Paint Brush, Leather Tool Roll




Introduction: Paint Brush, Leather Tool Roll

So this is my first Instructable, and I apologize, I don't think I did the best job capturing all the steps, especially the cutting, the stitch-tooling, stitching and carve tooling, but there some good in process shots. I had done some leather work, mostly trying to customize my carpentry tool belt pouches that always just need a little love, either from wear or tear, or some customization to make them a little more useful. I've picked up some leather tools along the way, and with a Tandy store downtown, I've since added to my collection.

I started this as a learning experience to work on tool roll for my cycling tools--holding some of my favorite Abbey Tools. I currently use a Duluth Trading Company tool roll, but it's a touch small, and I've already had to add some customizations, such as the handle on the 'overflap', and guide holes (not pictured) on the 'overflap' to keep the straps from slipping.

While on Instagram, I recently added my co-worker, a tech in the production engineering group and started to notice drawings and paintings on his post, at first I thought they were things he had come across and taken pictures of, but then I noticed the signature on each of them was fairly distinct and consistent. I asked him about the pictures and they were things he was working on, and a passion he had recently began.

I had seen the small pencil roll, and asked Isaac if he wanted something like that for his sketching, he then mentioned his pain brushes were a mess, and that would be something for me to make him. I asked for a couple of brushes so i had an idea of what size I had to make. I hit Tandy, bought some light leather.

So on a Thursday evening I laid out an idea for the paint brush roll. Something similar to the DTC roll; loops to hold brushes, a pouch or two for items--turns out the paint tubes fit in these--a handled 'overflap' and maybe some light tooling.

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Step 1: Measurements, Ingredients and Tools

I purchased some ~4oz leather from Tandy, it was on sale at the front of the store for around $50.

I had in hand, buttons, rivets, waxed thread (sinew).

Using the paint brush as a guide, i measured out the height of the piece about two inches more each side, and then measured the thickness of the brushes and estimated 6 of the big brushes, ten of the little ones, some room to grow--this turned out to be the two large loops in the center.

I used a 1' carpenters square and pencil to layout lines for cutting, and used a heavy canvas pair of scissor to cut with. I started the first night by making the end pouch, and after an hour of watching some Blacklist episodes, I had the stitching and riveting done. I put my wallet in there to show the pouch.

Step 2: Loop to Loop and Side Flaps

With the pouch complete, I worked on adding the side flaps. Which were cut the length of the main area, and riveted on each end. I used a straight edge and pencil to line the stitching up, as the leather was too thin to use the gouge.

I wanted to add something to the flaps since they were such a great canvas. My girlfriend and I did some searches and she found the Matisse quote. Originally I wanted a couple more, but so many of the quotes were overdone, or too long.

After punching in the quote, I realized I should have played with it, and maybe danced the lettering around a little bit. The leather is pretty thin, so I wasn't to sure how it would hold to the tooling.

The next step was to work on the looping. I started by cutting a strip just wider than the 6-hole-punch-chisel, and riveted the end. I then added one seem right up against the rivets, originally I was going to over stitch the strip, but it would require an extra punch and then, that much more stitching.

I pressed the brush right up tight against the stitched seem, then slid it out, bristle-side, so it was a bit thinner, then held the chisel tight against the brush. Laying on a chunk of 2x4 and some scrap leather (to protect the back from the beat up lumber), I gave the punch-chisel a strike or three. The leather was fairly thin, so it didn't require much of a hit.

Using two needles I started on one end, and worked toward the other. On the last hole I sipped out between the strip and roll and tied a square knot--right over left, left over righ--then snipped off the ends. To flatten the seams, I took the shaft of an X-Acto knife and gave it a few hits with the mallet.

Step 3: Overflap, Closing Flaps, Handle and Tooling


The <em>Overflap</em>--I'm not sure what to call it--is used on the DTC tool roll to close up the roll, since it can end up with somewhat of an opened appearance when it's filled with bulky items.

I had a piece of thicker hide, 1/4" or so, and it was from the side/end of the cut, so it had a nice shape and some character.

I cut it to the height of the roll, but wasn't too sure yet how I was going to attach it. I had left a section of leather beyond my loops--about 3 or so inches--so I had leather to work with.

I pre-punched the holes along the long edge, that would be stitched to the main body. I was careful when I started to stitch them together, I started by only stitching the ends and the middle then connected them up.

<strong>Closing Straps</strong>

The securing straps were cut from a length of pre-cut, 1" belt from Tandy. I debated on how to secure the closed roll--the DTC--uses two thin, canvas strips that are hand tied. At times this gets tiresome, especially when there's that one last tool you forgot to tuck away. I settled on the 1" size, aesthetically it was an appealing ratio to the size of width of the roll. I went with buttons, but wasn't too sure where to place them, or how long, since I wasn't too sure how thick the roll would be once it was loaded with brushes and supplies. I settled on about 8" for their length, and about 1/4 way from the opposite side for the buttons. I figured the straps could be cut shorter, or the buttons moved if needed.


The handle, too was cut from a length of pre-cut, 1" belt from Tandy. I wasn't too sure how long the securing straps should be, So I made sure they'd at least go around 3/4 of it when loosely rolled.

As for the handle, I had learned from my DTC tool roll, it gets quite heavy, and after getting caught in some conversations while palming it, it would leave my hand and arm rather tired and sore--not knowing how long I would be engaged, laying it on the floor was always an awkward option. Though the paint brush roll would not be nearly as heavy, its width still would be uncomfortable to palm for a significant length of time. I also didn't want the handle to interfere with anything if it was always protruding.

I took a piece of paper and with some slices, slide a strip of paper through to test the idea of making a sliding, retractable handle. Once convinced it would work, I worked out how to pass the handle through.


I thought it would be nice to add something to the overflap since it had a nice little area to work with. I took one of the paint brushes, and sketched it out proportional shorter and began to draw it in. I used a Tandy steel ball stylus to draw it onto the dampened leather. I then used my swivel knife to slice in the design, and a beveler to stamp it in. I grooved in the bristles, they actually feel pretty cool.

Step 4: Final Product

Here are some final pictures of the roll.

On the closed picture you can see the brass button studs, that latch the securing studs.

Isaac, love the roll. It make his art portable between home and his friend's studio.

I told him, I almost took up painting when I was done, just so I could keep the roll!!

I hope the Instructable was 'ok', I know there wasn't that much work shown, and I'd be happy to answer any questions anyone has.

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    2 Discussions


    Reply 4 years ago

    Thanks! I really appreciate the compliment.