Sheena’s Faux Leather Technique

This is a technique I have wanted to try for a while now but have not had the relevant supplies to do it. The ‘How To’ by Sheena herself is available on YouTube; in one of the Crafters Companion Magazines and most recently on Sheena’s’ messy DVD.

Here, I was asked to cover a diary to make it look pretty and to somehow involve cats…

Kit List:

  • Kraft Card
  • Distress Inks (I have used ‘Vintage Photo’; ‘Chipped Sapphire’ and ‘Aged Mahogany’).
  • Glycerin/water solution in a spritzer; I used about 9:1 ratio, for people who have not heard of this technique before, glyercin can be cheaply bought at a pharmacists/chemists
  • Embossing folder (I used the embossilicious A4 sunflowers)
  • Card
  • P.C. & Printer
  • Black pen
  • Adhesive pearls
  • Tape/glue
  • Transparent sealant (I have pebeo brilliant gloss gel, apparently Crafters Companion spray and shine also works)

The Method:

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1. Start off with x2 pieces of Kraft card and your glycerin solution

I use a messy craft mat as my work surface, however if you do not have one of these then a glass mat will also work.

2. Lightly spritz the first side of your card with the glycerin then rub it into the card. 8-12 spritzes is enough to start with and it doesn’t matter which side of the card you start with as you will be doing this on both sides and so can decide later which way is ‘up’

3. Turn the card over and repeat on the other side

4. Continue to flip and repeat with the card, spritzing as necessary; as you are doing so make sure that you are really pushing into the card and lightly bending it in order to break the surface tension. As you do this, you will notice that the card begins to feel ‘plump’- this is a good sign, it means that the solution is being absorbed into the card rather than bouncing off of the surface

5. The card will reach the point where you can safely scrunch it up into a tight ball without any tears or hard edges

6. When you are happy with the texture of your card, you are now ready to emboss

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7. Emboss the flexible card, ensuring that the card is no more than damp when you run it through your embosser

This is also the point at which you should choose which way up you want your card, I based my choice on which side I liked most after the embossing, which is this case is actually the deboss side because I liked how it looked as though it had been pressed into the leather. On a side note, next time I am going to try inking the embossing folder as well, so I may post that at a later date.

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8. Use distress inks in whatever colours you like then coat it with the sealant. This will protect it from damage and give it an extra shine.
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9. Attach the front panel, giving your self enough extra around the edges to book-bind

When I attached mine, I lined up the left-hand edge with the crease on the front of the diary which allows the front cover to open rather than sticking my card over it; this was partly because on this size book I was going to have a join line anyway, however if I were doing a smaller book I would probably do the whole thing in piece of card and run an emboss line down where the crease to allow for the opening and closing of the book. Remember, the whole point of this technique is to make the card flexible so you shouldn’t(!) have any issues.

For what I have termed the book-bind edges, this is just the card folded over the edges of the diary to give them a nice finish rather than have the card stop at the edges of the diary and possibly not line up correctly…. For some people the way to do this will be to measure (weirdchild) personally I just stuck it down and then trimmed off the edges with a ruler and craft knife, not forgetting the diagonal trim which makes the corners nice and tidy.

The other reason for this particular picture is to show an additional use for the sapphire; here I am using it to support the weight of the diary so that the cover I am working on lays flat against my cutting mat. Obviously, you can use anything that can take the weight without slipping 😉

In Picture 10 you can see the thin black line of the original diary to the left hand side as discussed in attaching the front cover. Pictures 10 and 11 also show that when I did the back cover, I left a flap. This was one of those moments when you are crafting merrily away and you think “hold on, I can do something extra cool with this”so instead of cutting off the excess on the back panel I have left it in place as a flap to cover the open right-hand edge of the diary and tuck in under the front cover (ref pic 12). Please also notice that to do this I have not made the diagonal cut into the flap that I would have made if I were folding it in to stick down, although I have still made that cut on the top and bottom edges of the back panel. The size of the flap does not need to be a specific measurement as such; it just needs to be enough to wrap over however many pages there are and rest reasonably securely inside the front cover.

13. Decorate the front as you see fit, I have used some cat images which I have printed out with some text from my computer. I have also then coloured over the cats with a black pen to make it a deeper black. I have then distressed the edges of the card and layered them onto some distressed kraft card cut-offs (non treated card) using the same distress inks that I used on the treated kraft card. This ensures a nice blend of the colours. I have then added some pearls and voila!

I did have various ideas about also attaching ribbon/elastic to give the diary a closing mechanism; but I haven’t decided either way yet…

I hope you have the opportunity to try this, its fun to do and really effective 🙂

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13. Decorate the front as required
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