How to Create the Leather Look With Paper Bags

Written by pamela martin
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Faux leather is an attractive option for a wide variety of projects, from lampshades to floors, picture frames to journal covers. It gives a sense of classical elegance and luxury, with the steep price of real leather. With a little time and some surprising materials, you can fool your friends into thinking you have purchased an expensive leather fashion accessory, and you can make an inexpensive piece look chic.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Brown paper bags
  • Water
  • Brown or black paint (tempera or acrylic)
  • Sponge brush
  • Paper towel
  • Craft glue

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  1. 1

    Tear the paper bags open at the seam.

  2. 2

    Soak the bag completely with water.

  3. 3

    Crumple the bag tightly, squeezing out excess water. Unfold the paper and smooth it lightly to lay it flat for drying. Leave as many wrinkles in the paper as possible.

  4. 4

    Brush thinned brown or black paint over the surface of the paper. Use paper towels to remove most of the paint, leaving a mottled look to simulate aged leather.

  5. 5

    Tear the dried paper into pieces; do not use scissors, as the torn edges will contribute to the leather look.

  6. 6

    Mix the craft glue and water in equal amounts. Brush the mixture on the back of the paper and place the pieces on whatever you are covering—a journal, a picture frame even a wall. When all the pieces are in place, brush the entire surface with the glue mixture.

  7. 7

    Embellish your design with conchos, buttons, appliqués or rubber stamps, if desired.

Tips and warnings

  • You can also use brown kraft paper, if you cannot find paper bags.

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