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DIY Leather Drawer Pulls

It’s the finer details that make upscale items look and feel premium. One of my favourite touches is the leather-and-brass trim on vintage couture-house luggage. Inspired by this look, I replaced the plain metal knobs of a dresser with sturdy leather pulls attached by brass rivets. Here’s how to add a little luxe of your own.

Materials and Tools

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Leather strip
  • Garden shears
  • Marker
  • Brass rivets
  • Hammer

Step 1: Drill drawers

My dresser originally had six knobs, each attached via a single hole, so I had to drill one new hole per handle. (Each is attached at the outside edge via the existing hole, and at the inside edge via a new hole.) Size your handles to suit the proportions of your furniture. I drilled new holes 6-1/2″ from the existing ones on drawers about 3 feet wide. Use a level to make sure the holes will be even, and then, drill rivet holes in the drawer fronts.

Step 2: Prep leather

Choose leather that’s sturdy enough to hold a handle shape; mine was about 1/8″ thick. I used a 1-1/2″-wide strip for the 8″ tall drawers. You can buy strips of leather at most fabric stores or use an old belt. Cut the leather into handle-sized strips, about 1″ longer than the distance between the rivet holes. (The finished pulls should have some give, and not be stretched taut.) Position the strips over the holes, and mark the spot where the rivet will go. Drill a rivet hole in both ends of each leather strip.

Step 3: Attach handles

Push the larger half of a rivet through the holes in the leather and drawer, and slide the smaller half into the shaft from the back. Tap with a hammer until the rivet is snug and the leather is securely attached. Repeat for all handles.

Hemnes dresser, Ikea; chair, Kantelberg & Co.; tray, vase, Hollace Cluny; boxes, Peaks & Rafters; lamp, Elte; artwork by Gary Michael Dault, Decorum Decorative Finds; wall colour, London Clay (244), Farrow & Ball; leather, Perfect Leather; rivets, Lee Valley Tools.

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