How To Make A Leather Business Card Holder
Skill Level: Beginner
This simple business card holder is perfect for those who are in business for themselves or for those who are looking for a good gift to give to someone else. For those looking for a fun project this is a perfect way to start out on simple sewing techniques and work on their abilities to glue and finish the edges of a DIY leather project. With simple instructions that are easy to understand, this project is a fantastic way for beginning leather workers to learn some great new skills while following along with the video available for free at our YouTube channel “The Rugged Material Workshop”.
Skills You Will Learn:
By following this leather-craft tutorial you will learn some great beginner tips. We will teach you how to dye and burnish the edges of a leather project so that it looks like multiple layers are one. You will also learn in this build-a-long how to use a chisel punch to pre-punch holes for hand stitching and an easy way to thread a needle.
- Horween Leather Chromexcel (2-3 oz)
- Water-based contact cement
- Rugged Material Workshop Pattern CLICK HERE TO GET PATTERN
- Utility knife
- Rotary knife
- XACTO knife
- Scratch Awl
- Blunt stitching needles
- Canvas or denim
- Chisel Punch(es)
- 2 Blunt Stitching Needles
- #1 edge beveller
- Wing dividers
- Foam Brush(es)
- Rugged Material Radius Tool
- Acrylic Rugged Material Workshop Template
- Stitching Pony
- Pattern Purchase and Download
To begin this project, you will need to find and download the Business Card Holder pattern from WWW.WORKSHOP.RUGGEDMATERIAL.COM. For a set of more detailed instructions you can follow the step-by-step guide from our blog post and video on purchasing and downloading Rugged Material Workshop Project Designs and Patterns by clicking here. You may find it useful to use our Business Card Holder Acrylic Template for this project instead of the paper pattern which is available for purchase here.
- Cutting Out the Pattern
We recommend that you print out your pattern on stiff cardstock paper. This will allow you to trace the pattern easier and, if you desire, use it more than once easier than if you were to use common printer paper. Cut out your printed pattern according to the included instructions. We often cut out our patterns by using a straightedge and a rotary or utility knife. For this project’s curved corners, the RM Radius Tool is very useful to get a clean rounded cut. You can also use a pair of scissors if you are more comfortable doing so.
- Cutting the Project Pieces
Before you cut out the pieces for your project we encourage you to decide on where you would like to cut your pieces from your leather. One you have decided on the pattern placement it is advisable that you turn the leather over (so that the backside is facing up) before you trace the pattern. This way you will not have any markings showing on the finished project. Inspect the leather well before cutting to ensure you are using the best piece for your project. Once you have chosen the correct placement you can trace your pattern on the backside (flesh side) of the leather. Using a straightedge and a knife (depending on your preference and needs you may use a utility, rotary, or XACTO knife) cut along the lines. This project’s inside cut and rounded corners are easier to cut out using an XACTO knife in conjunction with the RM Radius Tool (available here).
In order to know where to glue your Business Card Holder, place some business cards inside your holder to get an idea of where the glue needs to be applied. You will only need to glue down the two long edges of the holder for this piece. For all of our projects we glue using a water-based contact cement and simple foam craft brushes that you can find almost anywhere. Before gluing make sure to prepare your workspace with paper to avoid any messes. When using contact cement remember to glue both sides of your project and allow them to dry before placing them together, this will allow for a strong and long-lasting hold. Try to line them up as evenly as possible, however you may not be able to get them to line up perfectly. When this happens we have a solution. Using a belt sander, you can carefully sand the edges flush with each other.
We will leave the sewing of your projects within your own discretion. There is no real right or wrong way to sew certain things depending upon what specific goals you have in mind. For many of our leather crafts we take different approaches. If you are experienced with a sewing machine and would like to use it, you may do so. However, for the purposes of this project, we will be hand-stitching. To prepare for our sewing we will pre-punch our stitching holes. To give a guideline use the wing divider set at about 1/8” (3.2 mm) to draw a line down the same two edges you glued. For this project use a 3 mm chisel punch to punch the holes for stitching. Follow the guidelines as you work your way down leaving your first punch in the last hole to keep the correct spacing. For curved edges using a two-pronged chisel allows you to follow the scribed line closely. A good rule of thumb to remember when cutting the thread for your project is to measure the length of the stitch and multiply it by three for each side of the business card holder. To thread your needle, poke the needle through the thread about three inches from the end, place the end of the thread through the eye of the needle, then pull the thread that is on the needle over the end. This will create a small and unobtrusive knot for sewing. Thread needles on both ends of the thread in order to do a two-handed saddle stitch. To begin start at the bottom of the card holder (in the last hole) and work towards the top. To facilitate your sewing you may want to use a stitching pony (you can find a pattern for our design here).
For more detailed instructions on the two-handed saddle stitch you can see our OTHER TUTORTIALS. Once you get to the end of the holes you will back stitch three holes and cut the thread off on the backside close to the leather. Do this to both sides. To finish the stitch, use an awl with a small amount of glue on the tip and work it down into the hole of the last stitch to hold it in place. Make sure to remove any excess glue. By hand-stitching you should have a very beautiful and well-made piece that looks clean and well-made.
- Dyeing and Burnishing
With a project this thin you do not have to bevel the edges; however, it provides a nice finish and you may do so if you wish. We would recommend that you use a sharp number one beveller on both sides in order to get a well-rounded and finished-looking edge. To make sure it is sharp you may strop your beveller as demonstrated in the video. On the round corners of this piece it is best to use small movements to get a clean bevel. After you have the desired bevel on the edges of the leather we will dye the edges. To do so take a dauber and load it with brown leather dye. Remember to remove as much excess dye as possible before dyeing the leather to avoid any unnecessary staining by accident. Carefully apply the dauber to the edge of your Business Card Holder with light pressure. Run it along the edge until you have covered all raw faces. Once the edges have been dyed you may move on to burnishing. First you will want to work the beeswax into all of the dyed areas. You will then take your piece of canvas and rub the beeswax in with enough pressure that it works into a smooth surface and the coloring looks even. Burnishing should seal all of the raw edges and ultimately make multiple layers appear more as one. This process “burns” and “polishes” the leather which is where the name “burnish” comes from. With thin leathers it may be easier to burnish the project with it lying flat on a solid surface and you rubbing the canvas along the edge (like a table edge) in order to provide support. You can now test out your card holder to make sure it works properly.
This Business Card Holder should hold at least 20 business cards and we hope that it is useful to you or whomever you give it to as a gift! We welcome any of your tips, tricks, or feedback about business card holders and hope that you share what you have learned with us.
We hope you have found this beginner’s Business Card Holder tutorial to be instructive and helpful! We always enjoy finding new DIY projects, and we hope that you will enjoy making it at home as much as we enjoyed creating it. If you haven’t gotten your pattern or template for it yet you can find the pattern here or the template here.
Remember that there is also a video for this project that you can watch and follow as you make your own Business Card Holder. You can find the video here. You can always subscribe to our YouTube channel “The Rugged Material Workshop” and see all of our new projects and helpful tips and get all of our newest leather crafts and tutorials as soon as they are released.
If you have enjoyed this project we would invite you to leave a positive review, and look for other fun DIY leathercrafts on our website.