Buttons for leather may be made of wood, leather, bone, cocoanut shell, or similar materials. They are attached by leather lacing or thong, or by needle with waxed thread. Heavy cowhide may be cut in desired shapes, then tooled or stamped. Holes are bored, or slits cut (Fig. V-52). See Chapter X (Whittling, Woodworking And Woodcarving) for making wooden buttons.

Making Buttons For Leather Articles

To attach buttons, two methods may be used.

Method No. 1: pierce two small holes in proper place on main piece of leather. Insert lacing and tie underneath with square knot (see Fig. 11-16). Cement ends under knot.

Method No. 2: lacings may be fastened with three holes (Fig. V-53); pierce holes in proper place. Put end x down a, up b, down c; put end y down c, up b, down a. Cross ends underneath, and cement.

To attach toggles: use a lark's head (see Fig. 11-22) or a clove hitch (see Fig. 11-19) around toggle, and fasten ends as above.

Steps To Make A Pioneer Button

1. Use a 10" x 3/4" strip of soft thin leather, such as calf, or a shorter piece of thicker leather, such as cowhide.

2. Taper both sides of one end to an 1/8" tail about 4" from the wide end.

3. Make a crosswise slit through roll (Fig. V-54).

4. Start rolling at wider end; roll just past slits; tuck tail in slit and out at bottom, using an awl, to hold the roll.

5. To attach: punch 3 holes in a triangle not more than 1/2" apart (Fig. V-55).

6. Insert tail piece down hole a, up through b, down into c, and back into a again. Tuck under stitches, and cement end. Leave as much of the shank protruding as necessary, according to the thickness of the leather to be buttoned (Fig. V-56).

Buttonholes are usually slits cut in leather with a sharp knife; the slit runs parallel to edge of material. For a thick button, or a double-headed rivet, the buttonhole should have two smaller slits at end, like a capital I; for a heavy strap or heavy leather, a small hole may be punched at each end of the slit (see knife sheath, Fig. V-83).

Setting Eyelets

Small metal eyelets are used for reinforcing punched holes for lacing where there will be wear and pull on the opening. Large metal rings are called grommets; these are seldom used in leather work, except in large heavy bags. Directions for setting grommets may be found in Chapter XVI (Equipment Making).

Equipment needed: eyelet; hammer; punch; setting tools -these may be bought commercially, including anvil and setting tool, or made from a 16-penny nail, filed flat, then filed to have a shank (Fig. V-57).


1. Punch hole in leather.

Setting Eyelets

2. Push eyelet through from right to wrong side.

3. Place leather on anvil or pad of newspaper, with eyelet flange up; insert setting tool in center of eyelet flange.

4. Hit tool on end sharply with hammer (Fig. V-58) to spread flange.

Eyelets that come in two sections are set in similar fashion, except that second part is placed over the flange before hammering.

Setting Metal Rivets

"Speedy" rivets (obtainable at a notions counter) are used to fasten straps, to finish belts, for Western style decorating, to fasten D-rings on straps. No setting tools are required; a hole is punched, and the rivet inserted, top and bottom in the hole; a sharp blow with a hammer closes the rivet (Fig. V-59).

Setting Snaps

Snap fasteners are utilized on pocketbooks, ax sheaths, and so forth. A special snap setting kit, including tools to use and the snaps, may be purchased from any craft supply house.

Equipment needed: snap setting tools; hammer; punch; snaps-two parts to each. Steps

1. Punch hole in desired spot, as on a flap.

2. Fold flap over; mark with tracing tool or pencil the corresponding spot on main piece.

3. Place large lower section of snap on large end of anvil, and from underneath in hole in flap (Fig. V-60).

4. Lay top of snap on assembled parts, and place large end of hammer on it. Hold hammer steady with one hand, and strike a sharp blow on hammerhead with another hammer (Fig. V-61).

5. Put layers of newspaper or cardboard under other piece of leather where other part will be set, to prevent marring underpiece (Fig. V-62). Put pointed end of snap through hole from back, and lay it on small end of anvil, which is tucked underneath (Fig. V-62).

6. Place top section of second part over point; put small end of hammer over this. Hold steady, and strike with a sharp blow with other hammer.

7. The tension of the snap may be adjusted by squeezing bottom part with pliers, or by giving a light tap with hammer.

Slits For Straps And Belts

Slits for belts, straps, and tongues are cut before the article is assembled.

For slits in sheath or belt purse, if lightweight leather is used, mark lines with awl, and cut carefully with sharp knife on cutting board (Figs. V-63 and 64).

If heavyweight leather is used, mark lines with awl, and indicate spots for holes at top, or at top and bottom of slit. Using knife, straightedge, and cutting board, cut on line, keeping knife blade against straightedge. With punch, make one hole at end of line for rivet-head slit, or a hole at each end for sheath slit (Figs. V-63 a, b, c).

For straps on cases, such as camera cases, which often have shoulder straps that go under the bottom of case for added strength, slits to hold the strap in place are cut in side pieces and bottom before assembling. Tongues on flaps may be secured in the same fashion. Mark lines to be cut, use straightedge and cutting board, and cut carefully with sharp knife (Fig. V-64).