JOURNAL | Projects, Events and New Products

March 25, 2020

DIY Surgical Masks - Printable templates, and how to video...

Okay Maker Folks! Here's your time to jump in and help. If you have a sewing machine and you're not afraid of learning a new pattern, you local hospital is in need of your help. "With overrun hospitals facing an acute shortage of masks, people are pulling out their sewing machines to fill the void." According to the New York Times, they can use all the help they can get. So, below we have a few resources to get your started. 

1. Here is an example what can be made:

 Surgical mask

2. There is a full how-to video on the Joanne's Website under projects:

3. Pattern: You'll notice there are a few different styles... some cover the nose a bit better, and some make use of pleats. To access the patterns, click here.

4. You need to buy supplies, call GRANT HOUSE SEWING





November 08, 2019

United States of America - Air Force

In celebration of Veterans Day weekend, we wanted to honor the vets in our family, and the ones in yours. Fred Soria was the original leather craftsman in our family, who over the years, taught us the leather trade. Fred served in WW2 in the Air force. After completeing his tour in Europe and returning home to the U.S.A. he worked for Dick May Saddlery in Santa Barbara Ca. (see images below of two saddles that Fred Soria hand tooled). They are now on display at the Carriage Museum in Santa Barbara CA. (Circa 1950-1955)

"Fred G. Soria died peacefully in his home in Fort Bragg, Calif., where he lived the last four years of his life. Fred was born and raised in Santa Barbara to Mexican immigrants. He graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1940 and moved to San Francisco to attend college before being drafted into the armed forces in 1941. Upon completion of U.S. Air Force cadet training, Fred was assigned to Pauling Convalescent Hospital in Pauling, New York as an occupational therapist, where he oversaw the activities of the wounded soldiers, taught Spanish lessons, arts and crafts, and worked as an interpreter. At the time of his discharge on Feb. 14, 1946, he was Chief Occupational Therapist. Fred then returned to Santa Barbara and briefly owned a saddle shop, creating beautiful, hand-carved saddles and other leather goods. Fred was a talented artist and developed a national reputation for his hand-tooled leather saddles and handbags." (exerpt taken from

I shot this photo of his personal hand-tooled leather photo journal during the service of his passing in 2012. I had to reconstruct some of the pixels here on the stitching because it was a little deteriorated. But you can see the excellent knife carving technique and a blend of military and traditional oak leaf with a California poppy in the corners, and a few acorns trickled in. This is a great piece. Thanks for your service uncle Fred.

Fred Soria - United States of America Air Force Division

Dick May Saddlery


July 12, 2019

Bracelet Making Workshop - One Day Class

We just announced our Summer schedule of workshop dates.

Class dates and time: 

July 13th, 2019 (6 spots total)

July 20th, 2019 (6 spots total)

2:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Class description: 

We'll be starting out by learning how to make leather bracelets. Some bracelets will have buckles, some will have snaps and others will have button studs. We will learn various cutting, hand stitching and riveting techniques, but mostly we will have a good time in a fun creative environment. All materials will be provided.

More info and sign up page, here.

July 10, 2019

New Product Release :: Zipper Medium Tote Bag

We've been making lots of these tote bags with zippers lately, but never released them to our web customers. We are proud to release the Zipper Tote Medium for $332. Each one is made by hand, one at a time with a turn around time of 48 hours.

Zipper Shopping Tote

May 09, 2019



Corporate Workshops for Team Building in Santa Barbara

We've got very exciting news! We are announcing a new class called "Tiny Book Making". In this private group class we will focus on constructing handmade small books that can be used for taking notes, sketching ideas, drawing pictures, or scrap booking travel plans in a diary style. 

Our classes focus will be on leather crafting, but we have design each assignment to emphasize interaction between students to encourage team building. You can watch a video of ProCore, a software development company taking over our workshop with their 15 employees - Watch a little video here. Also, plenty of time will be made of exploring in our old world craft shop for socializing. Most groups bring in cheese and meat plats for snacks and wine or soft drinks. 

Corporate team building activities can be scheduled any day of the week, and we can host up to 15 attendees/students at one time. Classes usually last approximately one to three hours. Starting from scratch we will teach each student or to construct a tiny leather book. We will finish each piece with a hand stamped personal touch. Most students choose to punch into their journal or sketch book their initials or last name. 

Some examples of what students have made range from hanging tiny holiday ornamental books, poetry books, sketch books, recipe books, etc. Each student will make at least one of these examples, but most finish around three finished projects per class.  

You choose the date and time. Reach out to us and we will organize a time for your team to come in and take over our workshop location in downtown Santa Barbara. Check out the actual class sign up page, here!

January 25, 2019

Coterie Club x Make Smith x Warbler Records

The Coterie Club, Make Smith, and Warbler Records are teaming up to host an epic event on our back patio!

PRICE: $125 Buy Tickets Here

THE LOW DOWN: Special guest band, Pancho & The Wizards, will be performing from 4-6 p.m., followed by a private sit-down dinner at 6:30 after doors close. The Coterie Club will be catering a Chinese Dim Sum style, 5+ course tasting, paired with a selection of natural wines, while spinning vinyl plays in the background. Join us for a night you won't forget!

WHEN: Saturday - February 2nd @ 5pm

WHAT: Live music by Pancho & The Wizards, food by The Coterie Club, wine and Chinese Dim Sum.

WHERE: Back Patio at Make Smith and Warbler Records


December 11, 2018

Holiday Gift Guide

We all know how quickly those Christmas gifts add up! But the holidays don't have to burn a hole in your pocket. No matter what your price range is, Make Smith has got something for you. We've broken down some of our favorite items by price to make your shopping experience as easy as possible. Take a peak!  

Gifts $50 and under!

Leather storage caddy (medium) - 50
Dog leash - 50
Leather coin purse - 45
Single pocket card sleeve - 42
"Spanish Whip" Cologne for men and women- 42


Gifts $40 and under!

Leather key chain with clip - 40
Custom embossed luggage tag - 38
Custom key chain - 35
"Not yours" luggage tags - 30
Incense holder - 30


Gifts $25 and under!

Leather storage caddy (small) - 25
Key chains ("baby mama", "baby daddy", "fuck it") - 24
Make Smith t-shirt - 22
Leather fortune cookie - 4
Leather gift certificate - 25


November 29, 2018

New Product :: Single Pocket Card Sleeve


You only get one shot at a first impression! Make yours the best it can be by adding our Single Pocked Card Sleeves to your life. Say so long to those annoying bent corners and hello to new crisp and clean edges. Handmade with the finest leather, it is a simple yet effective way to show off not only your professionalism, but your style. Buy one now >>> $42


Our inspiration behind the single pocket card sleeve came from mere supply and demand. We received many requests for the most minimal accessory that could still get the job done. With this in mind, our goal was to simply make the pocket sleeve tall enough to protect the corners of a business card but small enough that it could still fit in the front pocket. 


Our card sleeve is a single pocket capable of holding the width of eight credit cards. Made with water resistant leather and high strength nylon thread, we guarantee your card sleeve will be sturdy and long lasting. 

Examples. business cards, credit cards, wallet, etc.

November 22, 2018

New Product :: Deluxe Luggage Tags


The possibility of the airport loosing our luggage, or even worse, someone else accidentally taking it is a fear we all know to well. Worry no more! Keep your luggage and information safe with our stylish, handmade leather Deluxe Luggage Tags. With a hidden, business card-sized pouch, these are the tags every traveling professional needs. Personal embossing available. Buy one now >>> $72


Our idea of the perfect luggage tag is a mixture of style and security. It was our goal to make a tag that could hide your identify but have a chic look. We made the panel just big enough for custom embossing so you have the choice of what gets seen on the outside. 


A small business card sized pouch is secured by leather privacy flap and a solid brass buckle. 

Examples. suitcases, duffel bags, backpacks, briefcases, travel totes, etc.

November 13, 2018

New Product :: Field Notes Case

Kevin Clayborne with Field Notes Case


We all know that frustrating moment when you can't remember that brilliant idea you had earlier in the day. Rid yourself of this dilemma with the Field Notes Case! Make your wallet your notebook and keep it in your back pocket. Problem solved!. Buy one now >>> $110


Productivity and inspiration doesn't end in the office. Designed with utility in mind, we wanted to make something small enough to be convenient but big enough to carry the essentials. Made for anyone from the artists needing a portable sketchbook, the architect using field notes on the job site, or for the professional who needs to have their credit cards, business cards, and agenda all in one place.


It's equipped with 4 card holders, a secret pouch in the back, and a pen holder. Included is a field notes booklet. Also it's perfectly sized to be used as a passport case.

Examples. To-Do list, calendar, notebook, wallet, sketchpad, passport case, planner, etc.

Field Notes Case

November 01, 2018

New Product :: Utility Roll-Up Pouch

Intro: There is nothing more infuriating than being a craftsman in a rush with no time to pack up your essentials. So say goodbye to messy craft tools and your most prized pens or paint brushes at the bottom of a bag, and say hello to the Utility Roll-Up Pouch.  Build your ideal “on-the-go travel” kit and put an end to organizational caused headaches for good. Buy one now >>> $110


We don’t need to tell you that there is a long standing relationship between the nomadically inclined crafter and his tools. Designed with organization in mind, we crafted this all purpose pouch for those who choose to the use the world as their workspace. Whether mechanic or artist, this is a pouch with as many diverse uses as your interests. It’s your sidekick that can fit just about anywhere, so your studio is ready to go when you are.


Its equipped with 4 horizontal mount tools access loops and a extra wide pouch, Perfect for multiple pairs of scissors, a dozen or so pens, and lots of room for tools.

Examples. Artist tool roll, motorcycle tool kit, pen set, paintbrush set, miscellaneous car pouch, clutch, wallet, etc.

October 31, 2018

The Leather Gift Certificate is a gift on its own

Still looking for that perfect gift? We understand... Some people are terribly hard to shop for, but we love them all the same. Give them the gift of unlimited options, to pick and choose as they please, with a Make Smith gift certificate. We ditched the plastic and created the gift certificate to be a work of art on its own--sleek and smooth, . Meticulously crafted and cut from the highest quality USA cattle hides and hand-gilded with a gold leaf letterpress machine. Rest've found the perfect solution. 

*When guests come in to spend these bills, they can exchange it for the value of the printed note for any in-stock item. We them recycle the leather bill back into circulation. 

Check them out:

Gift Certificate


October 17, 2018

Interview and Product Review with Sonia Shepard

Sonia Shepherd from Just a little Review

Sep 16, 2018

We had the pleasure of hosting Sonia from "Just a little Review" and showing here around our shop. Take a look at the video interview we did with her, part one, and part two is the product review of some of our top sellers.

"Steven, the maker. “This is not a portfolio, this is my life.” I spent yesterday interviewing Steven of Make Smith Leather in Santa Barbara. He’s three generations deep leather making; you could say it’s in his blood. As good as his story is, a very small, furry one nearly stole the show. It’s worth a trip to the store – you’ll see designs that aren’t released on the website, meet Steven in person and, if you’re lucky, rub the belly of their official mascot – Harry! Here’s a teaser of my time at Make Smith, starring none other than Harry himself. Stay tuned for my full interview with Steven and get to know the Make Smith story!

More of her videos can be seen at



October 11, 2018

New Product :: The Laptop Messenger Bag

In the Making

Check out our short film shot by Datsu Films. A fun, in-depth look into our process, and the amount of time and dedication it took into making this bag a reality. Tough at times to balance originality and keeping our customers happy, was the main challenge, but we think we nailed it.    



We finally “buckled” down and designed a messenger bag to rival all messenger bags. Combining our key components—Durability, Minimalism, and Style—we created a hybrid case that could accommodate any lifestyle. Easily transition from biking down the main drag to business meetings in the office, with the new Laptop Messenger Bag. 



Designing the Laptop Messenger Bag took time, and not just a few months, a few years! After long hours and countless ideas, we finally landed on a style and design that we not only loved, but which we knew our customers had been asking for. A hybrid of something minimal in weight and size, but with a certain amount of refinement—to take it off the road and into the office. Using malleable leather that is soft to the touch and as durable as they come, this leather piece only stands to get better as the years go by. This is a look into the future of Make Smith as a brand in the modern era with an age old craft. 

Laptop Messenger Bag :: $550  SHOP NOW >>>


October 02, 2018

Classic Social Media Giveaway

1st Year GIVEAWAY!

In October of 2017, we opened our first retail store at our new home in the Presidio Neighborhood, the heart of Santa Barbara. To celebrate, we’ll be honoring two of our classic products with this giveaway.  


We will be giving away one of our Classic Leather Tote Bag and a Classic handmade Leather Belt! 


To enter:


1. Like the instagrams of Facebook post!

2. Repost the photo of your desired choice and tell us why you like the product.

3. Then, If you want the tote, add #makesmithclassictote. If you want the belt, add #makesmithclassicbelt.


4.The two lucky winners, inside the USA only, will be chosen at random, announced and tagged on Monday, Oct. 8th at 7pm PST.


Winner Selection Method:

The participants enter by following our stated rules via Instagram or Facebook. Any deviation from the rules may disqualify you from entering. 

We number all participants by the order they entered. 


Then, we will use googles random number generator to choose the winner. 


August 30, 2018

Custom Saddle Making :: CraftTALK in September

Cooper Saddlery - Jason Brad Cooper


The First Thursday in September swing by the Make Smith Workshop to listen and learn from local crafts people of varying disciplines who have pursued their passions. It’s the CraftTALK  series, and sit alongside a wonderful group of Makers, and artisans. Please join us for a night of classic show-and-tell and hands on learning from our featured guest Jason Brad Cooper.


RSVP to our first CraftTALK on September 9th  @ 7pm.

Brad Cooper began working leather at age 12 and started his apprenticeship in saddlery with Wendy Allen during his sophomore year in high school. After learning the cutting saddle trade Cooper began making saddles for other disciplines including roping, reining and barrel racing. Cooper is credited with having built over 600 saddles and has recently set up his shop in the Santa Ynez Valley (900 McMurray Rd. Unit 1 Buelton, CA 93427).

June 29, 2018

SPOT LIGHT :: 1967 4-Eye Blucher

There's no doubt, in my mind, that Rancourt & Co. is one of those heritage brands that stands out from the pack. These days when it seems that American Made goods are more popular than ever, Rancourt has a foothold in the handmade industry. I always come back to this amazing brand when people ask me what I have been looking for inspiration. And yes, we don't make shoes. Make Smith makes carry goods, but that doesn't mean that we don't look for inspiration from other makers. And in this case, this small Company out of Maine, has been a favorite of mine for many years. Below is my favorite pair of handmade moccasin loafers. Out of their "Ready Made Collection," its the "1967 4-Eye Blucher" and here's the link. They are constructed of Heavyweight steerhide Chromepak from Horween, and weigh in at $285.

Rancourt & Co.

June 14, 2018

The CraftTALK Series

Info: If you haven’t yet heard, MAKE SMITH is launching a show-and-tell series, set to occur every First Thursday, which features local MAKERS, artisans, craft-driven folk and students alike. Our intention is to given these like minded individuals a platform to show off their hard word and accomplishments, while encouraging others to do the same. We hope to bring light to the truly inspiring nature of these creative individuals who were bold enough to take their passions to the next level, and encourage others to do the same.


15 min talk based on photos, 15min show-and-tell of goods, 15min Question & Answer with audience, followed by a 30min casual refreshment mixer.

Thursday, July 5th @7pm

Please Join us at our first ever CraftTALK featuring George Pipires (Bar Manager at Finch & Fork). He will be warming up our leather workshop with a series of handmade cocktails, from a welcoming reshment to an interactive cocktail demo you can make at home. Our audience will be asked to participate; pour, stir, shake and sip. More surprises to come on Thursday, July 5th. Lite oredouves will be served and prepared by Executive Chef Peter Cham. 

Check out more CraftTALKs Here >>

May 30, 2018

How To Measure Your Waist Size for Your New Belt

If you can't make it into the shop, but still want to order a custom belt, here is how we would like to get your fit right. We take time making your belt and size it down to the inch to ensure accurate measurement and perfect fit.

It is a common misconception that your pant size is the same as your belt size. In fact, our belt size is usually 2-4 inches larger than your pant size. It varies depending on clothing brand, how tight someone wears their belt, and how thick the fabric of your pants are. Here are some quick and easy ways to get your accurate belt measurement to get your perfect belt fit.

To make sure we craft your perfect belt, the most important thing to do is get the right waist measurement. There are two ways to do this. First, if you have a belt that fits right already, lie the belt down on a flat, clean surface. Straighten the belt out so it lies flat. Now with a tape measure and calculate the length from the middle point of the metal buckle to the belt notch that fits you best. That distance is your belt size in inches. Second, if you don't have a belt that fits right, take a string and wrap it around your waist pinching it at the point where the loose end wraps around your waist and meets back at the long end of the string. Use a tape measure to calculate this length in inches, that is your belt size.

  1. We size using a measured out leather belt to get exact belt size measuring. Although it is oftentimes 2-4 sizes bigger than your pants, we measure to make sure we have it exactly right.
  2. Pick the color of the strap you would like. We stock nine colors to make certain we have what you are looking for.
  3. Pick the width of the belt you would like. We recommend a 1.25” for dress belts and a 1.5” for an everyday or workwear belt.
  4. Pick your hardware style and color. We carry 3 styles of buckles in four different hardware colors.
  5. Would you like stitching? We recommend this for our dress belts.
  6. Finally, we can emboss your initials to give your new belt an even more personalized touch
    May 25, 2018

    The Leather Guide to Father's Day

    The stakes are high, with Father’s Day right around the corner. Buying the perfect gift for the man who (seemingly) has everything, is no easy task. We’ve all heard him say he doesn’t NEED anything, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t WANT something. With some inspiration taken from the dads in our lives, we’ve curated a pretty perfect list of items dad won’t help but drool over this Father’s Day:

    For the Outdoorsmen :: Elk Horn Knife w/ Leather Tooled Sheath (In Store Exclusive)


    For the Business Guy :: Classic Leather Belt

    For the Handyman :: Roll-Up Utility Pouch

    For the Hipster Dude :: Crossbody Soft Briefcase

    For the Minimalist Man :: Bill-Fold Wallet

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