How To Make Fabric Look Like Leather: Quick, Easy & Effective

how to make fabric look like leather

Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by Wahid

In our household, there may be a chair or sofa still in good condition. However, the cushion fabric is extremely outdated. You love that sofa, and there’s no way you would throw it away. Regardless of the means, you still intend to use it.

Well, I have just the solution you are looking for. It’s quite easy to convert an outdated cushion sofa to an elegant leather sofa by using a little paint craft work. Let me tell you about my personal experience of how to make fabric look like leather. Actually, just a little painting and some measurements were all I did.

The result of my experiment was satisfactory. My sofa was successfully revived. Compared to before, it looked better. My couch looks so much better now that it has been made over. Well, let’s see how.

How To Make Fabric Look Like Leather: Step-By-Step Guide

For vegans or those who are seeking a more sustainable living style, leather is gone, replaced by faux leather fabrics. Although leather is undoubtedly stylish, it is one of the priciest fabrics available for upholstery or accessory making. Additionally, leather is made with cruelty, so use pleather fabric, PU leather, leatherette, imitation leather, or vegan leather as a substitute.

The Following Materials Are Required:

Experts Note:

As a precaution before beginning the procedure, make sure you wear disposable gloves & an unused cloth. The mask will cover your hands & clothes; you will not be affected by any paint splashes.

There is one drawback of using leather or imitation leather for upholstery: they cannot be pet-proof. When you have cats at home, you must be ready to allow them to scratch your leather chairs and sofas. Hence, what are the solutions to this problem? Is it possible to paint fabric so that it looks like leather?

Paint Fabric To Look Like Leather: 7 Easy Solutions

Paint Fabric To Look Like Leather

Yes, it’s true. You can easily and affordably paint fabric to look like leather. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create leather with fabric, paints, & leather polish.

1. Let’s Begin by Cleaning

Clean your sofa by vacuuming it first. The skirt was the most dirty part of the outfit. Vacuuming it will make it easy to remove. However, you don’t need a vacuum cleaner to clean it. It can be cleaned with paper towels or a brush.

2. Take Out the Staples

Staples were used to attach the cushion skirt. To remove it, use pliers and a screwdriver. As a result, the staple should be removed.

My experience was that, after I got used to it, I was able to remove the staples with ease. If you find you will have difficulty removing the staple, it may be necessary to hammer it into the wood.

3. Start Painting

There’s nothing easier or more fun than painting fabric. One key thing you must keep in mind is to keep your cloth wet enough so that it absorbs the pigment of the paint. When it came to painting the wingback, chocolate chalk mineral paint and terracotta chalk mineral paint were my choices.

Choosing a brownish color for the leather was a wise choice as it matches it well. In a large pot, I pour approximately 75% of the terracotta color and 25% of the chocolate chalk mineral color, about a 3:1 mixture. It is up to you how much water you want to add. Using an all-purpose brush, mix this together.

4. Starting With The 1st Coat

Apply it with a wide brush after dropping the mixture into the mixture. If you apply it first, the result should resemble chocolate-coated upholstery.

If you don’t get the desired leather color after your first application, repeat the process. In my case, 3 coats were enough to achieve the desired color. Next, let it dry for about an hour.

5. Glazing Mixture

When the 3rd coat had dried, I applied some leftover chocolate-chalk mineral color mixed with VanDyke brown glaze. A glaze mixture of 10-15% is mixed with 85-90% paint. To make the texture darker, I did this.

6. Glaze The Painting

Once the glazing mixture has been dripped into a wide brush, broom the couch skirt cushion gently again. Allow it to dry.

7. Wax

Using brown, I darkened up random parts to make it look almost leather-like. It would be better if I told you that some areas were waxed thickly and others were waxed lightly. Especially in the lower corner of the chair, wax was applied more heavily. If you want to soften everything, use a 220 sanding pad to lightly sand the sofa.

However, other sand pads can also be used if you desire. Make sure it stays steady for 2 hours. When that’s done, it’s time to use your gorgeous leather sofa. You’d get a leather vibe from it. After following this step thoroughly, you should receive satisfactory results as well.

What Would Look Good With A Faux Leather Finish?

This technique can be used to refresh pretty much anything. The following ideas may be helpful:

  • Whether it’s a fabric bag or tote, transforming it into leather can upgrade it from boho to chic in an instant. However, make sure the seams are properly protected to prevent paint from collecting inside and causing uneven surfaces.
  • In addition to cushions on sofas and chairs, this technique can be used for stationary cushions as well. As opposed to reupholstering a couch that looks dirty & worn out, refinishing it with leather paint will enhance its appearance.
  • In fact, this DIY garment painting technique doesn’t have to be limited to upholstery. You can get creative and decorate an old lamp shade, table runner, or even a table mat. Using old items to upcycle them is an excellent idea rather than throwing them away.
  • As a final thought, you might want to try this technique with a fabric jacket to create the illusion that it is leather.

Finally, the finish makes all the difference. Smoothing the surface after painting and polishing it will make the piece look authentic.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Instead Of Mineral Or Terracotta Paint?

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Instead Of Mineral Or Terracotta Paint

Sure, acrylic paint can be used instead of mineral or terracotta color. The result will be fantastic as well. As well as being flexible, acrylic paint adheres well, and it will not crack under any circumstances. Another significant feature of acrylic paint is that it is available in a variety of colors, and shades, & lasts longer.

Pro Tips:

  • It’s important to remove staples because they are sharp. Your pets, babies, and legs can be in danger from them.
  • To prevent the paint from splitting on the couch’s legs, use painter’s tape to mask the exposed areas.
  • Ensure that your fabric is damp enough before painting. By doing so, color can go deeper into the fabric rather than simply sitting on top.
  • In addition, you might also use a spray bottle to mix the paint & spray it onto the sofa. However, painting the couch with a dripping of paint is much simpler, less time-consuming, & more efficient than spraying. Both methods can be tried and you find out which works best for you.
  • Whenever you get color on your hands or skin, soak a cotton ball in olive oil or baby oil and massage it into the affected areas. You will be able to remove the paint.
  • Ensure that the sofa is not used frequently; otherwise, it might lose its paint.
  • Alternatively, if you prefer a lighter shade, cover the surface with 3 coats of paint. You can still expect impressive results.

Best 5 Paint For Fabric?

Pebeo PE294000 Discovery Fabric Paint Setacolor opaque can be applied on all dark and light-colored fabrics, including black, fine, or heavy: cotton, wool, velvet, non-woven, and even leather. The colors, after fixing, resist machine washing at 40-degree c (100-degree f) and dry cleaning 

Amazon Basics Permanent fabric paint set for use on T-shirts, jeans, canvas shoes, totes, and more. The paint won’t crack or peel once dry. A smooth, creamy texture ensures easy application.

ARTEZA Fabric Paint for Clothes is Washer and dryer Safe. It is Permanent Paint for Fabric and formulated our acrylic fabric paint so that it never chips, cracks, or peels, even with repeated wear and washing.

Jacquard Textile 8 Color Set Colorfast and washable. It includes primary and secondary colors. Made in USA

For Over A Decade Tulip 3D Fashion Paints For Crafts And Fabrics Have Been The Paints Of Choice For Crafters Of All Skill Levels. All paints come in easy-squeeze bottles so they’re user-friendly for hands of all ages.

How To Make Wood Look Like Leather

How To Make Wood Look Like Leather

Wood can be turned into leather in a variety of ways, using several techniques and steps. The following guide will help you achieve a leather-like finish on wood:

Required Materials:

Step 1: Prepare The Wood Surface

Before starting the process, smooth the wood surface with sandpaper. Sand your surface with fine-grained sandpaper to prevent leaving marks. Alternatively, you can sand large surfaces with a sander. Make sure the surface is clean by wiping off any sawdust or debris.

Step 2: Apply A Base Coat

Make sure the wood surface is primed or base coated. This will ensure that the leather-like finish adheres to the wood & creates a smoother surface for working. An even coat can be applied using a roller or paintbrush. After the base coat has been applied, let it dry completely.

Step 3: Mix The Glaze

Create the desired leather color by mixing acrylic paint with glaze or glazing medium. The glaze creates a subtle, translucent effect and helps the paint blend smoothly. Depending on the desired effect, the paint to glaze ratio can be adjusted. Generally, 1 part paint and 4 parts glaze work well.

Step 4: Apply The Glaze

The glaze should be applied to wood surfaces using a roller or brush. Make sure the coverage is even by working in small sections. Keep the surface free of streaks and drips. Once the paint is applied, use a stippling tool to create an uneven, irregular appearance on the surface. As a result, the surface will appear textured and leather-like. Make sure the glaze is completely dry before using.

Step 5: Add Detailing

Make any desired details on the wood surface using a small brush. If you want, you can create stitching lines, creases, or other textures to give the leather a more realistic look. Add shadows and depth to the details by using a darker glaze.

Step 6: Apply A Top Coat

As soon as the glaze & detailing are dry, seal it with a clear sealant or varnish to prevent damage while creating a glossy finish. A paintbrush should be used to apply an even coat, then the sealant should be allowed to dry completely.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Create your own leather finish by experimenting with different glaze colors and shades.
  • To prepare for a bigger surface, practice on an inconspicuous area first.
  • To create leather textures and details, use reference images of leather.
  • Adding glazes and detailing gradually as you build up the effect.
  • Be careful not to overwork the glaze, as it may become streaky or uneven if overworked.
  • For more realistic leather effects, apply a matte or satin varnish.

It is possible, with patience & practice, to create wood surfaces that look similar to leather. Play with different colors and techniques and enjoy the process.


What fabrics are ideal for painting them to look like leather?

Not too much of a difference. By coating fabric in latex paint, leather-like stiffness will be achieved. Almost any upholstery fabric will work for this project as long as it absorbs the paint. The fabric must be slightly thick, but if you’re applying color directly on a chair, the thickness won’t matter if you apply multiple coats to make it smooth.

Is it better to stitch on the fabric before or after painting it?

Painting on the fabric makes it feel papery, but Crofty Cosplay claims that it won’t crack or crumble. However, it is always a good idea to play it cautiously, and your fabric should be stitched before painting.

How do I get the fabric to have creases like real leather?

Instead of applying multiple coats of paint, crumple up a piece of tin foil, smooth it out, then iron the fabric over the foil. After a while, the cloth will become looser and develop more detail, making it appear more authentic and aged.

What material looks like leather?

A faux leather fabric, also known as imitation leather or vegan leather. It is a man-made fabric designed to resemble real leather, without containing any animal parts. PVC and polyurethane are the two most common plastics used to make faux leather – also called pleather.

How do they make polyester look like leather?

PU leather materials are manufactured by applying or laminating 100% polyurethane over a base surface. The most common base materials are polyester, nylon, cotton, or rayon. A roller creates a grain pattern on the surface of the leather in order to simulate a genuine leather look.

Is vegan leather 100% leather?

The term vegan leather refers to artificial, synthetic, or “faux” leather produced from agricultural byproducts & sustainable materials. Additionally, you can make it from polymers such as polyurethane and a variety of recyclable materials as well. A vegan leather product is an alternative to animal leather and is produced without animal products.

What is 100% real leather?

Genuine leather is constructed from 100% animal hides, usually top grain leather or full grain leather. A genuine leather product is a lower-grade leather, usually containing a small amount of genuine leather.

Which leather is the most expensive?

Due to the limited number of crocodiles, small size, availability of reliable farms, processing facilities, and preparation for marketing, – crocodile leather is a rare and expensive material.

Does leather have to be halal?

As a general rule, NO, it’s not applicable. There is no requirement that leather comes from Halal slaughtered animals to be accepted by Muslims. However, for leather to be considered pure, it must be tanned.

Which is better: Rexine or leather?

Rexine does not compare to real leather in terms of luxury, elegance, and durability. While it may be a bit more expensive, you will save time and money by not having to fix it. Real leather couches or clothing items can be passed down from generation to generation.


In my article, I talked about how to make fabric look like leather. In addition to being affordable, easy, & less time-consuming, it was also less stressful. My experience was satisfying, so I hope yours will be as well.