Recommended tools & supplies:
- Maped Soft Scalpel for Crafting, Scrapbooking, with 3 Replacement Blades (009900)
- Craftool Ballpoint Stylus
- Tandy Leather Craftool Deluxe Adjustable Swivel Knife 8002-00
- Tandy Leather Basic “7″ Tool Set set of 7 basic tool set
- Hand Stitching Kit
- Tandy Leathercraft Edge Beveler Size 2 8076-02
- Tandy Leather Craftool Adjustable Groover 8074-00
- Tandy Leather Craftool Spacer Set System 8091-00
- Fiebings Leather Dye Black 4oz
- Leather Dye Dark Brown 4 oz.
- Fiskars Traditional Bone Folder
- Leather Factory Waxed Nylon Thread 25 Yard Spool-Natural
For the main part of the Kindle case (the front and back) you can use 3.6mm thick leather. Anything that’s thicker than 2.5mm will work fine but an extra mm makes the whole case much more rigid and heavy.Use a standard A4 sheet of paper as a template – I found that the size works great for the Kindle 3.
The main leather cut
Use a round cap (or anything with a good radius that you can find around the house) to mark where you have to cut the corners. You have to cut all 4 corners and try to make them as even as possible.
Cutting in Half
Cut the leather in half. We’ll later insert a piece of thinner leather as a spine.
Put the pieces on top of each other and sand the sides and corners to even them out a little bit. It doesnât have to be perfect but should be fairly close.
Loosely cut the lining material. I find it easier to cut the suede leather a bit bigger than I need it and then trim it after I glued the pieces together.
Leave the leather in water for a few hours and get it out and let it dry to make it harder. While it dries it’ll reach a point where itâs almost completely dried through and it’ll be ready for embossing.
Tree Logo Template
Use a printout as a template to transfer the design to the leather. I trace the lines lightly using a Wacom pen (hey! I’m a graphic designer :D ). You could get a tracing stylus, too!
Use a scalpel to cut the design into the leather. If you have a Swivel Knife, you can obviously use that, but chances are that if you’re reading this, you don’t have all the leather tools at hand.
Disclaimer: I didn’t use traditional techniques or the proper tools for this! I actually use a Wacom Pen (again) and any sharp or blunt object I can get my hands on to emboss the leather. If you have the proper tools you can make it much more detailed or traditional but I actually like how this gives it a hand drawn look. It’s somewhat charming.You could start out with the Tandy Leather Basic Set if you prefer to get the proper tools.
Bevelling the edges
To round off the edges you can use an edge beveller. This will give the case a nicer, more professional looking edge. We’ll refine the edge a bit later.
Use a stitching groover to create the groove where you’ll sew. Just “slide” it along the edge. You won’t have to groove the side where the spine will be attached. We’ll put some leather on top of that side.This groove is another small detail that will help set your case apart and it also protects the stitching to make sure that your case will last 20 years even if you’ll buy a new Kindle next year!
Use a stitch spacer (a tool with a “spiky” wheel) to make the markings for your stitches. This will help you to create even and nice looking stitches later on.
Create a template for the spine of the cover and use it to cut a thin but strong piece of leather. I use kangaroo leather because it is very strong and still nice and flexible. But I’m sure that there are other leathers that are strong enough for years of abuse.
We’ll need the lining for the spine part that we just cut out. Cut a piece that’s larger than the spine and you’ll be able to trim that once you glued it in place.
Here you can see the finished piece for the spine. I glued the lining on using spray adhesive and then I cut the excess lining off. The suede lining I used had a white centre so I decided to hide that by dyeing the edges black.
Apply black dye and let dry
I use 2 dyes for my Kindle cases: Whiskey (Brown) and Black.
Once the covers are dry, you can glue on the lining using spray adhesive.
Cut the excess leather off and dye the sides of the lining black. Sponge brushes work very well for dyeing edges or larger areas.
Cut 3 corners and 1 rectangle
Cut 3 corners (from around 4.5cm squares) and one small rectangle from a piece of kangaroo leather
Slightly stretch them into shape using a bone folder.
Glue corners in place
Glue the corners on the inside cover and cut off the excess leather at the rounded corners.
Punch holes and create space for rubber band
Punch holes at the top left of the back cover and create a space for the rubber band.
Add rubber band and leather rectangle
The rubber band will make it possible to put the Kindle in the case and the leather rectangle makes it easier to lift the rubber band and it helps keeping it in place on the device.
Add stitching groove to spine leather
The spine needs a stitching groove as well.
Glue spine leather in place
Glue the piece of leather in place. It will cover the back of the rubber band and will also help make the back cover look a bit more interesting depending on what shape you’re going for.
I use waxed thread, 2 needles (similar to these) and a sewing awl to sew these pieces of leather together.Check out my hand sewing tutorial if you don’t know how to sew a project like this.
Here is the spine sewn to the back cover
Does it fit?
The corners are now also in place and you can stretch them nicely to make the kindle fit
And the finished back cover
Check out more photos of the finished case here