Introduction: Architectural Leather Tissue Box

This Colosseum Tissue Dispenser box is made with natural tone Veg-tan leather, constructed by using some of the essential handtools in leathercraft. The process is quite simple I recorded all the tiny details and tips that will make the finished case beautiful with subtle textural details from natural veg-tan leather.

Veg-tan leather is made with a much slowly tanning process that is more eco-friendly and less toxic to the environment, the leather has a very faith wooden barrel smell, it ages to a deep honey tone after years of use. Facial tissues might be in contact with the leather case so I chose the natural tone leather without any pigment.

My fascination with Roman architecture, especially the Coloseum in Rome. the Roman arch give me an idea to make the tissue box like a miniature rendition of the ruin with 9 Roman arch on each facade. the the center of the roof is the opening to take out tissues.

The tissue box I found is a generic 90 pack supermarket brand. the rough measure is 128mm x 117mm x 105mm

I used saddle stitching technique that is entirely done by hand with 2 needles and a single waxed thread in contrast with machine stitching ( 1 needle with 2 threads).

More of my Leathercraft design work is in here

I have document saddle stitching technique in my previous instructables as well here is the link

Lets begin !

Step 1: Leathercraft Handtools

These are some of the essential tools for this project

start from 12o'clock clockwise

1. Steel Ruler

2. Skiving Knife

3. Ebony wood burnish stick big and small

4. Leather Finish Burnishing Gum/ Wax

5.Leather Glue Water based/ Solvent based

6. Roller

7. Divider/ edge creaser

8. Leather Knife cutter

9. 20mm semicircular punch

10. 3.35mm pricking iron (10 teeth/ 5 teeth/ 2 teeth)

11.Edge bevel tool

12. waxed hand stitching thread

13. needles and awl.

Leather used in this project

0.8mm , 1.2 mm Natural tone vegtan leather, Non woven micro fibre lining, Card stock for reinforcement. the 2nd photo shows the natural tone deepens as the leather age, the 2.2mm leather I had for 3 years is much darker than the thinner ones.

Last image is the Leather Knife I have been using, I sharp it very often so the cut is very clean. using xacto knife is also suitable for leather however it will dull quickly after few cutting.

Small size tissue box from super market. the dimension is quite similar to other named brand if not identicial .

Dm 128mm Height x 117 Depth x 105 Width

Now lets make the template.

Step 2: Making Template, Tracing, Cutting.

The template is very straight forward, the top 2 tiers are 40mm in height, the bottom one is whatever remain. equally divide the space into 3 part and cut a 20mm semicircular arch out with 20mm punch. I left some space in between each tiers for leather to overlap. the front/back and left/right is slightly different in width but overall have the same aesthetics.

Once the template is done, I careful traced it onto 1.2mm thick leather, the leather at this stage is not treated with protective wax or oil, it can be easily scratched so I used a metal awl to trace the template precisely. however, any minor scratch can be removed with a burnishing tool on the next step

I have attached the digital version of the template after this project is made. it is quite accurate, download the image and give it a try!

Step 3: Bevel Edge Trimming/burnishing Finish

Here I used a semicircular punch to cut out the Roman style arch.

the arch edge at this stage is still quite rough so I used 1mm bevel edge trimming to remove the material on the edge , the result is a beveled edge that is nice to the touch.

the next step is burnishing the edge to a smooth gloss finish. I used colorless gum tragacanth, applied on the edge then use the ebony burnishing stick to rub the edge in the grove. after a few strokes the fiber on the edge will be bonded by the gum , when it is dry it will become shiny the color with deepen as well. be patient to achieve a quality finish.

last image shows the raw edge(left) and the finished edge (right) .

Step 4: Making Lining and Support

The support is made of 500gm cardstock. trace the template onto the cardstock then cut the outline without arch. I left 2 rectangular hole on the upper corner to counter sink 2mm magnet.

the linings I used microfibre. glue the lining and support together. use an awl to mark the crease line where roof will fold in.

Step 5: Attach Buttom, Skiving Leather Edge

At 2 lower corners 10mm away from the edge attach the snap button. the back side is supported with EVA foam for stiffness.

trace and cut a piece of 0.8mm thick leather using a sharp skiving knife to trim the edges at 45 degree angle. This step will make the edge of the leather disappear when bonded together.

Step 6: Glue Front and Back Side

Now glue the 3 tiers of arch to the top of 0.8 mm leather. use a leather plier to press the edge bond firmly.

use the edge divider to mark a decorative line and each edge this line can be used as a guideline when punch stitch holes in a line.

Step 7: Saddle Stitching Preparation

Neatly trim all the edges of the piece. then use a 10 teeth 3.35 pricking iron to punch the holes for stitching.

each side is around 85-90 stitching holes will take about 30 mins to stitch by hands.

Step 8: Edge Paint

I applied black edge paint to the front and back piece. this will seal the edge and hold the edge while doing the hand stitching.

Step 9: Making the Left/right Side

This step is quite similar to the front and back piece.

The side piece have an additional flap to host the other half of the button, they are reinforced with cardstock. the top tier leather piece is creased on the back for a clean fold edge.

Step 10: Hand Stitching

The Hand stitching process use 2 needles tied to 1 waxed thread. I have documented this process in my previous leather craft instructable.

The tip is cout the total length of the stitching line. the wax thread should be 3.5 to 4 times the length of the stitch line.

Once all four panels are done with stitching, I finish the roof at last. the stitching hole have to be aligned to the front and side panel . at the end loop one of the needle back once and tie a knot before trim the thread.

Step 11: Assemble

fold the edge neatly snap the button on each corner fit the tissue box in and guide the tissue through the top opening of the roof.

Step 12: Complete!

The Tissue box is nicely done I am quite satisfied with the finish.

I hope you give it a try!


Hand Tools Only Challenge

Runner Up in the
Hand Tools Only Challenge