Leather water bottle holders are my all-time favorite piece of leatherworking, for practicality and sheer awesomeness. It allows one to hide a modern water bottle without resorting to using glass (which is heavy and breakable) or the hardened-leather carriers (which can degrade with time, though they are also a great choice). The water bottle can be easily switched out if it breaks, so the leatherwork lasts many years if the leather is properly cared for. It’s attractive and comfortable, allowing you to carry water hands-free and without weighing down your belt. Mine works so well that I keep it hanging by my door at all times, and use it in my regular, non-SCA/LARP/reenactment/etc life, too. Not only that, it also insulates the bottle, so the water stays colder much longer than it would regularly when open to the hot sun.
This post is about a commissioned water bottle holder I made for a Dagorhir fighter, Shark. Dagorhir is a combat-based LARP (live-action role play) based in both medieval history and Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Shark wanted a leather water bottle holder to hide and insulate his modern water bottle on the fighting field. He fights for Sauron’s side, so he asked for the Eye of Sauron to be incorporated. Elements of blue and silver, the colors of his heraldry, were also added into the overall design.
I started by designing the Eye of Sauron. Leather scraps were chosen to mimic the flaming eye.
Next, my pryography tool was used to burn the leather. Non-veg-tanned leather curls when burned, which added a 3D aspect to the leather flames. The burning on the front also gave it a look of soot and charcoal, making it come alive further.
The raw edges of the design makes it match his armor! Another happy customer.
A leather water bottle holder will get stiff with age if not properly cared for, as it gets wet a lot. If only water has been on it, the leather can be conditioned by applying neatsfoot oil (or another leather-safe oil) to re-soften it and restore the natural oils in the leather. If other liquids are splashed onto the leather (for example, I often drink Gatorade at events), follow my instructions to recondition sweat-soaked leather. Gatorade is just another salt-laden liquid, after all. 🙂 ~Kell