How To Differentiate Between Natural and Synthetic Leathers

Natural and synthetic leather share strong similarities in many respects. Therefore, it is important that we know their unique characteristics to make it easier to distinguish amongst them. Also, the prices of high-quality synthetic leather items are somewhat similar to those of natural leather. Owing to this, one may even mistake synthetic leather as natural leather. This article unveils the unique features of both the natural and synthetic types while highlighting their strengths and limitations. This will assist leather craftsmen and clients who will be adequately informed about the types of leather to choose for the production of a particular article.

Some of the unique features of synthetic leather that would make its identification less strenuous have been stated below.

1. It is a chemical compound that can smell badly by false processing and become discolored by taints applied.

2. It is very cold, so it is not good to wear the garment even on a windy autumn day.

3. It is heavier in weight than sheepskin, but lighter than cowhide.

4. When it gets into contact with fire it burns out immediately, even with a quick touch of fire from a lighter.

5. Though it absorbs cream like natural leather, spots appear on its surface while natural leather absorbs the nutrients of the cream like the human skin without spots.

6. When synthetic leather is touched, its surface appears rigid and is very poor in terms of softness.

7. It has a strong irritating smell of plastic.

8. When synthetic leather is burned, it produces a pungent odor and forms a lump.

9. It tears easily.

10. It is not pliable or flexible.

11. It is also nonelastic. This implies that it is not capable of resuming its original shape after stretching or compression.

On the other hand, natural leather can be identified using four physical identification methods such as hand touching, seeing, smelling and burning.

1. Hand touching: touch leather surface, if smooth, soft, plump, flexible feel is the dermis; and a general artificial surface made of synthetic leather acerbity, rigid, and poor soft.

2. Seeing: real leather surface will have a clearer and more symmetrical fine pores and pattern.

3. Smelling: Natural leather has a leather smell while synthetic leather has a strong irritating smell of plastic.

4. Burning: Tear a litter fiber from the back of real leather and artificial leather, burning, the one issued by a pungent odor, formed a lump is an artificial leather; any given hair smell, not a hard nut to crack is the real leather.

These characteristics of the types of leather and the items they can best be used in their production must be known by the leather craftsman. This would enable him or her to professional recommend a specific leather choice for the production of a leather item to clients.

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What Makes Natural Leather The Best Choice

Natural leather has several features that make it far more different from synthetic leather. These characteristics have to be known by leather craftsmen and students to help develop their taste and sharpen their judgment concerning ‘fake’ and real leather products. Some of its distinct characteristics are vividly described in this article. The aim of the paper is not to discourage leather craftsmen and producers from using artificial leather but to accentuate the unique abilities of leather gotten from nature.

1. It has an excellent molding and forming qualities-

This leather is pliable and elastic. Due to this, it can be shaped in various forms, unlike synthetic leather that can tear when exerted with pressure to conform to a particular form. Natural leather ‘listens’ to the dictates of its maker without difficulty. Owing to its nature, it can take the form and shape of objects that even have various curvy aspects. No wonder it is used for the molding of bottles, vases, jars and even sculptural forms.

2. It has tear strength (plasticity)-

This is how leather can stand the ‘strains and stresses’ without breaking. Natural leather possesses the quality to be stretched, shaped or manipulated with tools without tearing. leather from animals is very strong and thus does not tear easily. Synthetic leather rather tears easily. This quality of natural leather explains why its products usually last longer than ‘synthe’ (synthetic) leather products. Upholstery in cars is produced with it because it can stand various forms of tension as a result of seating.

3. Puncture strength-

It is very difficult to create punctures in products made of natural leather. Pointed objects cannot easily pierce through natural leather products. That is why, in the construction industries, workers are mandated to wear boots produced from it. Personal protective gadgets such as jackets and cardigans are usually produced with it.

4. It has an insulating ability-

Leather in a natural state has the ability to reduce or even preventing the transmission of heat or cold. That is why jackets fashioned with it are worn in both hot and cold climates. While it has excellent functions such as protecting wind and naturally ventilating so as to be well put on in autumn, winter, and spring, synthetic leather does not. It protects its wearer from the harsh weather conditions.

5. It can be tooled, carved and embossed-

Because of its thickness, it can be carved, tooled and embossed with the greatest ease. These production techniques cannot be employed on synthetic leather due to its lightness.

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Finishing Techniques in Leatherwork

Finishing is concerned with the improvement of the hand and appearance of a product so as to enhance its general outlook and maximize its marketability potentials. It is essential that Leatherwork articles are finished in any of the accepted finishing techniques to heighten their design and aesthetic qualities. There are various appropriate techniques through which leather products can be finished. Some of these techniques are burnishing, waxing, polishing, spraying, texturing, patenting. using conditioners, soaps, and cleaners.

1. Burnishing

This is a decorative process in which a smooth surface/tool is rubbed over the surface of the leather to produce a sheen. The leather is placed on a hard surface. Then a blunt, smooth tool, for example, Stone, bottle, bulb, spoon, marble or some smooth, hard object is used to rub over the surface of the leather on the grain side to produce a shiny effect. This is done by starting from a point and working gradually to all parts of the leather until a uniform sheen is produced. By this process, the rough surface of the leather and any wrinkles are smoothed or polished. This is done by rigorously rubbing the surface of leather with a tool such as a bone folder, plastic or wooden burnishing wheel, stone, bottle, metal spoon etc. to leave a fine shiny, glossy or smooth appearance.

2. Waxing

This finishing technique involves the application of wax to improve the surface quality, hardness, and water resistant ability of the leather item. The application of the wax can be done by the use of brush or foam to give a glossy effect to the leather product.

3. Polishing

This finishing technique also aims at improving the surface quality of leather products. Polish in the form of abrasives with varying colors and polishing liquors like lacquer or varnish are applied with either hard bristle brushes or foam to improve the surface quality of leather items. Sometimes wax is used to enhance the surface quality of the leather.

4. Spraying

This is the application of polishing liquors like varnish or lacquer on leather items by the use of spray guns or diffusers that spill the polishing agents in fine bits or dots on the leather item to improve its surface quality. Spraying avoids the brush strokes that sometimes mar the perfect application of the polishing liquors.

5. Texturing

This is achieved by the use of dyes, acrylics, and other coloring agents by incising, stamping, printing, spraying etc. These are used in creating patterns or textures on the grain side of the leather for decorative purposes.

6. Patenting

This is the application of lacquer or varnishes in layers on the leather to give the surface a waterproof effect and make the surface very shiny.

7. Using Conditioners

Leather conditioners soften and nourish the leather while providing a protective coating over the leather. This assists the leather to be able to resist scuffing and color fade. It gives the surface luster to leather after polishing. Examples and conditioners, their functions and application have been discussed below.

i. Saddler’s wax- It nourishes, cleans and polishes leather. It is used mostly on saddles, boots, and handbags. It can be applied with the fingers, a piece of cloth, a brush or a damp sponge.

ii. Melo wax- It is used for cleaning, polishing and softening smooth grained leather. It can be applied with a cloth or the fingers, allowed to dry and then polished with a soft cloth.

iii. Kiwi leather conditioner- It cleans, mellows, softens and preserves smooth grained leather. It can be applied with a cloth or the fingers, allowed to dry and then polished gently.

iv. Shoe Cream- It nourishes, cleans and softens leather. It is used on belts, handbags, billfolds, watch bands, bracelets, hair ornaments, etc. It can be applied with the fingers, a piece of cloth, a brush or a damp sponge.

v. Lexol- It makes the leather supple and gives a durable preservative finish. It is applied in thin coats by the use of sponge, a piece of cloth or the fingers. It is allowed to soak in for about ten minutes before it is applied.

vi. Vaseline petroleum jelly- It softens the leather, brings back its colour and provide a protective coating to help the leather resist scuffing. It is applied with the fingers. It is allowed to dry a bit for 15-20 minutes and then wiped off with a soft cloth. It is mostly used on belts and handbags.

8. Using Soaps and Cleaners

Soaps and cleaners are also excellent finishes that are used to clean and protect the surface of leather. It is applied with a wet sponge or brush. After its application, it is wiped with a dry cloth and then polished to a soft luster. Examples include Kiwi soaps, Belvoir glycerine soaps, Belmont soaps, Propert soaps, Castile soaps and Blue Ribbon soaps.

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How to Prepare for Model Casting

Awesome, you have just got your ticket to enter an exciting industry. However, your performance at Casting is pivotal in determining whether you get selected by the agency and paves the way for the subsequent opportunities you will acquire as a model.

1. Check and follow the requirements

Important details such as the timing of the casting call, what you need to bring, expected dress code and all the important details must be strictly followed to ease your casting process. It is very unlikely that you will attend an audition where there aren’t many others casting for the same opportunity, and the agency rarely has much time to waste. So being late or not bringing what is required will significantly slow down the process and cause you to wait much longer. Besides, that is the last first impression you want to create (Or the last impression you will make). Check the website to see what’s required for casting and call the agency and clarify directly.

2. Your overall look: Simple.

Your look is something you need spend some time thinking about. A model agency wants to see the raw talent and beauty you can offer them for them to work with. If you wrap yourself up in makeup, fancy patterned shirts/dresses, and excessive jewelry it will interfere with their creativity which is trying to suit your natural look to multiple modeling styles. You will result in creating an impression that you are not a versatile model. Go as simple as you possibly with the lightest makeup. For example, a bit of foundation to hide some blemishes and scars.

Check if there is a dress code in the description else just wear a solid colored dress, jeans, tank top or anything that makes you comfortable so long as it’s simple and plain colored. A further tip, don’t apply too much perfume or cologne as it may put off the judge/interviewer if he/she doesn’t like that smell. Apply some basic deodorant to ensure your odor is in control and that would suffice.

3. Healthy lifestyle, radiate natural beauty

The best way to look good naturally is to stick to healthy wholesome foods and completely avoiding fried, oily and fast food. You also want to drink enough water and get the adequate sleep you need as you lead up to your casting call. You should stay off alcohol and late nights at least week before your casting call.

4. Expect to wait

Waiting is going to be hard if you are impatient. Casting calls are usually filled with many aspiring hopefuls so you will most likely have to wait for some time before your turn. Bring a book or newspaper you can read while you wait, and don’t let the waiting affect your emotion and thought. It is completely expected and normal to wait, and no matter what time you are called you should always go to your casting with a cool head.

5. Wear your confidence

Whether you get selected by a model agency or not, remember to be vibrant, lively, smile and be enthusiastic about the whole casting session. Answer the question posed to you confidently and that alone should sail you to land the spot.


Have fun, be confident and give it your best shot. If you fail, it’s not the end. Ask about what you can improve on, work on your look and style and try again at the various agencies available.

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