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For the main part of the Kindle case (the front and back) you can use 3.6mm thick leather. Anything that’s thicker than 2.5mm will work fine but an extra mm makes the whole case much more rigid and heavy.
Use a standard A4 sheet of paper as a template – I found that the size works great for the Kindle 3.
The main leather cut
Use a round cap (or anything with a good radius that you can find around the house) to mark where you have to cut the corners. You have to cut all 4 corners and try to make them as even as possible.
Cutting in Half
Cut the leather in half. We’ll later insert a piece of thinner leather as a spine.
Put the pieces on top of each other and sand the sides and corners to even them out a little bit. It doesn’t have to be perfect but should be fairly close.
Loosely cut the lining material. I find it easier to cut the suede leather a bit bigger than I need it and then trim it after I glued the pieces together.
Leave the leather in water for a few hours and get it out and let it dry to make it harder. While it dries it’ll reach a point where it’s almost completely dried through and it’ll be ready for embossing.
Tree Logo Template
Use a printout as a template to transfer the design to the leather. I trace the lines lightly using a Wacom pen (hey! I’m a graphic designer 😛 ). You could get a tracing stylus, too!
Disclaimer: I don’t use traditional techniques or the proper tools for this! I actually use a Wacom Pen (again) and any sharp or blunt object I can get my hands on to emboss the leather. If you have the proper tools you can make it much more detailed or traditional but I actually like how this gives it a hand drawn look. It’s somewhat charming.
You could start out with the Tandy Leather Basic Set if you prefer to get the proper tools.
Bevelling the edges
To round off the edges you can use an edge beveller. This will give the case a nicer, more professional looking edge. We’ll refine the edge a bit later.
Use a stitching groover to create the groove where you’ll sew. Just “slide” it along the edge. You won’t have to groove the side where the spine will be attached. We’ll put some leather on top of that side.
This groove is another small detail that will help set your case apart and it also protects the stitching to make sure that your case will last 20 years even if you’ll buy a new Kindle next year!
Use a stitch spacer (a tool with a “spiky” wheel) to make the markings for your stitches. This will help you to create even and nice looking stitches later on.
Create a template for the spine of the cover and use it to cut a thin but strong piece of leather. I use kangaroo leather because it is very strong and still nice and flexible. But I’m sure that there are other leathers that are strong enough for years of abuse.
Here you can see the finished piece for the spine. I glued the lining on using spray adhesive and then I cut the excess lining off. The suede lining I used had a white centre so I decided to hide that by dyeing the edges black.
I use 2 dyes for my Kindle cases: Whiskey (Brown) and Black:
You can get a selection of 12 Leather Dyes if you’re not sure about the colours you want to go with.
Once the covers are dry, you can glue on the lining using spray adhesive.
Cut the excess leather off and dye the sides of the lining black. Sponge brushes work very well for dyeing edges or larger areas.
Cut 3 corners and 1 rectangle
Slightly stretch them into shape using a bone folder.
Glue corners in place
Punch holes and create space for rubber band
Add rubber band and leather rectangle
The rubber band will make it possible to put the Kindle in the case and the leather rectangle makes it easier to lift the rubber band and it helps keeping it in place on the device.
Add stitching groove to spine leather
Glue spine leather in place
Glue the piece of leather in place. It will cover the back of the rubber band and will also help make the back cover look a bit more interesting depending on what shape you’re going for.
The topic of hand sewing leather is huge and I can’t cover it in this post so I recommend checking out The Art of Hand Sewing Leather
You could also just get the Tandy Leather Hand Stitching Kit which includes the book and things you need for sewing.