Posts tagged "leather"

How can I reuse or recycle an old leather jacket/coat?

We’ve had an email from Linzi:

What can I do with an old leather jacket? It’s really dated now.

If it’s really dated, keep it – it’ll probably come back into fashion next week ;) More seriously, someone might want it for a vintage look – or for a fancy dress party – perhaps offer it to a charity shop, ideally one with a “vintage” section (or a charity shop chain that has vintage shops – like Oxfam or BHF).

Any suggestions for reuses if it’s not suitable for passing on? We’ve already covered scraps of leather and a leather/suede purse – some of the reuses/upcycling ideas for those may apply to the jacket too — make it into a purse, bag or belt, scraps can be added to glove palms or tool handles to improve grip and bigger jackets could be made into cushion covers or to cover basic storage boxes to make them more stylish. A couple of weeks ago, we also mentioned Mes Footwear – a footwear company in Newcastle, who turn old jackets into new shoes. My father-not-in-law has made numerous pairs of bellows in his time and uses scrap leather from sofas for that – would a back of a leather jacket would probably work in the same way.

Any other ideas that make particular use of it being jacket shaped now?

Upcycling leather jackets into shoes, pill bottles into knitting spools & an old kitchen into art work

Some more news/links from my inbox that I thought may interest you guys:

  • Matt from Mes Footwork has been in touch to tell us about their new range of upcycled trainers: “We make shoes in Newcastle from recycled leather jackets (or any other item of clothing). The jackets are usually bought in charity shops, or people can send us their own. A cycle of recycling, giving back, ethical production and fashion.” Good to see upcycling – and ethical shoe production in the UK.
  • Annette emailed to say “I have recently posted an article called How To Make A Recycled Asprin Bottle Knitting Spool. The article is a short tutorial on converting a small plastic bottle into an old fashioned knitting spool. I believe your readers may enjoy learning the technique.” I believe you guys may enjoy learning about it too ;)
  • The wonderful Alison Bailey Smith is working on a new project at the moment – “de-junk, re-junk”:

    We are about to embark on kitchen extension which means demolishing the old 70’s utility room and gutting the kitchen, so I have been tidying and removing what I can in preparation for the building work…coincidently I was asked again by my two helpful guys seconded to Wirral Council to organise and exhibition for them (I helped with one last year) so have used my de-junking to provide materials to artists from the networking event I run “With These Hands” and wider afield in Merseyside and told them to go forth and create for the show. We plan to display the work on hollow doors and cabinets transformed into plinths etc.

    She is also currently working with the local Mayor’s office to recreate the Mayor’s chain and badge of office from recycled materials. More info and pics on her blog.

How can I reuse or recycle a dog’s leather collar?

Earlier in the week, I had a to-the-point email from Cubby asking:

how can i recycle a leather dog collar?

My first thought was keeping using it/pass it on – but then I remembered that we’ve got an old leather collar of Lily’s here after the metal work rusted and snapped off in a not-easy-to-fix way – so it’s possibly Cubby is in the same position. (I’m rather annoyed about the rusting as I purposefully went for what looked to be a good quality collar, with the hope it would last and last. Bah!)

Basically, what we’ve been left with is a strip of pretty tough leather, which is shaped and holed at one end.

It’s not easy to recycle random leather things – logistically more than anything, as the fabric and shoe bins that collect other bits are usually more geared towards items that can be sent overseas for reuse rather than industrial reclamation so they probably won’t know what to do with it, and it might just end up in a bin.

A leather strap like that though could be reused in a number of ways – you might be able to upcycle a collar from a small dog into a bracelet/cuff (like you might do with an old belt). A longer collar may work as a replacement strap on an old bag/luggage, or as a brace in the garden — we’re going to be planting out some fruit trees soon which will need staking, Lily’s nice brown collar would make a strong alternative to rope etc.

Any other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle leather/suede purse/bag?

We’ve had an email from Joanne:

Hi, I have an old leather zipped wallet type purse which is old, worn and quite grubby. I would rather recycle it somehow than put it in the bin but am not sure how to do this. Do you have any ideas?

First, it obviously depends on the state of the item but it might benefit from a makeover. Trying cleaning and polishing the leather, or if it’s suede (as Joanne suggested in her email’s subject line), you can get suede cleaning tools for just a couple of £/$s — they’re obviously good for maintaining all sorts of suede items, they don’t make them spotless but they can improve them a lot. Any other ideas for makeover/upcycling suggestions?

If it’s too far gone for that, the leather might be reclaimable for craft projects – including ones that’ll benefit from a “distressed” look to the leather. The suggestions given on our post about recycling leather/suede from an old sofa might need more leather than a small purse would provide but there still might be enough to make small things with — a larger handbag might have enough good quality leather to make a smaller coin purse. Or it could be used to make small art artefacts – like these cool leather scrap mushrooms.

Any other suggestions?

(I’ve used a stock photo, not Joanne’s actual purse so don’t feel restricted based on the photo – just think old leather purses/bags in general.)

Awesome reducing, reusing & recycling links

Here’s this week’s awesome reducing, reusing & recycling links round-up: