Custom Leather Knife Sheath




About: Don't take the world to seriously relax a little and enjoy the ride.

How to create a cool custom leather sheath for any style knife using these steps!!

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Step 1: Choosing Your Leather

Material Needed

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

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    19 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    have found 100's of styles of leather motorcycle jackets, leather
    coats, leather vests, leather chaps, leather pants, leather shirts
    and leather motorcycle suits in our store. If you are looking for
    something and can't find it this guys can make it for you. Check this
    web page


    5 years ago

    I really like your knife did you make or did you buy it and if you bought it where

    1 reply

    The knife was given to me by a friend back when I was in high school almost 10 years ago now, I am not sure where he got the Knife sorry I cant be more helpful.

    If you check back with Tandy ^_^ they sell tiny V & U shaped gouges just for scoring lines in oil tanned and latigo and raw hide.our hatched design works wonderfully well on the sheath!

    1 reply

    If you check back with Tandy ^_^ they sell tiny V & U shaped gouges just for scoring lines in oil tanned and latigo and raw hide.our hatched design works wonderfully well on the sheath!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I like the work you have done. Your design is unique and your instructions were quite clear. However, as a leather worker myself, I wanted to make one particular point. Regarding the rivets holding your belt loop in place, I would have placed them with the finished side out, As you have them, the backs may scratch and gouge the handle of your (beautiful) knife. Choosing to fold the flap forwards (towards you) to make the loop is a personal choice, and there is nothing wrong with presenting the finished side of the leather; however my choice would have been to fold it the other way, and stitch it rather than rivet it. Like I said - its all personal preference.

    One other thing I would have done differently is to place the first rivet one either side at the very top of the outside piece. This will act to hold the 'mouth' closed a little more. But, if it works for you, that's great.

    Beautiful job, especially for someone with no previous leather work experience!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Always use vegtable tanned leather, or the acid tanned leather will rust the blade over time.

    DIY Dave

    5 years ago

    Beautiful work. That's something anyone would be proud to carry

    1 reply

    Excellent - And that knife is beautiful.
    If I may I'm going to give you a bit of feedback.

    feel like the overall look of the sheath takes a hit from the lack of
    finished edges (I'm thinking beveling/burnishing or coating them would
    be really good).
    I'm also a bit sad that the marking show on the
    inside. I've had good luck using an extremely soft pencil (The kind you
    find in illustration pencil sets). Those leave visible marks on the
    leather easy enough that you don't have to dent it and it can be erased
    for the most part. If you are using vegetable tanned leather and dying
    it yourself the ethanol based dye can sometimes help erase lines from a

    The etching is really great. I've had some luck using a
    tiny rotary tool to etch some stuff into my projects as well. You can
    get different effects depending on whether you dye the leather before or
    after you etch it.

    Almost makes me sad I don't have some knives around that needs sheathing :)

    3 replies

    That's some great feed back and I would have to agree I should have finished the edges to make it a bit more complete. I am very new at working with leather I actually just bought my first pack of leather cut offs and a few things to attach the rivets and buttons 2 weeks ago. Since then I have created a sheath for my hatchet that I restored and redid the handle on check it out at

    Then I decided to make the knife sheath last night. I have no other leather experience but I love the process and want to get into stitching and better etching techniques I am hoping to at least be a finalist in the leather competition or maybe better and get myself some more supplies.

    In future I would like to learn how to tan animal hides as I am a hunter and would love to make some custom leather things with game animals.

    Thank you for the feed back positive criticisium is always good were all here to learn right !!


    Well you are doing great, and we never
    stop learning - I've been doing leather work on/off for 4 years and
    there are still plenty of things I do that I'm not satisfied with at

    I just noticed that the sheath may not be holding the knife
    very securely (You will obviously be the one who knows if that's true or
    not). Having the locking mechanism wrap around the handle doesn't
    really seem to prevent the knife from sliding around in the sheath which
    may be cause for concern (I don't know for sure though so correct me if
    I'm wrong).

    Since the knife has a crossbar I'd consider using
    that for locking the knife in the sheath instead. Having a strap
    attached on the back of the sheath and then wrapping around the crossbar
    to the front, in a diagonal fashion may result in the knife being more
    secure in the sheath. Like on this photo:

    may be completely off - If there's a decent amount of friction in the
    sheath then the knife wouldn't move around in there anyway.

    Good luck with the leather works and all, hoping to see some more good stuff from you.

    Yes!! that idea is gold. I think that would look great and function really well for that style of sheath and knife. As for the knife slipping out its in there quite tight at the moment though I know the leather will stretch out a bit. I am confident that it will stay in place in that sheath but i really wont know know until I use it daily which I will be doing starting Saturday. I am heading up to Hornepayne Ontario for a Moose hunting trip


    5 years ago on Step 7

    It's common with sheaths to include a third layer of leather, often called the welt, to surround the blade. Think of it as a strip surrounding the blade, equal to the extra material you left for riveting. The sharp edge of the blade rests against that middle piece, protecting the edge of the blade, and also preventing it from cutting the sheath. It also provides a little more stiffness, and an edge that takes a nice finish. Consider that addition on your next project. You do nice work, a welt would help ensure it lasts.

    2 replies

    Okay awesome I'll make sure to take that into consideration when doing the next projects. I think my fillet knife might need a new sheath