Pleather. That cheap, plasticy leather look-alike that every child of the 80’s should remember. Your dreams will always be haunted by images like these:
Not to fear. I will replace these haunting images in your dreams with an entirely different pleather, one you will love to make and love even more to use!
The ‘p’ part of my pleather comes not from plastic but instead from paper! Yes, you can create a leather-like material with items you probably have already in your craftroom. If not, what you need to gather is a bit of cardstock (plain or printed work well), some acrylic medium, a brush, an old credit card and/or brayer and a non-stick work surface. I use Liquitex, you could use Golden gel medium, or any other artist quality acrylic medium. The key features to look for in your medium is a semi-self leveling fluid that dries clear and flexible. I don’t care for Mod Podge for this technique but if you love it, use it.
Begin by selecting your papers. I have done this with cardstock, mid-weight patterned scrapbooking paper, even book pages! If you are going to use lighter weight paper you will want to glue together several pieces of paper to get the strength you want.
Lay your paper on your non-stick work surface and apply a generous coat of your medium spreading evenly with your brush. If you are using light weight papers once you spread the acrylic gel you should lay another sheet of paper in the medium. Repeat this process for 3-4 layers of paper. Finish off with another coat of the gel. At this time you can experiment with different surface finishes. I found spreading the gel with an old credit card creates a very smooth finish, while using a brayer gives more of a ‘distressed leather’ look. You could even experiment with other surface techniques to find your favorite. Let the medium dry completely. (For this project I wanted a little added strength to the ‘wrong side’ of my cardstock so I layered a rice paper sheet on the back of the page, then finished the front of my paper.)
Once your acrylic medium is fully dry turn the paper over and repeat the surface finish on the back side of the page. Even if you are not using a paper with a pattern on the back coating both the front and the back will add the extra body you need to create the leather feel.
Once your paper is completely dry carefully peel it off your non-stick surface and start creating! This technique is great for adding accents to a masculine scrapbook layout or for your decor and art journal techniques. If you try share some of your creations here with me!
This is a braided ‘pleather’ piece that I will share with you all soon!