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Picture of 5 Pocket Leather Card Holder.

This instructable shows how to make a 5 pocket card holder entirely by hand. It will assume you already have some knowledge of leather work (including saddle stitching) and tools. Not all of the techniques or tools used are necessary but most of the optional stuff does lead to a nicer overall result. I will try to indicate when something isn't absolutely necessary. With that said some of the techniques used here will be difficult for beginners, I suggest you have some practice with skiving, stitching and clicking (cutting). You should also read the entirety of this before starting to understand why certain decisions are made.

Step 1: Tools You Will Need and the Pattern

Picture of Tools You Will Need and the Pattern

Heres the tools used:

  • Wing dividers -pricking irons (I suggest 3mm)
  • deadblow hammer/ rubber mallet / leatherworkers maul
  • 004 john james harness needles
  • glue spreader
  • rulers
  • framing squares
  • A knife for cutting
  • A knife for skiving (A japanese skiving knife can be used for both tasks)
  • scratch awl
  • diamond awl


  • Stitching clam/pony (Highly recommended)
  • edge beveler
  • edge creaser
  • corner punches
  • canvas cloth
  • wooden edge burnisher
  • glass burnisher ( a glass rectangle with rounded and smoothed edges)


  • Leather
  • Thread ( I used vinymo MBT #8 which is about 0.4mm)
  • Glue (Pva will work fine if you dont have something made specifically for leather)
  • burnishing compound ( I suggest CMC/Tylose powder or tokonole)
  • Sand paper

I used black english bridle for this project. For leather thickness i suggest something in the 0.8mm to 1.2mm (2oz-3oz) range. Veg tan or some chrome tans will work fine. Chrome tans will not burnish so would have to be edge painted instead (not covered in this). You want something with a medium to firm temper. There is a lot of misinformation on chrome tan leather it is not inherently inferior than vegetable tanned leather, it depends on the specific leather not the tanning method.

seamster4 months ago
Nice, very clean and professional results. Great instructions too. Nicely done all around!