Rolling up completed leather tool roll.

When picking up a new hobby, I have a tendency to jump right into the most difficult projects instead of easing my way in by starting with something simple. This time I wasn't going to make that mistake. With my new hobby, leatherworking, I planned to do something incredibly easy to build up some confidence.

I decided on making a tool roll because it’s simple, useful and a fast first project. Even though I sew, I didn't want to get into sewing with this first project so I made something that involves only a bit of gluing and using the leatherworker's favorite tools – rivets and rivet setters. You can make the tool roll any size with as many pouches as you want, customizing it to fit your tools. I'll admit this would be sturdier and longer lasting if you sewed the one edge I glued, so if you'd like to either lace it up or sew it on a machine, I support you!

Tool roll measurements


  • Leather
  • 7mm rivets (40 pieces)
  • 7mm rivet setter
  • Hole punch
  • 1/2" snaps (3 to 4 snaps)
  • 1/2" snap setter
  • Box cutter
  • Rubber cement
  • Rubber mallet or regular mallet padded with rags


This is where I let you know that I've already lied to you because this happens to be a suede tool roll. This is your basic pattern, which is made with three pieces of leather cut to the dimensions I've outlined.

Left: Marking out the pattern. Right: Cutting the leather.
  1. Mark your pattern on a piece of suede or leather using chalk. Use a square to ensure the corners are straight. You can also buy grid-patterned, self-healing mats that make squaring up your work easy. The pockets can be any width and anywhere you want them. If you want the roll to hold a bunch of artist's brushes or spade bits, just make the pouches narrower. With chalk, mark where your rivets will go along the top seam of the tool roll, along the sides and down each pouch divider.

  2. Using a straight edge and always pulling away from your hand, cut the leather with a sharp box cutter. Also cut an extra 1/2" wide strip of leather to use as a belt around your tool roll to keep it closed.
Left: Gluing the bottom edge. Right: Checking for accuracy.
  1. Glue the bottom edge of the tool roll, stopping 3" short of the end. Place the bottom piece of leather (the wider one) along the edge and hammer it together with your rubber mallet. Let dry.

  2. Place your tools and the rivets on the leather to see if it all looks okay.
Left: Punching out the rivet holes. Right: Setting the rivets.
  1. Place your hole punch over the rivet marks and punch out the holes. It takes just a short tap if you're going through one layer, a couple of harder taps if you're going through two layers.

  2. Place your rivet fronts and backs through the holes and set them using the rivet setter. One good whack with the hammer is better than several small ones.
Left: Snaps Right: Completed tool roll.
  1. Attach the long piece of 1/2" leather you cut previously to the tool roll with a snap. Run a few closure snaps along the length of leather so you have several closure options depending on how full the roll is.

  2. You're done! Fill it and roll it.
Completed tool roll.

Karen Bertelsen

Karen Bertelsen is a Gemini Award nominated television host who has appeared on some of Canada's major networks including HGTV, W Network, Slice and MuchMoreMusic. She started the blog The Art of Doing Stuff ( as a creative outlet for her writing and endless home projects. The Art of Doing Stuff now receives over half a million views per month and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Style at Home and Canadian Gardening magazines.

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