Monday, October 28, 2013

Faux leather vs vinyl

At our club meeting/workshop, Tina mentioned my use of the gesso/paint way of turning fabric into leather so I thought I would try to (a) use the technique on a piece of fabric as opposed to an already upholstered piece of furniture and (b) trying to give a piece of fabric the look of vinyl....

This is going to take awhile...(started Tuesday night)

I'm going to experiment with turning a piece of cotton into

(1)  a piece of leather, or
(2) a piece of vinyl

Start with a piece of cotton about 3 1/2" x 7".

Using a 1' foam paint brush, coat the entire piece with gesso. I used Daler-Rowney "Simply" acrylic gesso that I bought at WalMart.

Colour is crappy...colour is correct below.

Wednesday noon:

Lightly sanded the gesso then painted on another coat.

Could have done this last (Wednesday) night but didn't get around to it until this morning. Sanded the gesso then gave it two coats of red paint (DecoArt Christmas Red).

Yet another coat of paint:

The colour is not showing up very well.

Once this has dried completely, I'll start the 'leather' process and try to do some as vinyl.

OKAY...for the \leather' side, I'm working on the left and for the 'vinyl', on the right.

So...on the left, I'm going to put a coating of FolkArt Plaid antiquing medium to give it a leather look. On the right, I'll use DecoArt DuraClear gloss vanish.

And, again, wait for things to dry....

DARN!! I wish I could show you how this looks - and feels.

The left looks like a piece of leather...and the piece on the right looks shiny like vinyl...
The interesting thing is that even with the several levels of gesso and paint, the fabric is remarkably supple.

The only time I have used this technique before was on the upholstery of completed furniture...and I loved the effect. Even as supple as these pieces turned out, I still would not treat the fabric this way then upholster...I would only use it on already upholstered pieces.

Last Saturday, I picked up a pack of fabric at the craft/baking/rummage sale next door at my Mom's condo:

Great pack of fabric for only $1.00...thought the inset piece could be used for some great cushions!

Vinyl Look
 Thought I'd try an experiment with a piece of the orange fabric. Since orange is such a 'retro' colour that work well in vintage trailers, thought this would be a great time to experiment on a regular piece of fabric.

I painted the left hand side of the fabric with several coats of acrylic gloss varnish...incredible vintage vinyl look!

Again, I would not paint the fabric then try to use it as upholstery....but I would certainly use these techniques with already-upholstered pieces.


  1. Hi Maureen! I can see how this technique would come in handy and I love how you have experimented to get these great results! I can imagine that if you are making mini book jackets, the leather application would make the finished cover easier to apply than real leather and also very durable. Good work!!!


    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! What a great idea to use this technique for book covers! Never occurred to me to do that.

  2. Hi Maureen ,
    thank you so much for sharing your technique and showing us the results.
    Regards Janine