After my inspiration for using Paper as a leather substitute after seeing how well it worked in products I saw in Milan, I wanted to use this material as my second 'leather'. I wanted to use it on the mother cow because paper leather looks more worn signifying age. I wanted to turn the message of 'leather looks better when it's aged and worn' on its head and relate that back to the cow, showing how age looks much better on the living animal than in a product.
After looking at examples such as Kraft Tex and Snap Pap, who are companies that make craft paper look like leather with Snap Pap commercialising itself as vegan, I decided I didn't want to use either of these examples. I found it difficult pin-pointing exactly what the ingredients were to determine if they were both plant-based and vegan. However, in my search for a new product I came across a blog post that talked about handmade methods:
‘Paper – obviously biodegradable, paper is sustainable but not exactly leather-like. However, cardboard massaged with natural oils to soften it and backed with canvas is extremely close to the real thing.' (purseofpeople, 2016)
I thought this method would be a cheap and easy to do myself and give me an opportunity to create a handmade vegan and environmentally conscious material.
I used coconut oil and recycled pieces of corrugated cardboard. I coated the cardboard with the oil, massaged and then distressed it to create the required worn texture.
The final result left a glossy and distressed look. Some cardboard was better than others and I found the best cardboard were straighter pieces in comparison to bumpy, corrugated pieces. I left them to dry out the oil a little before sewing.
I found that it was a fairly fragile material when not backed with the canvas. When I sewed with a normal close-spaced stitch the cardboard would rip so I found the most effective method was using a wide zig zag.
I patched up the different pieces and actually liked the rips, different colours and textured. I felt it looked more distressed and worn, which was the effect I was going for.
For my prototype, I felt this was a aesthetically appealing leather alternative, but functionality-wise I understand that this material would need more experimentation and some sort of coating on top to protect the texture. I think in the future I will purchase materials rather than try to make them on my own, however I think this was a great experiment for this project and although the final result is not what I expected I still see the leather comparison.
Murphy, C. (2016). Vegan Leather Substitutes: Eco-friendly or a Toxic Alternative? | Purse for the People. [online] Purse for the People. Available at: https://purseforthepeople.com/2016/09/vegan-leather-substitutes-eco-friendly-toxic-alternative/ [Accessed 19 Apr. 2017].
looking for me?