What to Do With Old Leather Wallets: 6 Ways to Reuse, Relove, or Reinvent

Leather: The beautiful, soft, and multi-purpose material that can make striking and long-lasting accessories: such as wallets, belts, and bags, just to name a few.

Nappa leather, in particular, is a luxury fabric that gives our wallets that oh so soft finish and feel. Nappa leather is also known for its durability. But while Allett wallets should age gracefully and give you years of wear, there may come a point when you might want to find creative ways to either repair, re-use, or recycle them to give your wallet new life for years to come. This way, you can extend the life of your wallet for years to come! So… what to do with old leather wallets?

Let’s start with the key takeaway before we get into a few more details on reusing and recycling your old wallet.

  • If you’re in need of repairs, find a shoe repairer or cobbler.
  • You can always donate your old leather wallet.
  • Recycle your old leather wallet at a textile recycling center.
  • Recycle your old leather wallet to create a set of napkin rings or a recycled leather rug.
  • Or practice some Feng Shui on your old leather wallet to breathe new life into them, bring good prosperity, and find balance in this fast-paced world.

There are just so many ways to get a second life from your unloved and less-used wallet.

So let’s dig into more details on what to do with old leather wallets.

Sheets of Nappa leather used in wallet production stacked on a work table.

Here’s what you can do with those old leather wallets

Leather is a fabric known for its natural looks and beauty. If your leather wallet is suffering from some minor blemishes or is a bit too worn in parts, a cobbler or shoe and bag repair store usually has the necessary equipment for the job. We’re talking about necessary fixes, such as fixing stitching, removing stains, doing a little patchwork, or even stretching. Even if your wallet is only gently worn, cobblers and other leatherworkers can make it look good as new.

Why do we recommend repairing? Repairing is a good choice because:

  • It’s an eco-conscious option that will extend the leather wallet’s natural quality and durability.
  • Many repairs are simple and can be done while you wait.
  • Some cobblers even offer a full leather treatment service so be sure to ask!
  • It’s best to avoid restoring leather goods at home. Some of the chemicals used in the manufacturing process can be harmful and the price of tools and other cleaning or restoring equipment can be too costly for a one-off repair.

If you feel the damage is too extensive to warrant a repair on your old leather goods, it’s always a good idea to…

2. Recycle your leather wallet

Since the inception of the recycling industry, many advances have been made in leather recycling.

Most of the recycling is done by a tanning facility after they’ve collected leather scraps from shoe factories and other types of clothing factories. These scraps are collected, ground down into a leather slurry, and pressed to be reused. This process is similar to how chipboards are made.

Textile recycling centers

If your used leather wallet is totally beyond repair then the environmentally aware and eco-friendly decision is to take it to a recycling outlet. There they can be resold as scraps for craft projects or can be recycled for other manufacturing needs.

Before you go to any recycling center, remember to check first by calling to find out if leather goods such as wallets are accepted. Recycling and textile centers all have their own specific dos and don’ts when it comes to the type of textiles they accept. Some products may even need to be cleaned or sanitized before being accepted.

By recycling your used wallet, you will be able to contribute to the fight against textile waste, climate change, and pollution.

According to experts at the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generate a staggering 16 million tons of textile waste a year, which equals over 6% of the entirety of municipal waste.

3. Donate used leather wallets

If it’s not possible to recycle your leather wallets at your nearest recycling center, then you could try donating to a local organization such as a school, a craft group, a theater, or any other type of non-profit.

These types of organizations usually accept donations and can find a good home for your old wallet.

Not to mention this helps to reduce landfills and repurposes as much waste as possible.

Someone opening the coin pocket of the Allett Leather Coin Wallet 2.0.

4. Create a set of napkin rings

So if you fancy a little bit of wallet repurposing, then why not create a set of unique napkin rings to show off at your next dinner party!?

Crafting a set of napkin rings is simpler than you might think! You don’t need to be Martha Stewart to make it happen either. And if you don’t think your wallet will yield you enough leather to make a set, you could even use something like an old leather belt to make an eclectic, mismatched set!

  • Remove all the stitching and get your leather wallet down to individual sheets.
  • Cut your leather wallet into four equal-sized strips-shaped pieces by using a ruler and a strong craft knife.
  • Punch some holes in each piece using a hammer and nail.
  • Overlap the edges and add a strong adhesive or craft glue to keep the strips firmly together into a tube shape.
  • Put them in a warm, aerated place to dry thoroughly before using.

5. Repurpose an old wallet into a recycled leather mat

Leather scraps from your old wallet, other leather goods, and clothes can make an awesomely unique, bespoke leather rug for your favorite lounging space.

This project does require a few strips so ask any friends or family if they have any old leather goods or other items to donate to your project. You could even ask them to join you in your project for some added quality time together!

Here’s how to repurpose your leather goods into a recycled mat:

  • Using a craft knife and a ruler, cut your leather scraps into pieces. If you prefer the mismatched look, you can get creative with the colors and textures of the different types of leather, or you could even dye them all the same shade.
  • Lay the pieces out on the floor until you are happy with the pattern. You could randomize the scrap tiles or go for some kind of geometric pattern for a wow factor.
  • Finally, glue the pieces together using the strongest type of craft glue and use a bit of matting as a sturdy backing layer.

6. Old wallet Feng Shui

Before you decide to repair, repurpose, recycle or donate your old leather wallet, you might want to try the ancient art of Feng Shui!

To attract the most prosperity, this ancient Chinese art recommends buying a new wallet once a year, losing the extra clutter (even in your wallet), and always having fresh air circulating around you. This practice of wealth attraction is also said to curb the desire to overspend and also protect you against unforeseen expenses.

Here are the dos and don’ts… or in this case the “always” and “nevers.”

  • Never place your wallet on the floor. Never buy an irregularly shaped wallet.
  • Never fold your bank notes.
  • Always keep your wallet neatly organized.
  • Always be sure your wallet is either black, blue, red, brown, orange or green.
  • And always keep your wallet in a secluded, safe, and serene place.

Find out more about wallets and Feng Shui in our article.

An open Original Leather Wallet showing interior card pockets.

And lastly…

Have we answered your question about what to do with old leather wallets?

Once you have repurposed, recycled, donated, or got involved in a crafty project with your old leather wallet, you might be needing a new one...

So don’t forget to head over to our store for a wide range of minimalist leather, RFID-blocking, nylon wallets, and travel wallets, beautifully designed and made by our master craftspeople. While you’re there, feel free to drop us a note with any questions or other ideas on how to reuse, recycle, or relove old wallets. We’d love to hear from you!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published