How to Make a Distressed Leather Chair

What You'll Need
Leather balm (microcrystalline wax in an alcohol solution)
Blow dryer
Plastic tarp

One of the newest home décor trends is to have a distressed leather chair. Let's say you have a leather chair that is looking out of place with the rest of your older furniture and you have thought that you would like to make it look like it belongs there. You don't want to spend the money to buy furniture that looks distressed so you decide that you will do it yourself. Your aim is to make the leather chair look old and well used.

You can have a lot of fun distressing leather furniture yourself. Instead of getting upset when a scratch or a rub appears on your furniture, you'll be purposely creating that effect using tools from around the home. Experiment with various things that you find and see what kind of result you get. Most of all have some fun with this project.

Step 1: The Cracks

If you will be working indoors you will want to place a plastic tarp under the chair so that you do not damage your floor.

Using the sponge and water, thoroughly wet the entire surface of the chair. It must be soaking wet before you take the next step.

With the blow dryer set to high heat, quickly dry the wet surface. This process should produce the look of cracks in the leather. You can repeat as many times as necessary to get the desired results.

Step 2: Wear and Tear

Use the leather balm according to the manufacturer's instructions. Working on one section at a time, apply a generous amount of the leather balm with a rag in the places where you would like the appearance of wear and tear. Take the brush and roughly brush the balm off. Do not leave the balm on the leather for too long or you may end up with more of a distressed look than you would like. It is easier to repeat the process than to try to restore the leather. Once you have the desired effect in one area, move on to the next.

If you would like to achieve a very distressed, worn appearance you could use sandpaper and sand segments of the leather. This will give you the appearance of bleaching from the sun.

Step 3: Final Touches

You could even take it one step further and drill small holes in the wood frame to make it look distressed as well. The drilled holes give the appearance of woodworm gaps.

If you find that you have overworked an area of the leather, you can use leather conditioner on that area to restore it. It will not be restored to the former look and feel but it will repair some of the distressed look.