How to Make a Leather Backpack

Start with the type of leather you like best.

Leather backpacks are far sturdier than their cloth counterparts. That strength is often reflected in the price tag that comes with it. Rather than spending a lot of money on one, create a pouch-style leather backpack. As long as you keep it simple, it is not difficult to make your own leather backpack. Some of the tools you will need to use are leather specific, but are relatively inexpensive and can be used for other projects.


Decide on the size of backpack you want and measure it out on the leather. Starting with an 18-by-16-inch piece will give you an average-sized backpack. Cut the leather using sheers and lay it flat so that the 16-inch ends form the top and bottom of the leather piece.

Measure 3 inches down from the top and bottom of the leather. Mark the distance in pen at each corner. This mark should be very visible since you do not want to sew beyond this point when joining the sides of the backpack together.

Fold the leather in half so that the underside is facing outwards. Measure 1 inch from the bottom corner (the folded end) on both sides and mark it in pen. Punch a hole at these points using a sewing punch (four holes in total).

Thread a length of artificial sinew through the stitching needle. Starting at the 3-inch mark at the top (open end), begin sewing the two halves together along the edge. Use an awl to pierce a small hole through the leather where you intend to make your stitches, if you are having trouble pushing the needle through. Sew both edges together, making sure that the holes at the bottom remain lined up.

Fold the top flap down. Do not fold it flush with the top edge of the backpack. Pull only 1 inch past the top edge and pin in place on both ends using extra stitching needles. Sew the flap down all the way across the top. Flip the backpack over and repeat the process on the other side.

Turn the backpack right side out. All of the stitching should now be on the inside of the bag and the finished leather surface on the outside. Place a rivet into the holes that were punched earlier (one on each side) and lock them into place using a rivet setter.

Cut two pieces of cord measuring 2 yards each. Attach a safety pin to one end to use as a guide, then slide it through one of the slots sewn into the top of the backpack. Remove the safety pin once the cord is through the slot and repeat the process on the other side. Push the ends through the rivets (same direction) and knot them to form the straps.

About the Author

Joanne Robitaille's first journalistic experience was in 1994, when she did school reports for a local newspaper, "Shoreline." Her articles now appear on various websites. Robitaille has a Bachelor of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of Windsor.