How to Make a Leather Handle for a Cardboard Art Portfolio..




Introduction: How to Make a Leather Handle for a Cardboard Art Portfolio..

Ever tried to carry an 80 by 61 cm art portfolio without a handle? If one happens to be blessed having arms like an problem.
To be on the safe side, however, (and as a surprise to my wife) I made a leather handle to carry the darned thing.
Nothing fancy or expensive... no rocket science. ..

Hope you like it :-)

Step 1: The Plan..

It's pretty basic..
Take a strip of leather, make a handle out of it and attach it to the cardboard of the portfolio.
I used the trial and error method to figure out the suitable dimensions. I thought a length of 300 mm would be ok, but ended up with 260 mm. I happened to have a strip that long lying around somewhere and decided to have a go.
300 mm would have been slightly too large, I think.

Step 2: You 'll Need...

Carefull: sharp tools are used..!

An object to attach a handle to (like a portfolio)
2 pieces of leather approximately 260 x 20 x 2 mm
(vegetable tanned in my case)
cutting tool, ruler, groover, pen or pencil
contact cement - glue
some clamps to apply pressure
stichting awl, needles and thread
hole puncher, 4 rivets and hammer

Stitching wheel
Edge beveler
Burnishing tool
Dye and sealer

You wouldn't need all of the above when you would make a handle in another material, but since this is about a *leather* handle, you probably do need them all.

Step 3: Making the Handles. .

Turn the flesh side up and mark where you want your rivet holes and folding groove to be. I noted the wrong length (300 mm) in the design, in reality it's 260 mm.
Punch the holes and make a groove in the middle.

Use a round object, preferably in metal, to round both ends.

If you want a nice rim, now is the time to bevel the edges.

Double fold the strip of leather, except at both ends, where you want your rivets to be.
The groove helps in folding the leather. One could also fill the groove with a thin metal cable (the kind that is used on a bicycle f.i.) for extra strength and /or security, but in this case I didn't use that technique.

Apply contact cement, let dry and fold both side pieces towards each other. Hammer the rims slightly for maximum effect. Use the clamps to hold the workpiece together and let the cement do its work.

Make a few stitching holes at the transition point and start stitching. The idea is to enforce the spot where the cement ends and the leather reopens towards the rivet holes. I have punched only 4 holes at each end, using the stitching awl, time will tell if the binding holds without stichting.

If desired, dye your handle and apply a sealer.

Now do it all over again since you need two handles!
(he he..)

Step 4: Attaching. .

I don't know whether there is a special way to measure the dimensions to attach the handles, so it did it by sight.

Leaving 150 mm between the rivet holes and keeping an edge of 20 mm away from the top side of the portfolio felt about right.

A thin piece of leather was glued on the inside to enforce the cardboard of the portfolio where the rivets are to be attached.

The same was applied on the outside, between the cardboard and the handle.

Thus protecting the cardboard from the copper rivets, proceed to attach the rivets and install both handles.

Done !

Step 5: Result..

There are other ways to attach the handles, there are other materials to use as well...

This instructable tries to report the way I did this here and now, without proclaiming it is *the* way to do things.
Also, it is not about how to sew, bevel or burnish... You could discover that in other and better instructables.

One could learn a lot reading the Al Stohlman books "Leather Cases..." or explore other resources.

In any case : I had a good time and also made someone happy. What more can one wish. .

Good luck, happy handling and good 'ables...
Comments are always respected..

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    7 years ago on Introduction

    This looks like a great solution, and very well executed. Nicely done!


    Reply 7 years ago

    Thanks, glad you like it.