This is something you probably already saw.... Anyway, I had one bought at some street market, the material was some kind of super think eco-leather and in time it started to fall apart.
Finding it a useful ornament, I decided to make one from a proper real material. So I search in my scrap pile and found a prefect fitted piece of moderately big sturdy leather. It is lucid brown finished, and I think it gives a sophisticated touch to the tray. The back is nicely grippy and works perfectly to keep it in place.
This is my version of a leather tray, and this is what I used:
-leather piece of choice
-4x bolts and 4x nuts
Step 1: Pick the Material You Like
This kind of trays can be made in every kind of material you can imagine, from the softer to the hardest (with different solutions for bending and shaping...).
In my take on this classic, I went for a quite hard brown lucid leather, 3-4 mm thick, that required quite strength and patience to be cut and bent. I wanted it to be sturdy.
Step 2: Design and Realisation
You can go for many different designs (look here for inspiration: https://goo.gl/Xna8xj).
I decided to use a classic square design, with pins (bolts in my case) to pinch up the corners and obtain a proper tray for keys and stuff.
I cut a square out of my leather scrap as big as possible (I managed to fit a 200x200 mm square) and used a needle to draw the four corner. to have a perfect square you can use a 45° degree set square. Then used a cutter and ruler to cut every side.
For the holes I used a leather puncher you usually use to make holes in the belts or leather stuff. I used the bigger hole, measuring 5 mm in diameter. I positioned the holes as you see in the drawing, using a pencil on the rough side of the leather to mark the lines (it easily clean off, avoid doing it on the treated side of the leather).
I then just finished my tray pinching hard on the corners (the material is quite stiff) and using the bolts to keep it in pace. The bolts are 6 mm in diameter, so they actually screw in keeping the leather in place without the need of a nut, but you can go for a smaller diameter and have the "mechanic" look that actually has a purpose.
Step 3: Finished Tray
Everything here is customizable, my is just a finished example of how it will turn out to look.
I decided to use the finished surface as inside, as I find it very nice and durable. And secondly, the rough/rubbery back of the leather works perfectly as grippy surface in order to keep the tray in place.
Hope you enjoyed and found some inspiration! Show me your personal version of it if you do one.
I'll probably try to make more of this, I'll show how they'll ed up. Have a nice day!