How to Make a Tool Roll - Bring Your Hand Tools With You Anywhere!




Woodworking shouldn't be limited to the wood shop!

I've been working with wood for about 10 years and I wanted to be able to bring my hand tools with me anywhere - on camping trips, to outdoor gatherings, and other workshops. Tools can be both sharp and fragile, and otherwise difficult to transport. I decided to make a tool roll for all my hand tools so they could be both mobile and organized - files, rasps, chisels, whittling knives, spoke shave, burnisher, strop, and whatever else you need. There are fancy leather versions of this sold online, but with specific tools, it made sense to make one that was customized to fit my personal tool collection. All it takes is some basic sewing skills, a sewing machine and supplies, 1/2 yard of fabric (this cost me $4), and about 3-4 hours of time to layout and sew the roll. Enjoy!

Step 1: Materials and Tools You'll Need

- sewing machine

- fabric scissors

- an iron / ironing board

- pins

- a triangle (or something with a square edge you can trace)

- a ruler

- pencil made for fabric

- thread (heavy duty is better)

- 1/2 yard fabric

(canvas or denim works great! something heavy duty will hold up better. If you have super thick fabric or leather, you'll need a special sewing machine. I used a medium duty lycra/denim blend as I have a standard sewing machine).

- And you'll need the tools you are making the roll for so you can customize the slots to fit them into.

Step 2: Layout of Tools

Once you've gathered the tools you are going to put in the roll, you'll want to take some measurements to figure out the dimensions to cut your fabric. To figure this out, I laid out the tools in the order that felt right, and folded the fabric to test the depth of the folds. One side is deeper for longer tools, and the other side shorter for smaller ones. These dimensions will change depending on your tools, so it might not end up being the same dimensions as mine.

I cut the fabric into a rectangle at 26" w x 28" high, with a 1/2" seam allowance on all sides.

One fold is 5.5" deep, the other is 7.5" deep. After these flaps are folded down, the roll is 14" high in its finished dimension. The 26" width gave me enough space to fit all the tools side by side, plus space for extra tools I might add later.

Step 3: Fold Over and Iron

Fold over the 1/2" seam allowance on the top and bottom and iron the fold.
This way, the edges of the flaps wont unravel. Stitch along the fold - I did a double stitch, and used red thread because I think it looks awesome with the denim. It's also easier to see in the photos :)

Step 4: Fold and Iron Again...

Once the double stitch on the top and bottom edges is in place, you need to fold over 1/2" seam allowances on the ends and iron. After you fold the flaps where the tools will go and iron, it should look like the second photo. Then run a single stitch along the edge - I found it helpful to pin this in place to keep it aligned as I was sewing.

Step 5: Make Custom Slots to Fit Each Tool

Place the first tool in the fold and mark out where to put the stitch. If you use a triangle with a 90 degree edge, it is pretty easy to layout the stitch lines accurately. Mark along the triangle with a fabric pencil.

You can mark them all at once and stitch after. I ended up doing one at a time, stitching after each tool was laid out.

I recommend building up a thicker stitch at the top of the slots, because this is where you want to make sure the stitch is sturdy and won't break. Run the sewing machine forward and backward on top of the seam a couple times, as shown in the second photo.

Step 6: Bonus! Make a Loop to Hold a Tool in Place...

My hammer is dear to me - the head was forged by a blacksmith friend - and it has weight!

I didn't want this to slip out, and seeing as it is one of my longest tools, I decided to add a loop to help hold it in place. I found this fabulous strap embroidered with woodsy animals - cut a short strip (approx 1.5" long), fold over the ends and pin in place, so that the loop fits nicely, and sew the seams.

Step 7: Make the Tie Straps

The straps are used to tie the roll up. You could figure out another way to do this with buttons or snaps instead. And you can buy straps, but I decided to just make them out of the extra fabric.

To make the straps, cut three lengths of fabric about 18" long that is 1" wide. Fold each one into thirds like in the photos and iron the seams. Run a double stitch down the entire length.

Step 8: Sew on the Straps... and You're Finished.

The last step is to sew the straps on.

I pinned one strap on at the center and the other two about 1" from the ends of the rolls. I fold over the end and sew the straps at the same time (shown pinned in the second photo).

To ensure the straps are securely attached, I added reinforcements and stitched an X pattern (shown in the third photo). Cut off any loose threads, fill it with your tools, and you're done!

Let me know if you figure out any improvements - there is a lot of room for interpretation in this project. Make it your own!

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15 Discussions


Question 9 months ago on Introduction

Now that several years have passed I was wondering if you still use your tool roll, and if you have altered it or would have done anything differently if you where to make it again.


5 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the inspiration. I plan to make something similar to store my knitting needles and crochet hooks.

2 replies

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the feedback! Ive also made a modified tool case for my wax/clay tools, which are similar to knitting needles - it has two rows of loops instead of folded inserts.... here's a photo...

Wax tool case.jpg

I love tool rolls. The set of wrenches I bought I picked up specifically because they were in a roll. It is a heck of a lot easier then trying to keep a tool box organized. When I work on the car I am all, FLWOP, THAR BE WRENCHES!


4 years ago on Introduction


I have several that I use for balloon twisting, called "Busking Bags". I have no idea is that name is specific to balloons or not :)

I use another for carrying pens. I bought one online that is designed for artists colored pencils. works ok for pens but not for thicker pens. I've been wanting to make my own forever.

this is the pen one I use:



Years ago, my mother made something similar to hold my crochet hooks and knitting needles. She designed my grandmother's case to be able to hang on her knitting basket and still keep the needles organized and sorted. I made one out of vinyl for my ex to use as a travel case for his hunting and butchering knives. The knives were never stored until they were throughly air dried.


Great Job,

I love tools;what are the two items in between the hammer and the file (in step 2)?

I am looking forward to your next instructable.

1 reply

5 years ago on Introduction

Great job!

Just a note for others who might follow your example: If you live in a damp climate, heavy fabric like you used is better for your tools than leather (and certainly better than plastic) because it allows moisture to dry, thus helping keep the metal from rusting.

1 reply

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Good point! I hadn't thought of that, but anything that helps keep rust off your tools is a good thing.


5 years ago on Introduction

Fantastic Instructable! Finishing mine up now, I'll post pictures when it is done and link to my 'ible!


5 years ago

Very nice. My dad has had one of these most of my life that he keeps oversized drill bits in (spade bits and the like).


5 years ago on Introduction

Very cool! Concise instructions and great photos. I need to make one of these for all those unruly tie-downs.