How to Smooth and Polish Suede

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Introduction: How to Smooth and Polish Suede

In this instructables instruction guide I will show you how to make suede (yuck) look like real shiny leather (yay)

the TLDR is

Mix PVA glue and polish
Apply
Burn it
Rub it
Polish it

The glue bonds the suede stuff together, the wax colours and hardens it, the suede gets shinier, doesn't split when bent/twisted, doesn't scuff easily and looks like slightly pebbled leather at the end. I'm using it to make decent looking movie costumes using super cheap, nasty industrial leather.

Supplies

These are all the things I used in my process:

Suede

PVA glue (possibly other types too)

Shoe Polish

Lighter

Time

Patience

Suicidal depression

Step 1: Find Some Suede

Find some suede. Suede originally came from Sweden (Sueden).

Suede is kinda like leather but more s**t

Step 2: Find Some Glue and Polish

I used PVA glue mixed with Kiwi brand brown shoe polish, I blended it in a bowl until it looked like cookies and cream* and then spread it over the suede until it was completely covered.

It will appear very light brown at first, but will darken as the PVA dries, as it dries clear.

You have my permission to use a different colour than brown if you want.

*Do NOT eat the glue/polish mix. It does NOT taste like cookies and cream.

Step 3: Burn It All

I was a bit concerned about setting fire to myself, but it turned out okay. I just kinda suspended the former-suede between my knees and used a lighter to dry/melt the glue/wax. It won't ignite (as far as I know) and won't drip.

This step isn't 100% necessary but I wanted to dry it faster.

I won't post photos because you really don't wanna see my legs or the awkward positioning this requires.

Step 4: Suede-be-gone

Wow, great, amazing. You now have smooth leather. You're so talented and pretty, well done.
I added black polish over the top, which still absorbs into the leather despite the glue, and burnished it using a bamboo stick, though be careful not to be too rough and try to only move the bamboo (or whatever burnishing tool you choose) in just one direction, so the glue has a chance to bond the suede "hairs"(?) To the suede "body"(?)

I don't know all the parts of suede, what do I look like, a suede doctor?

For more great tips, email me at tomhanksisguilty@gmail.com, or call me on 1800 KAPPY

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    4 Comments

    0
    adibythesea
    adibythesea

    Question 3 months ago

    The cookies and cream reference - just checking if that means the ratio was roughly 1:1?

    0
    Farriah
    Farriah

    10 months ago

    A few days later, everything has dried and it is indistinguishable in texture and weight to a 1920s Reichswehr marschstiefel.

    I'm very happy with the veg-tan appearance it has acquired from using brown wax as the underlying toner, and it has wounded up costing roughly $35 (AUD) in total, and I still haven't finished the entire apron (though it won't be an apron for long)

    I feel this process would be perfect for anyone looking to make great looking leather garments, reichswehr marschstiefel, or accessories for a massive discount.

    Best of luck fellow craftiers.

    IMG_20200924_161111.jpg
    0
    Farriah
    Farriah

    10 months ago

    Extra tip: I tried rubbing olive oil over the polished surface, it seems to give it a more slick/shiny appearance.

    I'll be doing some experimenting with blackening veg-tan leather by using fabric-dye over the coming weeks too, if it's successful I'll create a new post.