cutting mat in textiles. There is also a large rotary ruler on top of the book cases in there next to the scrap bin

Determining whether it’s vinyl or not for laserability is readily and definitively done by copper wire flame test.

There is solid copper wire in the laser cabinet for this

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I’ll give the rotary cutter a try. I’m cutting 2’’ circles, so I’m not sure how well they’ll come out cutting by hand.

Rotary cutting in a circle is possible, but usually requires a specialized circle cutter. I have one. But the rotary blade it has is tiny. Mine is really intended for cutting cotton.

Laser if possible then laguna with drag knife is option

Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa. @EricP , you can cut non-laserable leather on the CNC? Because now I’m listening.

Do we have a drag knife? I heard some discussion about getting one a few months ago but if we already have one it’s news to me (and Sarah)!

Also, just tried the Beilstein flame test — looks like it’s not PVC. Here’s my mystery material vs. a known sample of PVC.

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@jamesfreeman - who was working on a drag knife?

The upper photo is negative for PVC, it’s probably a urethane.

So I’d say give it a try on the laser


I thought green flame meant it’s not safe for the laser? Please do educate, I only learned about this by watching YouTube videos yesterday after you mentioned it.

You’re right, the green flame indicates that there’s chlorine in the material that would produce chlorine gas. The first photo (orange flame) was my mystery cloth, so look laser-safe.

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Yep @Sarah with basically a razor blade that can free spin in the head.


I thought someone had donated one but not sure.

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Cuts beautifully on the laser. I did it face-down to avoid scorching the top material, and because the fiber backing was harder to get through. Thanks y’all!


I learned so much from this thread!

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I brought it up in a thread but went a different direction on my project, so I didn’t buy one myself or push for Asmbly to buy one.