Header Notice

Winter is here! Check out the winter wonderlands at these 5 amazing winter destinations in Montana

How To Make Leather Backpack


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Fidela Chasteen



Welcome to the world of leather crafting! In this guide, we will show you how to make your very own leather backpack. A leather backpack not only adds a touch of style to your everyday look, but it is also durable and practical, making it the perfect accessory for travel and daily use.


Creating your own leather backpack allows you to customize it to fit your personal style and needs. Whether you prefer a sleek and minimalist design or a bohemian-inspired look, you can craft a backpack that suits your taste.


Before we dive into the step-by-step process, let’s talk about the materials you’ll need. Investing in high-quality leather is crucial for a long-lasting and beautiful backpack. Look for a smooth and thick leather that is suitable for bag-making, such as full-grain or vegetable-tanned leather. Additionally, you’ll need basic leatherworking tools like a cutting knife, needles, thread, and a leather punch.


Now that you have an overview, let’s get started on creating your own leather backpack! Follow the upcoming steps to transform a piece of leather into a functional and stylish accessory that you can proudly carry with you wherever you go.


Step 1: Gather Materials

Before you begin making your leather backpack, it’s important to gather all the necessary materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Leather: Choose a high-quality leather that is suitable for bag-making. Look for options like full-grain or vegetable-tanned leather, which are known for their durability and aesthetic appeal.
  • Leatherworking tools: You’ll need a cutting knife or rotary cutter to cut the leather, needles and thread for stitching, a leather punch to create holes, and a ruler or measuring tape for accurate measurements.
  • Lining fabric: To give your backpack a finished look and protect the contents, choose a sturdy fabric like canvas or a cotton blend for the lining.
  • Hardware: Invest in high-quality hardware like buckles, D-rings, zippers, and snaps for a professional and secure finish to your backpack. Make sure they are suitable for use with leather.
  • Straps and handles: Depending on the style of your backpack, you may need leather straps for the backpack itself and handles for the top. You can purchase pre-made straps or make your own using the same leather as the backpack body.
  • Additional embellishments: If desired, you can add decorative elements like studs, rivets, or embroidery to personalize your backpack and make it truly unique.

Once you have gathered all the materials, double-check that you have everything on the list before moving on to the next step. Having all the necessary materials at hand will make the process smoother and more enjoyable.


Step 2: Prepare the Leather

Now that you have gathered all the materials, it’s time to prepare the leather for your backpack. Start by laying out the leather on a clean and flat surface. Make sure the surface is large enough to accommodate the size of your backpack pattern.


Inspect the leather for any imperfections or blemishes. If you notice any, you can trim them or work around them to ensure you have the best parts of the leather for your backpack body. Next, use a ruler or measuring tape to determine the dimensions for your backpack pieces.


Measure and mark the necessary cuts on the leather, making sure to leave an allowance for seam allowance and any other design features you want to include. Use a cutting knife or rotary cutter to carefully cut out the leather pieces according to your measurements.


During the cutting process, it’s important to maintain a steady hand and apply even pressure to ensure clean and accurate cuts. Take your time and be precise, as the quality of your cuts will directly impact the final look of your backpack.


Once you have cut out all the necessary pieces, take a moment to inspect them and make any adjustments if needed. Smooth out any rough edges and ensure that the pieces are all consistent in size and shape. This will ensure a neat and professional-looking finished product.


With the leather pieces prepared and cut to size, you’re now ready to move on to the next step: stitching the backpack straps.


Step 3: Cut the Leather Pieces

Now that you have prepared the leather, it’s time to cut out the individual pieces that will make up your leather backpack. This step will require accuracy and precision to ensure that all the pieces fit together seamlessly.


Start by referring to your chosen backpack pattern or design. Lay the pattern pieces onto the leather and secure them in place with clips or weights. Carefully trace around the edges of the pattern pieces onto the leather using a pencil or a leather marker.


Next, using a cutting knife or rotary cutter, carefully cut along the traced lines to remove the excess leather. Take your time to ensure clean and straight cuts, as these will contribute to the overall quality of your backpack.


When cutting out the individual pieces, remember to leave a small seam allowance around each piece. This will allow for stitching and ensure that the pieces fit together snugly when assembling the backpack.


Pay attention to any specific instructions or markings on the pattern pieces, such as notches or holes for hardware placement. Make sure to transfer these markings onto the leather accurately. This will help you align and assemble the pieces correctly later on.


As you cut each piece, set them aside and keep them organized. Use labels or sticky notes to identify each piece to avoid confusion later. This will save you time and effort when it comes to stitching the pieces together.


Once all the leather pieces are cut out, take a moment to review them and make sure they are all accounted for and accurately cut. If you notice any irregularities or mistakes, don’t hesitate to recut them to ensure a professional-looking final product.


With your leather pieces now cut and ready, you’re one step closer to completing your leather backpack. The next step is to stitch the backpack straps.


Step 4: Stitch the Backpack Straps

With the leather pieces cut out, it’s time to move on to stitching the backpack straps. The straps play a crucial role in providing support and functionality to your leather backpack.


To begin, take the leather pieces you have designated for the straps. Depending on the design of your backpack, you may have one or two straps. Ensure that they are long enough to comfortably fit over your shoulders and adjustable if needed.


Start by folding the strap piece in half lengthwise, with the inner sides facing each other. Use clips or pins to hold the layers together, making sure they align evenly.


Now, it’s time to stitch the strap. Using a leather needle and a strong thread, start sewing along the open edge of the strap. Use a leather stitching method such as saddle stitching for added strength and durability.


Continue stitching the strap until you reach the end, making sure to maintain even stitches and secure knots at both ends. If desired, you can add additional stitching for decorative purposes or added reinforcement.


If you have two straps, repeat the stitching process for the second strap. Ensure that both straps are of equal length and match each other in terms of stitching and appearance.


Once the straps are stitched, it’s time to attach them to the main body of the backpack. Measure and mark the desired placement of the straps on the backpack body, ensuring they are evenly spaced and aligned.


Using a leather punch or awl, create holes or slots on both sides of the backpack body where the straps will be attached. Make sure the holes are large enough to accommodate the strap width and hardware.


Insert the ends of the straps through the holes or slots, leaving an equal length on each side. Depending on the type of hardware you are using, you may need to attach buckles or D-rings to secure the straps in place.


Make any necessary adjustments to the strap length or position before finalizing the attachment. Double-check that the straps align properly and function as intended.


With the backpack straps securely attached, you have completed another important step in creating your leather backpack. The next step is to sew the main body of the backpack together.


Step 5: Sew the Main Backpack Body

Now that the backpack straps are securely attached, it’s time to sew the main body of the backpack. This step involves stitching the leather pieces together to create the structure and compartments of the backpack.


Begin by laying out the leather panels that make up the main body of the backpack. Double-check that they are in the correct order and position according to your chosen design or pattern.


Using clips or pins, secure the panels together along the edges, making sure they align perfectly. This will ensure clean and even stitching.


Thread your leather needle with a strong thread that matches the color of your leather. Starting at the bottom or one side of the backpack, begin stitching the panels together using a saddle stitch or any other leather stitching technique of your choice.


As you stitch, maintain consistent spacing and tension to create a clean and sturdy seam. Take your time and ensure that the panels remain aligned throughout the stitching process.


Continue sewing along the edges until you reach the starting point. Make a secure knot to secure the thread in place. Trim any excess thread for a neat finish.


If your backpack design includes additional compartments or pockets, now is the time to stitch them in place. Use a ruler or pattern to guide the placement and stitching lines.


Once all the stitching is complete, inspect the seams and edges for any gaps or loose threads. If necessary, restitch any areas that may need reinforcement.


Carefully turn the backpack inside out to reveal the finished result. Smooth out any wrinkles or creases and ensure that all the seams are lying flat and neatly.


With the main body of the backpack sewn together, you’re one step closer to a completed leather backpack. The next step involves attaching the straps to the backpack and adding the finishing touches.


Step 6: Attach the Straps to the Backpack

With the main body of the backpack sewn together, it’s time to attach the straps to the backpack. This step will ensure that the backpack is functional, comfortable, and secure.


Start by determining the desired placement of the straps on the backpack. Measure and mark the points where the straps will be attached, ensuring they are evenly spaced and aligned.


Using a leather punch or an awl, create holes or slots on both sides of the main body where the straps will be inserted. Make sure the holes are large enough to accommodate the width of the straps and any hardware that will be used.


Insert one end of the strap through the hole or slot from the backside of the backpack, leaving an equal length on both sides. If you are using buckles or D-rings, loop the strap through them before inserting it into the hole or slot.


Pull the strap through and secure it in place using hardware like buckles, D-rings, snaps, or rivets. Ensure that the strap is securely fastened and that the length is adjusted to your desired fit.


Repeat the same process for the second strap on the other side of the backpack. Double-check that both straps are aligned symmetrically and function as intended.


Once the straps are attached, adjust them to ensure they are at the desired length and position. Test the backpack by putting it on and ensuring that the straps are comfortable and supportive.


Inspect the attachment points and straps to ensure they are securely fastened and will withstand the weight and stress of everyday use. Make any necessary adjustments or reinforcements as needed.


With the straps securely attached, your leather backpack is almost complete. The final step involves adding the finishing touches to give your backpack a polished and professional look.


Step 7: Add Finishing Touches

Now that the main structure of your leather backpack is complete, it’s time to add the finishing touches that will elevate its aesthetics and functionality. These final details will give your backpack a polished and professional look.


Start by inspecting the seams and edges of the backpack. Trim any loose threads and use a leather edge beveler or sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges or uneven surfaces. This will ensure a clean and refined appearance.


If desired, you can add decorative elements to your backpack to personalize it further. Consider adding embellishments like studs, rivets, or embroidery to create a unique and eye-catching design. Be creative and let your personal style shine through.


Next, consider adding a closure system to your backpack. Options like zippers, magnetic snaps, or buckles can provide both security and convenience. Choose a closure method that suits your preferences and complements the overall design of your backpack.


If your backpack design allows for it, consider adding interior pockets or compartments to help organize your belongings. Use fabric or leather to create separate sections within the backpack, allowing you to store items like a laptop, notebooks, or smaller essentials.


To give the backpack a professional and refined finish, consider applying a leather finish or conditioner to protect the leather and enhance its natural beauty. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you choose to use.


Lastly, take a moment to examine the overall look and functionality of your leather backpack. Check that all the straps, closures, and additional elements are secure and functional.


Once you are satisfied with the final look, give your backpack a gentle clean using a soft cloth or brush to remove any dust or debris. This will ensure that your backpack looks its best for years to come.


With the finishing touches complete, step back and admire your handcrafted leather backpack. You’ve taken the raw materials and transformed them into a functional and stylish accessory that reflects your personal style and creativity.


Now, pack your essentials, sling your leather backpack over your shoulder, and step out confidently, knowing that you have created a unique and enduring travel companion.



Congratulations on completing your very own leather backpack! Through careful craftsmanship and attention to detail, you have created a functional and stylish accessory that is sure to turn heads wherever you go.


By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you have learned how to gather the necessary materials, prepare the leather, cut out the pieces, stitch the straps and main body, attach the straps, and add the finishing touches to your backpack.


Not only does making your own leather backpack allow you to customize the design and style to your preferences, but it also gives you the satisfaction of creating something with your own hands. Leather is a durable and timeless material that will only grow more beautiful with age, making your backpack a lasting investment.


Remember, while this guide provides a foundation for creating a leather backpack, there is always room for personalization and experimentation. Feel free to incorporate your own creative ideas and add unique touches to make your backpack truly one-of-a-kind.


Now that you have the skills and knowledge to create a leather backpack, consider expanding your leatherworking repertoire. Explore new designs, experiment with different types of leather, and continue honing your craft.


Whether you are using your leather backpack for travel, work, or everyday use, it is sure to be a reliable and stylish companion. So pack it up, sling it over your shoulder, and embark on your adventures with pride, knowing that you have crafted something truly special.