"Klaatu Barada... N... Necktie?" I always forget the last one, but I always remember how to tool leather. Want something evil, dead, leather and holds your phone or money? Ta-Dah!! Just make one of these Necronomicon phone sleeves. This project took me around 5 hours, mostly because of the hand stitching and drying time, but it was a pretty quick project. I made this for a friend, but you can make one for yourself, your family or favorite deadite. This project does involve some sharp, pointy things so please don't lose a hand... unless you're Ash J. Williams and you have a chainsaw to replace it. Anyway, let's begin.
Step 1: Stuff You Need
- Leather (this is tooling leather, vegetable tanned, not sure what oz. thickness)
- Leather tools (I used a swivel knife from Tandy, a beveler, some various stamps and a small hammer)
- An awl, hole punch or leather sewing machine (this is an awl for all brand without the spool)
- Waxed thread
- Square and ruler
- Water and sponge
- Shoe polish, stain or dye
- Sharp knife (box cutter, X-acto knife, leather knife, etc.)
- Something to hold the shape of your case while it dries (fake phone, pencils, foam, wood)
Step 2: Measuring and Cutting Leather to Size
First, you need to know your phone size and leather thickness. I added about a quarter inch to the measurements of the phone so that I would have room to wet mold the leather and have room for stitching. These measurements turned out to be around 5 and 1/4" long by 3 and 1/4" wide. Make sure to use your square to keep your right angles straight and make sure to mark your lines on the back of the leather. After measuring once, marking and measuring again, you can cut the leather. I used an X-acto knife with a standard blade and it worked extremely well. On the back side I cut a dip into the piece so that the phone could be pulled out easier.
Step 3: Give It a Face
I sketched a small picture of the Necronomicon first so that I'd have an idea of how I wanted the leather to look. Next I put those lines onto the leather where I wanted them. Then you'll wet your leather just a little and cut your lines while it's damp. I used a swivel knife for this, but you can use an X-acto knife or even a pocket knife, but these lines aren't meant to be very deep. If you've never used a swivel knife, note the way I'm holding it. This is the correct way, though you'll want to hold it just like a pencil with all 3 fingers. This concludes the marking step.
Step 4: Start Tooling
The first step is to go around the lines you've cut with your beveler. This tool makes your tooling look 3 dimensional and gives a look of height difference. Place the tip into the cut, lightly tap it with the hammer and move over slightly. You'll do this around the eyes, mouth, nose and wrinkles, but the wrinkles are just one sided marks. The negative space of the mouth and eyes was filled in with some texture with another tool, which is the second I showed. It works just like the beveler, except it is for texturing instead of outlines.
Step 5: Start Sewing
This can be your last step, if you'd like. There is a lot of different ways to sew leather. You can use an awl, punch holes and use a needle or you can use a machine. I personally use an awl, but I have a punch and some needles. The awl will allow you to use a couple different stitches, but use which one you're the most comfortable with. Saddle stitching is a very popular stitch and there are some pretty good instructables here on that, but I encourage you to try some different stitches to see what you prefer. Make sure you stay close enough to the edge that the phone has room, but far away enough to keep from tearing the leather. Once you've sewn it up you can use a knife and trim the edges even.
Step 6: Coloring and Forming (wet Molding or Moulding)
You can use many different things to color leather; stains, dyes, paints and polishes. I use shoe polish though because it will leave a nice patina later on and it will deflect some water. It will not be water proof, but it will help. I used a brown-red and tan. I use brushes to fill in the small details and a cloth to apply the rest. After this I filled the inside with warm water and let it sit for 30 minutes. It held water pretty good and at that point I poured the water out and put some colored pencils in. I put them in side by side so that it would dry with that thickness. Then I let it lay in the sun for about a half hour to dry, it was rather hot today.