Everything old is new again.....{Faux Leather Deco. tutorial}

As I mentioned last week I have several projects in the works. One being a large file cabinet I snagged at a yard sale for $5.00!!!!!!!!!!!! I still can't believe it! I knew right away what I would do with it and how I would "transform it". I love when the piece screams at you and tells you right away what it needs. (Yes furniture and fabric to talk to me. Don't they talk to you as well?)

I thought I would document with photos how it went from sad to FAB and share the process, tips and tricks with you.

Faux Leather Decoupage Tutorial

Mod podge - or watered down glue medium
sponge brushes
item to be transformed
Paper to layer over your item - I used brown shipping paper
paint - if necesary
Clear coat - optional

Step 1: Wiped all dirt/dust from my cabinet. I also suggest painting in this step as well if necessary. That way you don't have to worry about accidently getting paint on your mod podged area.

I painted the base of my cabinet and drawers because only the top would get decoupaged on.

($5.00 cabinet before)

Step 2: After my black paint had dried then the fun began! I wanted to go with a brown/black theme for my cabinet so I grabbed some brown shipping paper to use to cover the top. The was originally a wood laminate that had begun to chip and fall off. Hence the need to cover and re-do the top of it.

To keep covering the top as simple as possible I lined up the staight edge of the paper with the bottom edge of my laminate top. (pictured below) I tore a piece of brown paper in a random shape keeping in mind the length of the top and tearing it off so it barely over lapped the edges on both ends. (pictured below)

Step 3: Working in sections, I put down a good layer of mod modge on my laminate top where the paper would lay. Then I repositioned the paper on top of the mod podge glue and saturated the paper with a layer of glue to keep it in place. Repeat the length of your paper working under the paper and then on top.

I definately got my hands "dirty". Fingers and hands can be the best tool for smoothing out the paper, applying pressure, and spreading the glue medium around. Make sure you put a good coat of glue on your paper so that is adheres to your base project.

Step 5: Continue to layer your paper pieces on top of each other in any sort of "pattern" you like.

Once I had all my pieces in place I added an extra coat of glue to "seal" the entire top. The easiest way to do that for me was to pour the mod podge from the bottle and use my hands to spread it around. This also allowed me to smooth out any bubbles and create "wrinkles" in the paper which would add more character to my "faux leather" looking top.

Step 6: Let dry. ****The paper will bubble as you get it saturated with the mod podge and as it dries. If you've done a good job smoothing out the bubbles as best you can, just step back and let it dry. The bubbles will look awful but give it a few hours (for a large project like this) and the paper *should* flatten itself out once it's dry. ****

Step 7: OPTIONAL - Add a clear coat over your decoupaged area letting it dry in between coats. I think between my husband and I we put on about 4 good coats on. The top now almost looks like it has glass over it. Very cool and very family friendly. Easy to wipe clean and protected from the rough and tumble of everyday life.

***Adding the clear coat will also bring out and darken any areas on your paper that were not completed saturated and sealed by the mod podge. Please be aware of this. I learned the hard way and ended up with several "spots" dotting the top. Although it turned out less than perfect from what I had hoped it would - sometimes mistakes can work too!***

You can add more paper to cover these spots too. One reason why I wanted to share this technique was to offer my tips/suggestions from the mistakes I made. :)

And you are done!!!! I moved it into our Family room upstairs and have just begun to "accessorize" it.

Pretty good for $5.00 wouldn't you say?

Of course this same technique can be easily used for many other items and with other mediums. I would love to someday decoupage a large item with old maps!

Be sure to upload your photos from this project into the Brassy Apple Projects Flickr group!

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  1. Looks great! I love brown bagging! I actually did the whole main floor in my house this way. In the dining room I used a colored paper and handpainted a design on it to simulate a rug. It is so easy to do, economical and looks great! So many things to paper!!!!!!!

  2. how cool! I;ve wanted to deco and paint my floors someday too!

  3. You should be very proud- that looks awesome! I have had a little cabinet in my garage for a couple of years now and I've finally figured out what to do with it, thanks to you!
    Can I ask a ridiculous question about the black paint? How did you go about that portion? Sanding, then painting? Satin, semigloss? Thanks so much!

  4. OH MY:!!!!! That is AWESOME!!! I may just have to go hit up some garage sales and find me something to do that too!! You are great;)

  5. Melissa - ask away! There are no ridiculous questions around here! :)

    I have a can of high gloss black paint that I have on hand for numerous projects around here. I like the high gloss look and ease for cleaning, dusting, wiping, etc.

    I didn't sand this project before I painted b/c it was all wood, old and didn't really have any sealer on it so I knew the paint would be fine.

    If your project already has paint on it then you will probably need to sand it a bit.

    I hope that was helpful!

  6. ok, seriously? i don't know how you just did that, but it's amazing. you are the queen of renovation.

  7. Wow, I cannot believe that is just regular brown craft paper...

    I have wondered what to do with chipped laminate since you can't really just paint over it.

    And, yes, inanimate objects (especially fabric) talk to me ALL the time.


  8. What kind of clear coat sealer did you use? Does the high gloss hold up better to use than a semi-gloss?

    I need to redo my kitchen table and I think this is going to be absolutely perfect.


  9. It looks fabulous! You gave it a whole new chic life. I am pretty sure I could not have guessed that the top was simply brown craft paper. The finished piece has so much depth to it!

  10. I love decoupage - never thought to use brown kraft. Brilliant.
    I clicked on the finished picture to gt a better look at the shiny top and wow. Looks very expensive and exclusive.

    I've gotta try that.

  11. Vicki,

    I just used a semi-gloss clear wood finish brush on lacquer. Comes in a pint can that I use for several projects.

    Also - the finish of the paint - whether satin, semi or high gloss doesn't really matter. Just a personal preference on painted furniture for me.

    Good luck!

  12. I've heard of that technique- your piece looks fabulous!

  13. Wow, what a transformation! How glamerous it looks now.

  14. I see several other yard sale finds from that day. Love it!!!!

  15. I've done this before on a Chest of Drawers as a leather inset then put the nail heads around it..Crumple up the paper for a distressed look, then rub a bit of stain on a sponge over the top to catch the raised areas of the paper, then seal!

  16. ohhh! Megan, I totally bought the perfect table for this at the Good Will the other day for $4!! I was just going to paint it black, but now, I know I HAVE to do this! :) Thanks so much for the idea!!

  17. I LOVE it, Megan!!! Chad wants a cool looking desk for our new house, and this might just be what I do for him!! Thanks for sharing, you're always so helpful :)

  18. Oh my gosh! That is so clever. I have an old coffee table that belonged to my MIL that needs a new surface. I will have to give this a try. I hate to pitch the thing.

  19. Wow. That looks really great! I will have to re-think decoupage. You make it look like fun. :)

  20. This is a great technique to use! I did it on my kitchen table and it turned out great. I love using it everyday. Great Job hun!

  21. Hi! I just happened upon your photo of this project on Flickr and decided to come take a closer look. It's fantastic! I've used the packing paper technique as a wall treatment before and just used wallpaper adhesive. I decided to day to try a decoupage project (which is how I came across your photo), so I bought some Mod Podge, and it looks and smells just like wallpaper adhesive! I have a sneaking suspicion that it's the same thing, and purchasing wallpaper paste is a ton more economical. Just wondering if you've had any experience with wallpaper paste, or have ever given it a try for decoupage.

    Great blog!! I'll be visiting often. So glad I found it.


  22. This looks great and easy to do! I've actually never used Mod Podge. Have you used this technique with fabric? Do you know if it will work? Once again, you are truly an inspiration!

  23. wascotts - YES it will work with fabric and scrapbook paper too!!

    check out this post about my use of fabric and modge podge

    and check into the Brassy Apple flickr group for more photos from me and crafty bloggers :)


    have fun!!! thanks for stopping by!

  24. what brand/kind of clear coat did you put over the decoupage area to make it look like glass was over it?
    i decoupaged with fabric and put a couple layers of mod podge but how do i make it more smooth and sleek?

  25. I just used a semi-gloss clear wood finish brush on lacquer. Comes in a pint can that I use for several projects.

    the more coats you do the "thicker" the smooth layer will be :)

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  27. Looks great! I love brown bagging! I actually did the whole main floor in my house this way.