Up-cycling: From Old Leather Couch to Simple Leather Wallet & More
This is an easy "how to" post for crafting yourself a simple wallet out of materials that you may even have on hand now. I'm hoping this may inspire you to craft and to use materials that may otherwise go to waste. Hope you enjoy!
It was 10:32pm when I began my hunt. The air was cool and crisp, and the full moon provided the perfect lighting for me to stalk my prey—the Wild. Leather. Couch.
It wasn’t long before I rounded a corner and stopped in my tracks. There it was! I ran down the city block and approached the curb where the withering old couch lay sleeping. I pulled out my knife and tore into its beautiful green skin right there on the street! I returned home that night with a wonderful bounty of real leather.
hehe And that is more or less the story of how I acquired my nice pieces of green leather for no money at all, and I didn’t even have to tan it :) On top of it being free and easy, its environmentally friendly too! You’re up-cycling!
Of course, you should always use caution when hunting for leather on the curb:
- Make sure it’s actually up for grabs, not just someone moving a couch and walking away for 10 minutes or something.
- If it’s too nasty, just leave it alone. And check for bed-bugs. They usually don’t hang out in leather but always carefully examine your leather pieces before you bring them in!
- Wash the leather—you don’t know where it’s been.
- Make sure its real leather. Cut a piece and check the backside, if it looks like fabric instead unfinished leather, you have been bamboozled.
Leather projects are also a good way to use leather from your own furniture, or your friend’s, when it gets too old and worn out.
Now, onto what we can DO with all that free leather!
There are, of course, numerous things that one can do with leather—make pouches, bags, wallets, cloaks, accessories, necklace cords, etc. However, for simplicity, I’m going to show you what I did most recently—the simple wallet.
Here’s what you need:
- a piece of leather
- A needle (a leather-specific needle is much easier to use if you have one)
- Thread (thicker is better)
- *optional: a button, jump rings, or whatever you want to fasten the wallet closed
Prepare your leather
First, cut a rectangle out of your leather. I used a credit card as a guide for the size, keeping in mind that several cards would need to fit into my wallet, and I wanted a little extra to fold over the top. It turned out to be roughly 4.5 by 6.5 inches.
Sew it together
Next, sew up the sides with the “right” side of the leather facing inward.
I did not have a needle that is meant for sewing leather, so I used what I had and just doubled up a leather scrap and placed it over my thumb while I pushed the needle through the two layers. Otherwise, the back of the needle would have pushed right through the skin on my thumb—no thanks.
Turn it inside out
Turn it inside out so that you have nice finished seems.
Check to make sure your cards fit inside.
*Optional: Add a closure
Now you could just be done at this point. I made one for my friend and she kept it as it was. After a day or two of use, it became nice and flat and holds itself closed well.
On mine, I sewed two steel jump rings to the front and added a small leather strap to the top of the flap. I close it like you would one of those belts that has two rings. It is a little time consuming to open, but I like it anyway.
*Optional: Add a chain or any other embellishments you like
I made a chain out of my steel jump rings that I use for chain mail and attached it to the top corner of my wallet. I added a clip to the other side and now I just clip it to my belt.
There are many other things you could do to make the wallet sturdier or more detailed, but this design is easy even if you are a rather lazy craftsperson, or if you have no sewing skills. It is fun and practical and can get you thinking about other things you might like to make with spare leather.
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