Introduction: Leather Beer Growler Holder

I always found the handle of the growler to be rather small for the weight of a full, 64oz fill. I had seen a few growler holders here and there, and wanted to come up with my own design, one that made it a little more comfortable to hold, carry and protect. Of course, it would need a little flare.

I made the pictured prototype, which was just very simple and plain. The plan was to disassemble it and use it as a template, but in the end, it turned out so nice, I decided to just keep it assembled.

I had some of the templates from before, so I just worked with those, and improved on them a bit.

Base Changes

You will notice the prototype has a four-arm design, which is stitched on. However, the finished one from this Instructable has three, riveted and stitched. After I laid out the frames for the dioramas, I realized a four-arm bottom would grossly interfere with the frames, so I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with a solution, which was the three arm base.

The Instructable

I sort of struggled with this, as I was trying to keep pictures as I went, but I would miss some, and then the base change, through me for a loop. I also had some issues with the editor, losing a few steps and having to start over, so some sections are not that well written. For this I'm sorry, if there are questions or comments feel free to let me know.

Step 1: The Design and Templates

I sketched out some original ideas, based on what I learned form making my glass holder.

Basically, a onesie, with some key features:

  • a wrap around the growler
  • a supporting bottom
  • a stout, sizable handle for four fingers
  • a quick, removable retaining strap
    • to affix to the growler's handle
    • secure the holder from sliding off

Then of course some decorations.

As I'm still not that good at stamping, I wanted something simple, but at the same time, the two large areas are quite the real estate to cover and would need something sizable.

I thought about stamping

  • some hops--they look a lot like pine cones however
  • 'B E E R'
  • Stamping the Reinheitsgebot
  • Different Beer Glass Types
  • Different Beer Bottles
  • Local Brewery Logos
  • For gifts, I though of several simple dioramas as well

In the end, I went with the Beer Glass Types. I found some outlines and some descriptions on the google and went from there.

I did some Photoshop to highlight the glasses, create a new layer, and Edit-Stroke, set to 5px. I save the resulting outlines and place them side by side, and save for web.

I insert them into a new DOCX in Word, I found this useful because the Drawing bar has Height and Width settings in inches, and is very simple to adjust and play with.

It took a few prints to size them for the two panels, in the end a height of 2.75" worked. Leaving room for the frame and the exterior stamping.

Step 2: The Onesie



I use a drawing pad with perforated sheets, and tape two sheets together, since the growler's circumference is just longer than the paper. I cut the paper to around 4" and wrap this around the growler. I go a little long cutting the leather at first--I've made a few now, so now I have the template set to the proper length.

I use a pencil to sketch the rectangle onto the leather, then use a Fiskars circular knife to carefuly cute along the lines. Careful to follow the lines, careful to finish with all my fingers!


After the rectangle is cut, a little long, I wrap the piece around, mark the top and the bottom, and then cut my round knife against a straight edge. Like the cup holder I made, the growler is not exactly square, there is a slight taper, so you need to make sure you know which way the top is, or you could end up with inverted art--a great talking point, but prob'ly not a desired effect.

Edging & Burnishing

Since there are other Instructables, including my beer glass zarf, I did not add pictures of the edging and burnishing.

I need to burnish and finish off the edges, except for the edges which will be the main cross-stitched seam. A trick I picked up from hanging sheetrock is to cut out the back edge, this leaves a smaller surface area to meet and making the final fit easier to achieve, and a cleaner finished look.

After using the edger on on 6 of the 8 edge, I use my wood burnisher and some mink oil to finish off the edges.

Step 3: The Base

So my original idea was a four arm base.

However, after stamping out the artwork, I sort of panicked as I realized the arms would grossly interfere with the artwork. Mind you, my original design was to just edge stich the arms on, but I really didn't like how that turned out on the template, so I wanted to go with about an inch over lap, with a centered rivet and then a 3/4" boxed stitch around the rivet, sort of framing it.

Four Arm Base -- Geometry -- Compass and Ruler

I measured the base of the growler and to the outside, it is a little more than 4". The growler sides taper out rather quickly, so the measurement is a pretty rough guess, and artistically arbitrary. I figured leaving a core base, or minimum center area, around 2" would leave enough to support and straddle the bottom.

I started by folding a piece of paper into fourths, and then drew a 2" circle, radiating from the center point of the folds. I knew I wanted 1" wide arms, so then measured 1/2" from the folds and drew the lines.

I need to have the arms at their width before the edge of the growler, so that they would easily fold over it, if they are too wide, or oddly shaped, I think it would result in a wrinkled fold.

I bisected the my 90 angle from the folds to find the center, 45º angle. From there I used the compass to generate a pleasant curve that would terminate before the outer edge, and leave my minimum center area.

I then 'connected the dots' as it were, and feathered them in as best i could, and cut along the line.

Just like the girdle, the paper was shorter than what I needed and I needed to lengthen the arms a bit. I cut some one inch strips and taped them to the template. Draping the template over the bottom of the growler, I determined length the arms had to be, and then used the compass to transfer the length to the four arms evenly. I then cut the template's arms to length.

To ensure an evenly shaped bottom, I rotated the template around and traced over each arm, and then darkened out the outer most lines to ensure that I had the most congruent design. I then used the circular knife and scissors to cut out the leather.

Step 4: Three Arm Base

Three Arm Base -- More Geometry

After finishing the girdle, I realized that the four arm base was not going to work. . . So i figured out I could do a three arm, with one arm coming out from the handle rivet (On my most recent attempt, I made the handle and base from one piece). I did a search to figure out a 60º angle. ..

  1. Draw a straight line
  2. Mark a point on the line and set the compass needle
  3. Make a mark with the compass pencil on the line
  4. Make another mark in 'space'Set the compass needle on the compass mark on the line
  5. Cross the mark in space
  6. Connect the three marks, and viola, and equilateral triangle, 60º
  7. Bisect the 60º angle to 30º

And repeat the circle making and line connecting to make the base.

Step 5: The Handle

The handle is about 1" wide, give or take an eighth.

The length is critical, too long, and the growler hangs low, too short, and you cannot get a gloved hand in.

It would be riveted at the top and the bottom and at the top it would be folded over.

I used a groover to create the grooves for the stitching, and a multi-pronged punch to create the stitching holes. I only recently purchased a true awl, before that I used a stitching awl to transfer the holes between the handle and the girdle.

I generally use a two needle stitching pattern, and then a square not hidden between the layers, and the mallet to flatten the stitching.

Step 6: The Securing Strap

Is about 3/4" wide, and over a foot long.

Pretty simple to cut using the circular knife. Holding it at an angle, there is one more hole on one side than the other, creating a nice angle to set the strap too.

Because of the twirl, having a little curved notch allows the strap to lay nicely through the loop's hole.

Step 7: Another Finished Holder

My most recent holder was a birthday gift for my friend.

I finished this one off with some mink oil, which I rubbed in with some gloves, and buffed with an old t-shirt.