How to Distress Leather

A small patch of worn, distressed leather.
What You'll Need
Spray bottle
Heavy bristled brush
Dust or dirt

When you distress leather you are bound to achieve a great look which new leather lacks. In fact, a lot of people tend to prefer wearing distressed leather garments rather than “normal” ones. If you have any leather clothes that you want to give a distressed look to, you should go ahead and do it, since the process involved is a pretty simple one.

A bottle of rubbing alchohol

Dampen the Leather with Alcohol

To start the distressing procedure, you will need to rub some alcohol over the leather garment. Simply dampen a cloth with some alcohol and apply it on the surface, rubbing it gently. Conversely, you can use an empty spray bottle to spray the alcohol directly on the leather. Make sure you only dampen the fabric with the alcohol, since if you downright soak it, it would take a very long time to dry completely.

Add Creases in the Leather

When the leather is well dampened with alcohol, crumple it up as if kneading dough to give it the distressed look. Do not hold back—add as many lines and creases as you like, even if they seem to be out of place or unnatural.

Rub the Leather with Sandpaper

To intensify the distressed look, you will need to use sandpaper. Start by rubbing it gently on an innocuous area, so if you do not like how it looks you can leave it at that. If you are fine with the appearance it creates you can use the sandpaper gently all across the surface. Start off slowly at first, rubbing gradually harder until you are happy with the final product.

Scrub brush

Use a Heavy Bristled Brush

If you still wish to distress your leather further, you can use a brush with heavy bristles. At this stage, the brush will have a considerable effect, so be careful. The leather will be badly worn out after you treat it with the brush, giving your garment an even more worn look.

Give the Leather a Dusty Appearance

If you are still not fully satisfied with the result, take the garment outside, throw it on the ground, and kick it around in the dirt. This will give your leather a dusty coating that complements the old appearance you are looking for. Naturally, make sure you do not throw it on the moist ground since it would get muddy rather than dusty. When you are satisfied, brush off the excess dirt.

These five simple steps are a sure way to give your leather clothes that sought-after distressed look. Keep in mind that you may stop after any step, since you may not like a heavily distressed appearance, but for those who want something more pronounced, there are ways to accomplish it.