Easy Leather Passport Cover




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 www.patreon.com/DanielStabile

For this project you will not need any of the fancy equipment used for most leather projects! I published this Instructables with the sole purpose of showing you how to create an elegant and simple leather case that can be made with ordinary household tools that you should already have. Enjoy! =)

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Step 1: Materials

This project started in Ecuador where I was perusing a local market and was able to get my hands on several square feet of leather. Like I said I had no experience working with leather and in addition I had no tools since I was traveling. Fortunately I was able to get everything I needed for about 15 bucks. I know Ecuador is pretty cheap so it may cost you a little extra to purchase all these things:

  • Leather
  • Ruler
  • Utility Knife
  • Philips Head Screw Driver
  • Hammer
  • Contact Cement
  • Nail
  • Two Needles
  • Waxed Thread
  • Sandpaper
  • Leather Polish (Optional)

Now that you have all the materials, lets get started!

Step 2: Dimensions

For this project, I'm assuming all countries passports follow the International Civil Aviation Organization dimension recommendation of 125x88 mm (4.921×3.465 in). If your country doesn't follow this recommendation then you will have to change the dimensions I provide.

Cut the following:

  • One 20.5 x 14.25 cm (8.07 x 5.61 in) rectangle - This will be the main body of the cover
  • Two 6 x 14.25 cm (2.36 x 5.61 in) rectangles - These will serve as the flaps of our cover

When cutting use the side of a ruler to create a straight cut. Press down firmly on the ruler so it doesn't slip and watch out for your fingers!

Step 3: Design

This is an optional step, although I think a little design can add a lot to your passport cover. Usually when you do leather designs it is recommended that you use vegetable leather. However, I wasn't able to verify if my leather was vegetable tanned because I randomly bought it in a market in Ecuador (although I'm pretty sure it is not).

Regardless, I think my design came out pretty good considering I used only a hammer and a screwdriver on leather that wasn't vegetable tanned. I highly recommend this design because it is very simple and comprised of only straight lines. Whatever design you choose, make sure that it is feasible with your toolset.

Tips: Dampen the leather before you begin designing; I found that this helped hold the leathers shape better. Make sure you practice on a scrap piece of leather so you can get a feel for how much pressure you can put on the leather. Because we are using a screwdriver you need to be careful that you don't puncture the leather.

After you finish your design now would be the time to dye your leather. I didn't have to because mine had already been dyed.

Step 4: Gluing

I used contact cement to glue together my leather pieces, but if you have leather glue then by all means use that instead! The purpose of gluing is to hold the leather pieces together while we puncture holes for our thread.

Take your glue and place it along the edges of your main body and the flaps. The glue should be between the edge and roughly .5 cm (.2 in) from the edge. Don't worry if it doesn't look pretty, we won't be able to see it anyway.

Gently align the glue on the flap with the glue on the main body and make sure the edges are flush. Let dry for 20 minutes.

Step 5: Puncturing Holes

For this step I actually already had a special tool that is like a hollowed nail but don't worry, a nail will work just fine! Set down your leather with the flap sides down and place your ruler .5 cm from an edge. Using a needle mark the leather every .5 cm. Make sure that your first and last marks will be about .5 cm from the adjacent edges. Now using your nail hammer through the needle marks until you can see through the holes. Repeat on all edges.

Step 6: Threading

Take your waxed thread and measure out a length of 4 perimeters of your leather case. Attach one end to one needle and attach the other end to the second needle. Double-stitch the leather, when you reach the point you started back stitch three holes, snip the thread as close as possible, and hammer down on the back stitches to set them in place. If you don't know how to double-stitch here is a great resource: https://makezine.com/2017/01/23/handstitch-leather...

Tip: When threading the needle make sure to pierce the thread to lock it in place on the needle. See the link above for more information.

Step 7: Final Details

To finish this project take your utility knife and run it along the edge of the main body and the flaps. Cut away any parts that aren't flush. After this you can sand the leather edges down and apply a slicker, beeswax, or in our case a little bit of leather polish. I personally prefer the raw edges so I like to leave the cover as is after sanding.

Congratulations you finally finished! =) Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope that you followed along!

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

Beetle Bag: https://www.instructables.com/id/The-Beetle-Bag/

Pinwheel Coin Pouch: https://www.instructables.com/id/Pinwheel-Coin-Pou...

Medieval Needle Case: https://www.instructables.com/id/Medieval-Leather-...

As always leave feedback in the comments below so I can improve my Instructables!

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First Prize in the
Leather Contest 2017

Hand Tools Only Contest 2017

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2017

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    13 Discussions

    White Raven Shed

    1 year ago

    That is super cool! I don't like using or buying leather, but ocasionally I'll find some old leather tool bag or something so I like playing around with it.


    2 years ago

    Love it. And the compass on the top page is beautiful ! Thanks for sharing.

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Cool! Planning on making an ebook reader cover following your method!

    1 reply
    Daniel Stabilecavalier19

    Reply 2 years ago

    I wanted to make it possible for everyone to make it, including beginners like you and me :)


    2 years ago

    Wow, what a great idea. Thanks. I am going to try this with the kids.

    1 reply