This instructable will show you how to make a leather water bottle holder the quick and easy way. I made this with some rustic leather I had been meaning to use, and a long (but irregular) strap. The end result is not the prettiest (and not something I would sell in my shop) but it gets the job done-- it allows me to carry my water on walks or hikes while keeping my hands free.
[For a nicer water bottle holder I would recommend using good quality veg tan leather for the body and a pre-cut veg tan strap in the 50" range for cross body straps. I also recommend using smaller loops or D-rings so that the straps don't have to be so wide.]
I've designed this for a standard water bottle. However this instructable can be adapted to making a holder for a s'well bottle, thermos, hydro flask, or any insulated water bottles. You would just need to make the leather piece that is for the main body larger, so it can wrap whatever it needs to hold. I recommend experimenting with paper first before trying on leather.
[This tutorial can also be found in the blogs area of my website www.ArchetypeZ.com along with a few other leather tutorials.]
Step 1: What You Will Need
If you have everything in place this can probably be completed in 1-2 hours.
Here are the tools and materials you will need to complete this:
- A water bottle (helpful when marking holes in the right places for rivets)
- A piece of leather roughly 6 1/4" x 12 1/2" with a thickness of about 4-5 ounces.
- 1 leather strap 50"+ (This is the shoulder strap. If it's not adjustable you'll want to make sure the length is correct for your height and how you will be wearing it).
- Metal Rivets. (I recommend Tandy Leather's medium rivets or similar)
- Tools for applying rivets.
- 2 x metal loops that match the width of the straps you will be using. (My loops were 1 1/2" but for something small like a water bottle a 3/4" loop and straps of matching width should do.)
- Leather hole punch.
- Leather scissors or utility knife or rotary cutter.
- Ruler or Tape Measure.
Step 2: Cut Your Leather Into the Pieces for Assembly
Now that you have everything you need you'll want to start cutting down your leather. You'll end up with 4 pieces for the main body of the water bottle holder (plus some extra straps):
5" x 10" for the portion that wraps the bottle.
1 1/4" x 6" strap for the bottom support.
Two 1 1/4" x 4" straps for hanging from the top. (If using narrower loops and shoulder strap you can make these more narrow)
View the attached pdf as a guide.
[You'll note that in my first photo in this step I marked out the areas I was going to cut. I did this with a chalk marker because it stands out against the color of darker leather. It's really useful for that, but just be aware that it can permanently stain some leathers so only use it in areas that won't show in the final product.]
Step 3: Mark Holes for Rivets
Wrap the larger cut piece around the water bottle. It should overlap enough to drive the rivets through two layers (see photo). Mark where you would like to place the rivets*, then punch the holes and place the rivets through the holes. [Note that I'm not actually applying the rivets yet but just using them to hold the material in place. I've found it's easier to wait until the end to rivet everything at once.]
Next place the support piece that goes underneath the bottle and mark and punch the holes for that. Again put the rivets through to hold the strap in place.
*Tip: Mark the outer layer first and punch those holes. Then again wrapping the bottle mark the inside layer through those holes by taking something sharp like an awl and poking it through the already punched holes to the layer of leather behind it. This tells you where to punch the holes and insures that the holes line up. You can apply this method to all the rivet holes.
Step 4: Add the Loops and Start Riveting
Your loops and strap sizes should match. The straps really don't need to be very wide for this but I had loops from Country Brook Design that were 1 1/2" wide and didn't want to buy new ones so I just used those. But for the scale of this project, straps and corresponding loops of 3/4" wide would probably work fine (and look better).
Make sure to put the leather through the loop first and then rivet. The shoulder strap was pretty thick so I used two rivets there but for narrower and thinner straps it's not necessary.
[ A Note On Riveting: I've previously used the standard leather rivet tools that you apply with a hammer, but I never liked using those so I now use a hand press. You can find these on eBay or leather supply shops like The Buckle Guy.]
Step 5: Done!
After all your riveting is done your Leather Water Bottle Holder should be complete! Not bad for a quick, no-sew leather water bottle holder.