Introduction: Zune (or Any Mp3-player) Leather Pouch With Branding

About: I rather like "to make" than "to consume". I've been programming for iOs for a while just to see if I can. I love making cases and pouches for my gadgets, but currently it seems I'm running out of projects. Bu…

The pouch that came with my Zune started to wear off. So I decided to make a pouch myself.
I also never liked, that there aren't icons on the regular pouch which would allow for easy operation of the player without taking it out.
I got my leather and lace from Michaels half a year ago. I always wanted to make one, but never got to it.
This is my first instructable, but I thought after reading this page for almost 3 years, it's really time to share and give something back.
Forgive me if I use words that are not completely appropriate for describing the process, tools or other things. I'm not a native english speaker, but I'll try to do my best.

Ok, another thing. I did put some explanatory boxes on the pictures. Unfortunately, they only show up in the preview where there is more than one picture per step. I hope it works out once it's published.

Step 1: ATTENTION, Use at Your Own Risk

This instructable includes using sharp tools, a hammer, branding "irons" in combination with a lighter. I'm not liable for any injuries you have by following this instructable.

In the process of creating the pouch and branding it, you can use a piece of wood to replace the mp3-player (in this case, a Zune).
I used the player itself, as I didn't have the proper piece of wood lying around.
If you use your player as pouch insert for sewing, nailing or branding, I'm not liable for any damage to your device.

The complete instructable is provided as is.
I hope it's complete (in my eyes it is) and it's safe enough to follow without causing any damage.

Use at your own risk!

Sorry, some more notes:
As you'll have to "punch" and widen all the holes for the seam one after another, this is a tedious and time consuming process. Plan on at least 3-5 hours for making the pouch, one night for drying it if stretching is needed and another 3-5 hours for the branding.
This is the minimum I recommend.

Step 2: Prepare the Leather Pouch

First place the leather on a wooden board.
Place the player on the leather and wrap the leather around it.
Use 2 nails to fix the overlapping leather close to the player to the wooden board.
Now this will look as if the seam will later be at the lower edge of the player. You can fix this once the side is sewed. Just move the pouch (bottom not sewed yet) around the player until the seam is in the middle of the players thickness.
Make sure you have a tight fit of the player in the leather wrap you just created.
Be careful not to hit the player with the hammer ;-)
The two nails will give you a nice imaginary line so you know where to put the stitches.
Spacing is up to you, but I would recommend not to make them too wide as this will end up in waves if you look at the pouch from the side.
(I don't know where the two boxes in the image went in the preview. While editing, the boxes are here. The first nail goes in the upper right corner and the second nail is the hole where the last straight stitch at the side goes to the back of the pouch. Sorry for the inconvenience, but in the editor, it looks better with the squares in the picture)

Step 3: Start Sewing

Take out the top nail and use some kind of an awl. I used the awl of my pocket knife to poke through the hole that the nail made to widen the hole so that the lace can fit through.
I did cut the sides of one end of the lace before starting to sew (I don't have needles for something like this) to make a nice pointy tip.
Then I poked the lace through both layers of leather.
From the front of the pouch, I wrapped the end of the lace over the top side (later this goes under the first stitch to secure the end).
I just really left the end of the lace long so I can fiddle it through all the stitches to have a more consistent look.
After the first hole, just keep on poking holes by first putting a nail, then widening the hole with the awl and then stitching the seam until you get to the position where the second nail (from the first step) is.

Step 4: Check for Tight Fit

Once the seam on the side of the pouch is sewed all the way down, check if you have a tight fit of the mp3-player. If it's too tight, you can widen it later. If it's too loose, well, I don't know. Mine was too tight.
Now insert the mp3-player (or wooden block) again and use 2 nails for the bottom part of the pouch. Ensure the seam at the side is in the middle of the thickness of the player.
Again, this will give you some kind of imaginary line for the seam at the bottom.
Make sure you have some leather overhang on the top of the pouch. If it gets too tight, your player will peek out at the top. So rather leave it too long and trim off later.
Keep sewing like on the side.

Step 5: Secure the Lace Ends

Once all stitches are done, secure the lace ends.
To do so, leave the last stitches very loose to fiddle the lace ends through them.
Once the lace ends are thoroughly under the stitches, fasten the lace to really secure the seam and the lace ends. Cut off any excess of the laces ends.

Step 6: Stretch Pouch If Necessary

My pouch was too tight. So I put my Zune in a Ziploc and wrapped the ziploc around it, so that it doesn't add too much size to the player. If you use a wooden block to replace the player, make sure to also use a plastic wrap to increase the size so that you actually get a stretch.
Completely soak the pouch with water (I basically sprayed it from the outside and completely filled it with water) and then drain it.
Insert the mp3-player in the Ziploc. If unsure wether the ziploc isn't ripped by inserting the mp3-player, remove and reinsert. We want to make sure the player doesn't get wet.
Completely insert the mp3-player into the pouch and let dry naturally.
Once dried, cut off any excess leather around the seam with scissors.
After this step, your pouch is complete. If you want, you can leave it like is, or continue with the branding.

Step 7: Branding Operational Buttons

ATTENTION: In this part you can burn your fingers. So be especially careful.

Bend all needed symbols from wire (ensure you don't use plastic wrapped wire).
Make sure that the symbol itself is as flat as possible to ensure an even marking on the leather.
Insert your player into the pouch and try to operate it by sensing where the buttons are through the leather. Mark the center of every button with a pencil.
Replace the player with a wooden piece approximately the size of the player (I had my player inserted all the time, but if you use a thinner leather or if you absolutely want to make sure not to burn your player, go with the wooden insert).
Heat up the first branding "iron" with a lighter (proper heat took about 20-30 seconds with the wire I used), holding the "iron" with the pliers. Make sure to not grab the "iron" too close to the symbol as this will cause the heat to go into the pliers rather than your branding "iron".
Firmly press the hot branding iron on the proper part of the pouch. To get a good marking, you should have some smell of burned leather and the iron should somewhat stick to the leather.
If the iron wasn't hot enough, you only get some kind of flat surface without marking and you have to repeat the procedure at the exact same spot (kind of difficult).
Be careful that you don't heat the iron with the yellow flame as this causes grime which easily smears the surface of the leather.
If the branding is right, you can feel a nice subdued relief.
This allows for operation of the mp3-player even when carried in your pocket.
The center circle is quite difficult as it is hard to evenly heat up with a lighter. It took me at least 5 attempts to completely get the full circle.

Step 8: Add the Zune Logo

Ok, this is special with the Zune, but any other mp3-player might have a logo, too. Or you want to put a tribal or similar.
I used a soldering iron to put the logo on.
First I constructed a hexagon with a pencil on the center part where the screen is located within the pouch.
Then I redrew the logo with a stronger color to have it well visible.
Fire up your soldering Iron (the tip of mine looks like a flat head screwdriver) and firmly press down where the lines are, step by step.
I couldn't just slide the tip of the soldering iron along the lines to get the branding. It took some time on one spot to get the marking just right.

Step 9: Finished

If everything went well, you now have a nice leather pouch for your mp3-player.
The brandings will make the pouch look cool and ensure that you can operate the player by just sensing where the buttons of the player are located through the pouch.