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Softening Faux Leather: Formspring.me Question

In Animal-Friendly Fashion, formspring.me answers, How-To on September 19, 2010 by Naoko Takano

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from formspring.me:

Have you ever worked with faux leather? If so do you know any ways to soften it up so its not so stiff? thank you! love your blog
Yes, I work with faux leather all the time!

There are of course a lot of different thicknesses and “weights” to faux leather and “softening it up” probably depends on how it is backed. Like does it have a fabric backing? A vinyl backing? Or is it non-backed – i.e., with an unfinished “wrong side”?

If it is backed in fabric or unbacked I think you *could* try to spray some water on the wrong side and hang it to see if this makes it more pliable. (Try on an area that won’t be visible first, as this could cause discoloration or even disintegration.) If the piece is vinyl-backed I would say you’re out of luck.:-( You could also try “conditioning” the leather on the right side using Vinyl Conditioner (http://www.nauticalease.com/products/vinyl.htm) or Mink Oil , which may soften up the piece, at least on the outer side.

I’m not sure how much success you’ll have though since man-made leather is chemically-based and if “pliability” is not engineered into the molecular structure of the piece, I doubt there’s much you could do it, short of pouring more chemicals on it, to make its hand more soft. (I would NOT recommend pouring fabric softener, bleach, or Fiber Etch on it!!)

I think when it comes to working with faux leathers selection is critical – unlike real leather, it’s more limited in its applications depending on its structure, weight, and thickness, since it tends to be impervious to conditioning, stretching, softening, and skivving. Does anyone have any ideas to help this reader out?!

Sorry I can’t be of more help!
xoxo
Carly

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