Yvette Gray
Yvette Gray
  • Hometalker
  • San Diego, CA

How to Create a Faux Leather Finish Using Brown Paper


This tutorial will walk you through the steps to create a faux leather look simply by using brown craft paper, glue and paint or stain. This treatment can be used on furniture,walls, book covers and even floors!
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Supplies you ll need Elmer s Glue and water or Matte Mod Podge brown craft paper brown grocery or lunch sacks can also be used paint brushes paint or stain of your choice
Supplies you'll need: Elmer's Glue and water (or Matte Mod Podge), brown craft paper (brown grocery or lunch sacks can also be used), paint brushes, paint or stain of your choice.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Tear your craft paper into the sizes of your choice Do not use scissors to cut the paper as you want irregular borders Only use straight edged pieces on the straight edges of your project Irregular pieces look more natural
Tear your craft paper into the sizes of your choice. Do not use scissors to cut the paper as you want irregular borders. Only use straight edged pieces on the straight edges of your project. Irregular pieces look more natural.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Then crumple your pieces into tight balls You want to create lots of wrinkles in your paper Note the roll of masking paper I used in this project was purchased from Home Depot for about 3 It can be found in the paint department
Then crumple your pieces into tight balls. You want to create lots of wrinkles in your paper. (Note, the roll of masking paper I used in this project was purchased from Home Depot for about $3. It can be found in the paint department.)
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Now flatten your pieces out and set them aside
Now flatten your pieces out and set them aside.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Mix 1 part regular Elmer s School Glue with 2 3 parts water You don t want your glue too watery or too sticky but you want to be able to spread it easily over your surfaces I haven t tried using Mod Podge for this project yet
Mix 1 part regular Elmer's School Glue with 2-3 parts water. You don't want your glue too watery or too sticky, but you want to be able to spread it easily over your surfaces. (I haven't tried using Mod Podge for this project yet.)
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Brush your glue water mixture onto your surface Note If you have a slick or glossy surface you ll need to prime or lightly sand it first so your glue has something to stick to Otherwise your paper may not adhere to it properly
Brush your glue/water mixture onto your surface. (Note: If you have a slick or glossy surface, you'll need to prime or lightly sand it first so your glue has something to stick to. Otherwise, your paper may not adhere to it properly.)
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Then lay one of your pieces on your prepared surface and brush your glue mixture on top of your paper to adhere it to your surface You re basically decoupaging your pieces to the surface
Then lay one of your pieces on your prepared surface and brush your glue mixture on top of your paper to adhere it to your surface. You’re basically decoupaging your pieces to the surface.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Be careful to not saturate your paper or apply too much pressure You don t want to brush out the wrinkles or tear your paper
Be careful to not saturate your paper or apply too much pressure. You don't want to brush out the wrinkles or tear your paper.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Now add your next piece slightly overlapping the prior piece so you don t have gaps Try to use pieces that match the edges of your prior piece It s sort of like putting together a puzzle
Now add your next piece, slightly overlapping the prior piece so you don't have gaps. Try to use pieces that match the edges of your prior piece. It's sort of like putting together a puzzle.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Then brush your glue water mixture over your piece as you did the prior piece Continue doing this until you ve covered your project Make sure to fold your pieces over any edges if possible
Then brush your glue/water mixture over your piece as you did the prior piece. Continue doing this until you've covered your project. Make sure to fold your pieces over any edges if possible.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, If you develop any air bubbles gently smooth them out being careful to not tear your paper
If you develop any air bubbles, gently smooth them out, being careful to not tear your paper.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, When your project is completely covered let it dry
When your project is completely covered, let it dry.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Once your project is dry you can apply paint or stain depending on the look you are trying to achieve Here are some examples from L R Raw Umber craft paint Dark Walnut stain black paint Red Mahogany Stain Antique Cherry stain
Once your project is dry, you can apply paint or stain depending on the look you are trying to achieve. Here are some examples from L-R: Raw Umber craft paint; Dark Walnut stain, black paint; Red Mahogany Stain; Antique Cherry stain.
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Here is a closer look at the Raw Umber Craft Paint L next to the Dark Walnut Stain R Note the black paint in the prior example was diluted with water and will need another coat once dry The samples were still wet in the photo
Here is a closer look at the Raw Umber Craft Paint (L) next to the Dark Walnut Stain (R). (Note, the black paint in the prior example was diluted with water and will need another coat once dry. The samples were still wet in the photo.)
how to create a faux leather finish using brown paper, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling, Depending on your project you can either leave it alone after it has dried or seal it with a polyurethane This is optional unless your project is going to need protection from heavy use or traffic Polyurethane comes in many forms
Depending on your project, you can either leave it alone after it has dried, or seal it with a polyurethane. This is optional unless your project is going to need protection from heavy use or traffic. Polyurethane comes in many forms.
And there you have it! A faux leather finish that is simple and inexpensive to create. I hope you found this tutorial useful and informative. (Note, the finish on this piece was created using Raw Umber acrylic craft paint.) Good luck!

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Have a question about this project?

13 questions
  • Rachel
    on Jan 15, 2016

    Faux Leather look from paper. Have you, or anyone you know of, used this on actual faux leather. My cats had a field day (or 90) on my microfiber couch. (The faux leather sides and back). Other than that it's still a pretty good couch and I'd love to be able to use it without pushing the back against the wall. Any guidance would help. Thanks, Rachel

  • Reena Goeschel
    on Jan 30, 2016

    Would this work with white paper and the blue green gold colors I see @ bass pro cement floor look? Could it be used on cement or do I need a sub floor first? Thank-you.

  • Nancy Flemming
    on Mar 20, 2016

    Was your masking paper waxy on one side. Wondering if I could use freezer paper?

    • Marie
      on May 30, 2016

      I would like to it in are a ticket that has dormer rooms and the house has settled and at times the house shifts and cracks. Would it work

    • Nancy Flemming
      on May 30, 2016

      It should, the crinkle would hide ay cracks that may appear

  • Dee B
    on Jul 19, 2016

    I have a supply of brown packaging paper for mailing parcels. Do you think this would work? Or does it have to be thin paper.? The thickness is like the brown bags the supermarker uses.

    • Dee B
      on Jul 19, 2016

      Sorry, I meant supermarket. I do not like auto correct.

    • Jenn Alton
      on Mar 23, 2017

      Either paper works, though i like the thick paper better. In my technique I use boot polish applied in a circular motion using a brush to wrinkled paper and spray adhesive to secure paper to project. I like the brushed effect on the paper.

  • Flasunshine
    on Sep 24, 2016

    I live in a mobile home with carpet and vinyl. I have 2 cats and a dog, and 8 and 9 year old. how long does the paper bag floor look nice? Any comments

  • Sha14027329
    on Oct 31, 2016

    Why can't you just add the stain to the glue ?

  • Drh22213381
    on Mar 28, 2017

    Question: I have a oak dining table with a rough bubbled dented veneer surface. I would like to try this technique. Would there ever be the need to prime or seal the table top before applying the decopage? Im just concerned about applying moisture to the thin veneer possibly causing more bubbling and damage. thanks.
  • Drh22213381
    on Apr 8, 2017

    I have used your method for faux leather using crumpled masking paper, on an Oak kitchen tabletop. Looks nice but afraid of putting stain on it. I made a sample board so I could see different treatments. the stain looks "blah" and is still sticky. Did you use water based stain or regular? Does stain affect the Elmer's Glue in the paper? I also tried a sample of Copper Penny paint, looks nice but not the leather look. I guess Im having fears of proceeding. I kinda like the plain paper, light brown. Also considering chalk paint but again, facing fears! Help.
  • Miss E
    on Nov 16, 2017

    I am a new DIYer, so can it be washed? Will it withstand water?
    • Kristina
      on Mar 3, 2018

      The only way to make this able to withstand water is by using a very good top coat sealer (note: polyurethane tends to yellow). Due to this being paper & glue, even with a sealer, I wouldn't scrub too hard or let it get too soaking wet. A good sealer will allow you to at least give it a decent cleaning now and then, but still won't be durable enough for heavy duty use.

    • Ellen Moskes
      on Mar 24, 2018

      water based polyurethane will not yellow

  • Emmawilliams1
    on Jan 27, 2018

    Love it! I do a lot of faux leather and everyone is always amazed . My question...Did you do anything to the sides and top {repaint or stain} Also cannot make out the color of sides, brown or deep purple or what? And thank you for the idea of little wood fillers...HAVE A WONDERFUL YEAR!
    • Yvette Gray
      on Jan 30, 2018

      The sides were painted black and distressed and the top was stained with Dark Walnut oil stain and also distressed.
  • Penny Parker
    on Feb 19, 2018

    Can I use his technique over wallpaper? The wallpaper has a slight texture.
  • Angelia McCall
    on Apr 11, 2018

    Can you sand down places that might come out rough?

    • Lori
      on Apr 21, 2018

      When I did this on the floor I had some places that had too much of a wrinkle in it. I just pulled up/scraped it up and put another piece of paper down. I am going to do my bedroom furniture now that I have seen this. LOVE IT!!!

    • Martie
      on May 7, 2018

      I don't think you can sand it. It's paper, get it damp and smooth it down. If it is already sealed go with Loritankersley337's advice.

    • Sarah
      on Jan 22, 2019

      I used this technique on my bathroom floor. There were some places that were more wrinkly than what I wanted once it dried. I went over those spots gently with a fine sandpaper on my orbital sander and liked that it blended together so much better that I sanded over the entire floor before staining. If it happens to tear, use the same steps you did in the beginning to cover it up

  • Jackie
    on May 31, 2018

    Has anyone tried brown paperbag on kitchen cabinets? I was thinking just doing the inside panel staining grey and doing chalk paint on the outside border. Any comments would b appreciated 😀

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