There’s no need to spend a fortune on real leather furniture when you can easily create the look yourself with faux leather fabric and a few simple steps. In this article, I will show you how to make faux leather look like the real thing.
I’ll provide tips and tricks for choosing the right fabric, as well as instructions for creating a beautiful finished product that will fool even the most discerning eye. Let’s get started!
Picking Out Your Faux Leather Items
The process of making faux leather look like real leather actually begins with choosing or picking out the faux leather item.
If you’re planning to shop for some faux leather item, there are a few key things you should look for to make sure it looks as realistic as possible.
First and foremost, avoid any fabric that has a plastic-like sheen to it. This is the number one giveaway that something is not real leather.
Instead, choose a fabric that has a matte finish. This will help it look more like the real thing.
Another important factor to consider is the grain of the fabric or faux leather. Real leather has a distinct grain pattern that you can see and feel.
When shopping for faux leather goods, try to find a fabric that has a similar grain pattern. This will add to the overall realism of your final product.
Finally, pay attention to the thickness of the fabric. Real leather is usually quite thick and dense.
If the faux leather item you’re considering is too thin, it will look and feel cheap. So instead, go for something that has a bit of heft to it, and you’ll be on the right track.
Prepping The Faux Leather Item
If you already have the faux leather item or you’ve found the perfect faux leather fabric, it’s time to get it ready for its transformation.
The first step is to give it a good cleaning. This will remove any dirt, debris, or extra shine that might be on the surface of the faux leather.
Once you have a clean surface to work with, there are a few alternative routes you can take to make your faux leather look like real leather.
This is an essential step because it will help so that any treatment you to your leather surface works or creates a more realistic final product.
How To Make Faux Leather Look Like Real Leather
There are a few different ways you can go about making your faux leather look like real leather.
1. Distressing The Faux Leather Surface
One popular method of making faux leather look like real leather is to distress the surface of the faux leather.
This will give it a more worn look that is often associated with real leather.
To do this, you’ll need to grab some sandpaper and get to work. Start with coarse-grit sandpaper and then move to a finer grit until you’re happy with the results.
If you want to add even more realism, you can also use a heat gun to soften the faux leather lightly while creating some creases, folds, and wrinkles on the surface of the faux leather.
Just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll end up with a piece that looks more fake and cheesy.
Once you’re happy with the results, finish by dusting off the surface of the faux leather and then apply a leather conditioner to help protect it.
2. Painting The Faux Leather
Another awesome approach to making faux leather look like real leather is to paint it.
This is a great option if you want to change the color of your faux leather item or if you’re working with a piece that already has a lot of texture and grain.
To get started, choose high-quality leather paint in the color of your choice. Then, apply the paint to the surface of the faux leather using a foam brush or similar tool.
Be sure to work in small sections and use light coats of paint. It’s always better to gradually build up the color than to go for full coverage all at once.
Once you’re happy with the results, allow the paint to dry completely before moving on.
You may need to apply a second coat of paint depending on the color you chose and the overall look you’re going for.
When you’re finished, finish by applying a layer of leather sealant to help protect the paint job.
This is an important step because it will extend the life of your newly painted faux leather and make it look more like the real thing.
3. Adding A Faux Leather Texture
If you want your faux leather to look as realistic as possible, then you’ll need to add a bit of texture.
Real leather has a distinct textured surface that is often mimicked in faux leather goods. You can create textures on your faux leather in a lot of ways.
One popular method is to use a leather embossing tool. This will give your faux leather the same kind of grain and texture that you would find on real leather.
If you don’t have an embossing tool, you can also create textures by using a blunt object to make small indentations on the surface of the faux leather.
This works best if you’re working with a piece that is already painted or dyed.
Once you’ve created the textures, finish by applying a layer of leather sealant to help protect the surface and give it a more realistic sheen.
You can also use an iron or heat gun to create different textures on your faux leather.
Experiment with different techniques until you find one that gives you the results you’re looking for.
4. Adding A Faux Leather Patina
Patina is often associated with real leather because it develops over time.
You can create a faux patina on your faux leather by using a bit of vinegar and water.
Start by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water. Then, use a clean cloth to apply the mixture to the surface of the faux leather.
Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a clean, dry cloth.
You may need to repeat this process a few times to get the desired results. Once you’re happy with the patina, finish by applying a layer of leather sealant to help protect it.
5. Make The Faux Leather Soft And Supple
One thing that makes real leather so special is its soft, supple texture. Adding olive oil can create a similar effect on your faux leather.
Start by heating up a small amount of olive oil in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Then, use a clean cloth to apply the olive oil to the surface of the faux leather.
Be sure to work in small sections and use a light hand. You don’t want to saturate the faux leather or make it too greasy.
Once you’re happy with the results, finish by wiping away any excess oil with a clean, dry cloth. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get the desired effect.
And that’s it! These are just a few of the many ways you can make faux leather look like real leather.
6. Wear Or Use The Faux Leather As Frequently As Possible
One of the best ways to make faux leather look like real leather is to wear or use it as frequently as possible.
The more you use it, the more it will soften and develop some sort of patina. Just be sure to take care of it and protect it from excessive wear and tear.
With a little bit of time and effort, you can quickly transform any piece of faux leather into something that looks and feels like the real thing.
Tips On How To Maintain The Look Of Your Faux Leather
Now that you know how to make faux leather look like real leather, it’s important to understand how to maintain the look of your faux leather. Here are a few tips to help you keep your faux leather looking its best:
- Avoid exposing your faux leather to direct sunlight or heat for extended periods.
- This can cause the color to fade and the surface dry and crack.
- Be sure to clean your faux leather regularly.
- Dust it with a soft, dry cloth or vacuum it with the upholstery attachment of your vacuum cleaner.
- If you need to spot-clean your faux leather, be sure to use a mild soap and water solution.
- Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners on your faux leather. This can damage the surface and ruin the look of your faux leather.
- Be sure to apply a layer of leather sealant to your faux leather on a regular basis.
And there you have it! These are just a few simple ways that you can make faux leather look more like real leather.
By following these simple steps, you can easily transform any faux leather item into something that looks and feels much more like the real thing.
So, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun with it. You can also combine some of the methods discussed in this article to create your own unique look.
I have had to update this section of my conclusion as a reader sent me an email stating she combined the texture method with the heat method to create an ombre effect on a faux leather couch she had.
So again, play around and see what you can come up with! The possibilities are endless!
Do you have any tips on how to make faux leather look like real leather? If so, please share them in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!