Make a functional and decorative valet tray to contain keys, pocket change and all those odds and ends that need wrangling around your office or entryway.
If you’re like us, it may take a couple of extra seconds to locate your keys, sunglasses or phone from around the house before heading out the door. Prior to building our entryway console table last week, we didn’t have a dedicated area for catching all these little sundries, and soon after, we realized we needed some sort of organizer where they could land.
We ended up making a catch-all tray to live on the entry console, and today we’re excited to share how you can create a simple and stylish valet of your own using little more than a piece of scrap leather and a handful of rivets.
- Scrap leather (or faux leather)
- Leather punch (optional)
- Craft knife
- Double-cap rivets
- Rivet setter
- Hammer or mallet
We picked up a large scrap of rich, brown cowhide from our local leather crafting supply store. It was about 2 millimeters thick and firm with some flexibility — perfect for a sturdy tray. Most leather crafting and supply shops will have large scrap pieces like this for you to work with if you ask. Pulling up an image on your mobile device of the final project you are hoping to make will help the shop experts lead you in the right direction. If you don’t have local access to scrap leather, you can order it online or opt for using faux leather or industrial felt.
First, decide how large of a tray you want, and then measure the leather scrap to size, adding an additional inch to each of the four sides before cutting. The added material around the base perimeter will act as your tray walls. As an example, we wanted a 6-inch-by-6-inch base tray, so we measured and cut a 7-inch-by-7-inch square from the leather scrap.
Cut the leather to size with a sharp craft knife against the straight edge of a ruler, creating a clean cut all the way through. If you haven’t worked with leather before, practice cutting on an un-needed scrap edge to get a feel for it.
Peel away cut leather scraps and any “fuzz” to get a clean edge for your tray.
Tip: if your leather scrap has wrinkles or imperfections in it, you can actually flatten them using an iron on a low heat setting with a piece of paper sandwiched in between (we used a brown paper grocery bag).
Gather and fold one corner of your leather square in a mirrored crease. Fold the corners according to which side of the leather you’d like for the exterior of the tray. We liked the idea of the softer side as the interior. Then punch a hole through both layers of the folded leather about 1/2-inch down, using a leather drive punch and hammer or the tip of your craft knife.
For this project, we used a size 0-5/64-inch leather drive punch and standard-size small, double-cap rivets.
Insert the rivet stem through both layers of punched holes, flip it over to see the exposed stem, top with a rivet cap and then give the cap a couple of firm taps with a hammer over a hard surface to seal, set and secure. This is another step you should practice on scraps if you haven’t worked with rivets before.
Repeat setting rivets into each of the 4 corners — it can get a little addicting/methodical after you get the hang of it.
When all four sides are set with rivets, you can call your tray complete. Now it’s time to find the ideal spot to corral all that pocket clutter.
We placed ours at the entryway of our home to act as an organizer for keys, pocket change and anything else we need a quick landing place for that might have otherwise ended up scattered across our new console table.
Make multiple trays in different sizes for different areas of your home — they work for not only the entryway but also as a bedside table valet, jewelry tray or desk organizer. They also make for useful gifts, so keep this project in your back pocket for the holidays or the next birthday celebration on your list.
Mary & Tim
Keep up with Mary and Tim’s adventures in DIY, home and gardening on their collaborative lifestyle blog, 17Apart. Find them on Instagram (@17Apart) and page through delicious recipes on Tim’s food blog, E.A.T.
Photo credits: Mary & Tim Vidra