Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Leather Technique

I was first introduced to making aged and cracked "leather" by "Miniature Collector" in an article by Bluette Maloney. The article appeared in February, 2002. This "leather" I am making isn't aged and cracked. It looks like the "leather" on the half scale wing chair in the previous post.
I tried unbleached cotton muslin, it is just too heavy and it won't get a sealed surface like the silk. I find silk blouses at Goodwill and other thrift shops. I used to pay, well, the last silk I bought was $18.00 a yard, silk batiste. I'm saving that, my kids will find it along with all of the other stuff I have saved!! I wanted to try out the muslin because it's easier and cheaper to get, although the last blouse I bought was $3.00 and that's a lot of silk.
I am using Delta's Ceramcoat, I am sorry, I mixed 2 colors. I can't seem to not mix paint. I used most of a bottle of Burnt Sienna, filled it (about an inch) with Dark Brown. Going to use Krylon's gloss spray, if you've got satin, that's fine. I use Krylon because it doesn't yellow. Then I'm going to use Folk Art Artists' Pigment, #504, Van Dyke Brown, it's the thick stuff. If you can't find Folk Art, use artists' acrylic in the tubes or a dark, dark brown in craft acrylics like Delta. I wouldn't worry about the color too much. You will probably find your own combination that pleases you. Get a glazing medium or acrylic thinner to thin the Van Dyke Brown and some wax paper to protect your table top.

Tape some wax paper on your table top to protect it from the acrylic paint.

Lay the silk on the wax paper. I squirt the paint directly onto the silk and roll the paint out.

I would have rolled out to the edge but I was running out of wax paper so I couldn't put down a double row.

Hang the silk up to dry. The silk doesn't take long to dry, be sure it's dry before the next step.

Don't let the silk stay on the wax paper or it will dry to the wax paper. Throw away the used wax paper and put down a new layer.

Go outside or in your garage and spray the silk with the Krylon. A couple of light coats should do it. Let dry.

Give the silk another coat of paint, hang it up and let dry again.
I used about a half of bottle of paint on this 12" x 12" piece of silk.
When the paint is dry spray the silk with Krylon again. We want this sealed so let the first coat dry and spray again, let dry.

You see, I have a little shine to the silk.

The next part is kind of artistic to your taste. Play with it. I'm mixing the Van Dyke Brown with (even if you are using regular craft paint) an acrylic thinner or glazing medium. We want to work with this a bit to get the surface color the way we want it.
I mix half and half.
I dip a small rag into the mixture and make circular movements in a small area. Go on to another area. You can loosen up the color a bit with some straight glazing medium, if you hurry.
In the last picture you can see the Van Dyke Brown in the upper right hand corner. I does make the "leather" dark. You may want to play with different color combinations. That's why I suggest using thrift store silk blouses, I played a lot.
Hang up the silk again outside or in your garage and spray with the Krylon to finish. Sometimes the "leather" doesn't look like much, but when it's on a piece of furniture your eyes just tell you it's leather.
I store the extra "leather" on a cardboard roll, like the ones paper towels come on.
The "leather" on the half scale wing chair is red, I used Delta's Dark Brown on the last step to darken it. I have made other colors as well and they have looked good.
I think you need to have a project to use your "leather" on, how about an ottoman?

Have to work on that . . . . . Kris


  1. I cut out this article from Bluette and pasted in my "projects" book awhile ago. Something I've always wanted to try but never got around to it. I cannot say if the process is easy or hard but I CAN say that the results are beautiful and remarkably believable as I currently own 2 pieces of furniture that Kris made using this faux leather.

    I am definately going to try this.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this,I am definitely going to to try it out one day !
    julie xx

  3. Thank you Kris. This is invaluable.I find real leather very hard to work with. This is will a great alternative! And they look and probably also feel like the real thing. No animal harmed in its production. You can't get any better than that!

  4. It really does look like leather, very inventive Kris, thanks for showing it.

  5. Thanks a lot for making this tutorial, it is so interesting!!!
    I am very happy to be a follower on your blog, I always find in it so many great ideas...!!!!
    Hugs from Spain,

  6. thanks for sharing your fucked!
    mini hugs ♥

  7. Thanks for the tutorial. I'll sure give it a try.
    And now a coment to Sans..... no animals harmed??? We don't waste a thought, when it comes to spiders..... hmmm

  8. This is wonderful Kris.

    Do you think this fabric would still be flexible enough to dress mini dolls with afterward ? It is really hard to get good pliable thin leather for clothing.

  9. Thanks so much for posting this! I'm thinking not only of furniture but also covers for "old" books :)

  10. Great tutorial! I'm going to try this for sure. I do have a question though...what is Krylon? I've been searching the internet, is it a spray paint? I really enjoy reading your blog, you have great ideas! Thanks for sharing!
    Greetings from Holland,

  11. I've had a play with this idea today. Started out with a white 100% cotton, painted with a yellow ochre, let it dry then divided the piece (about A4 size) into sections. These then had another coat of paint in different colours: burnt sienna, dark green, crimson red and black. One little section just had small amounts of each of these colours sponged on randomly on top of each other. I think it'll work perfectly for books, the colours are quite 'mottled' rather than solid which I like. I'd never have thought of doing this 'fake leather' for mini projects but my mind is so busy now seeing old suitcases and so on.... Thanks again for the inspiration!!

  12. Do you think this will work on Satin fabric?

  13. fine 100% cotton works good too, but i have never used krylon seemed to work good without it