Before you throw away those leather garments from the '70s or the leftover leather scraps from your last upholstery job, think again. There are hundreds of crafts that use scraps of leather. According to the experts at the University of California, Berkeley, men from the Yoruba culture used colorful leather scraps to make designs and jewelry. You too can let your imagination and creativity run wild to create tasteful decorations. These crafts can be given as gifts, or sold online and at craft fairs.
Most people have little difficulty finding gifts for women but run out of ideas when it comes to men. Make a charming photo album or scrap book trimmed with leather scraps. Cut the leather into decorative shapes, or add a few well-placed strips for a little masculine edge.
Gather your leather scraps, cut out shapes and glue them to canvas or any frame that can be hung on a wall. Paint the leather murals or leave their original finish. You can use materials you already have, or purchase frames from a thrift store.
Mirrors are a great way to add decoration to any room. Glue strips of leather onto the mirror frame. Use the same color strips, or create a design with various colors. You can also add buttons, rhinestones or other decorations on top of the leather.
A nice touch for any "executive" desk is a leather-trimmed desk set. Purchase a desk set from an office-supply store. Cut the scrap leather into strips for a more precise, finished look. Glue the leather pieces on the assorted desk set pieces.
If you have large leather scraps, you can create a fully covered room divider. For smaller scraps, construct a design first, using heavy fabric as a backing, then apply it to the divider. Use a glue or staple gun to complete the craft.
Sew together leather scraps to make large "skins" that you can then use for craft projects. Purchase footstools from a craft store or resale shop, then cover them with leather. Once the leather skin is finished, stretch it over the footstool frame and then staple it using a staple gun and heavy-duty staples. Use upholstery studs to decorate the footstool.
Purses and Accessories
Before discarding an outdated purse, think about modifying the look by adding a few pieces of scrap leather. Use multiple colors and textures so that it goes with a multitude of shoes and clothing. You can also use leather scraps on wallets and belts.
Make beautiful jewelry with leather scraps. Purchase earring kits from the craft store, or recycle and use parts from jewelry that is outdated or no longer worn. Overlay metal or cardboard with the leather scraps and glue in place. Add stones and gems for additional decoration.
For an elegant yet classic decoration, add initials to your crafts. Almost anyone would appreciate their initials on date books, journals or even a briefcase. Trace letters on the face of the leather scrap using a stencil and cut the letters with a pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife. Glue the letters onto the item, and you have a personalized gift.
Kim Walton has been writing for business clients since 1999. Specializing in business topics, her articles also appear on websites including eHow. Walton owns several successful small businesses and serves as an educator and council member with The Gerson Lehrman Group. Walton attended the University of Arkansas and Chicago College of Commerce.