I have seen some leather paper projects online and in shops but I have never tried the material before. Today, I was stuck in a craft store as my daughter attended a crafts themed birthday party and I picked up a roll of faux leather paper. Faux leather paper is an interesting new material. It looks and feels like cardstock but it is durable, washable and sewable. While waiting for my daughter, I had plenty of time browsing the net and found many interesting projects: baskets, wallets, cord organizers and labels for garments. After returning home, I then got an idea: The leather paper is so much like paper that it might be possible to print on it. And by “print” I mean using your regular office ink jet printer! I had to find out!
This is the exact type of faux leather paper I used in my printing test.
First, I needed to cut a suitable piece out of the roll. For testing, I thought that the A5 size would do. I used a sheet of A5 paper as a template and cut myself a leather paper sheet:
This is what I got. An A5 size sheet that refuses to lie straight.
My printer would not take a curved sheet, so I had to find a way to make it flat. Just twisting it in my hands did not make it smooth enough. I then used a spray can and lightly sprayed it with water and ironed it from both sides. Just to be sure, I covered the leather paper with a pressing cloth. That did the trick:
However, I only came up with the water spray method after the first printing attempt, so my first print below has been ironed dry.
The printing result
Just to be sure, I emptied the paper tray and put my faux leather paper sheet alone on the tray. Then I chose a floral pattern image and printed it. And. It. Worked!
This was my first test and with it, I did not use the water spray with the ironing stage because I came up with it after this. I think that resulted in a bit of smudged ink at the ends.
Printing labels and a ruler for my sewing planner
Then I tried something useful which would better show the print quality. I made an A5 sheet with a handy ruler for my Sewist’s planner with some labels filling the space next to it.
The picture below shows the printing quality. The ink bleeds a tiny bit but not much. The leather paper ruler looks good! I was also happy that the ruler scaled right. I compared the result to a proper ruler and they match.
I then only needed to add holes for the ruler:
If you want to make a ruler of your own, here is the picture in pdf format. Just download it and print it out, but remember to print it on the right scale!
Faux leather paper labels
I think I can use these little leather paper labels to decorate my handmade garments. I printed the octopus after I found the picture among my clip art pics. I think it could suit for a little boy’s shirt. I also printed out a star and a beetle. I have not yet decided on what to do with these. Any suggestions?
I turned the floral printed faux leather paper into this little tissue holder. This wasn’t very successful make since I had trouble getting all the tissues in. Well, at least they will stay there now! The next time I will make a proper flap for easier access.
Can you wash printed faux leather paper?
The short answer: Yes!
I ironed all the printed sheets of leather paper to make the print more durable. I used the two dots setting with my clothes iron and ironed through a pressing cloth. I did the first washing attempt immediately afterwards and the ink faded a lot. Then I slept overnight and tried again and the print survived basic hand wash! So, wait for the ink to dry properly before washing! Ironing and waiting for a few hours was enough but if I were to use this for a garment, I’d wait for something like two days.
I have used my inkjet printer to make tee-shirt prints on those transfer sheets so I have great hopes that these printed leather papers will take the washings in a regular washing machine at 40 °C.
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