Easy Ways to Upcycle Leather

by Ryan Popoff November 06, 2017

Upcycling, or creative reuse, is the process of taking items that might otherwise be discarded and finding a way to repurpose them for something new. Upcycling is both eco-friendly and budget-conscious. It allows you to get the absolute maximum benefit out of your items while still allowing you to make them feel fresh and new.

Some people can look at an item and instantly think of five ways to creatively repurpose it. For others, creativity comes less easily. You can still benefit from upcycling, even if you're not terribly creative. In this guide, I look at easy ways to upcycle your old or worn out leather.

Create a Key Fob

Leather can be used to create a stylish, masculine key fob that is easy to locate. Simply cut it into strips to make this unique DIY fob. This is a no-sew leather project, so it's great if you're new to upcycling and want to get started with something easy. The finished result looks like something you'd pay five or ten dollars for in a store. Instead, you'll have made it yourself with leather that you otherwise would have scrapped.

Make a Leather Ottoman or Pouf

If you have large leather remnants, like from a couch, you could use them to make a leather ottoman or pouf. This takes a bit more skill and involves knowing how to sew leather, but the results are sleek, handsome, and useful in the home.

Make a Necklace for a Woman In Your Life

Gifts are supposed to be from the heart, and nothing says heartfelt more than a hand-made gift. Making a gift by hand shows your partner that you not only remembered the holiday, but that you thought of them far enough in advance to get organized and put together a craft. These accent necklaces made from leather circles are easy to make and stylish. You can even make more complicated ones using different colored leather. 

Add a Leather Strap to a Bag

If you have a bag in your house that works pretty well but doesn't match your personal style, adding a leather strap can break it up. Done right, it can even make a bag look slightly more rugged and masculine. This guide can help you figure out how to make leather straps and add them to your bags. 

Make A Set of Leather Coasters

One trick to this craft is to make sure the leather you're using has already been sealed to be water resistant. The main point of coasters it to protect your furniture from moisture, which obviously won't work if you're trying to protect your coasters. Assuming you're working with sealed leather, however, leather coasters are a great addition to a man-cave or living room. These ones are crocheted together and would be incredibly quick and painless to make.

Try a Christmas Ornament

This can be a fun craft to do with your kids as it gets closer to the holidays, and it's a little more unique than your average popsicle-stick reindeer. It could also be an easy craft if you and your spouse have the tradition of making ornaments together each year.

Create Your Own Luggage Tag

If you like to travel, a luggage tag could be the perfect way to use remnants of leather. Personalized to you, it would be easy to find in an airport. Best of all, you don't have to worry about that little scrap of paper falling out of your luggage tag as your address will be part of the tag.

Try a Wall Pocket

If you are limited on space in your home or apartment and storage is an issue, creating hanging storage can be a great solution. These wall pockets would be great to drop your keys and wallet in just inside the door. You could also use them for mail you don't have time to sort through, Christmas cards, office supplies, or any other odds and ends that don't have easy places in your home.

Create a Cast Iron Grip

If you have a cast iron pan, you know that they can be uncomfortable to lift. They're extremely heavy, and the metal handles can dig into your palm. A leather grip can soften the impact, allowing you to lift your pan more comfortably. Just keep in mind that while the cast iron pan can go from the stove into the oven, the leather handle can not!

A Lunch Bag

I've always found that functional items are the best items to recycle with because then I really feel I get value out of the process. That's one of the reasons I love the idea of this leather lunch bag. Maybe you don't have a lunch bag at home, or maybe your wife has a dozen 21 bags in various floral prints. Regardless of your circumstances, a leather lunch bag made from a nice, rugged-colored leather can be both masculine and functional.

There's a reason leather has been used for thousands of years. It's an extremely versatile material with countless uses, and it keeps well over time. Scrapping leather is an extreme waste when there are so many creative ways to reuse and repurpose your leather.

Of course, it's only possible to repurpose your leather if you have maintained it correctly over the years. When you're purchasing leather for life, it's important to respect the material and treat it right. As long as you do that, your leather can live for years and years.

Ryan Popoff
Ryan Popoff


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