Use an Old Purse to Make Leather for Jewelry
As you might already know, I’m a huge fan of recycled and upcycled jewelry and craft supplies, and I’ve made some jewelry out of some strange things, including old t-shirts and plastic sushi trays. I’m always looking for ways to turn something old, broken, or no longer useful into something that has a new life and purpose. So when my mom tried to give me this handbag she didn’t want anymore and I said, “No thanks, it’s not really my style,” she seemed a little surprised.
“Oh, I know -” she said, “I just thought you might want to cut it up and use the leather for something fun.”
Well, well, well! In THAT case….YES! Hand over the bag! So, I have to thank my mom for donating the purse used in this project, and for giving me the idea in the first place. She’s a smart cookie, that one :)
In this video, I show you how I disassemble the handbag carefully to salvage every scrap of leather possible. I have lots of great ideas for this leather – and my next video shows you how to make a magic braid leather bracelet like the one in the photo, if you want to check that out too. Enjoy!
If you are unable to view the embedded video below, you can see >>How to Salvage Leather from an Old Handbag<< on YouTube.
TOOLS & SUPPLIES:
• leather bag for cutting
• craft knife with a new sharp blade
• AND/OR a seam ripper
• work surface safe for cutting on
• metal edged ruler (optional)
Think about salvaging leather for jewelry and crafts from other items besides old handbags – consider chopping up leather vests, jackets, skirts, pants, belts, and even maybe boots and shoes for leather you can use in jewelry and crafting! Some of these items are really easy to find at thrift stores for much cheaper than it is to buy leather from a supplier if you don’t mind using a little bit of elbow grease!
If your bag (or garment, etc.) is made of thinner leather, like mine, you can use sharp fabric scissors or a rotary cutter instead of a craft knife to cut shapes or strips from your leather.
Save old clasps, buckles, connectors, and other hardware that inspires you – and think of ways you might incorporate them into a cool piece of jewelry somehow. I think the magnetic clasps are especially cool and would be great as a closure for a leather cuff bracelet!
Wow! Such a great video! I love your technique! I usually use a seam ripper, which is a lot more work than an craft knife!
Jessica Barst says
Thanks Ruth! I imagine a seam ripper would be a bit more work for something like this… A good, sharp craft knife is great for so many things – it cuts like butter!
It`s a lovely idea to salvage old leather purses to make jewelry ! I have used old leather scraps from purse to bead embroider for my pieces but did not know that I could salvage most of the leather by cutting it right . Your video has really helped in showing me the correct technique . The use of craft knife to rip over the seams is really fantastic and makes the work so much easier than cutting all the layers of the purse which I was doing .
Thanks for this wonderful video
Jessica Barst says
Thank you so much, Motidana. I’m glad you found this helpful! Embroidered leather sounds lovely – I think it would make a nice cuff bracelet.