Making Art & Writing Boxes W/ Leather Inserts




Introduction: Making Art & Writing Boxes W/ Leather Inserts

About: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check out my site @

In my previous instructable, I created these wooden boxes using white oak and box joints. In total I made four different boxes that are designed to take outdoors, and go on adventure! In this instructable I will go over finishing the boxes and creating the various leather accents, such as straps, holders, and inserts to organize different things.

Step 1: Writing Insert

I began with working on one of the boxes that I wanted to hold writing supplies such as pens, pencils and paper. I began with cutting up leather that fit the interior of the box perfectly. On the top piece I want a pocket to hold a field notes guide, so I cut up another small piece of leather, punched holes and sewed it in place to hold the book. Next, I cut little slits in the leather alongside a path. Then I brought in a elastic band in and out to create little holders for pens.

Step 2: Straps

In addition to using small metal clasps to close the boxes, I wanted to add straps around as well that connect with snaps. This is to add additional security when you carry the box around so it won't fly open, plus it looks really nice. To create this I began with cutting up straps using a big ruler and a cutter. Next I added the first part of the snap on one end (it's easier to break it up in two steps to make sure they line up perfectly), and marked out on the box where the straps needed to go.

Step 3: Gluing

To glue the straps to the box, I used contact cement, and glued on side at a time, making sure the glue became sticky before gluing together.

Once glued down, I added the second part of the snaps now when it was easy to see exactly where it needed to go in order to form a tight fit.

Step 4: Rings

The same technique on the handle was used on the sides with rings, where a piece of leather, connected to a ring, was sewed onto the wood by drilling through and sewing on. Then it's easy to connect a shoulder band with hooks.

Step 5: Handle

I also wanted a leather handle to attach to the strap as well as the box, so I added a piece of leather for the handle right before the snaps go. After gluing the handle to the straps and the straps to the box, I drilled holes through the wood and then sewed the pieces together with some heavy duty waxed thread. This provides a very strong and nice looking connection.

Step 6: Leather Pouch

On one of the boxes I wanted to add a leather pouch on the front, to give it more of a bag feel. I first sewed a very simple pouch together using leather and waxed thread and a snap for closure. Then I marked out where the pouch would go, drilled holes and sewed the pouch to the front of the box, one stitch in each corner.

This provides a nice looking, yet not terribly practical solution, as if you want a very useful pouch on the front, it's better to create a small bag with actual sides that you sew on the front, and this is something that we ended up doing on one of the boxes.

Step 7: Art Inserts

One of the boxes I wanted to use as an art box, so in order to organize brushes and pencils, we created two small wooden trays with grooved lines inside using a bullnose bit on the router. In addition to the tray, I also made a small palette to keep in the box, and loose things were secured with velcro.

Step 8: Conclusion - Watch the Video

To see more detail of the steps used in creating these leather details, make sure to watch the video that goes over everything.

If you're interested in seeing the creation of these boxes, make sure to watch the first video.

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    5 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Wish I had a couple of these for field sketching and travel journals! Nice work!

    laith mohamed
    laith mohamed

    2 years ago

    Awesome work with leather .


    2 years ago

    This is so amazing!! Very handy, useful and we'll designed. Excellent!

    world of woodcraft
    world of woodcraft

    2 years ago

    Really great work. i'm inspired to make a box or 12 myself.