Introduction: 7 Scrap Leather Projects

About: I'm an engineering student at Cornell University with a passion for making things! If you like what I do consider supporting me on my brand new patreon account at

If you've been following me recently, you've noticed that I like to make things out of leather. Consequently, I've accumulated a lot of scrap leather that I haven't had the heart to throw away and have wanted to use. However, scrap leather mini projects aren't big or sophisticated enough to warrant their own Instructables, so today I've decided to create a 7 in 1 special for you guys! These projects are fairly straight forward (unlike my past two... cough *rubik's cube* cough *beetle bag*) so I'm creating one step for each project. Since there won't be too much detail to write about, I'm compensating by breaking my 4-photo-per-step-max norm and I'm going all out! In addition there's a video below that you can watch as a visual aid.

We're going to start off with the largest projects (generally more complex) and working our way down to the smallest (generally simpler).

As with all my leather projects, you don't need to be an experienced leather worker to do them! I myself have nearly none of the proper leather tools, so if I can do these projects, you should be able to as well. Hope you guys enjoy!

Step 1: Materials

This is a general list of items that you would need to do all of the projects listed on this Instructables:

  • Scrap Leather (I used 2mm)
  • Design
  • Scissors
  • Box Cutters
  • Design (see below)
  • Needles
  • Thread
  • Rotary Punch (nail or manual punch will also work)
  • Snaps
  • Snap Setter
  • Magnetic Clasps
  • Hammer
  • Rubber Cement

Note: The first four items (in bold) are used in all of the projects listed below. At the beginning of each step I will list all the additional (non-bold) materials used in that project.

If you don't have all the tools listed don't feel that you won't be able to do these projects. I myself don't have them all and there are work arounds for everything. The two things that I foresee being the most problematic are the rotary punch and snap setters; here's what you can do instead:

Rotary Punch: Back when I didn't have this tool I got away with using a hammer and manual punch but if you don't have that just use a nail!

Snap Setters: I don't have these so I just use a hammer and a philips head. After every hit I rotate the philips head to evenly spread out the flanges.

Step 2: Scoring, Cutting, and Marking Holes

All of the projects require scoring, cutting and/or marking stitching holes so I decided to condense this step to avoid redundancy. After you have cut out the design use a needle to scratch its perimeter onto the leather. Next, cut out the shape with a sharp blade. If you can cut with one pass of the blade you will get a much better edge than going over it several times. If indicated, poke holes for our threading. Ideally you would have a leather awl for this step, but if you're like me you can just use a larger needle.

Step 3: Glasses Case

Additional Materials: Needle, Thread, Rotary Punch, Snaps, Snap Setter, Hammer, Rubber Cement (Optional)

This is a cool design that I saw online and decided to replicate. The temples of the glasses are exposed allowing the case to be compact yet still provide plenty protection for the lenses. My new pair of sunglasses came with a nice cloth bag but I wanted something a little tougher to protect the lenses from keys and coins in my pockets. Since I just finished making my Beetle Bag, I had enough scraps and failed prototypes to make this!

Ideally you would cut the leather for this in one piece, but since we are working with scrap material that might not always be possible. For that reason, I left extra lines on the design so that you can cut the leather into 2 or 3 pieces, if necessary.

Before you begin stitching, punch the hole as indicated on the design and add your post and stud. If you don't have a snap setter (like me) you can just use a philips head screwdriver and a hammer (see notes in materials step).

Next, stitch together each side using the saddle stitch. If you look closely at the photos you can see that I started my stitches from the bottom and worked up. It would be better if you did the opposite and worked from top to bottom so that when you backstitch, knot, and add rubber cement, everything will be hidden inside the case.

Finally, place your glasses/sunglasses (or if you plan on using the same case for several pairs use your largest one) into the case and wrap the flap around them and press hard on the post and stud. This should mark the flap for you and indicate where you need to add the cap and socket. Because not all glasses are the same size, I made the flap a little bigger than necessary so that it could accommodate larger frames. In the end I actually cut off 1 cm of this flap so feel free to adjust it as well! Once your flap is perfected and you've marked where to place your cap and socket, punch the hole, set them in place, and you're done!

Step 4: Magnetic Money Clip

Additional Material: Needle, Thread, Magnetic Clasps, Rubber Cement (Optional)

I have so many unnecessary cards in my wallet that I recently decided to just put my ID, credit card, and cash in my phone's card slot. The point of this project was to create a dedicated card and money holder that was easy to access, minimalist, and aesthetically pleasing... all of which I feel I've accomplished!

Once you have all the pieces cut out and pre-holed, we are going to use the saddle stitch on the main body. The photos show the pieces from left to right in the order that they should be stitched together. The design file indicates at which holes the pieces should line up so it should be very clear and a straightforward process. The flap is to be stitched in between the rectangular back and the outer front piece, make sure you place it correctly so that the nice side is showing when folded upward! Finish with some back stitches and a bit of rubber cement.

Once finished stitching the main body, cut the slots on the circle (I forgot to add this circle in the design for mine so that's why it's missing from the first couple photos) for the magnetic piece, attach it to the circle, and then double stitch the circle and magnetic piece to the flap. Next, fold the flap up and firmly press down so that you can see the magnetic clasps indentation on the main body. With this mark you can align the clasps complement, cut the slots for it, and attach it!

I was very pleased with how this turned out, but I decided it would look slightly better if it were just a little bit bigger. So in the designs I'm giving you guys I increased the width by 2mm and the height by 5mm. :)

Step 5:

Additional Materials: Needle, Thread, Rubber Cement (Optional)

I like to drink a lot of tea and unfortunately, it's led to several marks on my desk. This is a very simple and practical project that I have wanted to make for some time now.

Coasters are generally 3.5 in or 4 in and since we are working with scrap leather I decided to go for the 3.5 in (8.89 cm). If you look at the picture with the mug, you can see that this is just big enough for the stitching to stick out of the bottom of the mug.

Once you have your leather cut out and have all your holes marked all you need to do is stitch. Because of the simplicity of this project, the stitching allows you to give the coaster character. I personally tried a diagonal stitch, a triple loop lace, and an "X" stitch (forgive me if I'm using the wrong names) on the three coasters that I made for me and my family. Make sure you end by back stitching a few times and if you want you can add some rubber cement.

Step 6:

Additional Materials: Needle, Thread, Rotary Punch, Snaps, Snap Setter, Hammer, Rubber Cement (Optional)

I lose picks like it's my job, so I decided to create a pick case to help me. If you want, you can take an extra step and add a small fob to make this a key chain ornament as well! I was able to fit all 6 standard sized guitar picks that I own, but I recommend you only go up to 4 for ease of use.

After cutting the design, you are going to start off my punching the hole on the front and adding your post and stud. Just with the glasses case, you can also use a screwdriver and hammer to set the snaps (see notes in materials step).

I chose to add the cap and socket immediately after, which I placed by placing the two pieces on top of each other and folding the flap to mark it. However, it is safer to first stitch everything together with the saddle stitch, place your picks inside, and then mark where the cap and socket will go. Either way, you want to finish up by backstitching 2 to 3 times, tying it off with a square knot, and adding some rubber cement.

Step 7: Corner Bookmark

Additional Materials: Needle, Thread, Rubber Cement (Optional)

Here's a fun and cute little project that requires very little leather and is perfect for scraps.

Once you have the leather cut out all you need to do is stitch, stitch, stitch. I added a sun design that you can opt out of, use on one side or on both. If you do go ahead with the center design then you want to make sure you start with that. Next move onto the sides. I finish with square knots and a little rubber cement. To make it easier to cut the extra thread you can invert the bookmark as I did in the last photo.

Step 8: Earbud Clips

Additional Materials: Rotary Punch, Snaps, Snap Setter, Hammer

If you have some spare snaps laying around that need to be put to use then this is the project for you! These are incredibly easy to make and take less than five minutes each. As shown above I made these for earbuds so that they don't get tangled while in your pocket, but this is easily adaptable to any wires or cables that need some clips.

Once you have the leather cut out you can punch the two holes and add your snaps. Again, if you don't have a snap setter don't worry; a hammer and philips head will do just fine!

I included two different designs for this project, one with flaps at the end and one without. If your snaps are fairly strong I highly recommend you use the one with flaps to make opening the clips easier.

Step 9: Leather Rings

Additional Materials: Needle, Thread, Rubber Cement (Optional)

Here's my smallest and easiest project! You really don't need much leather with these rings but make sure you use the thinnest that you got.

For the first design you're going to have to stitch the ends at the very least. To do this I used X stitches on the inside so that there were three parallel stitches on the outside. Now you don't have to, but if you want to add some character to the ring you can stitch around it, add beads, and get crazy with it. For me, all I did was do a alternating stitch.

The second design is based off the buckle-less belt where all you use is a loop to secure it. Because of this it is essential that you use thin leather! After cutting the leather and slots you slide the flap through the vertical slot, wrap it around the horizontal slot and slide it back through the vertical slot. Pretty easy, huh? :)

Step 10: Final Remarks

I hope you guys enjoyed this Instructables and that it has inspired you not to throw away all your leather scraps! It's so easy to toss little bits of leather into the trash, but with some time and thought you can figure out how to turn those extra pieces into really cool projects. My goal when I started this Instructables was to make 7 unique pocket sized objects that could be easily made with scrap leather. Not only was I able to make each project small enough to fit into a pocket, but, as you can see above, you can actually fit all 7 of them in the same pocket at once. :P

As always, if you have any questions please feel free to ask them below. I genuinely want to help you guys make these projects so don't hesitate if you need help! Also, constructive criticism, tips, and advice is always appreciated.

If you guys do end up making any of these projects don't forget to post a photo below! I can't tell you how awesome it feels to see that all my hard work documenting the process was a success and that other people were able to follow along. Each photo inspires me to keep making bigger and better Instructables for you guys!

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