Leather Keychain DIY

You don’t need a specific holiday to express how much you care about the special friend(s) in your life, right? These handmade leather keychains are an easy-to-make craft that you can customize for the guy(s) or gal(s) that you grab coffee with the most, call when you need a ride home, or plan that cross-country road trip with. You can make one in under 10 minutes for yourself or a sweetheart, and then make a handful more for your squad!

You can go the short and sweet route by getting your hands on a cut of scrap cowhide from your local hobby store or Tandy leather outlet if you’re wanting something a little more masculine, or you can paint your own undyed cowhide with leather paint, available in a variety of colors. The leather paint won’t crack or wear off, so it’s a great option if you’d like something a little more exciting.

A great option for a sturdy keychain is to purchase a 1/2″ lightweight cowhide leather strip. This will yield five or more keychains depending on your desired length. Above you’ll see I’ve painted two and left the center keychain in its natural state. The leather paint was incredibly easy to work with, went on smoothly, and only needed two thin coats. Easy! What else can we paint?

Supplies for Natural Dyed Leather Keychain:
leather scrap at least 9″ long
-rotary cutter
-cutting mat
-metal ruler
leather hole punch or awl
screw post for 2-3 keys or flat key post for 6-8 keys

Supplies for Painted Leather Keychain:
1/2″ lightweight leather cowhide strip
leather hole punch or awl
-leather paint in assorted colors
-foam paintbrush
screw post for 2-3 keys or flat key post for 6-8 keys
-sharp scissors

Cut your scrap leather strip to measure about 9″ x 1/2″ or 9″ x 3/4″ depending on what thickness you prefer. If you have especially wide keys, you’ll want a wider strip of leather.

Fold your leather strip in half and punch through both ends about 1/2″ from the bottom so that it’s centered. Use the narrowest hole punch. You can also punch a hole through both ends using an awl. In all crafting ventures with sharp tools, use caution so you are only punching holes through your leather!

Unscrew your post, insert one end through one hole, attach your keys, and insert the other end of your screw post through the other hole so that it screws into the post. If you’ve only got a few keys to carry around, you’ll want the narrower screw post option for the best fit. If you have lots of keys, go for the wider flat key post.

If you’re making your keychain using a 1/2″ lightweight cowhide strip, cut off 9″ for each keychain with a pair of sharp scissors or your rotary cutter. Shake up your paint and apply two thin coats to any side of your keychain you’d like painted. Let it dry according to the manufacturer’s directions, and then punch your hole and add your screw post.

It’s officially time to ditch the gas station keychain from last year’s road trip and make one of these lovelies for yourself and a friend. Cute accessories are the gifts that keeps on giving! –Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • This is on my DIY list for some time. For me 🙂 I wear my keys just on a ring now. I would make it smaller so that it perfectly fits the keys 🙂 But I have trouble finding leather scraps. I have to ask around a bit.

  • The first time I tried a leather project I found a place in Seattle called MacPherson Leather Company. The selection was overwhelming and I damn near lost my mind when I saw sea foam green, sparkly, iridescent leather! I may have to go back to MacPherson’s when I’m in Seattle this summer to stock up for this project!

  • I like these – but does anyone know if there is a synthetic leather that can be used to the same effect? I’m not a big fan of animal products (no judging – just my preference). Also – can these also be stamped? Isn’t leather stamping a thing?

  • Dear Rachel,

    it looks perfect, I really like the minimalist effect. Clever, simple & stylish, exactly what I like !


  • These are so cute and simple! I am crushing on the pink keychain the most but all of them look amazing!
    xx Annie

  • I used to have a leather keychain like these ones – I wanted to make my own, but it seemed like the tutorials I was finding seemed a lot more in depth. But, yours seems so much more manageable. Thinking of giving it a try soon!

  • Totally love the simplicity and quality of these – I know it’s a little early but these would make great stocking stuffers!

  • You know, I’ve always wanted to do such a thing for my keychain, and now you’ve done it. This is awesome!

  • I really like this DIY! I’ve seen a keying recently that is a piece of Lego which attaches to a Lego board so you can keep all of your keys in one place so I think I’m going to try that out next!



  • This is seriously such a great DIY! This would be a perfect gift for my hubby!!


  • A real leather one can be really cool!

    Discover at my latest post how to find the motivation to create a workout routine: Some effective tips, my favorite workout ritual, and the coolest training outfits.



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