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Making seats look like leather...


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Spray or brush your flat color onto the seats. If the color is light then a little oil pastel chopped up into a fine dust and dry brushed into the recesses helps create depth. Then spray dull-coat over the whole thing.

The next step is a little weird but easy.

Rub your nose.

Don't mine it... :roll: but rub a little skin oil on your finger and then work it into the seats raised portions. This will give a convincing sheen to the shape and look remarkably like leather.

This technique works best with dark colors and black.

8)

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A good friend on another forum suggested a krylon based paint, wich is leather.comes in black and brown.Comes out a dull soft color.Not a tremendous amount of texture, but nice and convincing on motorcycle seats.I just picked up two cans at a local Wally today clearanced for $2 a can.If you want a worn leather look perhaps do a bad crackled paint job first, then seal that then apply the krylon leather.I have not tried that yet.I have 4 more bike/trike builds in the works before I move onto a rat trap bike.Then I can try that trick.

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Spray or brush your flat color onto the seats. If the color is light then a little oil pastel chopped up into a fine dust and dry brushed into the recesses helps create depth. Then spray dull-coat over the whole thing.

The next step is a little weird but easy.

Rub your nose.

Don't mine it... :roll: but rub a little skin oil on your finger and then work it into the seats raised portions. This will give a convincing sheen to the shape and look remarkably like leather.

This technique works best with dark colors and black.

8)

I just used this exact technique on my current vintage Cadillac project and it looks GREAT! No pics. tonight but I should have some for tomorrow.

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Here is an idea I had for worn leather seats (Not Tried or Tested by me!!):

For a worn leather look, try painting it with a white (or yellow or...this color will show through!) enamel, and then the leather laquer color of your choice, WARNING: this will crack, and it will crack in an unpredictable way, too! The base enamel color will show through the cracks. The upside of this is that it should give the look of mistreated leather. You may want /will need to, scribe the seams, and pleats of the seat, after painting with the enamel, so the cracks do not go across the seams, for a more realistic look. Dull coat (or don't) and you're done.

Just make sure that the rest of the interior is well masked before trying this!! After all, you don't want your carpet to crack do you?:)

(Most leather has a white "net" or "weave" backing, most seats use a yellow foam padding.)

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  • 14 years later...

A simple and less literal technique than Alex Kustov's beautiful approach just posted is to simply use a good quality acrylic paint and build up layers. I've used this technique quite often with consistently useful results. I start with the base coat in the color I want, apply it smoothly with a brush and let it dry. Then I apply a series of lighter coats, cross hatching them with my brush using a diagonal pattern and a light touch, while the paint is wet, continuing until the paint starts to set up and begins to dry and then stop. Let the layer dry. This begins to establish the leather texture. Do this until you get the texture you're looking for. Usually two or three additional coats will do it. For an even more distressed look I lightly apply a dark wash over the "leather" using the same crossshatch technique. In the 4 example below A is a fairly natural look and uses Testors Acryl Tan with a light red wash, B and C are both Testors Acryl Leather, B with no wash and C using a black wash, while D is Testors Acryl British Crimson with a black wash to get a distressed oxblood leather effect.

Leather-technique-web.jpg

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For black seats and door panels, I used Duplicolor black trim paint... Use it without primer... It looks like fresh new leather when dry...

You might want to test it first on a plastic spoon...

Edited by deuces wild
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My way of simulating leather is quite simple. Use a base coat of whatever colour you want the seat to be of Matt enamel or acrylic. Use a slightly darker wash of same colour to pick out details like the creases and seams etc. When dry I use a cost of waterproof drawing ink that is nearest to the base colour. Red over red, Brown over Brown for example. This imparts a translucent sheen finish to give a leather look. 

Black has to be approached differently. I paint the seats overall flat black. I then use a dark grey that is almost black and dry brush all the raised parts of the seats. When dry a coat of clear semi flat will impart the leather look.

Edited by Bugatti Fan
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  • 1 month later...
On 1/4/2022 at 3:29 AM, Bugatti Fan said:

My way of simulating leather is quite simple. Use a base coat of whatever colour you want the seat to be of Matt enamel or acrylic. Use a slightly darker wash of same colour to pick out details like the creases and seams etc. When dry I use a cost of waterproof drawing ink that is nearest to the base colour. Red over red, Brown over Brown for example. This imparts a translucent sheen finish to give a leather look. 

Black has to be approached differently. I paint the seats overall flat black. I then use a dark grey that is almost black and dry brush all the raised parts of the seats. When dry a coat of clear semi flat will impart the leather look.

I use leather from an old wallet or handbag you can usually find at a thrift store. It's thin enough to stretch and wrap around the seat. Start in the center with a little glue and work your way around the back. I use GOOP shoe glue.

Screenshot_20210811-181128.png

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  • 2 months later...

Later on I get into some of the stuff Bernard mentioned up above. At this stage, I poured craft paint into a toneau cover mold to make the tuck & roll material. Then, the various pieces were cut into shape & glued in place with watered down Elmer's glue.

.40_ford_030822-1-s.thumb.jpg.206f165ad07eb52871ce8e2e2fb244f5.jpg

 

32 ga. bead wire was superglued in place to represent the piping.

40_ford_031222-1-s.thumb.jpg.4c65d64d04eab824f94470b6572ad8be.jpg

 

The leather base coat was Acryl Gelb RLM, but any sort or yellow ochre color should work. After that, I started sponging & stippling thinned layers of Americana acrylic craft paint. The colors I used were Traditional Burnt Sienna & Cinnamon Stick. Between coats I sprayed Acryl semi-gloss clear to seal the previous coats. The photo in the background shows the look I was aiming for. There's also a test seat in the background to work out my colors. That one came out a bit dark.

40_ford_031422-1-s.thumb.jpg.cbc8940a2917a9a23f870d3a2d2ac0c0.jpg

 

When I was satisfied with the overall look, I sprayed quite a few more coats of semi-gloss clear.

40_ford_040322-3-s.thumb.jpg.20cce84d930eda4df6537e10c48c7f63.jpg40_ford_040322-4-s.thumb.jpg.8a43c636526bc20e4b13a602eec3425d.jpg

 

The paint on the body still needs to be polished out.

40_ford_040322-9-s.thumb.jpg.7c2dbb5a626cc0fba5ac6cee342bb02d.jpg

 

Edited by sbk
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I tried dry brushing flat light tan in the appropriate places to simulate old cracked leather. If you have seen Ed Iskendarian's roadster, the old leather has split and the stuffing is coming out. 

038.JPG

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Amazing work in this thread.....wow.

Steve's work is the best seats I've ever seen in a model. I'm curious as to how you made the tonneau cover upholstery. What paint did you use?

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7 hours ago, iBorg said:

Amazing work in this thread.....wow.

Steve's work is the best seats I've ever seen in a model. I'm curious as to how you made the tonneau cover upholstery. What paint did you use?

I'd be interested in hearing more about it, too.

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16 hours ago, iBorg said:

Amazing work in this thread.....wow.

Steve's work is the best seats I've ever seen in a model. I'm curious as to how you made the tonneau cover upholstery. What paint did you use?

Thanks! The cover is from an old AMT Ford truck kit, ('61?) but the cover from the AMT '59 El Camino may be easier to find. The mold is made like a typical silicone mold for resin casting. I've had the best results with Anita's craft paint. Tons of colors available & pretty cheap. I pour the paint into the mold, spread it around, & try to get most of the air bubbles out. After a day or two, I remove the piece & set it aside. I pour more to have extras in case of surface air bubbles or a miss-cut piece later on.

IMG_5521.thumb.JPG.a802006a2fb6aa4753d4f51f3a383706.JPG

Since I was going to paint the entire seat, I used a color that was similar to the gray primer so that the paint coverage would look even. The great thing about using craft paint inserts is that it's easy to do two tone upholstery by using contrasting colored inserts. Paint the seats one color & use a different color craft paint for the inserts.

51_Chevy-10-20-13-1s.jpg.6eb25a71ae52f4d45e2ca3783054d199.jpg51_Chevy-11-20-13-1s.jpg.335a52f88343aecd788f180c1c64c803.jpgint-10-12-14-1s.jpg.09b7dd1ee162c314ceda8e5e97823996.jpg50_olds_interior_10-25-14-3s.jpg.1d470fedcea600a6f3272feb3e4a861b.jpg49_merc-04-14-13-s.jpg.2126bb6df348fdee4b19bd0106efa3d9.jpg49_merc-04-24-13-1s.jpg.19522a6f9cfd0f8a8fa0c33a1ae245d5.jpg

 

If you go to FB, I have a step by step. If you start on the photo in the link, I have 9 photos with captions explaining the process. https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=192070664231320&set=a.148890918549295

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Your interiors are always great Steve - you’re an outstanding builder all round, but your interiors always catch my eye.

I need to try some of your techniques (no doubt to discover that you make it look easier than it is…)

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On 4/27/2022 at 9:01 PM, sbk said:

Later on I get into some of the stuff Bernard mentioned up above. At this stage, I poured craft paint into a toneau cover mold to make the tuck & roll material. Then, the various pieces were cut into shape & glued in place with watered down Elmer's glue.

.

 

32 ga. bead wire was superglued in place to represent the piping.

 

 

The leather base coat was Acryl Gelb RLM, but any sort or yellow ochre color should work. After that, I started sponging & stippling thinned layers of Americana acrylic craft paint. The colors I used were Traditional Burnt Sienna & Cinnamon Stick. Between coats I sprayed Acryl semi-gloss clear to seal the previous coats. The photo in the background shows the look I was aiming for. There's also a test seat in the background to work out my colors. That one came out a bit dark.

 

 

When I was satisfied with the overall look, I sprayed quite a few more coats of semi-gloss clear.

40_ford_040322-3-s.thumb.jpg.20cce84d930eda4df6537e10c48c7f63.jpg

 

The paint on the body still needs to be polished out.

 

 

Yours are the most convincing interiors, I have ever seen. Simply astounding work! Must try techniques! Thank you for sharing them.

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Incredibly realistic looking leather. As Jim, (cab driver) said above, you likely make this look much easier than it is. And Jim has crazy good skills!  I have seen many of your builds in magazines over the years, all beautiful builds. Thanks for sharing Steve.

Cheers, Steve

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