LEATHER HANDLE DIY

February 22nd, 2013

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FUN FACT:  We’ve been working on this house for five years and still haven’t installed handles on most of the original built-in storage cabinets or the closets.

Why rush it. No big deal.

Oh, except that now its been half a decade of living like filthy animals who routinely need to savagely pry open heavy drawers or wonky old doors with a screwdriver or any other available blunt object.

Time for change. Time for?

Leather. Pulls. For. Doors.

For months I’ve been messing around and field testing all manner of leather design bits and objects. Working out the kinks. Comparing materials. Picking finishes. Doing all the leather work. Leather working? Leather science? Leathering? Leathery stuff. The sort of stuff that recently culminated with the plopping out of this finalized prototype batch of simple looped leather+brass handles that make opening the closet easier and much more stylish than a screwdriver wedged in the crack.

Super.

OK. General DIY rundown time.

 

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DIY  |  LEATHER + BRASS PULL HANDLE

MATERIALS

Leather (mine = 1″ wide + 8/9oz + natural veg dye)
Brass Eyelets (mine = 3/16″ hole)
Brass Bolts
Brass Washers

TOOLS

Leather Hole Punch
Eyelet Setter
Hammer
Tape measure
Scissors
Sponge
Towel

 

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DIY BASICS TO MAKE IT    .    SIMPLE LEATHER PULL

1. Measure then cut leather to size. (mine = 1″ wide x 8″ long – final installed handle is approx. 4″ tall)

2. Lightly dampen cut leather pieces with a sponge to prep leather for hole punching. Towel off any extra moisture.

3. Measure and mark matching hole locations on both ends. (mine = 1″ interior from either edge + centered width)

*TIP: Make a template using an extra matching leather scrape to quickly and consistently mark hole guide placements if   you’re making multiple matching handles.

4. Align punch tool with the guide mark and carefully punch out the hole.

5. Place setter and hammer eyelets into each hole.

6. Loop leather strip in half and thread the bolt through both eyelets to prep for install.

7. Thread bolt through the hardware mounting hole, finalize leather handle placement, thread washer onto the bolt end and tighten both very firmly to secure the handle.

 

and then DONE.

 

*Optional Finishing:  I’ve been using a leather finisher on the overall handle and then finishing the edges with a slicker and Gum Tragacanth. Leave the leather raw, seal it, dye it, burn it – I don’t care. Do whatever works to finish things up to your taste.

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Basically the basic of basics. These finished leather handles work and look pretty great and are totally good to go for install.

Well, except that I haven’t been able to shake off this nagging need to rework and replace the current basic brass bolt set with different hardware that’s feels more unusual or unexpected while still staying minimal and unfussy.

Hey now, at least one closet is all functional for the first time with actual usable handles.

 

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OH WAIT. AND. BOOM.

Say hello, sexy hex detail.

This is what plopped out of all that and ended up being the hardware solution for my closet pulls. I’ve been testing these things out around the house and refining a few construction details, but who cares! I’m in love with this thing. The scale, the finish, the bit of unexpected handle detail is pretty much doing all those things my crazy brain was hoping for.

 

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CLOSET PULL SUCCESS.

Now onto make a ton more of these for the rest of the house and other design projects. Maybe someday I might even make some handle sets for CAMP? Ugh, hold it. Going too far into the future. Must focus on the now and the 34 handles I gotta make just to cover the rest of our closets and built-ins.

I’m a leather handle making machine!

Check back in five more years to see if there was any progress.

 

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    49 Comments

    1. Rachel on 02/22/2013:

      Wow, these look great! The hexagon shape adds so much to the unique design.

    2. oh morgan.
      you make me swoon. you do.
      thanks for sharing this great DIY.

    3. erjeya on 02/22/2013:

      YES YES YES YES.

    4. holly on 02/22/2013:

      Knowing that you just put these on recently, do you think with repeated use that the leather will stretch out weirdly?

      Love Holly

    5. Cory on 02/22/2013:

      Genius.

    6. Will on 02/22/2013:

      I have a cough, I haven’t had breakfast yet, and I’m doing some last minute shame-caulking around the house.. and I still can’t resist smiling about this.

      Great DIY! Always look forward to your new posts.

    7. Ryan on 02/22/2013:

      We’ve had drawers in the kitchen w/o any handles for 5 years now because i lost the screws to attach them after I removed the paint. I mean what’s the hurry? I’ll get to it eventually.

    8. the brick house on 02/22/2013:

      Holly – I’ve had the same weight leather + loop design testing in the kitchen for the three months. This stuff is heavy duty and maintains it shape without pulling – even with lots of abuse.

    9. mary s. on 02/22/2013:

      The hexagons are such a beautiful finishing touch. Thanks for sharing the “how-tos.” Please excuse me now..I need to go rip off all my door handles and order me some leather!

    10. julia wheeler on 02/22/2013:

      i am SO doing this in our office… once dusty has time to help me. so good, girl!

    11. l o v e l y t h i n g s on 02/22/2013:

      I absolutely love these! They look beautiful in your space on white with black walls. The leather with the brass adds the perfect warmth to the rooms. Great tutorial as well.

    12. Jessica on 02/22/2013:

      These are so full of awesome it’s not even funny.

    13. Terhi on 02/23/2013:

      Hi. I love your blog. During this year our home will be featured in an home/interiör magazine here in Finland. I tould to the journalist that I read your blogs, youŕeblogs name will be mentioned in my case. I made a post of your Idea and linked here. Nice weekend to you !

    14. sarah on 02/23/2013:

      i was totally not feeling the look – that is until you threw the hex out there for all to see. amazing how that little detail drastically changes the appeal/quality/& overall amazing-ness.

    15. ann ladson on 02/23/2013:

      Hi Morgan, been blog stalking you for years…I adore your writing, love your aesthetic and completely covet many items within your household! If u ever are “over” your guesty bedside pendants, you are welcome to pack them up and ship them to SC…..address to follow…;)

    16. Elle on 02/23/2013:

      Great idea! Where did you purchase the leather? I’ve been looking for a vendor and would love a recommendation.

    17. Marissa on 02/23/2013:

      Where did you get the hexagon finishing detail? And where does one get lovely brass finishing “stuffs” in general? Any suggestions would be appreciated!

    18. Jan on 02/24/2013:

      I don’t remember when I painted my kitchen cabinets, but it was more than five years ago, and I have yet to replace the door/drawer pulls. Your brainstorm will get me moving on this project.
      I think I need 30 in my kitchen; 4 in the utility room… must get busy.
      Thanks!
      Jan

    19. V on 02/25/2013:

      Love this idea and can see it used for several other diy. Where did you purchase the brass bolts and washers? Thanks

    20. The Material List on 02/25/2013:

      Your webiste is one of our favorites! We reblogged this DIY on twitter and facebook :)
      The Material List

    21. the brick house on 02/25/2013:

      V – from Home Depot.

      Oh, also there are lots of leather places online if you google leather supply. TANDY is a big one that’s good.

    22. Melissa B. on 02/26/2013:

      To mimic Erjeya above: YES YES YES YES. I was just thinking this weekend that I needed to come up with a handle solution for the sexy gray storage ottoman/trunk I just bought for my living room. I know that the drunken, video-game playing baboons that appear in my living room while I’m at work will claw at its tender upholstered edges to drag it into proper position for six-inches-from-the-screen mariokart play. These same baboons that entirely ignore the 12 coasters on my table and put their drippy beer glasses on the cover of my newest dwell magazine and 1099 tax forms that I stupidly left on the table after AM mail reading before going to work…. I digress. These leather handles are sexy enough to be in cahoots with my ottoman, yet still grab-able by drunk baboons! Love!

    23. suzy8track on 02/26/2013:

      Sexxy Hexxy! Such a great idea! I’m definitely gonna give this a try at home on my crappy closet doors with no handles.

    24. Tia on 02/27/2013:

      Love this so much!! By the way, I’m sure you’re way over the reader limit, but I nominated you for a Liebster award today: http://moorofeverything.com/liebster-award :)

    25. Elmer on 02/28/2013:

      Such a simple concept yet so functional! Nice Idea!

    26. Susan on 03/03/2013:

      So HEX-Y.

    27. Michele on 03/06/2013:

      Hi, Morgan, count me in, I love these too. Wanted you and Holly to see how amazing leather pulls wear. I’ve got an early Knoll credenza with leather door pulls in my shop: http://mixvintage.com/vintage-knoll-maple-credenza/ … if you look at the detail photos you can see that there’s nothing more rustic modern and beautiful than worn leather!!

    28. Michela on 03/06/2013:

      Completely radburger.

      Massive Win.

    29. I could have used a couple of these a few years ago. The screwdrivers make such a mess.

    30. Nina on 03/07/2013:

      Where did you get the hexagon detailing? I would love to try this.

    31. livingstyles on 03/11/2013:

      good ideas, and your home design is very beautiful.

    32. Claire on 03/11/2013:

      Awesome!! Would love to try this idea for pulls on furniture, too.

    33. V on 03/11/2013:

      Thanks, who would of guessed. There used in such a great way. Great tutorial.

      -V

    34. Paula on 03/12/2013:

      Love those hexagrams. Where did you get them? I dont believe you linked a source anywhere here…

    35. Sarah on 03/19/2013:

      Hi!

      Lovely DIY and looking forward to trying it out, but I’m having a hard time finding how you actually mounted the pulls to the doors and drawers. I’m at a complete loss! Thank you

    36. marie on 03/19/2013:

      I know these pulls are lovely, and I love the DIY aspect. But shouldn’t you give some kind of credit to Spinneybeck Leather? We’ve been getting them from Spinneybeck for years.

    37. TomUK on 03/20/2013:

      Those are rather beautiful leather strips. They really did add some beauty to your closet door.

    38. Michael on 03/21/2013:

      The hexagon detail appears to be separate from the bolt. Would you mind saying what they are and where you got those? Thanks!

    39. Janine on 03/23/2013:

      I went to home depot (as it is mentioned as the source) to look for the Hexagons and cannot find them anywhere. They claim they have never carried them… Please share resource, seems we all have that same question! Thank you!! ps. I used H&M leather belts for the leather!

    40. Rose on 03/29/2013:

      Hi Morgan, love your work! Could you please share with us the details of this illusive hexagon from Home Depot? It doesn’t look like a standard bolt, and as other commenters have said…we can’t find it! : (

    41. Granny Sue on 04/01/2013:

      So cool!! I have a handcrafted headboard with drawers, but the knobs are just little wood squares – not pretty and rather uncomfortable to lean against. I’ve been trying to think of a replacement and this is the ideal solution. Thanks so much!!

    42. Strop Teriva on 04/04/2013:

      Fantastic idea! so simple and so great! I am gona try it for myself. Your blog is always a nice source of inspiration :)

    43. Tiffany on 04/06/2013:

      Hi Morgan,
      I am an architect and love your attention to detail and materiality. It would be great if you could please let us know where you sourced the bolts and what they are called. They look a little bit like book binding bolts (but I can only find those in round), or hex brass bolt fastener (but head is too thick)…We would really appreciate getting the “details” on this lovely detail :)
      Thank you!

    44. Kate on 05/03/2013:

      Oh gosh I can’t stop thinking about these ever since you posted. You’re not selling them, are you? (Please email me if you are!) Thanks Morgan,

    45. Juliette on 05/15/2013:

      Guess what.. These DIY handles are going to be a part of my new house as well.
      I just moved into a new appartement, it’s looking great with massive windows everywhere. The downpart.. the previous onwer made a mess of it by using ugly doors and handles! So this is a great DIY to fix that problem, thanx so much!

    46. Jessica on 05/26/2013:

      I love that hex feature, thanks for the DIY! We have remodeled our kitchen and are doing leather for all the drawer/cupboard hardware. Could you please share the source of the hex portion of the bolt? Extensive internet searching has been unyielding. Thanks again for this post, and in advance for info on the bolts.

    47. Lasse on 07/08/2013:

      Hi
      Do you have a link to where you bought the leather?
      Can’t seem to find a colour as nice as this one.
      Thanks, keep up the good work!
      L

    48. Anna on 12/14/2013:

      Just adding to the chorus begging to know where you bought the hexagon brass bolt fasteners. Pretty pretty pretty please!!

    49. JM on 01/21/2014:

      The chorus of those enquiring about the hex detail – given that they are trying to sell these pulls I am not surprised the info is being withheld. If I were a betting man this Hex detail is just that and not a bolt. The head doesn’t look deep enough for a brass bolt I suspect this is a brass stamping fixed to the head of the brass bolt or screw – something like the below would probably achieve the look.

      http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/164084083/20-pc-small-raw-brass-crosshatched?ref=shop_home_active_25

      but just a theory….

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