DIYdiy projects

DIY Leather Drawer Pulls

by Grace Bonney

Julia and I spent what felt like 10 years in Ikea over the holiday break, so I’ve had furniture and hardware on my mind for a while now. What I love most about their furniture is the way it feels like a blank canvas just waiting for customization. I’m taking a break from painting furniture (I can never get it to be as smooth as I want), but I’m still working on custom hardware and pulls. Last year Amy and I each took a crack at making our own leather cabinet pulls and they’ve been my most successful DIY hardware project yet. I never got around to photographing them for a post, so I was happy to hear from Steven Soria of Make Smith Leather Co. who recently collaborated with Stacy and Rick of Love, Oliver and Michelle on some simple but beautiful DIY Leather Drawer Pulls.

About a year ago, Stacey designed a credenza and her husband Rick’s dad built it for them as a moving-into-their-new-place gift. Although the knobs originally chosen worked just fine, they weren’t “perfect”. So Steven, Stacey and Rick put their heads together and came up with a solution that would match with their style- leather pulls! I love the little details and how they add some softness to the overall piece. Thanks so much to Steven, Stacy and Rick for sharing their how-to with us! xo, grace

Photographs by Stacey Millett of Love, Oliver and Michelle

Click through for the full how-to after the jump…

Get prepped: You can find leather scraps from leather shops, most fabric stores by the yard, or by using an old belt. Real leather will look the best and age nicely.


-Leather belt or leather scraps
-12 inch ruler
-Scissors or exacto knife
-Nail to create hole (or use and awl or leather hole punch)
-Screws to fit original hardware including washer and nut


How-to steps:

1. Remove your original hardware and use the length of the holes for a measurement guide, for new placements measure to taste . Allow for slight overlap.

2. Cut strips of leather or belt by using sharp scissors or exacto knife (recommend for a cleaner line). At this point, add whatever design elements you want. At the ends, we cut-out an arrow-tail shape.


3. Next, punch the hole. Use a hammer and nail (or an awl or adjustable leather punch like the one in our photo). A professional leather hand hole puncher can be purchased at a craft store.


4. Lastly, thread your screws into leather hole and then through your drawer or cabinet. Fasten with your washer and nut. Make sure it is secure, then tighten the backing nut with pliers.


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  • Honestly at first glance I wouldn’t have known they were leather! That is a really cool and relatively easy seeming DIY project. Looks great!

  • This has nothing to do with working with leather, but I did have a comment about painting furniture. I have found that going over your brushwork with a foam sponge brush can give you a much smoother finish. You have to work in smooth, long strokes for the best results. I find a brush good for actually getting the paint on the surface, and the foam brush best for smoothing out the finish. They also don’t last forever, but they are cheap. Buy a bunch of them.

  • I love this post, but this is a comment on links from Feedly. Three times today, when I click “Read More” it says “oops, nothing lives here!” Including the link to this page. Just so you know!

  • Grace, I would like to say two things, first how about a post on how to improve/customize IKEA sofas, I know you posted a link to buy new legs a while back (although I can’t find it) but I would love to know which ones you like and how to add legs to make them a little more interesting. Maybe some brass tacks or something.
    But I also wanted to say I had stopped coming here for a while, too much focus on goods and not enough on DIY and design and I am back so thanks for the changes.

  • Is that the edge of a Hungry Fox Illustration whale cross-section I see in your first picture? I LOVE her stuff! (www.hungryfoxillustration.com)

  • I love this credenza and have been looking to build one like it for my very small living room. Any ideas or suggestions on what can help me design/get the right measurements to get wood cut for it so I can start my build?