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How Can You Tell Leather From Faux Leather?

How Can You Tell Leather From Faux Leather?

, by Tammy Harris, 2 min reading time

Leather is a luxurious material to use for crafting. When making leather apparel or accessories at home, you'll want to make sure that you're using real leather. Genuine leather comes from animal hides, usually from cows or cattle, whereas faux leather comes from plastic. Manufacturers also treat it with wax or polyurethane to simulate the colour and texture of the real thing. Faux leather isn't always easy to spot at first, but you can use these tips to make sure you're only using the real deal.

The Smell Test

leather couch - rqc supplyNothing beats the smell of real leather. Don't worry about looking a bit silly when you bring the material to your nose, because the distinct smell of genuine leather is one of the best ways to tell if it is real or not. The aroma is a rich, earthy, sweetness that comes from the dyes and tanning process. This smell is impossible to fake and for cheap imitators, it's one of the best ways to tell when a piece of leather is synthetic.

Feel The Texture

leather worker - rqc supplyReal leather is unique. If the product feels too smooth or has a very uniform texture, it is likely a fake. Real leather can feel coarse or smooth, depending on quality and type, but the texture isn't very consistent. The natural source of leather makes it hard to control, but it also gives it a unique look and character! Another aspect to look for is the pores. If you look closely, you can check the porous quality of the leather. Real leather has an inconsistent pattern of pores because it is natural. In contrast, manufactured leather has a consistent, repeating pattern. If the texture seems too perfect, it is probably too good to be true. 

Rough Around The Edges

If you're still not sure about the authenticity of the leather, you can examine the edges of the material. An unused piece of genuine leather has natural, rougher edges. Faux leather usually has smooth edges that feel fake and look a little too perfect.

Why Is Real Leather Better?

leather drafting board - rqc supplyReal leather isn't just for nice shoes and high-quality furniture - it also is better for handmade crafts. Leather can last for years without getting damaged; if kept in good condition, it can last a lifetime! While faux leather is cheaper, it doesn't last nearly as long and the final craft will have a diminished appearance. Genuine leather has something faux leather can never replicate, and that is authenticity. Faux leather's look, texture, and smell are all derived from plastic ingredients, and the final look will never equal that of real leather. But once you know what to look for in authentic leather, you won't get fooled by cheap imitators!


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