Making a Leather Portfolio

I have had a lot of request for more videos on our YouTube channel that show projects from start to finish.  This video shows the complete process of making a leather portfolio.  These leather portfolios have been great projects for me over the years and they have so much room for customization.

Even during this age of digital organizers, cell phones and apps that help business stay on track, many people continue to use a legal pad and pens to conduct and keep track of daily activities.  The other thing that keeps customers ordering these items is that they tend to catch a lot of eyes.  Walk into a board meeting, have lunch with a client or have one of these on your console when showing properties to a home buyer and you are sure to start a conversation.

My goal with this post and video is to show my process and how I approach making a legal pad portfolio.  There are many different ways to create these and many different styles and sizes, all of which accomplish the same end result.  This video is simply the process that I have found that works best for me.


Portfolio Pattern



I have created a Companion Pattern Pack as well that goes with this video.  The pattern pack includes all the dimensions of the cut patterns for all the parts to make this portfolio.  Since the portfolio is larger than 8.5″ x 11″ and ALL of my patterns are instant downloads in PDF format, I had to get a little creative to get the information to fit on something you can print off on your printer.  All the sizes for all the pieces are included as well as any scallop shapes for the pockets in the interiors.



There are also five floral tooling patterns included.  The pattern that I created for the portfolio I made in the video is one of them.  It includes a unique front and back pattern with space for a brand/logo as well as initials. The other four patterns are single patterns.  These are meant to be used for the front as well as the back if you intend to tool both sides.  With these four patterns, there are two that are full floral and two that are corner floral sets with open space left for geometric stamping.  You can also just leave them plain.  These patterns may need a slight adjustment depending on the width of the border you decide to use but they can be used at current dimensions.

Portfolio PatternPortfolio Pattern










Whether you adapt your own process and incorporate some of my process into your own portfolio builds, or this is your very first attempt at making one of these, I hope that you find this video helpful and informative.  If you decide you would like to have the pattern pack that goes with the video you can purchase it by CLICKING HERE.  Remember that all of our patterns are instant downloads that you print off on your printer.  This means you will receive them instantly without waiting for the postman.

Material List for Portfolio

  • 9/10 oz vegetable tanned tooling leather
  • 3/4 oz vegetable tanned tooling leather
  • poster board
  • mat board
  • contact cement


  • The interiors of this project can be made out of any thin firm leather you like.  One way to class it up a bit is to use kangaroo for the interiors.  This does increase the material cost but kangaroo makes an amazing interior for these.
  • If you do not want to use the mat board in this, you can make the body of the portfolio out of 10/12 oz or so which would give it a heavier feel without the added step of the mat board.
  • If you want to give more room for more papers in the finished portfolio, you can cut the pattern of the body in half in between the center stitch lines we indicate and add a separate gusset piece or spine.  This would allow you to make the gusset as wide as needed for the added space needed.  You can also give the gusset a nice scallop to match the scallop you decide to use on the pockets in the interior.  This spine or gusset piece would be sewn on top of the front and back panels.  Doing the portfolio in three pieces like this instead of one bigger piece like I do also has cutting advantages when working around blemishes in your leather hides.
  • Customizing the interiors of these portfolios is what is so appealing to customers depending on their need.  So do not be limited by the interiors that I have supplied in the pattern pack.  Experiment and change it up depending on what your customer requests are.
  • An exterior pocket can easily be added to the back of the portfolio for an quick access pocket for loose leaf paper.  You can do this one out of a little heavier leather than 3/4 since it is exposed on the outside of the portfolio.

Thank you so much and if you have any questions feel free to send me an email and I would be glad to help.  Also, if you like the video and want to see more of them as they become available be sure to hit SUBSCRIBE on our YouTube channel.

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