This Freaking Thing - Next-Level Leather

(tl;dr: I made a thing. There are pictures.)

After making a couple of simple wallets based on templates found online, I decided I liked the process enough to both go bigger and to design something for myself. I wanted to do something practical, and I’d been looking for a case/cover for my iPad Pro to protect it when it’s not safely inside my backpack. Why not try that?

OK, fine. Relying on some good tips I’d found on designing leather templates in Illustrator, I worked from measurements of the iPad/keyboard cover/Pencil and iterated my way through a design. I wanted full coverage with a flap closure and a soft lining.

To test the fit of everything and the alignment of all of the holes (especially on those pesky gussets), I cut a full-size mock-up in cardstock and made an assembly. I didn’t want to waste a single inch of leather if I could help it, and it seemed to work out.

I took advantage of a great in-store sale at Tandy and picked up a double shoulder of 4-6 oz veg tan. I cut rough pieces to size, fed them to the ‘Forge, and ended up with parts. I washed them up with saddle soap and water and left them to dry overnight.

Next day, I beveled my edges and stained everything (including my fingers - I hate gloves) a nice brown. The finish came out pretty uneven, but I decided to call it “rustic” and move on.

Bought a couple of yards of nice felt at Joanns, cut it to size, and tacked everything together with double-sided quilter’s tape.

Stitching (especially on those pesky gussets) was arduous with a capital “R” but I managed it.

The one big thing I would change is the method of closure. I picked a big, bulky magnetic closer and I haaaaaate it.

The iPad and accessories fit snugly, but move in and out easily enough. Everything feels protected. Imperfect as it is, I’m starting to like the finish. I still have a bunch of edge treatment and finish touch-ups to do, but I’m proud of the effort.

I branded it with the logo of my little consulting operation.


Well done. I like the color… has a nice aged look to it.


Very cool!


Excellent write up and beautiful result.


That’s super. I like the coloration - it looks nicely natural and just a touch “aged”.


Wow. Turned out really really fantastic. I haven’t touched leather yet, but this is great inspiration. Nicely done.


It looks great!! Thanks for the step-by-step description of your process.


I especially like the step-by-step description. I haven’t tried leather yet and your description is very helpful. I really like the color that your case. :smile:


I love this! I love that you jumped in and did it. I’m slowly working my way up to working with leather, though I think it intimidates me more than any other material I’ve used with the Glowforge. You have inspired me!


Is a learning experience, for sure. Let me know if I can help.

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Your post is awesome! I’ve been wanting to design my own wallets and leathergoods for a while. I picked up a few designs online and made them. But I want to make my own designs, and you are inspiring me.

Do you have any good links to these tips?



Thank you - jump in!

There’s the YouTube general rabbit-hole of course, but I found things here to be particularly clear and helpful:

In particular, these two get into template design in Illustrator:

They also make a lot of free templates available.


Great result! I’m impressed by your stitching.


You are of my people! :slight_smile:


What a great final product! And thanks for sharing all the documentation along the way (I always forget that part).
Why do you hate the magnet closure?


Thank you. It’s really thick and ungainly.


A fantastic design! :heart_eyes: I made a belt and deliberately did nothing to the leather and it has indeed aged to a very similar color pattern, irregular is fine, only streaks are a problem. The only way I could imagine an improvement is 1/8" Baltic Birch between the layers. I had a tablet destroyed when I fell on it and the case was not enough to protect the glass. It was sold as a refurb, but apparently they built a batch of them as stereoisomers so no parts would fit.

As for magnets, These are pretty small and I have discovered that many lined up can do as good or better job as a big one with a far smaller field so strong when touching but not influencing beyond a very limited distance. (they also have a range from that to yours so you can have any size you wish)


Thank you. I did this with a speed-stitching awl, which I consider a bit of a cheat and am now finding limiting. The next stage of this leather explorations will probably include getting some needles and learning traditional stitching methods.


If the iPad were naked, I’d agree. For me, the keyboard case provides a degree of that already. This is mostly to keep stuff off of it and stop the Pencil from going missing when I’m in motion (and to look cool, hopefully).

As for magnets, yes, I’m annoyed now that I didn’t just stitch in something like what you describe.


Thank you.

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