A leather pencil case is something that will last many, many years. It is durable, secure, and can be made from scraps of leather left over from previous projects. This type of bag can be made in a variety of shapes and sizes to hold anything you like including craft supplies and art supplies.
Zipper (at least 9″/23cm to fit pencils/pens)
Thread (leather/fur thread or high twist polyester)
In-Line Leather Hole Punch (optional)
Rawhide or Plastic Hammer
Wooden Block (for hammering seams)
Rotary Cutter or Straight Edge Blade
Barge Cement (and a toothpick to spread the glue)
Step 1) Determine Size and Shape
This pencil case can easily be made with a few random scraps of leather. The detail leathers for my project came from one of those random grab-bags you can pick up at some craft stores. This would also work if all pieces were the same leather.
With that being said, the size of this leather pencil bag was determined by the size of the scrap of leather I selected. For best results as a pencil bag, the zipper should be at least 9″/23cm. The piece of leather should be wide enough to accommodate the zipper.
Outside of that, it is up to you and how you want the bag to look and function that determines the size.
Step 2) Prepare the Zipper
If the piece of leather is wider than the zipper, small tabs need to be made to add support to the pencil case.
For my leather/zipper, I have 3″/8cm extra leather than zipper. A support needs to be cut for both ends of the zipper so that measurement needs to be halved. Cut 2 pieces of leather that total the width needed.
These are the leather supports for the zipper. The width of the zipper tape determined the height of each piece. The width of each piece is equal to half of the measurement of the difference between the zipper and leather of the main bag. Each of my pieces are 1 1/2″ / 4cm.
For ease of sewing, I used an in-line leather hole punch tool to mark sewing lines for attaching to the zipper tape. If you don’t have this tool, an awl and a ruler (to evenly space your stitches) will work just fine.
Holes punches and they are ready to sew to the zipper.
Prepare a length of thread.
Sew a simple running stitch to secure the leather to the zipper.
Return the line of stitching to fill the running stitch.
Finish the threads. Do this to both ends of the zipper.
Gluing the tape to the leather will add security to the pencil case. Pull the leather away from the zipper tape.
Coat the ends of the zipper tape with Barge Cement.
Hammer the tape to the leather for a solid bond of the Barge Cement.
Step 3) Prepare the Main Leather
The two sides that will attach to the zipper needs to be punched for stitching.
I used the in-line leather hole punch again but you could use an awl to pre-punch the stitching with a ruler to ensure the correct spacing.
Both sides punched.
The zipper will sew to the main leather. For best results, you will want to match the stitching points to the leather ends of the zipper piece.
Position the zipper as it will be when you sew it together.
Use the same technique you used before to mark the leather ends of the zipper for stitching.
Punch both ends.
Punch both sides as it will be sewn together.
Punch both sides as it will be sewn together.
Step 4) Sewing the Bag Together
Prepare a length of thread long enough to sew two lengths of the zipper tape plus a bit extra for starting/stopping and running through the needle. Bring the needle to the front of the leather through the hole 1 in from the edge.
Send the needle to the back of the leather through the hole closest to the cut edge.
Bring the needle to the front through the 2nd hole again.
Begin working running stitch.
Work running stitch the full length of the pencil case.
Return the line of stitching to fill in the running stitch.
Bring the other end of the leather pencil case around to meet the zipper. I used safety pins to hold the pieces together during sewing.
Sew the pieces together with running stitch.
Both edges of the pencil case are attached to the zipper.
Determine where you want the zipper to be on the finished case (centered, off set, etc). Use the rawhide or plastic mallet to hammer a crease into the leather to set the folds.
Cut 2 pieces of leather that are long enough to cover the full cut edge of the pencil case. The width of the pieces is determined by the thicknesses of the leather you use. It should be wide enough to wrap around the cut edge of the case. My strips were 1″ / 2.5cm wide.
Apply a thin line of Barge Cement to the inside of the pencil case. Use care to only get cement where you want the bag to hold closed.
Hammer the cemented edges together with a rawhide/plastic mallet.
Grab one of the pieces to wrap around the leather pencil case.
Apply an even coat of Barge Cement to the entire piece.
Wrap the leather piece around the end of the pencil case and hammer in place with a rawhide/plastic mallet. Do the same to the other end of the pencil case.
This is a different view of the leather that is wrapped around the cut edge.
That’s it. You have a lovely leather pencil case made with small pieces of leather (or scrap leather) that will hold many items together conveniently.
-Carly | Antibromide