Everyone likes to keep organized. Designer Randa Roberts has developed a wonderful system for keeping supplies, tools, and everyday necessities organized. Using cork and recycled leather, you can make her Reclaimed Leather Wall Pockets in just a few hours.
RECLAIMED LEATHER WALL POCKETS
Time to make: 2-3 hours.
Skill level: all levels
How To Use an Old Leather Jacket in Home Decor
Have you noticed that leather is huge in home decor? In the last year I’ve seen it used in storage and organization and it really looks luxurious. To me, leather is the ultimate because it lasts. It has inspired me to reclaim a leather jacket and turn it into a few of the trends I’d seen.
First up, some charming wall pockets! Pinterest gave me so many ideas, but I found it impossible not to love these creative little storage cells. I was really drawn to the clean, minimalist and modern design, and that they can be made completely from recycled, reclaimed and reused materials. Instantly I could imagine a sweet little grouping on my wall, with mail and sunglasses peeking out from the pockets, instead of cluttering up a table top.
I had a look around my studio and found some leftover cork tiles and an interesting leather jacket from my own stash. I did a dollar store run for the two items I needed: hot glue sticks and metal thumb tacks. It was time to find out if this decor project was as easy as it looked. (spoiler alert: totally)
A few notes to get best results:
- For this project, I changed my blade to a brand new OLFA Endurance blade and was amazed by how clean the cork cut. A fresh blade will give you excellent edges, whereas a duller blade will result in a crumbly edge. I love the OLFA Endurance blade, and honestly, I’ve just changed mine after 12 full months, so if you’re looking to change your blade less often, I recommend trying the Endurance blade.
- Before you cut, prepare yourself to go slow and steady as the blades are incredibly sharp. It is optimal to make one continues circle cut, which will take time but turn out great. Scissors can be used, but the edges may look choppy.
- There are lots of ways to embellish your wall pockets. I used some braided fringe that I salvaged from an area rug and metal thumb tacks, but you can cut some fringe, do some leather braiding, and add your own personal touch to match your decor.
Are you ready? Go plug in your glue gun and lets get started!
- Cork tiles or any cork
- Leather jacket, or large leather scraps
- OLFA Splash 45mm Rotary Cutter Quick Change, Navy (RTY-2C/NBL)
- OLFA Endurance blade 45mm Endurance Rotary Blade, Pack of 1 (RB45H-1)
- OLFA 6″x12″ Frosted Acrylic Ruler (QR-6X12)
- OLFA 24″ x 36″ Double-Sided Rotary Mat (RM-MG)
- Chalk marker or pen
- Glue gun & a few glue sticks
- Plates, or compass to make large round circles
1. AND CUT OUT CIRCLES ON CORK TILES
Decide how big you’d like your wall pockets to be. I went to my cupboard and used three sizes of plates as templates, and I simply traced them onto the cork tiles. I had three tiles, so I decided to make a small (7” diameter) medium (9” diameter) and large size (10.5” diameter).
Clear your cutting mat of anything other than your cork tile with circle drawn on it. Grab your OLFA Rotary Cutter comfortably, and gently sink it into the cork tile, starting where you’re most comfortable. Go slow and your cutter with a new blade should cleanly and easily cut through the cork tile. Follow the line to the best of your ability.
TIP: if you’re using dinner plates, don’t use a Sharpie to trace your circles. Use a pen or chalk. I heard this from a friend.
- TRACE AND CUT OUT CIRCLES ON LEATHER
- If you have a leather jacket to use, take this time to use a pair of scissors and carefully disassemble the jacket. The back of the jacket usually has the largest pieces of leather without seams so start there. Lay your leather flat on the OLFA cutting mat and using your cork circles, trace out another circle. You’ll want your pockets to be at least half the circle deep, and you’ll cut a straight line using your ruler.
- While you’ve got your ruler out, cut a half inch wide strip as long as you can from your leather for your hanger. I used the collar of the leather jacket. My strips ended up being 24”, 20” and 17” long, but yours can be however long you like.
- GLUE YOUR LEATHER TO THE CORK
- Fold your leather piece in half and lay it on the cork. Grab your glue gun and put a bead of glue at the centre bottom point, and then work your way up and around the cork. Fold the side over and gently smooth out, using a popsicle stick or other tool to avoid burned fingers. Repeat for other side. I find this method makes it easy to get your leather straight.
- ATTACH HANGER
- Using your chalk pen, mark on the back of your wall pocket where the leather pocket starts on both sides. That’s where you’ll add a bead of hot glue and secure each end of the hanger strip to the back. Let dry.
- EMBELLISH YOUR WALL POCKET
- I decided to go with the minimalist flow, but added some brass tacks to finish my wall pockets off. It was fun to add a touch of boho fringe. Follow your imagination and decorate yours to match your style.
TIP: The thumb tacks I used poked out the back of cork. Once I pushed all of my tacks through, I gently pushed them flush with the front and added a strip of hot glue to the entire back of my wall pocket. It keeps the tacks completely covered, saving your walls (and your fingers!)
- HANG & ENJOY
- It’s time to hang up your new wall pockets! I have mine hanging from an accordion style hook in my front entry way. I love hanging my sunglasses, and keeping my sunscreen in one. They look adorable with a few pieces of mail in them, and you won’t misplace an envelope again. I’ll be hanging that big one up in my studio and keeping my rulers in it. Now, what will you put in yours?
Happy crafting in 2020 and may this be your most creative year yet! – Randa
Randa has even more tips for reclaiming leather for projects to inspire you here.
Get to know Randa better by reading her interview, too!
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