Leather Double Ipod Case




Introduction: Leather Double Ipod Case

About: I like to consider myself a maker. I enjoy working on motorcycles, carpentry, leatherwork; basically any craft. I have a background in construction, with experience in residential plumbing,electrical work an...

Hi everyone!

Here is my process for making a double ipod case. I know that seems a bit ridiculous but when you're a music collector and Apple discontinues their largest storage model, you have to get creative!

So. Here's the premise. My buddy collects music, and would like to carry a 160 GB ipod and a 30GB model simultaneously, be stylish while he's doing it, and also fly his Klingon colors while he's at it. This is my take on that particular problem.


1. Be gentle, its my first time.

2. I didnt take pictures of all the individual processes, as this site is full of specific instructables about hand stitching, dyeing, and carving. If you need more detail on things I left out, there is most likely a specific instructable on that topic.

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Step 1: Step 1: Materials, ASSEMBLE!

You're gonna need a few things. Leather working things, sharp cut-y things, ect. Heres a list of the things I used.

  1. Vegetable Tanned Leather (I used 4-5 oz, you don't have to, it just makes the whole project slimmer)
  2. Measuring Tools
  3. Something to cut the leather with
  4. Sandpaper of course and fine grits
  5. Contact Cement
  6. Leather Carving tools
  7. An awl, needles and thread
  8. Leather dye and finish.

Obviously this is a very abbreviated list, as leather carving tools spans a vast array, but you'll get the idea.

Step 2: Step 2: the Design

My friend had an idea of what he wanted, I just needed to draw and scale it. I use an educational version of autocad to dimension out the ipod shapes and spacing. You dont need autocad. You can do this with a pencil and a ruler. In retrospect, the spacing between the two ipods could have been a bit bigger, as it distorts just a bit when it closes, so keep that in mind. Once the drawing was correct, I printed it out 1:1 scale. Using a hobby knife and a ruler, I cut the ipods out the the template, saving both the outline that was left and the ipods I cut out.

Step 3: Step 3: Making the Buck

Bottom Buck

Since I do not own these ipods, I had to make a buck for wet forming. I found the factory dimensions for the two different models, and started in on making the buck for the 30GB and the 160GB. Very carefully, using a thickness planer, I planed down a piece of pine for the 30, and the 160 to their respective thicknesses. Then, using either the outline or the ipod cut out, I traced the shape on to the wood and cut it out. I used a table saw and a mitresaw for the straightcuts, and a upright disk sander for the the corners, but that's just my technique. You could do this with a handsaw and sand paper if you needed to. I then broke the edge on each ipod shape, just so there are no sharp corners.

Top Buck

I went back to autocad, and offset both the ipods in the drawing by 2.5 mm. I did this because the top half of the buck needs to accommodate the thickness of the leather I used, which was about 2.5 mm. I printed and cut out the ipod shape once again, and traced this onto another piece of 3/4 pine. But I recommend you don't use pine for this, and if you read the next step you'll see why. Use plywood or PE or something that wont crack. I used a drill bit that was close to the radius needed for the the corners, and cut the rest of the profile with a jig saw.

Next, I used sandpaper and blocks, as well as a drum sander mandrel mounted in a drill press to smooth out my top buck.

Once everything was uniform, I picked the smoothest side and used a router with a 1/4 roundover to round just one side of the top buck. Doing this makes the leather form in an even radius out from the the ipods. A little sanding takes out any imperfections, and the bucks are done.

Step 4: Step 4: the Forming

Unfortunately I did not take a picture of the leather as I was forming it. I'm dumb. BUT. I will explain it the best I can.

If you'll notice, the border around my top buck is the size that i want the final shape to be. But because the leather has to stretch up and over each side of the bottom buck, the initial leather size has to be bigger than that. I think I went with something like 175 mm by 125 mm to be safe. Excess is better than being short, being short is just plain disappointing. So! We take our piece of leather, and we fill up the sink with warm water, and just a pinch of dish soap. This helps the buck slide on the leather. Then we submerge our piece in the water for........this is where reports vary. Some people say soak it for 15 seconds, some say until the bubbles stop coming up, and still others say soak it for a looooong time. I find that its about preference and learning your leather. I soaked mine for a minute or 2, and most of the bubbles had stopped rising. Then I put it in a plastic bag, put it on the counter, and got distracted for a while. This is important. No, not being distracted, but leaving it alone. Putting it in the bag and leaving it helps it to 'sweat' or get fully saturated through its pores and also stiffens it a bit which helps it retain its shape when you form. Try forming when its too wet, and it will just flop around like a noodle. No Bueno.

Righto so we've brought our brains back to the project at hand and we get to forming. At this step, I recommend that you reflect on my mistakes and modify your own plans to correct for them. What I did, was center the leather over the bottom buck, and gently push the top buck over the bottom buck, sandwiching the leather in between. I then used multiple clamps to squeeze the top buck onto the bottom buck. Here's the mistake. I didn't apply the pressure evenly, and cracked one side of the top buck, which I will point out in the pictures. Don't do that. As a matter of fact, if you'll remember, the top buck is made of pine. Fingerjointed pine at that. Dont make it out of finger jointed pine. Its susceptible to splitting. Use plywood or PE or something that wont crack, like a smart person. But I digress.

Once its all pressed in nicely, set it in front of a fan (NO HEAT) for a few hours, or better yet, over night.

Phew.. tired yet?

Step 5: Step 5: Cutting

After you take the clamps off and you have your formed pieces, you have to cut out the holes for the screens, clickwheel, tops and charging port. I marked these out by using the paper cutouts from before, and punched the rounded corners with hole punches. Straight lines were cut with a ruler and a knife. The click wheel hole is pretty big, so I cut it in multiple small holes, then finished it with the drum sander on my drill press from step 3. I placed the top buck back over the formed piece because it has my finished size, and used it as a guide for cutting to final size.

Step 6: Step 6: the Carving

Like I said, there are a bunch of 'ables on here that go into carving, so i'll just give you the gyst.

I photoshop my image to size, and print it on transparency paper. I wet the leather, transfer the design, swivel knife, bevel, background and accent. Easy peasy. (kidding)

I once again use my top buck as a guide to cut my piece to final size.

Step 7: Step 7: Adding the Strap and Snap

Before I glue the two pieces together, I have to sew the strap in, because I wont be able to get at it after I glue it. I cut the strap, use contact cement to glue it on, cut sewing channels and stitch.

I also put the snap in where it needed to go, because I only wanted it to go through one side of the leather.

Step 8: Step 8: Glue It Together

I once again bone head'd on the pics. Sorry guys. But its simple enough. Put a coat of contact cement on all the surfaces you want to glue, and none on the surfaces you don't. I mean that because if you get any glue where you dont want it, it will block the stain. Be careful!

Wait 10 minutes, then put another coat on. The first coat soaks in and seals up the leather, the second is where the stickyness comes from. Gotta do two coats. Period. No cheating. I tried, it just makes you feel like a dullard for cheating. Read the contact cement label. Leave that second coat for ten minutes until its almost dry to the touch, then carefully place the two pieces together where they go, because you only get one shot to do it. Contact cement is awesome, but also a wicked bitch if you get it wrong. You've been warned.

Step 9: Step 9: Dyeing, Painting, Staining, What Ever You're Doing to It

So you've got your nice little piece all glued together and its just perfect. YAY!

Now you've got to make it pretty, in which ever way you want. I chose to use cova acrylics for the symbol, because they're nice and bright. I applied them with a paint brush, Chevelle, and a ton of patience.

A cool tip for keeping your colors fresh ta death is to paint a few coats of eco flo shene over it before you do any staining. It will resist from rubbing off when you stain around it. BUT. BUT BUT BUT. It does nothing to protect against alcohol and oil stains. That stuff will rub it right off so if you're using that, try to stay away from your colors.

The other thing I like to do before I do my majority stain, is to cut the stitching grooves. I do this because if you cut them after you stain, sometimes you can see the flesh color beneath the stitches and I don't like that. But that's just me. I cut my grooves, and then use an oral syringe to wet the grooves. Then I run a stitching wheel through them. The water makes the pokes more pronounced, so I can feel them with the awl when I stitch.

Stain or dye your piece, and make sure to completely color the stitching channels!

Step 10: Step 10. Stitch, Burnish and Apply Finish

You're almost there!

Now that your piece is all painted and stained, and TOTALLY DRY! (that part is important. if its not, you're gonna smudge it)

Set it up in a stitching pony, or a soft vice, and stitch it by hand. With an awl. And two needles. And thread. This part sucks. Cool tip though is to run the stitching wheel over the stitches when you're done. It doesn't sound like much but it does make it look professional.

Burnish your edges by edging first. Then rub on some saddle soap and rub briskly with a slicker or burnisher.

Once its all stitched and burnished, rub your favorite finish on it, whether it be an acrylic sheen, wax, oil, or in my case, a blend of beeswax and oil from fellow instructablur Antagonizer, with this awesome conditioner!

And there you have it! A stylish way to carry a TON of music in a Klingon music bible!

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    10 Discussions

    gary delatte
    gary delatte

    4 years ago

    I was flipping through 'ibles and saw yours. I don't often wander off trail but this was worth it. I'm about to start your project, can't tell how long it will take but if I cut the leather and lay out the pattern I know I will get it done. My only change will be putting an Impire shield on both sides of my holder. I just need to desire which 2 to use. Keep up the good work!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Super awesome job with the leather, but to be honest i don't understand the need for two MP4 players. Just get a solid phone and pop a 128 gig micro SD card in it.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Lol people want what they want dude. Some people still use casettes.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Qapla'! Kahless himself would be honored to carry his battle hymns in this, a warriors anthem scabbard.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is really cool! Makes me want to do something similar for my phone and a DAC


    5 years ago on Introduction

    This is super impressive! I love seeing custom leather projects like this. Very inspiring.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thanks dooood. Hoping to get more involved with the maker movement, I've been a lurker for far too long!