This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in March 2015.
The metal cabinets installed in our entryway were owed new handles as part of being refinished. The vintage handle set that had been on the cabinets when I bought them were a cool, retro form, but they were plastic (not metal, as it would appear) and one of the two was cracked.
Creating a new set of handles seemed a natural part of this cabinet upcycle, and leather drawer pull inspiration runneth abundant these days. I found a genuine leather belt at a secondhand store for just $1 (finding my preferred color and width was a little tricky, but boy, this was a rewarding find!) The holes that were already pierced through the metal doors from the old hardware dictated how it would need to be installed.
I have a stash of very, very old hardware from my Grandpa that I tap into from time to time. There are a lot of screws and bolts and nuts that aren’t necessarily sizes that I would find use for regularly, but for a light-duty project like this, I thought incorporating some of the vintage square head bolts that were already “in the family” would be a perfect touch.
To start, trim a length of the leather belt. Trim an extra inch or two more than you expect to need, just to be safe. Use a small drill bit to bore a hole through one end of the leather, so that the bolt can fit through.
Attach this end to the door – you will get a better sense of how long it needs to be once you see it partially installed.
Mark where the lower bolt hole needs to be in the leather, and uninstall it briefly so you can trim it to length, round the edges, and create its identical twin, using the length and hole placement of the first model as your template.
Note, if you mis-cut, you’ll probably find that you still have enough belt length left to try again.
Install the handles by bolting them through the door.
Psst: See the inside of the cabinet in the background of this photo? I installed the adhesive wallpaper along the inside of the cabinet too to cover the old door liners. This also helped to hide the fact that I installed these “upper kitchen cabinets” upside down so that the handles could be at the top when I installed them.
If you’re looking for more leather handle inspiration, check out these related projects: