How To Make Yourself A Huge Leather Desk Pad – $150

I have been wanting a desk pad for a while but the retail cost, available sizes, and quality levels have been holding me back. Saddleback Leather wants a hefty $213 for their admittedly nicely finished desk pad. That’s too rich for my taste considering all I want is a hefty piece of leather. Amazon’s offerings are chinsy and still expensive for what they are. So fine! I’ll make my own.

A trip to the Tandy Leather Store over in Spokane netted me a large side of ridiculously thick 13-14oz cowhide on sale for $100. It was easily large enough to cover the entire desk. You can make one also, and very easily.

You will need

  1. large hunk of leather
  2. straight edge
  3. measuring tape
  4. rotary cutter or exacto knife (Olfa Cutter worked well for me)
  5. Tandy Leather Edge Beveler
  6. Tandy Leather Burnisher
  7. Fiebings Neatsfoot Oil (or some other conditioner)

installation instructions

  1. Measure your desk and mark the dimensions on your suitably sized side of leather. I made my pad a couple inches large in each direction to let the edge of the leather sag over the edge of the desk.
  2. Use the straight edge and your cutter to slice out the pad. Go slow and press down hard so that you do not have to make a second pass.
  3. Run the edge beveler over the edges to take the sharp edge off. Continue at your discretion depending on how rounded you want the edges.
  4. Get the edges wet that you wish to burnish and run the Tandy Leather burnisher back and forth quickly to sear the edge with friction. Alternatively you can implement a dremel like below which would be much faster.
  5. Put heavy items where the leather stubbornly lifts up until it submits to your will.
  6. Slather your conditioner of choice on with a piece of sheeps wool. A large pad will consume quite a bit of conditioner.


Unless you buy a really nice piece of leather like A grade Herman Oak or Wicket & Craig you will likely have scars and various imperfections in the leather. I chose to accept this since I plan to treat this pad roughly and I didn’t want to pay the hefty prices for A grade sides. Now I have an impressive piece of leather covering my desk, the cherry wood is protected, the pad will last forever (practically), and it only cost me $150 or so.

homemade leather desk pad feature1

Homemade Leather Desk Pad2 Homemade Leather Desk Pad1 Homemade Leather Desk Pad3 Homemade Leather Desk Pad4 Homemade Leather Desk Pad5What do you think?



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  1. Looks good! I may copy your efforts for my own desk. Mine may be a little more difficult since the front edge of my desk is not straight (it’s a log desk). But, I think that would look really nice on top of it. Anxious to see your pics of it a few months from now after it’s been used.

    • Here’s a tip – put the leather down on the floor, put the desk on it upside down, trace out the outline.

  2. Now if you could only teach me how to make my own iMac…..

    • Step 1: Dig a big hole looking for iron and other hard metal stuff.
      Step 2: ????
      Step 3: Assemble iMac.
      Step 4: Be smug.

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