Make a Custom Leather Soccer Ball (Futbol for the Folks Not in the US)

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Introduction: Make a Custom Leather Soccer Ball (Futbol for the Folks Not in the US)

About: Husband, Father, Educator, Leathercrafter, Drone pilot

So you want to make your own soccer ball (futbol) or maybe repair one you already have. Here's what you need:

1. A sacrificial soccer ball. It must have a bladder that holds air, as that's what you need out of it. (if anyone knows a source of bladders I'd love to know where to get them other than China where you have to order 1000 or so). My dog tore up this one on the outside but didn't pop the bladder.

2. Leather. I used scrap from other projects (@hidegear on instagram) and set this brown 5 ounce (2mm) leather aside specifically for this build. I think any leather from 4-6 ounce would work (1.6mm-2.2mm). You don't want to use leather from the stretchy portions of the hide like the belly as it can cause your panels to skew a little. The leather I used was a softer chrome tan leather similar to Horween's Chromexcel. It looks beatiful but maybe not the best for a hard playing game. Choose something that works for you.

3 Good strong polyester thread. I prefer Ritza 25. I used Med Brown .8mm https://www.rmleathersupply.com/collections/thread... You will need two of the small spools.

4. My pattern. You'll need 12 Pentagons and 20 Hexagons total.

5. Good sharp cutting implement: Rotary cutter, round knife, head knife, Exacto knife etc.

Supplies

Step 1: Here's Your Pattern

1. Cut out the pattern, then proceed to use it to cut the 12 pentagons (with a hole in one for the valve) and 20 hexagons. It looks slick if you use the same color for all pentagons and a different color for all the hexagons.

2. Use a sharp knife for the leather. I really like a rotary cutter.

Step 2: Mark and Prick Stitch Lines

1. Mark stitch line and mark for stitching holes (using wing divider, then pricking irons and awl).

2. On the leather, trim off the little corners as marked in black on the pattern.

3 Optionally skive the edges. Skiving is using a knife to make the edges thinner and will be easier to stitch and turn the bag.

Step 3: Start Stitching

I used what's called the saddle stitch Here's a great video introduction:

To assemble, each pentagon has a hexagon on each side, sort of resembling a flower after you put the first one together. Remember-it's sewn inside out. Look up a picture of a soccer ball and follow the panel pattern; it's easy.

Leave an opening in a zigzag line big enough to flip the ball right side out that will have to be ladder stitched.

Step 4: Well Now What?

Now that you've sewn together as much as you can and are still able to flip the ball right side out, it is time to flip it. Insert the bladder line up the valve with the one pentagon with a hole in it, insert the needle. Leave it inserted to keep the stem lined up.

I didn't glue the bladder to the outer panels but I think I should have around the outside of the valve stem to keep it from rotating if it ever gets underinflated so you may want to consider some sort of rubber cement on the one pentagon with the valve hole.

Step 5: How to Close the Ball

Learn the Ladder Stitch, for a hidden seam:

This was the most difficult part of the construction. Stitch the entirety of the open seam up loosely and slowly start tightening up the seam that is open. Back stitch under a sewn area carefully to keep it from coming loose. A curved needle is helpful.

Step 6: You're Done, Inflate and Enjoy

You've now made your own soccer ball, inflate it and give it a kick.

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    36 Comments

    0
    icho28
    icho28

    7 months ago

    Hello! I love the tutorial you made and I have this assignment at school and I was thinking on making this and making a tutorial on youtube I have a few different techniques. So is it ok to make a tutorial on this and of course I will credit you.

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 7 months ago

    Please do. Make sure you tag the video I’d love to see it

    0
    taraohara
    taraohara

    8 months ago

    Oh I love this! How long would you say it took you to make, roughly?

    0
    MrErdreich
    MrErdreich

    1 year ago

    This is awesome! Congrats on 1st!

    0
    Emerald04
    Emerald04

    1 year ago

    Great job on first place!

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks so much I’m stoked

    0
    attosa
    attosa

    1 year ago

    Wow-- I did not know this could be done :) Nice job

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    I didn’t either lol.

    0
    Emerald04
    Emerald04

    1 year ago

    Super cool! I love it!

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks so much

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks so much

    0
    Ratsdomino
    Ratsdomino

    1 year ago

    incredibly impressive. great job!

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks so much.

    0
    HappyGenny
    HappyGenny

    1 year ago

    Beautiful job! Oh, and we say “Football” not “Futbol”. This is the original game of that name. :)

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Ha. I got called out by someone else for saying football so I changed it to what they told me. I just can’t win lol. Either way hope you try and make one and let me know how it goes.

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Placed an order I can’t believe it. I looked for slo long. Factories in china. Emailed ball companies in the US never heard back. Thank you so much. They don’t have shipping to the US on their site but a quick email and all set

    0
    HideGear
    HideGear

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you so so much, I'm going to give that a shot, I'd love to make more, maybe some team colors, you may have made it possible without destroying other soccer balls !!!

    0
    JamesB670
    JamesB670

    1 year ago

    Nice idea! Minor point: I use Ritza thread. I have to assume you meant 0.8 mm, not 0.08 mm.