How to create a cool custom leather sheath for any style knife using these steps!!
Step 1: Choosing Your Leather
All materials can be purchased at a local leather store I got everything seen in this tutorial from "Tandy Leather"
- Rivets and Rivet Setter
- Buttons and Button Setter
- Rubber or Wood Mallet
- Scrap Leather
- Sharp blade
- Leather Punch
- Permanent Maker
- Small (micro) Screw Driver for Etching
Choosing the right piece of leather is quite easy. I went to a local leather store and picked up a bag of "Cut Offs" which was $9.99, and had a variety of different pieces of leather scraps. I have used these scraps for three projects now and I still have more because I choose the piece carefully for what I am doing to minimize waste.
For a knife sheath, you can expect it to be skinny and long for most knives. Simply lay out your chosen knife and see what pieces work best. Be sure to leave 3/4 inch on either side of the knife to allow room for the rivets.
Step 2: Tracing Your Knife
At this point I want to see how the blade will sit in the sheath, so I trace the blade with a dashed line then flip the blade over ON END to get a mirrored trace.
From there I do a basic outline of the blade leaving 1/2 - 3/4 inch for the rivets. When doing this try to get the two halves as symmetrical as possible. You can also start thinking about your design and how its going to function.
Its important to think about what its going to look like when folded. I wanted this sheath to have a belt loop so I am sure to leave myself extra material on the 1 end of the trace.
Step 3: Cutting Out Your Outline
Simply use a sharp blade and slice your design out trying to be as close to the lines you have drawn as possible.
Remember if you would like to have your knife sheath attach to your belt leave an extra long piece on the inside side of the sheath as you can see in my pictures. This will be folded over and secured in the next few steps to make a belt loop.
After you have cut out the design next fold it over and trim the 2 pieces at once to create your finished edges of the sheath. Also if you trim some of the top layer to make your finished design more interesting I just use a finger nail to rough out the lines then cut them with a sharp blade.
Step 4: Rivets
Adding the rivets quite simple if you have the right tools. You will need:
- Small Rivets
- Rivet Setter
- Leather Punch
- Rubber or Wood Mallet
Find the size that fits the rivets you have and hold the two pieces of leather together in the same position they will be in for the finished protect and make all your holes. After each hole, be sure to remove the small piece of leather stuck in your leather punch to insure a clean next hole.
After all holes are complete attach all the rivets by hand then use the wood or rubber mallet and rivet setter to set them in place permanently.
**** Buying a rivet setter is important to get a good set if you don't have one you can use a white rubber eraser and the mallet but the rivets wont be as tight****
Step 5: Making the Belt Loop
The extra bit of leather that we have talked about from the cutting stage now comes into play. Simply fold the extra piece over and see where it fits nice and that you will be able to get most belt sizes through the folded gap in the future.
Before securing the belt loop cut a thin strip of leather that will act as the piece that holds the handle in place while being worn on a belt.
Make your holes for the rivets through both the belt loop and the thin strap and rivet them in place. be sure to secure the thin strip between the back of the sheath and the belt loop for a strong hold and a flush back of the sheath when finished.
Step 6: Adding the Button
Now you must secure a button to the small thin piece of leather creating a strap to hold your knife in place while in the sheath. This can be done with a button setter and rubber or wood mallet.
**If you don't have a button setter you can't attach the button so go get one!!!!**
**** Make sure you think about which side of the strap you want to be female or male. It will work both ways but its just a personal preference thing for me.****
Step 7: Finising Details
Now that your sheath is basically done its time to add a few finishing touches. Use a sharp blade and clean up any edges that may need a trim. I rounded the edges on the strap with the button and the left curve of the sheath.
Etching - I wanted to really customize this sheath so I used a small micro screw diver and drew the design into the leather by scraping the lines in with the small screw driver. It would be a good idea to practice a little on some scraps before trying to etch the finished sheath!!
I feel like the etching really makes the finished product pop and stand out. People will be asking you how you made such a great looking sheath and you can tell them it was simple.
The entire process from start to finish was about 45 minutes !!
Have fun and good luck