Learn to Design & Craft, Your Own Dream Leather Armours, Costumes & Accessories

A lifetime of creativity and fun begins today. Learning at your own pace, BUT with professional Step By Step Guidance.

Learn to Create your own Leather Designs, Perfect for Ren, SCA, Larp, Cosplay Theatre & more.

Enroll Starting at $10/Month

From Authentic Reproductions to Exploring the Limitless Bounds of Your Creativity, the Academy by the Prestigious Black Raven Armoury Will Show You How to Everything You Need to Know to Craft Stunning Leather Armour

 
  • Design to Creation
  • 12 "In your own time" easy-to-follow modules
  • 1-1 Tutor & Student Discussion groups
  • 20+ Hours of Video Explanations and Demos
  • 12 Digital eWorkBooks
  • Bonus 9 Guidance Patterns
  • Bonus 5 Exclusive Norse Knotworks
  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

Welcome to the Academy

A Beginner's Leather Masterclass For Ren, SCA, Larp, Cosplay, Film & Theatre

Begin Your Creative Adventure

Leather from Concept to Creation in 12 Simple Steps


Have you ever sat staring in awe at the masterpieces your favourite heroes wore on the big screen?

Maybe browsed through photos of incredible leather costumes or armour, wishing you could make something just like it... but don’t think you have the talent?

Or perhaps you have dreamed about creating something amazing using leather for yourself or your beloved horse or dog... but haven’t known where to start?

With over 25 years’ experience in crafting leather armour and costumes for Ren enthusiasts, Larpers, Cosplayers and the film industry, I have decided to share my passion for leatherworking, design and all things creative to your workbench. Via a new unique online course, I will lead you by the hand through everything.

Step by step I'll share my entire personal creative process so even an absolute beginner will be able to design, create and bring life to their dreams.

Whether your passion is for Ren Fairs, Larp, Cosplay or SCA, this course will prepare you for a journey of expression and creativity and all at YOUR pace once each module has unlocked.

Learn to Create Masterpieces, Even While on a Tight Budget

30 years ago, I made my very first piece of leather armour for a theatre production. I picked apart second-hand sheepskin from a flea market, used hot glue and some DIY hobby rivets, and somehow cobbled my armour together.

That experience ignited my passion for leather crafting. I had no teachers and no internet, no mobiles or wi-fi… just libraries, museums, and old VHS tapes to fuel my dream.

Now, since the creation of this course you don’t need to guess and pray your armour holds together… Instead you get to learn from anywhere in the world, while I share over 25 years experiences taken from tens of thousands of projects across dozens of industries.

By the Time You’ve Completed the Course, You’ll Have Created Your Own Pieces to Rival Any Professional Maker

From today, NO MORE guessing how a piece of armour holds together… Instead you get to learn the trade secrets of the masters from anywhere in the world.

The 12 easy-to-follow modules in the complete Black Raven Armoury Academy were designed to give you knowledge and experience I had to learn on my own over decades of leather crafting. As you work through the course, you’ll learn everything you need to make professional looking leather pieces. 

In easy to follow simple steps, you’ll lay the groundwork so when the time comes to make your creation, everything falls into place. You’ll learn how few tools you need to get to work as well as learning to source materials on a budget. 

It’s my dream that someday, you’ll look back on your own journey into the world of leather armour crafting with pride.

When I started out, there was no internet, so I was reliant on books and hands on experimentation to develop my skills.

20+ years & thousands of projects on, and it’s still surprisingly difficult to find detailed information on leatherwork for armour & costumes... And I guess this is very much a part of WHY I wanted to share my learning with you.

Ask any of my students... From Day 1, you have me personally on tap to ask anything !! No matter the question, if its in my power to guide you, I will.

Remember when you sign up for the course, you don’t just get an introduction to leather working; ...You get to be part of an amazingly supportive creative community... One we all love.

Begin Crafting

The Course Structure

Each module is carefully designed to provide you with practical, hands-on experience. This recreates the experience of you working with me in my workshop as closely as possible – like a virtual apprenticeship. What used to be restricted to only an elite few (and cost thousands of dollars) is now available to you.

You’ll watch as I demonstrate key concepts, principles, and tips for crafting with leather. And you’ll benefit from my decades of insider experience providing armour for film, theatre, and even many more.

And of course, I hold nothing back.

NEW for 2020:

Crafter's Essentials

Right now, many people like you are looking for a constructive hobby or new skill to learn while we spend time apart. That’s why we developed the Academy Crafter’s Essentials. It’s a new, affordable way to learn the essentials of leather crafting.

Introduction: The Fundamentals of Crafting Leather Armour

Start off your fantastic journey crafting leather armour. Capture your inspiration. You'll learn:

  • A step by step detailed introduction teaching you the fundamentals behind the art of “Design” and the skills needed allowing you to create your own unique projects, using centuries old techniques;
  • In depth discussions and demonstrations, showing how you can then takes your concepts to the next stage of creation;
  • How to create your very own libraries of ideas, as well as my own go to secret sources of inspiration;
  • How to keep all your ambitious plans, mood boards and ideas organised so you'll never lose a design again.

Creating Your Custom Dummy & Formers

Beginning to bring your concept to life. You'll learn:

  • How to create a working dummy based on your exact proportions, enabling a perfect fitting for the wearer;
  • The fundamentals of basic design practicalities, enabling a closer look at how materials work together;
  • How to work with a mannequin, sizing up, re shaping and adjusting the form, including techniques for extending the life of your working dummy for future projects;
  • How you’re working dummy and base forms, will work with your pattern.

Designing Detailed Patterns

From concept to pattern. You'll learn:

  • How to construct begin constructing your own detailed patterns using the mannequin or former from module 3;
  • How to create your first pattern skins, as well as how to bring a perfectly fitting 3 dimensional feel to your design.
  • The fundamentals of pattern cutting and working with your personal dummy former;
  • The different pattern options; and...
  • The different media and methods involved in pattern making.

Finding the Perfect Materials

Choosing your materials, their best uses and best practices. You'll learn:

  • The different types of leathers and also non-animal alternatives;
  • The different terminology;
  • How to identify different types and parts of leather;
  • A basic understanding of how different types of leather are made;
  • How to size and source leather;
  • What type of leather you'll need for any given project;
  • How to budget for your project and costs involved; and
  • Where you can substitute if things get too expensive.

Introduction to Leather Crafting Tools

Learn all the tools you need to work with leather. You’ll learn:

  • What each tool does and their uses, as well as practical demonstrations, hints and tips ;
  • The reality of how few tools you require in order to produce any design:
  • To gain experience in using these tools; and...
  • To gain a solid understanding of how to use them to dramatic effect.

Hand Tooling and Embossing

Here we teach you more advanced tooling skills to get the detail you want.

  • Get 20 years worth of experience and techniques, as well as the processes used by many leading industry professionals;
  • How to use simple techniques to create stunning designs; and...
  • Discover how to add texture, detail and embellishments to elevate your own work to a new standard.

Water Forming

Learn the ancient art of leather forming.

  • Learn how to use simple techniques and little more water to shape to help you form leather into complex and rigid shape;
  • The limitations of forming leather; and...
  • Tips and tricks to make the process easier.

Hand Finishing

The final application of dyes stains waxes and distressing. You'll learn

  • How to create stunning professional level finishes:
  • How to decorate your leather work, including an introduction to many of the metalwork & finish options available;
  • Insider advice on how to add world class finishes; and
  • How to apply the same antiquing processes as Alex to create stunning leather.
  • How to Gild using both modern and ancient techniques, using a variety of foils, leaves & paints.

Take Your Learning to the Next Level with the Academy Complete Pro Edition

If you’ve ever thought, “I could craft armours and sell them to fellow enthusiasts,” then the Pro version is for you. The Academy Complete Pro edition includes everything in the Crafter’s version PLUS an additional 5 modules. These modules go deeper and cover topics like marketing and promoting your armoury, bringing advanced patterns to life, and more.

Over 22 hours of video, I share as many secrets as I can. This gives you the true inside look at how working armouries operate and create dream-worthy armours.

Here’s what you get when you go Pro:

Design Considerations

Dive into all the considerations when designing Armour, Accessories and Costumes. You'll learn:

  • How the physical limits of the human form influences the design of your armour, Costumes & Accessories;
  • How to create something fit for purpose, its aesthetic fit for your costume or character, as well as all the practical lists of considerations needed when creating any project (Materials choices & their place in your planning);
  • The strengths and weakness of different types of materials, be they leather, fabrics or other synthetic materials;
  • What's possible and practical when creating armour (and when you can bend the rules);
  • The differences between turning heads with your Armour at a Ren Faire, Larp or Cosplay vs the NEED to Turn Rattan or Steel at SCA Event.

Bringing Patterns to Life

Continuing from the previous pattern making module, learn how to transfer your physical prototype patterns into final format. You'll learn:

  • How to translate designs into digital and final pattern format; allowing faster, easier adjustment options for later use:
  • To gain solid understanding of patterns, & sizing techniqies;
  • How patterns form the skeleton of almost all designs; and
  • The software that Alex uses and valuable tips from his experiences.

Creating Your First Prototype

Drawing on all the skills that you've learnt, you'll move from concept to real life creation. You'll learn:

  • How to transition from design to a physical representation of your concept; and...
  • Some basic leather tooling skills.
  • The final steps in creating your first working prototype design:
  • How to plan for your detailing, embossing and embellishments.

Marketing and Self-Promotion

Building your audience, client base and following. You'll learn:

  • How to market, create a social media presence and turn a hobby into a business; and...
  • Everything Alex has to know about creating a business so that you can create a successful armoury.
  • How to create your own personal brand and signature style, enabling your own unique fan following.

Here’s What You Get When You Enroll in the Academy Complete Pro Edition:

Start Learning Now

“What Tools Do I Need?”

When I started crafting on a simple workbench, over 25 years ago, I used the same tools I use today. Even now all these years later, through this course, I've wanted to show people how little you need to get going.

Which is why you'll see me teach this whole course, using the simple table and set of tools I have used to create every items you see on my site. Yup I still keep my tools in the same plastic container! No big, fancy display of hundreds of hammers or bevellers !!!

So what will you need to get started ?

Simple tools... No fancy expensive kit & very little that can't be found on ebay, Amazon or any decent hardware store for under $60-$70

What About Materials? 

Again.... I am no different from most folks in this hobby... I hate wasting money or pointless spending, so over the last two years, we have put together a tried and tested extensive list of worldwide leather suppliers. None of us have deep pockets when it comes to being creative, so as part of the Module on Materials, I'll share with you the most cost efficient ways of getting every last bit of scrap of leather !!

 


The Basics Tools List


Cutting Mat or Cutting Surface (that will avoid you getting beaten by your parter )
Craft tool edge beveller  (number 3) & Rivet Setter (optional)
Hole punch (suitable for standard rivets) 3mm holes & Awl for making stitch holes (optional)
Hammer (for rivets) & Poly mallet (for punches) 
Scalpel or craft knife, Blunt Harness needles & Wax Thread
Small Craft Anvil (or piece of solid steel)
Materials will be 100% down to what project you would like to complete and are discussed at length in module 6, along with cheapest and best sources shared by the students and coach.

"A Personal journey of creation & imagination"

Discover Your Resourcefulness

I’ve designed this course to start you at the level I was when I started, with no money or materials. The course assumes no prior knowledge, so wherever you are on your leatherworking journey, you’ll be taken step-by-step through a process that genuinely delivers results.

My passion is supporting and empowering the next generation of leather craftsmen, which is why this course is structured in such a way that any investment in tools and materials is kept to an absolute minimum. Second-hand tools and materials are readily available from various outlets and are very cost-effective. You’ll be amazed at the effect you can achieve for very little cost.

 

Full Support When You Need It

Each module comes with a post-module discussion group so you can discuss your ideas and any questions you may have with your fellow students. If you need extra help, we also offer ongoing support to help you with any issues you may have. I’ll also be filming bonus videos to cover the most frequently answered questions arising from these discussions to make sure you have all the information you need.

What’s more, the course comes with a 30-day money back guarantee, no questions asked, so if you try it and decide that it’s not for you, you have the confidence of knowing you’ll get your investment back.

Meet The Founder

Alex Agricola

Founder of Black Raven Armoury & Author of The Crystal Anvil

Born in the U.K. and currently based in the historical town of Stratford Upon Avon, Alex currently heads up one of the most respected teams of creators in the world, specialising in the design and production of Leather Armour & Accessories for a variety of industries including Larp, Ren, Cosplay, Motion Pictures & Television.

Now It's YOUR Turn

Whether you’re a hobbyist who wants to perfect their skills or you dream of being a professional leatherworker with your creations featured in movies and more, this course will take you wherever you want to go.

As part of the course, you’ll be assigned a project. If you choose, you can submit a digital portfolio of work to Alex and his team, who will personally assess your work. If it meets our standards, you’ll be issued a certificate to confirm that you’ve been trained by Black Raven Armoury, which will help you get started in this exciting industry. We will give you the confidence and skills you need to establish yourself as a professional in your own right. This course could open doors you never believed could be accessible to you.

Enroll and Start Crafting

Reviews from Students Like You

Jeremy – USA

Beyond inspirational. This course from start to finish is the pure definition of learning the craft to its fullest potential.

Zachary – USA

Very impressive work. If I could, I would hire you to make me something for the start of a collection.

Matt – UK

Great course, lots of content and clear instruction. Alex’ passion really shines through and the pace is very gentle. Heartily recommended.

Mike – USA

Comprehensive Curriculum with Emphasis on Original Design. The “Tips and Tricks” that come with Years of Experience are a Great Asset to those willing to take the time to Learn.
Thank You Alex.

Ruth – USA

Well thought out modules that enable the student to absorb and reflect on each topic. Great support and feedback from Alex and other students. Enjoying it a lot.

Teresa – USA

I love that you can go at your own pace and there is no pressure or time constraints. So affordable too! If I could give it 10 stars I would! 

Possum – USA

Well designed course for learning at your own pace. Videos are well done and concepts are explained thoroughly through video and practical instruction.

Ron – Canada

I am THOROUGHLY enjoying the webinars and course material that are a part of this course. My skills as a leathercrafter are going through the roof as a result of what I am learning. An honest, well earned 5 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended.

“Which Version Should I Choose?”

No matter which version you choose, you'll learn all the basics you need to start crafting leather armours and bringing your costume designs to life.

Crafter's Essentials Version

Choose this if: You want just the essentials needed to get started creating leather armours

Includes 8 Modules:

  • Introduction: The fundamentals of Crafting Leather Armour
  • Creating Your Custom Dummy & Formers
  • Designing Detailed Patterns
  • Finding the Perfect Materials
  • Introduction to Leather Crafting Tools
  • Hand Tooling and Embossing
  • Water Forming
  • Hand Finishing
Choose This Version

Pro
Complete
Version

Choose this if: You want to go deeper or ever might want to sell your armours 

Includes 12 Modules:

  • Introduction: The fundamentals of Crafting Leather Armour
  • Design Considerations
  • Creating Your Custom Dummy & Formers
  • Designing Detailed Patterns
  • Bringing Patterns to Life
  • Finding the Perfect Materials
  • Creating Your First Prototype
  • Introduction to Leather Crafting Tools
  • Hand Tooling and Embossing
  • Water Forming
  • Hand Finishing
  • Marketing and Self-Promotion
Get The Complete Course

Sign Up and Get Started Now!

A Beginners Leather Master Class for Larp, Ren & SCA

Crafter's Essentials

$79.97

Lifetime Access


Includes everything you need to get started crafting leather.
  • 8 modules with over 16 hours of video
  • PDF workbooks, printables, and additional resources (with thousands of words each) for each module
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Delivery: Unlock Every 15 Days

 

 

ENROLL NOW

Complete Pro Version

$99.97

Lifetime Access


If you’ve ever thought about crafting armours for sale, then the Pro version is for you. Includes everything in the Crafters Version, plus…
  • An additional 6+ hours of video (for a total of 12 modules over 22 hours)
  • PDF workbooks, printables, and additional resources (with thousands of words each) for each module
  • Tips on marketing and promoting your work
  • Delivery: Unlock Every 15 Days
ENROLL NOW

Complete Pro Monthly

$10/mo

12 Payments, Lifetime Access


If you’ve ever thought about crafting armours for sale, then the Pro version is for you. Includes everything in the Crafters Version, plus…
  • An additional 6+ hours of video (for a total of 12 modules over 22 hours)
  • PDF workbooks, printables, and additional resources (with thousands of words each) for each module
  • Tips on marketing and promoting your work
  • Delivery: Unlock Every 30 Days
ENROLL NOW

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Tools & Materials - Will I be informed of what I'll be needing during this course?

Yes absolutely, with each module you will receive a list of what you'll need in order to carry our assignments. Obviously as I have developed the course very much for the complete beginner, lists will be very short, only requiring the bare minimum.

These lists are being delivered with each module to avoid students thinking too far ahead and focused on the current module. As a guide IF you were purchasing every single tool in one go, we have estimated a total cost of about $158 (tools) however these will not be required for the first 5-6 months of this course so plenty of time to save as they are all commonly available online.

 
 
Learning Level - Is this course just suitable for beginners and if so will it also be of value to more advanced craftsmen?

This course is very much about my own personal experiences and processes. I guess in many ways it’s for the folks who have seen my work and know the history of my experience, working my way up, self-trained over 25 years from passionate hobbyist costume & armour maker, to an artist who has now gained some respect both in the public community as well as many of the major film, TV & Game studios around the world.

This course is very much my complete ethos, journey & process I follow each time I create anything, rather than just another collection of "how to bevel, cut, punch and tool" videos you can easily find on YouTube. Yes, I will cover all these subjects to some degree in the relevant modules, yet my own approach is very much that "Design".... "The Why" is the key to any successful creation & leather merely the chosen vehicle. This course may or may not teach the experienced leather worker anything "new" with regards to working with leather.... what it will teach them, is "my way."

Tools & Materials - Are they included, or do I need to purchase my own?

I am afraid that while I would have loved to have thrown in a kit, no tools or materials are included in this course; however, guidance is given with each module to the relevant "essential" items needed.

I have very much developed this course around my own circumstances when I started 20+ years ago as a broke student having to be inventive and get things going on a budget. I encourage a huge amount of recycling of tools (second hand) and if not available, there are a ton of very cheap starter tools manufactured in China (many I still use today) Materials will be down to your chosen projects and again, guidance will be given with regards the places to get a bargain.

 
Student Support - Will I be able to ask questions as we go along in class?

Within each module, you will find a list of items to interact with, including Videos, Workbooks as well as other items such as Art (modules 1-5), Patterns (Modules 6-11) Each of these will have an associated discussion option.

This is where students can ask questions and comments and will be the core place for discussion. Questions will be restricted to ONLY the module being worked on to avoid confusion or jumping the gun. Students will be encouraged to share their own experiences & knowledge and at the same time, be expected to remain respectful at all time, both with fellow students & tutors.

 
Course Finish Time - Does it matter how long I take to complete the course?

There is no set time limit for completing the course with each module unlocked 15 days from your enrolment date automatically (Unless Monthly Payment option has been chosen, then its 30 days). After this, while we monitor your progression, this is just to make sure you are ok, and not needing assistance. The actual amount of time you take is 100% up to you (I designed this to fit round busy lives).

Course Content - Can I download class lessons or and content?

Each module comes with a core class main video lecture & accompanying workbook. The workbook can be downloaded from within the lesson's text body. However, for copyright reasons, videos are not downloadable and MUST only be accessed by logging into the Academy, so we are able to monitor your progress. In addition, each module will come with bonus content such as study aids, free exclusive usable art & patterns later in the course, all of which are fully downloadable in the 'Downloads' section of the corresponding lesson. The print-screen below shows the exact location where workbooks and study aids.

Can I purchase access for a friend as a gift?

Yes, we gladly offer gift access to the course. Use one of the links below to choose which version you'd like to gift:

Crafter's Essentials - $79.97

Complete Pro - $99.97

Complete Pro Upgrade (For Those Already Enrolled in Crafter's Essentials) - $39.97

If I enroll in the Crafter's Essentials version, can I upgrade to the Complete Pro version later?

Yes, if you wish to upgrade to the Complete Pro version and access all 12 modules, you can upgrade later by clicking the link below:

Crafter's Essentials - Upgrade to Pro - $39.97

Crafter's Essentials - Upgrade to Pro (Gift a Friend) - $39.97

(Note you save by upgrading to the Pro version when you enroll. For this reason, if you feel you might benefit from the additional instruction in the Pro version, we recommend choosing that one up front instead of upgrading later.)

Sign Up and Get Started Now!

A Beginners Leather Master Class for Larp, Ren & SCA

Crafter's Essentials

$79.97

Lifetime Access


Includes everything you need to get started crafting leather.
  • 8 modules with over 16 hours of video
  • PDF workbooks, printables, and additional resources (with thousands of words each) for each module
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Delivery: Unlock Every 15 Days

 

 

ENROLL NOW

Complete Pro Version

$99.97

Lifetime Access


If you’ve ever thought about crafting armours for sale, then the Pro version is for you. Includes everything in the Crafters Version, plus…
  • An additional 6+ hours of video (for a total of 12 modules over 22 hours)
  • PDF workbooks, printables, and additional resources (with thousands of words each) for each module
  • Tips on marketing and promoting your work
  • Delivery: Unlock Every 15 Days
ENROLL NOW

Complete Pro Monthly

$10/mo

12 Payments, Lifetime Access


If you’ve ever thought about crafting armours for sale, then the Pro version is for you. Includes everything in the Crafters Version, plus…
  • An additional 6+ hours of video (for a total of 12 modules over 22 hours)
  • PDF workbooks, printables, and additional resources (with thousands of words each) for each module
  • Tips on marketing and promoting your work
  • Delivery: Unlock Every 30 Days
ENROLL NOW