7 Scrap Leather Projects

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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 www.patreon.com/DanielStabile

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!

Trash to Treasure

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20 Discussions

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zombie.anna

5 months ago

Thank you so much for the patterns! Very much appreciated. I made the glasses case as my first leather sewing project. :)

PicsArt_06-17-04.40.43.png
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Daniel Stabilezombie.anna

Reply 5 months ago

Wow, that looks amazing! I love the pattern on the leather, good work!

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Jamn4god

8 months ago

Great videos! I guess I should have watched some of your instructables before I made a sheath for my scissors. Your work is much prettier than mine, LOL.

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Daniel StabileJamn4god

Reply 8 months ago

Thank you very much :) It's a learning process... everytime I look at my old work I think it doesn't look that great haha

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p_leriche

8 months ago

Nice Instructable. I might have missed something, but I was left with a couple of questions:

What sort of thread do you use?

What do you use the rubber cement for?

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Daniel Stabilep_leriche

Reply 8 months ago

Thanks! Sorry about that, as I've made more and more Instructables about leather, I've started to leave out some of the smaller details. So I use standard waxed thread for leather, but unfortunately I don't know the size I use. The rubber cement can be used for sealing the edges of two leather pieces together before stitching, although I only use it to make sure my threads edges don't come loose after I cut and knot them.

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Daniel Stabileventifact

Reply 8 months ago

That's a great question! So you're right, any magnet of any stength will disable a credit card if there's enough exposure to the strip. There's a number of ways to avoid this, the first being using weak magnets. The weaker the magnet the more exposure necessary to do harm. Secondly, if you notice the magnet I used, there's a metal plate on the back. This plate works like a "shield"; if you test the strength of the magnet with steel, you'll see the front is stronger than the back. Thirdly, you can test the strength of the magnet before and after you clasp it. I was unable to pick up the magnet after it was clasped because the magnetic field collapsed significantly. Along with this step you can also make sure that the piece with the magnet is on the flap and not the body so that the only time it's close to the card will be when it is clasped. Finally, keep your credit card in the back slot. With all the precautions you're already taking this will be enough to protect your card! I just want to end by saying I'm no magnet expert, but if you take the necessary steps you should be safe. I hope this helps!

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Locomiguelventifact

Reply 8 months ago

Good question and the answer is yes, no, and maybe. Yes they can, but they have to be very strong magnets like the rare earth magnets or the kind of magnets found in computer disc drives. They also have to come in contact with the strip.Most magnets if you were to say pin your credit card to your refrigerator with a magnet for a long period of time will mess up the data on it. The same goes for the magnetic energy coming off of cell phones. The infamous eel skin purses and wallets affected the data by creating a static charge caused by the eel skin and the plastic of the credit card sliding in and out. If grounded out the charge would run along the strip scrambling the data as the static charge was attracted to the strip. This is much the same as touching something and feeling the charge discharge from you when a static charge builds up in the body. The same thing would occur if you set your credit card down on one of those devices in retail stores that deactivate security strips at the same time it went off. It is not that the information is erased, per se, but it is scrambled up. The kind of magnets found in purse closures are generally not strong enough to do credit cards harm because they strip used is not designed to be written over multiple times. If, however, one stored say a hotel key card, or a mass transit pass, or a key card used to access things at work, or a replenishable gift card in the money clip above--it will pretty much be toast, since these are designed to be written over multiple times. Still if one is afraid this might happen, an old fashioned snap will do.

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emrude

8 months ago

Great job. How do you know if leather is to old to work to work with? I have a box of scraps from my late father-in-law. My wife would love a pick case. She is always losing her picks.

Thank you

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Daniel Stabileemrude

Reply 8 months ago

Hmmm I've actually never heard of leather being too old to use, but then again I'm no expert. What I do know is that if your leather is hardened you can use saddle soap to soften it up. For me, as long as the leather is soft, it's good to use regardless of age. I hope this helps and that you can make your wife the pick case!

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chienline

8 months ago

Yummy! This makes me wanna buy some tools and start leather projects ^^

Well done!

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Daniel Stabilechienline

Reply 8 months ago

Haha yeah you should go for it! And, if you're hesitant about buying all the tools for it, just use what you have in the beginning and see if you like it before investing :)

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chienlineDaniel Stabile

Reply 8 months ago

I think all I need is a rotary punch. Everything else, I have them somewhere around me :D

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seamster

8 months ago

Great set of little projects, very nicely done!

1 reply