Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Faux leather

Continuing with my recycling efforts, today I am going to attempt to make faux leather.

My friend Kathy gave me these paper bags she had punched holes in to make a paper bag book.  She lost interest when she started making her fabric books, so she gave these to me in a box of things she didn't want.  I decided to make faux leather instead of a book.

It took FOREVER to get the bottom apart so it would lie flat.  I made such a mess of it, I decided to only use two and save the rest for a book.

I used my guillotine cutter to cut off the bottom straggles and taped the holes on the inside. 

The trouble with finding these projects on the internet is, there are often conflicting tutorials.  Somehow, I combined several, and learned I did it all wrong.  First, I didn't need the glue, although nearly every tutorial stated it was needed.

One thing they all agreed on was to crumple your paper bag.   Uncrumple and crumple again until it was well crumpled.

However, SOME said to do this AFTER you had wet the paper bag, while some said to add water later,  Since my little bags were fragile, I opted for adding the water later (after the crumple and smoothing).

I got a bit ahead of myself and found some acrylic craft paint I hoped would look like leather. 

This was starting to look promising.

All the instructions said to allow the bag to dry before proceeding.

I found that to be a waste of time, because I had to add MORE water when I added the paint.

Once dry, I wasn't sure these were the colors I should have used.

Even after I ironed the paper,

I wasn't all that happy with the outcome.  I suggest putting your craft paints away and taking out your fluid acrylics or heavy bodied acrylics.  They will hold up to water and not lose a bit of pigment.

Next time I will do this:

1.  Open bottom of paper bag, flatten, and cut off excess bottom.
2.  Crumple, crumple, crumple ad nauseam.
3.  Smooth paper bag with hand.
4.  Add water.
5.  While paper bag is still wet, paint various dark colors that resemble leather on the paper bag using fluid acrylics.

Today I attempted to create faux leather, which didn't turn out as I had hoped.  I do believe I know where I went wrong.  I read too many tutorials and tried to combine all of them into one.

This is Day 5 of 22, and I recycled two brown lunch bags I have been given.  Thanks for joining me as I learned a valuable lesson on how to create faux leather.

17 thoughtful remarks:

Mary Rohrer Dexter said...

What do you use the finished product for? Looks very cool.

Valerie-Jael said...

Looks great, another fantastic recycling experiment. Hugs, Valerie

froebelsternchen Susi said...

A fabulous technique - I did some experiments with it in the past.
Thank you for the reminder.. will put this technique on my To Do List for sure!
You are such an inspiration always and you make my To Do List growing!
Happy Day Elizabeth!
oxo Susi

sheila 77 said...

Whatever paper art you made here, it looks pretty good with a fascinating texture. I love the colour you've created on it too.
I've got lots of saved brown paper so am quite inspired to do something with it. I like the crumpling, that looks to give interesting results.
It's a fun blogpost with your commentary and photographs on the steps.

My name is Erika. said...

Cool idea Elizabeth. I've never heard of using paper bags to make fake leather before. but I like it and think I am going to give it a try. I think your paper will look cool on a page even if you don't think it looks like. Its always surprising how often those not so wonderful bits end up working on a page. Hope its a good wek. Hugs-Erika

pearshapedcrafting said...

I love the effect this has had on the paper - I have seen similar technique demonstrated but with a much stronger card! The colour blend looks great - sorry to read that you are not so pleased -the photos look great…... maybe I have to be there!!!! Hugs, Chrisx

Jeanie said...

I think it looks pretty good and I do like the color. But what I like most is your courage at trying something new (and messy) and then sharing with us the ups and downs! Brave soul!

CJ Kennedy said...

I think the papers turned out great. Maybe you just haven't found the right application for them yet. I did a similar cover for a cowboy book I was making. I was over a friend's house and she gave me a piece of mulberry paper. I crumpled up the paper, and we dyed it with tea, coffee, tea bags, coffee grounds. I think a bit of walnut ink, too. No glue.

Corrine at said...

I like the crumple momi-gami technique. It makes the paper feel like fabric after a while. I wonder if spongeing on thinned paint would work better to give that mottle look of leather. I do like your experiment even if the colors were not as bright as you might have hoped. xox

Sami said...

Even though you didn't like it, it looks interesting Elizabeth. I couldn't imagine you could get a leather effect with paint and paper bags.

chrissie said...

It looks like leather to me Elizabeth and well
Done for combining tutorials to
Make a new one of your own

Love Chrissie xx

~*~Patty S said...

What fun E!!!
crunching and crumbling paper by hand is quite a bit of work...
I have sat with thinner book pages and worked it until it became limp.
Or so I thought by breaking down the paper fibers it took on an almost fabric like feel and I really liked that.
Oh Paper how many ways do we Love thee ♥
Hats off to you already you recycling Queen you and your birthday month is young!

Divers and Sundry said...

Cool! It passes for leather with me. I'll be interested in seeing what you do with it :)

Meggymay said...

You may not be happy , but the results of the experiment look good to me and I'm sure you will find something awesome to do with these leather look papers.
I'm not sure but I think I read somewhere that adding a little glycerine to the water was a good idea to make it more flexible.
Yvonne xx

Jo Murray said...

I'm going to do that! Great idea.

Sandra Cox said...

Fascinating. It has the leather look.
I've got a faux leather coat. Hope it doesn't do a Cinderella's coach/pumpkin and turn into a paper bag in the rain. Heh heh. Don't mind me, just my weird humor.

Linda Kunsman said...

Your experiment turned out marvelous! These papers will be fun to use regardless of whether or not you think they came out differently than you wished. Thanks for sharing!