Scraps: Trash ’em or Keep ’em?

Jar of Holes

An eternal question: what to do with the scraps leftover after making something from leather. Trash them? Or keep them?

Here are some of the things I do or (if I pre-tattle on myself, plan to do, with them):

  • Small Stuff
    • Keep the holes from punching, they could be used as stuffing
    • Keep the dust from sanding, it could become filler on sculpted works
  • Large (relative) Stuff
    • Bracelets, cuffs, earrings, necklaces
    • Coasters
    • Patchwork items
    • Charms
    • Key chains, straps, fobs
    • Tassels
    • Bookmarks
    • Hair slides, wraps
    • Belt/strap keepers
    • Zipper pulls
    • Maker tabs
    • And here are lots of things others have mentioned as well:
      • 2020 Mask keepers / ear savers
      • Lace
      • Rings
      • T-Rex (this wins the what to do with scraps award (if we had such an award)!)
      • Lanyards
      • Artist trading cards
      • Buttons
      • Cord keepers (e.g. for drawstrings on a bag, or for headphone cords, etc.)
      • Ornaments
      • Cup sleeves
      • Welts (e.g. in holsters)
      • Hat badges
      • Business card holders
      • Guitar pick holders
      • Coin / ring trays
      • Scarf / bandana cuffs
      • Minimalist wallets
      • Decorative accents for other items
      • Drawer pulls
      • Practice, practice, practice for cutting, stamping, modeling, molding, dyeing, burning/branding, sanding, edging, burnishing, gluing, riveting, skiving, grooving, creasing, resisting, antiquing, painting, braiding, etc., etc.

Mind you, for me this is mostly all theoretical at this point.

I DO keep the scraps, holes, and dust. (I do throw the occasional scrap away, like when I toss right (trash can) instead of left (scrap pile) and don’t correct it. Or if i miscut an angled strap end then use a curve cutter to redirect it, I’ll toss that the resultant little curved-bottom wonky triangle into the round file (if I really wanted to, I could punch some holes out of it then sand the rest, but: nah.)

And I PLAN to do these sorts of things with them.

But haven’t.


Anyhoot, if that doesn’t get your creative gears moving, take any of those things above, add the word leather, and put into google search, better yet, use google image search. Or here, try some visuals on Pinterest.