How to Make Fabric Look Like Leather: Step-by-Step Guide

There could have been a sofa or chair in our household that is still in pretty good shape, but the fabric of the cushion is super backdated.

That’s your favorite sofa, and you don’t want to throw it. You still want to use it whatever means you have to take.

Well, I have the perfect solution for you. You can turn your super backdated cushion sofa into a high-looking leather with just a little paint craftwork of yours.

How to Make Fabric Look Like Leather

I’m going to share my personal experience about how to make fabric look like leather. All I did was a little paint with some little measures.

My result was satisfying. I successfully revive my sofa. It was looking better than before. I loved this new makeover on my sofa.

How to Make Fabric Look Like Leather Step by Step

Materials Needed:

  • Water
  • Sanding pad
  • A large pot
  • Large paint Brush
  • Terracotta paint ( which I choose)
  • Chocolate chalk mineral paint ( which I choose)
  • VanDyke Glaze (Optional)
  • Brown Wax
  • Disposal Gloves
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Before starting the procedure, wear a pair of disposable hand gloves and an old cloth. It will protect your hands and clothes; in any case, any of the paint splashes on you.

1. Start with the cleaning:

Start by vacuuming your sofa. You’ll see the majority of the dirt was on the skirt. If you vacuum it, it will easily come off. If you don’t have a vacuum cleaner, you can use a piece of cloth or a brush to clean it.

2. Remove the staples:

The cushion skirt was attached with staples. Use a screwdriver and pliers to remove it. It should make the staple come out.

In my case, once I got into the groove, the staples came out easily. If you think that the staple is too difficult to come out, hammered it into the wood part.

3. Start painting:

Painting fabric is an easy and fun task to do. One important thing to remember is that your fabric must be wet enough with the paint to absorb the paint’s pigment. To paint the wingback, I choose terracotta and chocolate chalk mineral paint.

There is a reason for choosing this color as the brownish color fits the leather well. I pour about 75% of terracotta color and 25% of chocolate chalk mineral color in a large pot, which would be a 3:1 ratio. Add some water as you prefer. Mix this with a wide brush.

4. Do the first coat:

Drip the wide brush into the mixture and apply it to the sofa cushion. After first applying it should look like a chocolate-coated sofa.

Repeat the application process until you get your preferable leather color. As for me, I got my desired color after three coats. Next, wait until the paint dries.

5. Glazing mixture:

After drying the third coat, I added some chocolate-chalk mineral color leftover with a little VanDyke brown glaze. I mixed about 10-15% glaze to 85-90% paint. I did this to create a darker texture.

6. Glaze the paint:

Using a wide brush dripping into the glazing mixture, gently brush the sofa skirt cushion again. Let it be dry.

7. Wax:

I used brown to darken up random areas on the new almost looking leather. It is better to tell you that the wax was applied thickly in some areas and light in other areas.

Like at the bottom corner of the sofa, the wax applied was heavier. To soften everything, give the sofa a light sanding with a 220 sanding pad.

You can use any other sand pad according to your desire. Keep it steady for two h.

After that, your new-looking leather sofa is ready to use. It would give you a leather vibe. If you follow this step carefully, I’m sure your results will also be satisfying.

Read Next: How to make paint for fabric at home


Can I use acrylic paint instead of terracotta or mineral color?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint instead of using terracotta or mineral color. It will also be perfect. Acrylic paint is flexible, adheres well, and also, it won’t crack with any movement. Another important feature of using acrylic paint is that it comes in different colors and shades, lasting longer.


  • Removing staples is an important task because the staples are sharp. They can be pretty dangerous for your pets or the babies or your legs.
  • To keep the paint not split on the sofa’s legs, masked the areas with painter’s tape.
  •  Your fabric should be damp enough with paint. This way, the color will absorb into the fabric instead of just sitting on the fabric’s top.
  • Well, you can also put the paint mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on the sofa. But for me brushing the sofa with painting dripping is much easier, less time-consuming, and faster than spraying. You can try both methods and notice which one works better for you.
  • In case any of the paint gets on your hand or skin, take a cotton ball and soak it with baby oil or olive oil and rub it on your painted skin. The paint will get off.
  • Be careful with frequent use; otherwise, the paint may rub off from the sofa.
  • If you want a light color, you can stop the process after three coats. The results will still be impressive.


I shared my experience of making the fabric look like leather. It was a cheap, easy, and less time-consuming process to try. I hope you can find satisfying results as I did.

Hi, I'm Robert Jameson. I'm a textile engineer. As a textile engineer, I design & create fabric. When I'm not busy with my family members, I research, write, and edit content for Fabric Fits.

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