Make a Monogrammed Men's Leather Valet

Easily turn an old frame and upcycled leather into a personalized tray to stylishly hold his keys, watch, cash — all the things he needs to grab before heading out the door.

Personalized Tray Holding Watch, Change and Cufflinks

Monogrammed Men's Leather Valet

Does the man on your gift list need somewhere to stash his stuff? Easily turn an old frame and upcycled leather into a personalized tray to stylishly hold his keys, watch, cash — everything he needs to grab before heading out the door. Get step-by-step instructions.

Photo by: H. Camille Smith

H. Camille Smith

Materials Needed:

  • suede
  • photo frame (5x8, 8x10 or 9x12)
  • permanent marker
  • small and medium adhesive letter stencils (typically used for etching glass)
  • upholstery batting
  • strong-hold tape (strapping or shipping)
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • rubbing alcohol
  • painter's tape
  • ruler
  • paper towels

Prep Frame

Remove glass and set aside. Pop or pry off (using a screwdriver, if necessary) the fold-out stand on back of frame and remove frame backing.

Disassembling Frame

Disassembling Frame

Cut Leather and Batting

Using frame back or glass as a template, trace shape onto suede and a thin layer of upholstery batting and cut out (Images 1 and 2). Tip: This project uses such a small amount of leather that it's a great way to upcycle a damaged old purse, pillow, skirt or jacket.

Place in Frame

Layer batting and suede on frame backing then reinsert into frame, stretching the leather tight as you push the back into the frame opening (Image 1). Flip frame over and use tape to secure leather and backing in frame (Image 2).

Add Registration Marks and Place Stencils

To make lining up the stencils easier, add small pieces of painter's tape to the approximate centers of the frame's top, bottom and sides. Use a ruler to determine the exact center then mark it to create registration marks that will help you line up the letter stencils. Depending on the size of your frame, you can either eyeball the stencil's placement or use the ruler to ensure they are evenly spaced.

Placing Stencil

Placing Stencil

Create Monogram

Once stencils are in position, firmly press down on each one to ensure they are well adhered. Fill in each letter with a permanent marker, being careful not to push the pen's tip under the stencil's edges (Image 1). Carefully remove stencils by peeling them up (Image 2).

Clean Stencils and Add Felt Pads

Using paper towels and rubbing alcohol, gently clean stencils front and back (Image 1). Note: The permanent marker may stain the inside area of each stencil, but don't worry because it won't transfer to future projects. To protect furniture from scratches, flip frame over and add felt pads to each of the four corners (Image 2).

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