Paint Technique: Faux Leather Finish

Love the look of leather, but hate the price? With a little paint, glaze and newspaper, see how to re-create the luxurious look.


Materials and Tools:

unfinished furniture (Ikea TV unit, Norrebo, solid birch)
oil-based primer
paint for undercoat
dark brown paint
paint brush
foam roller


1. If you start with an unfinished piece of furniture, you won't have to sand. If the piece has a high gloss finish, lightly sand it so the paint will adhere.

2. Apply an oil-based primer to further ensure the base coat of paint will stick. Let dry.

3. Paint an undercoat on the furniture where you want a warm leathered look. The best colors to use are within a warm orange to rich caramel range. Let the paint dry, four to six hours.

4. Create a glaze by mixing three parts glaze to one part dark brown paint. Stir it thoroughly.



5. Once your undercoat is dry, brush the glaze generously on top. Glaze spreads differently than paint, so don’t worry if it goes on unevenly. If you’re working on a large piece, feel free to work in sections.



6. Lay a page of newspaper on the wet, glazed surface. Quickly and gently rub the newspaper with the palm of your hand into the glaze. Do not use your fingertips to avoid making fingerprints in the glaze.

7. Pick up the paper, rotate it so not to create the same pattern, and lay it on a different section of glaze. Again, gently rub on the newspaper and then remove. If your newspaper page becomes too saturated during this process, throw it away and get a new piece.

8. Repeat until your surface is entirely covered with a cracked leather look. Add more glaze and use the newspaper technique until you achieve your desired look.

9. Let the glaze dry, according to the manufacturer’s direction.

10. Coat the surface with polyurethane to preserve your new leather look.

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