Introduction: Leather Pencil Case

About: I'm an engineering student at Cornell University with a passion for making things! If you like what I do consider supporting me on my brand new patreon account at

Welcome to another one of my leather projects! As always you will not need any of the fancy leather equipment usually used for these kinds of projects. This pencil case is designed to be made by anyone with ordinary tools you should already have.

For this case I wanted to make it as compact as possible but still be able to fit an unsharpened pencil diagonally. If you look carefully you can notice that I decided not to make the caps flush with the sides of the main body. This recess creates some complexity in the stitching but is totally worth the cool design in the end. However, if you don't feel up to it you can leave this part out.

Step 1: Materials

    For this project you're going to need:

    • Leather (I used 2 mm, .098 in, or 5oz chrome tanned leather)
    • Ruler
    • Utility Knife
    • Hammer
    • Nail
    • Two Needles
    • Waxed Thread
    • A Couple Snaps (Includes Post, Stud, Cap, and Socket. Make sure you have extra for practice)
    • Philips Head Screwdriver
    • Sandpaper
    • Leather Polish

    Step 2: Dimensions

    We are going to need seven pieces for this pencil case:

    Main body: 20x22 cm (7.87x8.66 in)

    Two Straps: 1.5x25 cm (.6x9.84 in)

    Two Circles: 5.5 cm (2.17 in) diameter circles

    Two Supports: .5x17 cm (.197x6.7 in) *Leave the supports out if you don't want to include the recess in the caps

    Step 3: Holes

    Lets start with the main body:

    Place a ruler .25 cm (.098 in) away from the longer edge and mark a hole at .25 cm (.098 in) and then every .5 cm (.197 in) until you reach 13.25 cm (5.2 in). Now if you are using the supports and want to make the recess repeat this process .5 cm (.197 in) towards the center of the main body. We do this because we are going to situate our circle between the two strips of holes and the support right below the outer strip of holes. This will nicely secure the circle and keep it from warping out.

    For the supports we want our holes a little bit closer together because they are going to be inside the case and have a smaller radius. We want 35 holes total which equates to a hole about every .47cm if we start and end .25cm (.098 in) from each end.

    For the circle we also want 35 holes. To do this I just wrapped the support around the circle and eyeballed where the holes lined up go.

    For the straps we want to choose and end and mark a 1.5x1.5 cm (.59x.59 in) square. Then mark a hole inside each corner (we don't want to mark on the 1.5cm (.59 in) lines but rather inside them). After each corner is marked add two holes between each corner. Next, place one strap at 5cm (3 in) along the short flap edge of the main body and the other at 15cm (5.9 in). Using your needle use the straps as a guide for where to poke holes on the flap.

    Step 4: Stitching Circles

    Begin stitching at the bottom of the main flap with the support and circle. Using an alternating cross stitch (I don't know the actual term for this stitch, please correct me if you do) begin stitching the three pieces together. This should create a nice pattern with one cross appearing on the outside of the main body and a hidden cross inside the case. Make sure as you do this that circle always remains below the supports and not on top of it. Once you reach the end of the holes on the main body, switch to a normal cross stitch on the inside of the case. Continue this to where you began and clip the thread with a few centimeters/inches to spare. Repeat on the other side.

    If you chose not to use the supports to create the recess you can just stitch the main body and the circles together using any stitch you like. I personally would use a cross stitch.

    Step 5: Adding Snaps

    Before we stitch on the straps we want to add the post so that it remains hidden between the strap and the flap. Hammer an opening for the post in the center of the holes we created on the straps. Push the post in and stitch the strap to the main body, making sure to back-stitch three holes after you reach the end. Next, wrap the strap back onto itself around the main body and push hard on the post to mark where we need to place the cap. Hammer a hole for the cap and push it through. Now take the stud and place it on the post. Using the Philips Head gently hammer down on the post, making sure to rotate the Philips Head after every hit. Slowly but surely you will flare out the post until the stud won't spin. In addition to the Philips Head you can use a pen once the Philips Head has opened the post enough. Make sure that you always hammer down at a right angle. Repeat with the Cap and Socket. Because we aren't using proper equipment make sure you practice on some scrap leather until you are satisfied with the results.

    Step 6: Forming

    This step is only if you want to give some sturdiness to your case. I personally didn't like the soft feel so I submerged the case in hot water for 30 minutes. It turned out that the stitching was good enough to keep the case from leaking which was pretty cool! After soaking dry off access water and wrap the case into shape. Let it dry for a day or two. Because I'm using chrome tanned leather the leather was only a little bit more sturdy after this process.

    Step 7: Final Touches

    Take your sandpaper and smooth out any edges that are a bit rough. You can follow this up by burnishing the leather although, as usual, I opted for the raw look. Retighten the threads inside the case if needed and snip as close as possible.

    I hope you guys enjoyed this Instructables and if you go ahead and make it post photos below! If you have any questions feel free to ask me below and I'll do my best to answer. :)

    If you liked this Instructables maybe you'll like my other leather projects:

    Beetle Bag:

    Passport Cover:

    Medieval Needle Case:

    Hand Tools Only Contest 2017

    Participated in the
    Hand Tools Only Contest 2017

    Leather Contest 2017

    Participated in the
    Leather Contest 2017