Here is a great little project if your other half has a leather jacket that you hate and want to destroy. Alternatively if you have an afternoon free or need to entertain some kids this is a safe, fun project that produces a functional piece of equipment. All you need is some leather and something to use as a toggle. Tools required are a pair of scissors, leather punch or knife and a plastic bag filled with flour or stones.
1. Begin by collecting all the materials you will need for the project and clear a space to work. This project can be done just as easily at home as when out in the field.
2. The first step is to mark a circle on the rough side of the leather around a dinner plate with pen and cut it out. Then cut a long strip approx 40cm long. The longer you cut this strip the wider you will be able to open your pouch.
3. Lay your leather down so it has the rough side uppermost. Find the centre of your circle by placing your ruler at the widest part and mark the mid point with an x.
4. Place your ruler along the centre x and mark with a pen 2cm away from the edge, do this top and bottom.
5. Now do the same at 90degrees. Imagine your circle is a clock, you should have marks at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock all 2cm in from the edge.
6. Cut these marks into holes. You can use a leather punch like the one in the picture or you can make a cross cut all the way through with a knife.
7. Take your ruler again and measure the middle point between the 12 and 3 o’clock holes. Mark this point. Measure the centre point between the 6 and 9 o’clock hole. Place your ruler down touching both these marks. The ruler should come very close, if not touch, the centre point you marked to begin with. With your ruler on these two, or three, points measure 2cm in from the edge at both ends. Mark these points and cut out a circle or cut in your cross.
8. Repeat this step for the two points between 9 and 12 o’clock and 3 and 6 o’clock.
9. You now have 8 holes all 2cm in from the edge and all the same distance away from each other.
10. With your ruler mark the mid distance between the 12 o’clock hole and the hole nearest to it to the right. Do the same to find the mid point between the 6 o’clock hole and the nearest current hole to the left and mark. Place the ruler to touch both those points, again the ruler should run very close to the centre mark you began with, and measure 2cm in from the edge. Cut with leather punch or cut in your cross.
11. Repeat this all the way around until you have 16 holes all equal distance apart. Your circle will now look like this.
12. Thread the long piece of leather through the holes. Start from the outside to in, then inside to out pulling reasonably tight. You will begin to see the bag take some shape now. Once you have threaded through all the holes you will end up with the beginnings of a leather pouch. Both ends of the leather lace will be sticking out of the bag.
13. Take a plastic bag and fill it with stones or flour or anything else that will hold it’s shape. I used some bannock mix I had to be super authentic!
14. Put this in the leather pouch and mould to the desired shape. You can have your pouch tall and thin or short and fat. I like mine somewhere in the middle.
15. Run a tub of hot water. And tie your pouch up with the lace, drawing it tightly closed.
16. Fully submerge your pouch into the water until it is completely saturated.
17. Once wet, remove from the water and drain any excess away. Remould your pouch to your desired shape and then put it somewhere warm to dry off. This is called wet moulding the leather. Once dried the leather will have ‘remembered’ the shape of the flour or stones you placed in.
18. While this is drying off you can cut a piece of bone or antler to your desired size for a toggle. Drill a hole for the lace to feed through. Here I have used a bit of spare rabbit hide I had kicking about to add a bit of decoration. Just cut a hole in the back to allow the lace to pass through. You don’t have to use bone or antler here you could use a piece of wood whittled into an interesting shape or a conker. Anything to give it an authentic look.
19. Now just to put the pouch together. When dry remove your plastic bag, pull the lace tight ensuring you have equal amounts of lace protruding out of the front. Thread on your rabbit hide (if using) then your toggle, finally tie a simple overhand knot in the end of the lace and voila!
This is a great project for a weekend, you can get leather from an old hand bag or jacket from a charity shop and make yourself some funky pouches! Like and share if you enjoyed this and post a comment when you have made yours!