A good friend gave me a leather covered flask as a gift years ago, and over time the existing leather started peeling off and looked a bit worse for wear. Time for a revamp! I have been wanting to do more laser cutting and work more with leather, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do both.

As I used a flask which had an existing cover, it had a nice inset surface which made application easy and framed the cover (although the double layer meant it was no longer flush). However a cover like this could be added to any flask, one would just need to be extra careful when glueing to achieve a clean edge.

Step 1: Prep the File

There were several stages to preparing the file.

First I measured the flask to determine the dimensions. I messed this up big time the first time around by measuring the flask without accounting for the first layer of leather, thinking it wouldn't be a huge difference. Wrong! Measure carefully. For thin leathers make your file about 1/8" - 1/4" shorter around to accommodate for stretch. Once you have an artwork size, the computer work can start. Your process may be different, but here are the steps I took in Photoshop/Illustrator CC:


  • Found a black and white low res image online to use as a base
  • Brought it into photoshop on an art board the correct size
  • Duplicated the image side by side, then hand drew in a seam in likeness to the existing pattern
  • Selected all black in the file (Select > Color Range), and contracted the selection so the lines between what would get laser cut out were thicker (Select > Modify > Contract)
  • Pasted to a new layer, then cleaned it up with a lot of hand drawing. This included removing pieces along the edges which looked too small by clumping them into shapes next to them, and general cleaning up of the edges to be clean and un-pixelated.
  • Once the image looks crisp and clean, save as a jpg and open in Illustrator


  • Object > Image Trace > Make - will trace the image, but won't show the path
  • Object > Image Trace > Expand - breaks out the path
  • Delete the solid rectangle container to leave only the art we care about
  • Clean it up - despite importing a smooth file, there were still jagged edges here and there. There is probably an easier way to go about this, but I fixed them by hand, as simplify path didn't really do the trick.
  • Add outer container and stitching holes (mine are .03", 1/8" apart)
<p>Thanks for the file! Saved the day with this great last minute birthday gift! :)</p>
<p>Yay, you're the first person to make it! That is awesome, I love how you integrated their initials. Glad this came to the rescue for your last minute gift :)</p>
<p>Cool project! I can't wait to try it out, I just ordered a new desktop laser cutter :D</p><p>You can get a 100 dollar off if you use this link: <a href="https://glowforge.com/?kid=4OsYw0" rel="nofollow">https://glowforge.com/?kid=4OsYw0</a></p>
<p>Absolutely beautiful work of art and to apply an age old material, such as <br>leather, to a flask, also with a rich history, is </p><p>Being an &quot;old school&quot; mechanical engineer I like and dislike CNC. <br>From one standpoint it brings precision and repeatability to a project while (possibly) <br>removing some of the intimacy with said project.</p><p>Conversely, it allows the ability to allow a machine to perform some <br>functions the artist cannot. In that case the artist can rebuild that intimacy through <br>the CNC and see their thoughts and inspirations be displayed in ways for others <br>to view and enjoy. </p><p>I appreciate your mention of hand tooling that indicates your appreciation <br>of such.</p><p>I have not done well in my critique, never being very good in conveying my <br>thoughts and ideas correctly and artistically.</p>
<p>Thanks. I understand the mixed feelings towards CNC, I think both have their place. The original inspiration for redoing my flask was a beautiful hand tooled one - it was the first time I had realized what a nice canvas a flask provides for small scale leatherwork.</p>
Nice, wish I had a laser cutter to do this.
<p>Thanks. You can use a laser cutting service like ponoko to do it for you if you don't have access to one in your area.</p>
<p>Hello, where did u got the pattern of the design? Thanks. </p>
<p>I think I googled "organic pattern" or something similar, and found a stock photo to use as a starting point.</p>
<p>This is very cool. Well done. </p>
<p>Turned out awesome!!</p>
<p>That is beautiful!</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a designer at Instructables. I have a degree in fashion design and like to sew, get crafty, and attempt to use power tools.
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