Introduction: DIY Reusable Cozy for Your Cup Out of Vegetable Tanned Leather

About: We are Amy and Tanner Skrocki and we are a husband and wife full-time artist team who are also parents of a 4-year-old. We create a variety of handmade items including metal work, leather-work, woodwork, paper…

My husband and I go out for coffee quite a bit, while we are running errands, and we noticed the coffee sleeve or cozy was not thick enough to reduce the heat and it wasn't reusable. So we decided to make our own out of vegetable tanned leather. This coffee cozy tutorial will show you how to cut, add a border, stamp, dye and finish your coffee sleeve. The included video shows all the steps as well.


Tools: Hand Border Tool, Edging tool, ruler, rotary cutter, leather scissors, rotary punch, mallet, rivet setting tool, anvil horn or other metal piece for setting rivets on curved leather pieces, assorted leather stamps or alphabet sets, hand or machine burnishers, ruler

Materials: Vegetable tanned leather between 4-6 ounces, template, painters tape, pen/awl, rivets, linen free cloth or rag for dying, sponges, water and dish, water based dye or dye of your choice, leather finish of your choice - I used carnauba wax, beeswax for burnishing edges

Step 1: Step 2: Print and Cut Out

Print and cut out included template on card stock.

Step 2: Step 2: Select Leather and Cut Out

Find a piece of vegetable tanned leather between 4-6 oz. Cut out the template and you can tape down the template if you need to onto the leather with painter’s tape. Don’t press too hard with the tape or it may leave marks on the leather.

Step 3: Step 3: Mark the Holes

Mark the holes with a pen, pencil or awl. Don’t worry any mark you make will be punched out with your rotary punch.

Step 4: Step 4: Cut Your Leather

You can trace around the template with a pen, pencil or awl or if you have experience with a rotary cutter you don’t need to trace around the template. You can also use leather scissors. If you decide to use scissors you may want to trace around the template that way it won’t shift.

Step 5: Step 5: Punch Your Holes

Punch marked holes with rotary punch. Aim for the centre of the mark you made. You want to make a hole that fits snuggly around the rivet.

Step 6: Step 6: Trim Any Uneven Spots

Trim any uneven spots with your leather scissors.

Step 7: Step 7: Wet Leather

Wet your leather with sponge if you want to add any tooling, lines, initials etc. If you don’t want to add any decoration skip to step - dying your leather.

Step 8: Step 8: Border Tool

Add an optional border to the project with a hand border tool.

Step 9: Step 9: Edging Tool

Round the edges, optional, with a hand edging tool.

Step 10: Step 10: Measure

Take your ruler and mark the places where you want to add any stamps to.

Your stamps must be added while the leather is damp.

Step 11: Step 11: Stamp or Tool

Use stamps or alphabet sets on tool steel, an anvil or granite slabs.

Step 12: Step 12: Dye

Dye your coffee sleeve with the dye of your choice. I used Tandy’s water based dye. Wipe off any excess dye, let your item dry and repeat 2-3 times or as many times as necessary to achieve the look you want. Once the front is dyed you can choose to dye the inside or leave it natural leather.

Step 13: Step 13: Seal

Once your project is completely dried you can add a sealant to your leather piece with a sponge or cloth. This can be carnauba wax or any sealer you wish to use. Let your sealer dry and buff the front with lambs wool or another soft cloth.

Step 14: Step 14: Burnish the Edges

Select the burnished tool that is available to you. I found the wooden tools work the best. Add beeswax to the edges of your item. 2-3 times around should be more than enough. If your beeswax is soft you may only need to go around once or twice. Too much beeswax can ball up while you are burnished and it can mark your leather. Burnish edges until they are smooth and shiny. Trim any extra fibres and add more beeswax if edges are not smooth and go over again with your burnisher.

Step 15: Step 15: Rivets

Select the rivet color of your choice. I picked black double capped 7/16” rivets for this project. Smaller rivets would also work as well.

Step 16: Image 16: Set Rivets

The rivets can be easily set over the horn of an anvil or any rounded tool steel. Hammer rivets into place and give your item a quick final buff with your soft cloth or the lambs wool and you are done!

If you need any extra help check out the video!