One of the best things about leather accessories is that if you take proper care, they will last for a long time and that too in really good shape. Real leather keeps getting better with time by developing a beautiful patina. However, it may take your leather jacket a few years to get to a point where it starts to look a little vintage after regular use. Some people like to opt for that particular look from day one of buying a product. You can easily find vintage leather items in the market but if you already have one and want to turn it into vintage, you sure can achieve the desired outcome by following a few simple steps. If not done properly, there are chances that your leather jacket might get damaged beyond repair. The tools that are used in the process are complex and need special practice. Sandpaper, for example, can rip off the upper layer of your leather jacket and you won’t be able to revert that damage no matter what.
What Is Distress Leather?
Have you ever come across a leather product that is new but looks like it’s been worn a couple of times? Believe it or not, this characteristic is super charming and is quite popular among people of all ages. Basically, distress leather, also known as pull-up leather is the full-grain part of a hide, aniline-dyed oiled leather. This oil breaks in and travels through the pores to cause the color change at certain spots. That particular look is what makes a leather ‘distressed leather’. The marks that come after years of wear can be obtained using certain dyeing techniques, exciting, isn’t it? Or for the smaller products like wallets or keychains, you can just bend them, fold them or throw them on a table a couple of times to make them look vintage. That’s the beauty of leather, no matter what you do, it will just keep getting better.
Ways to Distress Leather
Professionals make distress leather using special techniques and tools that require a high skill set along with lots of practice. However, you can do it at home following a few guidelines.
One of the most natural and safer ways to give your leather a worn look is to actually wear it. This might take a little longer than other methods but the results would be long-lasting, subtle, and will be free of any long-term damage. For some people, a leather jacket is their go-to outfit for any day of the week no matter what the occasion. Their jacket is exposed to all kinds of weather and atmosphere, the signs of which can ultimately be seen on the leather jacket.
Apply Rubbing Alcohol
Another, faster way to obtain that distressed leather look is to use alcohol. To begin with, you must wear rubber gloves. You can either soak your leather jacket into a bowl full of alcohol or dip a piece of cloth into it and start rubbing it on the leather surface. The latter should be preferable for beginners to avoid any permanent damage. It may sound a bit confusing but the next step is to scratch, beat and squeeze the leather while being gentle. Does it make sense? Well, whatever you do, just don't rip the leather off. Soon after, you’ll start to see a change in its color at certain spots. Take it out of the liquid and wrap it in a dry towel. Now comes the tricky part, take a piece of sandpaper and start scrubbing the surface. Start with a smaller section to see if it’s working as per your expectations.
Once you’re done with all the tough treatment, it’s time to be a little gentle. Take a cotton pad to apply leather polish on your distressed leather jacket. Use a brush to get rid of any excess polish from the surface to get an even texture. Add an outer layer of protection by applying a coat of leather wax. It also brings a certain worn-in shine to your leather jacket.
Advantages of Distress Leather
Distressed leather absorbs oils much faster than all other types of leather which means that the scratches or marks heal quite quickly. Basically, by using leather treatment agents on the surface followed by a gentle massage, you are very likely to smooth out the leather and get rid of any unpleasant imperfections. However, it’s only effective on pigmented leather products.
If you think your leather jacket or a wallet is too dark, distressing it can turn it 2 tones lighter instantly. This color-changing phenomenon is super creative and a cheap way of enjoying one product in 2-3 different colors.
Distressed leather can easily absorb oil which ultimately leads to a glossy shine by developing a patina. It gives your leather jacket a super attractive and trendy twist.