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How To Make A Gorgeous Leather Pen Pot

There’s something about tin cans. I can’t help finding new ways to upcycle and reuse them. This leather pen pot has to be one of my classiest tin can upcycles.

In the past, I’ve made gold crushed can DIY planters, a recycled jeans planter, Marimekko decorative tin can planters and even upcycled tin with a faux marble effect. You can see many more of my upcycled tin cans here.

DIY Upcycled Rainbow Leather Pen Pot

I was about to throw out an outdated white leather handbag when I thought of using it for my latest tin can upcycle. Having painted leather before, I thought it would be fun to add a rainbow of colour to the white leather and use this to make a leather pen pot.

I say leather, but the handbag turned out to be faux leather (so vegan-friendly!). Don’t worry if you don’t have an old bag; you can easily pick a faux leather one up cheaply at a thrift/charity store. Or even buy faux leather online.

Also, I say leather pen pots, but they can easily be plant holders. Because the leather pen pot is so colourful, it looks great with all my colour pens.

This is a simple and affordable craft that uses mainly upcycled materials. It took about 30 minutes to complete.

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watercolor rainbow upcycled leather pen pot

What you need to make an Upcycled leather pen pot

  • Tin cans – I used tin cans in a variety of sizes.
  • White faux leather – from an old handbag or bought online. I think the pots look better if you can get faux leather with a bevelled texture.
What you need to make a leather pen pot

How to make a colourful Upcycled leather pen pot

Step 1: The first thing to do is cut the faux leather to size. As I was using an old handbag, this involved cutting it open with a pair of scissors first and removing all the lining.
The piece of leather to go around the pot needs to be the same height as the tin can and about 2cm longer than the diameter of the tin can you are going to cover.

cutting up leather handbag
cutting leather pot sleeve to size

Step 2: Next, paint the cut piece of leather with watercolour paints. As you first brush the watercolour paint on the leather, you will notice that the faux leather appears to repel it initially, but if you leave it for a few seconds, it will stick to the leather.

It’s hard to paint detail with watercolour paint, but I liked its washed-out effect on the leather. I used many bright colours from my paint pallet to create a random rainbow pattern on the leather.

If you have never painted with watercolours, there are lots of fabulous tutorials available. You may also want to practice on paper before painting the faux leather.

painting the leather with watercolour
painting the leather with watercolour

Step 3: The paint shouldn’t take long to dry. I left it as it was, but if you want, you can seal it with an acrylic spray sealer, which will probably give the leather pen pot a shinier finish.

Once dry, the sleeve is ready to sew. Stitch the two ends with a brightly coloured embroidery thread using a blanket stitch.

Blanket stitch leather pen pot

Step 4: Slip the leather cover over the tin can to create your lovely pen pot.

upcycled rainbow leather pot
Upcycled tin can into a rainbow leather pen pot
Upcycled rainbow leather planter
watercolor rainbow upcycled leather pen pot
watercolor rainbow upcycled leather pen pot

There are many more DIY pencil holder ideas here.

 Or, if you prefer, you can use your upcycled leather pot as a unique plant pot for some succulents. Either way, a leather desk tidy or trendy planter will look great on my DIY world map desk!

This isn’t the first time I’ve painted leather. In the past, I have made an upcycled leather bag with paint and iron-on transfers.  You’ll find more leather craft ideas and handmade gift ideas here.

You can make matching DIY bookmarks with any leftover leather scraps.

upcycled leather planter

Rosie (@greenrosielife)

Tuesday 18th of September 2018

I think this would make a great present to give a teacher. I know from my teacher friends that they prefer something handmade and not just anything grabbed from the shelf without much forethought - or yet another "Best Teacher" mug! How easy was the faux leather to sew? #GoingGreen

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 18th of September 2018

Thank you. The faux leather was so easy to sew the darning needle went through it like butter.

Cheryl | TimeToCraft

Sunday 16th of September 2018

What a great way to use an old leather bag. Fake or not. Love the addition of the paint. I know it would make me smile when I sat down to work, if they were on my desk. #GoingGreen

Claire Armstrong

Sunday 16th of September 2018

Thank you, it does brighten up my desk.

Waste Not Wednesday Week 116 - My Thrifty House

Saturday 18th of August 2018

[…] DIY Leather Pen Pot […]

Waste Not Wednesday 116 - Salvage Sister and Mister

Wednesday 15th of August 2018

[…] How to Make A Gorgeous Leather Pen Pot|Pillar Box Blue […]


Tuesday 14th of August 2018

Love this idea. You were my favorite pick for this week on Waste Not Wednesday!

Claire Armstrong

Tuesday 14th of August 2018

Thank you, Deborah that’s awesome.