METALLIC LEATHER & SUEDE

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This is an introduction to ‘METALLIC‘ leather. The precise finishes can be quite different. They will have a different surface feel, hand and behave differently when used for a finished good. For example, liquid may run right off a solid metallic foil but be quickly absorbed by a suede-like ‘crystal-finished’ leathers. With these, the materials will have reflective properties like actual metals. We always have some form of metallic leather in supply because the demand is pretty constant. What can vary is the exact surface finish or the actual color.

Surface appearance can be anything from cracked to smooth as a gold bar. There are processes where skins are passed under sprays, which are essentially nozzles spraying metallic-like liquids onto the skin surface. An associate and artist, Santiago, who we work with, hand-applies metallic in strokes and splatters creating some great unique effects. With crackled, drying slightly then flexing it while still brittle can create a cracked separating appearance. There are metallic stamps that achieve this as well. Some have more texture than others given the amount of spray or thickness of the foil. The crystal appearance is very light in feeling and is small misty droplets sprayed upon the suede usually from above. Again, it can be more two-tone or more solid depending on the time under the sprays and liquid released and applied. One note here is that some, like the sprayed finish, are more flexible, meaning they can bend in most directions while remaining intact without damage, whereas some metallic finishes can be a little sensitive. Yes, they add another layer of resistance and protection from the outside elements but is one folds them in the opposite direction of the outside, or runs them against a rough surface, damage can appear and that damage, if in the finish, is most likely permanent. Touch-up art paints or other liquids can be applied to mask it somewhat but it can’t be ‘conditioned’ out like dryness or ‘dry-ironed’ (with paper buffer) out, like lines from folds and creases.

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