Welcome to the forum, Mason. I am also a newbie. I make cell phone wallets out of leather as one of my distractions. They hold currency, credit cards, driver license, etc. a pair of "pen" (pencil thick) reading glasses or an actual pen or pencil, plus your cell phone (via adhesive Velcro pads). They also have an old school hidden compartment to stash a $20 bill or whatever for extra safekeeping.
The main thing is, they are great at protecting the phone if you drop it. I've used this design for three years, keep improving them and am on my third wallet. Dropped them many times, never had a phone damaged. My kids are envious.
Anyway, I am currently using a nice medium brown fake Alligator embossed cowhide and the engraving looks great.
I think you are on the right track. Me? I love the smell of burning flesh in the morning!