We’ve all been there: waiting at the baggage claim carousel with fingers crossed our suitcases made it from point A to B and no one picked ours up by mistake—no easy feat between flight delays and the fact that every suitcase looks, well, exactly the same.
Enter Steven Soria, the craftsman behind Santa Barbara, California-based leather goods shop Make Smith. To help us celebrate the start of Spring Break season and National Craft Month, he whipped up some eye-catching leather luggage tags that will set your suitcases apart from the rest of the pack and get you where you’re going that much faster. Photos by Cara Robbins.
Meet the Maker: Steven Soria of Make Smith
How did you discover your passion for your art?
I grew up in my family’s leather-crafting business, where most of my play toys were art and crafting materials. In many ways, there wasn’t a discovery period for me because it’s been more of a lifetime journey.
Can you remember your first leather project?
I made a belt for my cousin when I was five. It was hilarious! I hot-glued most of it together. It sure looked like a five-year-old made it.
How do you keep yourself creative when you hit a wall?
I just work through it. I’ve never had the problem of not being creative—I know that sounds a little snarky, but a long time ago I learned that keeping busy is the best solution for “writer’s block” no matter what medium you’re working in. I find that the mistakes I make usually lead to new discoveries, techniques and styles.
Does your personal style reflect your profession, or vice versa?
Make Smith has a handmade, yet refined style—our designs are becoming more streamlined, simple, minimalist and utilitarian. That’s where I think my personal style comes from as well; I wear traditional work wear that can take a beating while I’m at work.
DIY Leather Luggage Tags
-Metal key ring
-Large nail and hammer
1. Download our luggage tag template (download the PDF here!) and choose your favorite shape. Print out the template and place it over your leather, securing the paper by taping down the corners with masking tape.
2. With a very dull pencil, trace the outline of the shape (pressing hard will imprint the leather underneath the paper and create lines for you to follow).
3. Pull the paper up from the leather; you should see the outline of your tag. Cut along the lines with a ruler and a utility knife.
5. Decorate your tag however you like! We sprayed our tag with bright, solid colored paint—this way you’ll be able to easily spot your suitcase at baggage claim. Add a striped design by placing a few strips of masking tape over the leather before you spray paint. Don’t forget to stamp or paint your name and address or phone number on the other side.
Find more DIY inspiration on Pinterest!