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Homemade Designer Leather Gifts for Very Little

Designer Laura Bennett shows how to make leather eyeglass case for next to nothing, at home
CBS
Does Christmas shopping give you sticker shock, especially when you see something you really want but can't afford?

Such as designer leather goods, for instance?

Well, on "The Early Show" Thursday, designer Laura Bennett, who was a finalist on "Project Runway" and is a mother of six, showed how to make them at home for next to nothing. They'd make any gift-giver proud!

Bennett assured viewers you don't you need technical skills to be able to design things. "Nothing is rocket science," she told CBS News. "If you break things down into steps, they're easy. The plumber who comes to your house and does whatever he does under the sink just knows what tools to use and the order to do things in. Making clothing and accessories is the same exact thing.

Holiday Gift, Shopping Guide

Bennett demonstrated how to make a simple eyeglass case, which, depending on the size someone chooses to make, could easily be anything else. It could be a wallet, a computer case, a cell phone case. "I chose this project because the result is so versatile," she says.

She showed how to make no-sew, some-sew and super-dew versions.

How do you go about it?

Materials needed:

Any craft glue (white glue) works fine. Because leather is porous, it is easy to glue. I have a bottle of glue called Leather Weld. The most expensive "tool" is the self-healing cutting mat that sells for about $12. A snap blade cutter, or box cutter, is about $3. Binder clips are inexpensive, but you could use paper clips, too -- anything to squeeze the leather together while the glue dries. (NOTE: Leather is weighed in ounces, and that weight refers to the thickness of the leather)

Also:

• 1 sq ft of 3 - 5 oz. leather
• Twist lock purse hardware
• 3M adhesive transfer tape
• Clear drying glue

Laura gets her leather from TheLeatherGuy.org, her hardware from HardwareElf.com and 3M Adhesive Transfer Tape from DrillSpot.com.

Tools needed:

• Cutting board
• Snap blade cutter
• Metal straight edge
• Small screwdriver
• Small binder clips

For those who want to take their eyeglass case to the next level, you can also get size 14 or 16 Leather Sewing Machine Needles for a bit of stitch-work.

Process:

STEP 1: Cut one piece of leather 8" x 10 ¾" for the body, and one 8" x 3 ½" piece for the cover lining.

STEP 2: Apply adhesive tape to the backside of the cover-lining piece. Peel and adhere lining to the body piece.

STEP 3: Apply Clear Glue to the body sides. Fold body bottom edge up to cover lining edge. Clip on small binder clips while the glue dries.

OPTIONAL STEP for more advanced crafters: : Using size 14 or 16 leather sewing machine needles, sew side seams 1/8" from edge. Back tack at top edge of body. Turn case over and top-stitch cover flap 1/8" from edge.

STEP 4: To apply Twist Lock Hardware, mark center of flap and place eyelet plate 3/8" from edge and trace opening. Remove plate, cut opening and install using a small screwdriver to connect the bottom plat to the top plate.

STEP 5: Fold cover flap down and mark slot placement of the twist portion of the lock. Cut slots with a knife. Insert lock, place back plate, and fold prongs outward.

STEP 6: Cut a scrap of leather large enough to cover the plate and prongs. Apply adhesive tape and adhere to inside of case to avoid glasses being scratch by the hardware.

Using the same ideas to make other leather items

Simply change the proportions and the hardware and make a variety of things. The Leopard case is an example of using a printed vinyl or leather. It also has different hardware. The computer case and the cell phone case are the exact same projects, just using different hardware and sized bigger or smaller. I really like them, because they maker great gifts. The purse with the chain handle is just a larger version of the eyeglass case which I attached a chain to with a needle and thread. For the brown/pink cosmetic bag, I added an extra step by adhering the pink strip to the surface of the leather. You can use adhesive tape or stitch it on for detail. The pink wallet just had a simple belt added and the makeup brush holder is just the perfect everyday object that can be turned into a personal gift and made special.

Click on the video below for the full demonstration: