In this instructable, I'll show you how I made a nice leather holster and formed it to fit my pistol perfectly. This holster was designed for a Glock 17, but the patterns I created will make a holster that works nicely for a variety of semiauto pistols including 9mm and .40 S&W Glock pistols, 1911s, Beretta 92s and other pistols of similar size. Feel free to use my patterns. For larger framed pistols like M&Ps, .45 Auto Glocks, and H&K USPs you will need to make adjustments to the pattern. Also note that the pattern I made is for a right-handed holster. If you want a left handed holster, you will need to reverse it.

Equipment you will need:
1. A graphics workstation with Corel Draw*
2. A laser cutter*
3. Sewing needles for leather**
4. A microwave oven*
5. A large microwave-safe bowl
6. A thermometer (either a candy thermometer or a infrared thermometer should do nicely)
7. A toothbrush
8. A pistol or pistol form (you can use an actual pistol, a "blue gun" or even an airsoft pistol for this. (NOTE: Not pictured. Do not bring real guns to TechShop).
9. A short section of square acrylic rod approximately 0.25" thick cut to just fit between the front and rear sights of your pistol.
10. Some burnishing tools -- I use a spoon, a sharpie, and the handle of a leather punch but you could use any number of items for this.
11. A brush to apply contact cement

Supplies you will need:
1. A piece of heavy (8oz or more) vegetable tanned tooling leather at least 8" x 12"**
2. Some waxed thread**
3. Contact cement**
4. Fast Orange or similar hand cleaner
5. Paper towels

* Items available at TechShop
** Items available from Tandy Leather Factory

I made this at TechShop San Jose, so I was able to use one of their computers with Corel Draw and one of their 60W Epilog lasers. All TechShop members have access to the computer workstations, but you will need to take the Laser Cutter SBU (LAS101) class before you can use a laser at TechShop.

Note: If you don't have access to a laser cutter, I have pre-cut leather kits available in my etsy store.


Prepare your pattern for cutting. If your holster is for a 1911, a Beretta 92, a 9mm or .40 S&W Glock, or similarly sized pistol, you should be able to use the Corel Draw file I've included in this instructable.

If you want to make a holster for a larger pistol, you will likely need to make significant adjustments to the pattern (holster pattern-making is beyond the scope of this instructable) and some trial and error will likely be involved.
<p>What settings did you use for the laser? I have a 45w Full Spectrum, and any setting I use that makes it all the way through the leather leaves it looking like I threw it in a fireplace....</p>
<p>I did the one pictured above on a 40W FullSpectrum, I've since upgraded to the 45W tube. I did multiple passes and used painters tape. Additionally, I stained it black - it wasn't completely necessary but did help.</p>
<p>These pieces were done on a 60 Watt Epilog, and I have since done some on a 90w Full Spectrum. settings are going to be pretty different on a lower power laser, but I am sure it can be done. If possible, try to make a single pass. <br><br>I would start with maximum power and lower the speed until you get acceptable results. Leather will shrink when exposed to heat and if it gets or stays too hot it can warp badly.<br><br>If you must make multiple passes to cut through, try using some strong magnets to hold the leather down against the bed and prevent it from moving between passes.</p>
Made one for my dad's Glock 36 using my 19 as a model. How to make one for a friend's Springfield XDs once he 3D prints a blue gun
<p>Looks great. I found the pattern would not work for a XD, but I bet you can tweak it a little, to make it fit just about anything.</p>
If I dye my holster, how well does the leather hold the color? Will it bleed off the leather a little bit kinda like diy garment fabric dye?
<p>This all depends on the kind of dye you choose, and whether you seal the leather after dying. I get good results from Tandy's leather dying products and also from common wood stains (e.g. MinWax) from the hardware store. Anything that is going to be worn against clothing may bleed when it gets wet or sweaty if it isn't sealed, so I always seal (at minimum the outside of the leather but usually all exposed surfaces) with a product like Tandy's Eco-Flo Satin Shene (sic) or Super Shene. This will give the finished piece a controlled level of shine and prevent the dye from bleeding.</p>
<p>I've added versions of the pattern file in other formats. Hope that helps.</p>
<p>I can't open your pattern file. Can you verify that it is not corrupted? Excellent write up. Very east to follow. Thanks for submitting.</p>
<p>Hi Jural<br><br>I am able to download and open the file in Corel Draw X6. For some reason, if I try to open it directly from the browser it fails, but if I save it and then drag and drop it into Corel it works fine.</p>
<p>I downloaded the trial of version 7 and it worked perfectly. I was able to save it as a PDF and print it out. I will let you know the results. Thanks again.</p>
<p>I have the exact gun and really wanted the patterns for mine. I have the leather and I am anxious to get started. I can use a PDF as well. If you get a chance to upload one it would be much appreciated. Thanks again for the great walkthrough.</p>
<p>I have a 50 Watt Epilog laser and I downloaded the files, but the they are unusable when I bring them up in Corel Draw X4. Any suggestions? Thanks, Lisa</p>
<p>Hi Lisa,</p><p>The files work in Corel Draw X6 ... not sure about X4. I will post an Illustrator PDF later today.</p>
Thanks, Lisa
I did this step exactly as you describe, but my leather did not shrink at all that I could detect. Do you know if there are differences in leather that would cause this? I tried soaking the leather in the 160f water again for longer, but still no shrinkage. Any ideas?
<p>Hey Dustin,</p><p>There are definitely different grades of leather. I have run into some that will not work, because of how they are cured / tanned. For good results you must use a vegetable tanned cow hide.</p>
This is beautiful.
I had trouble getting Inkscape to load the CDR file you have kindly provided. Any chance you could upload a PDF or SVG? I usually do kydex/leather combos, but I want to give an all leather holster a try.
I am a jewelry designer and I have been wanting to start a line using laser cut leather. However I dont have the equipment, and I hear it is very expensive. Where can I find a laser cutter that I can set up in my craft room? Can you advise?
Are you set up or willing to cut pieces for resale? I checked you Esty site but didn't see anything. I could use a couple of sets.
Hi Dutch56,<br> <br> Thanks for the interest!<br> <br> I was just setting up the <a href="http://www.etsy.com/shop/HandmadeByDroids" rel="nofollow">Etsy store</a>. I have kits (really just pre-cut leather pieces) available on Etsy now. If you are interested in reselling, feel free to contact me and we can talk about pricing and white-labeling.
Nice Esty site HBD- I have a couple of Springfield Armory XD 9's (3 in Subcompact and 4 inch model and the Bride has her own XD Sub compact so I was mainly interested in a couple of kits for our own use. Kydex and nylon has it's place but nothing feels as nice as good leather. <br> <br>Are you planning on doing anything in the future with Mag cases for single and double stack magazines?
Mag carriers are definitely in the works. I'm playing with a couple of different designs right now, trying to get them just right. They should show up on the Etsy store in a few days.
Nice Esty site HBD- I have a couple of Springfield Armory XD 9's (3 in Subcompact and 4 inch model and the Bride has her own XD Sub compact so I was mainly interested in a couple of kits for our own use. Kydex and nylon has it's place but nothing feels as nice as good leather. <br> <br>Are you planning on doing anything in the future with Mag cases for single and double stack magazines?
How 'bout a thumb break...
A holster fitted this way has much better retention than you might imagine. I can literally shake the holster upside down and the pistol will not fall out, no matter how hard I try. <br> <br>That said, I like a good retention holster too, and I'm thinking about some more complex designs with steel reinforced thumb breaks and adjustable tensioning. For now trying to keep things simple, though.
Two of my favorite activities: pistol sport and tech! I love the TechShop logo on the inside of the holster, a subtle details that do not go unappreciated. Have you seen the story circulating about someone who used a 3d printer to build an AR lower receiver?
The 3D printed lower receiver is very interesting. Interesting to see how technology effects government regulation, too. We live in a time when the boundary between knowledge (information) and material goods is starting to blur. It's much harder to control data than goods.
I too wish I had a laser cutter for this very purpose. Very nicely done!!!!!
This turned out really nicely. Makes me wish I had access to a laser cutter. Alas, no Tech Shop in GA yet. still, I might take a trip to the local Tandy and see what I can do.
Thanks for the comment. The laser cutter speeds things up, but there is no reason you can't cut the leather by hand using a swivel knife and punch the stitch holes with an awl. Doing things the &quot;old-fashioned&quot; way takes a little longer (but then I spent a lot of time on the computer getting the files right, so it might well balance out.<br><br>Working with leather is a lot of fun, and I suggest giving it a try.
Fantastic. I've been wanting to get something for my shockingly unpopular pistol and didn't realize that it really only takes a little time and pew-pew from the laser cutter to make something custom. Thanks!
Five stars. Great work!
wow looks great :) <br>nice job!