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How to make leather-look felt

The background fabric for this bead-embroidered piece is actually felt. When you see it close up, it looks for all the world like rough leather (moreso in real life than in my picture!). Although I’m not philosophically opposed to using leather, I know many people are, and it’s nice to have alternatives. It’s also a lot easier to stitch through than leather!

You’re not going to believe how easy it is to do this surface treatment. I’ve asked people to try to figure out what the material is without letting them feel the backside of it, and they always guess leather!

Square of white felt
Fusible web
Extra heavy acrylic gel
Regular acrylic gel
Acrylic paints - raw sienna, burnt sienna, interference gold

Parchment paper
Foam brush
Paper towel
Heat gun

1. Iron fusible web to the felt.

2. Smear the surface with acrylic gels. Use fingers. Let partly dry.

3. Drip on light paint color using foam brush. Dab lightly with paper towel.

4. Drip on dark paint color. Dab lightly. Repeat layers until piece is covered.

5. When almost dry, spread on a light layer of interference gold. Dab lightly and let dry thoroughly before using.

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Copyright 2008 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.


Very convincing faux look. I've got blisters to show from sewing through leather. I'll definitely be trying this.
Cyndi L said…
It does end up looking quite real. The sewing challenge with it is that occasionally your needle will end up sticky from the polymer medium. Small price to pay...just wipe it off from time to time :-)