How to distress a leather bag

Written by guy gardner
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How to distress a leather bag
Artificially age your leather bag (leather bag image by Alex White from

Distressed leather most often comes with age, but there's no need to wait to get that beautifully distressed leather look and feel. Distressing your leather bag allows you to control how old, soft and worn the leather looks without having to wait. You can use basic techniques for distressing leather on any kind of bag or leather for the desired look.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Baseball bat
  • Fine grain sandpaper
  • 2 cloths
  • Shoe polish

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  1. 1

    Hit your bag with a baseball bat to soften it. How hard and how many times you hit it depends on how worn you want to make it. This is will soften up the leather, and also give it some scuffs and creases.

  2. 2

    Sand the areas you want to look more worn with a piece of light grain sandpaper. Rough up the exposed areas around the edge, the top flap and the shoulder strap to give it a naturally distressed look. Be careful not to overdo the sanding, as once it has been done it can not be undone.

  3. 3

    Rub shoe polish into the cracks of the bag. This will give your bag a lot more character and will mimic the natural depth of colour in leather that you get with ageing. Rub the entire bag thoroughly with a clean cloth.

  4. 4

    Repeat the above steps until you are satisfied with the results.

    How to distress a leather bag
    Distressed to perfection (handle old travelling bag image by Pali A from

Tips and warnings

  • Be careful not to be too rough on your bag. It's better to be a little gentle and have to do it again, than to go too far and ruin the look of your bag.

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