What is Kraft-Tex Paper ‘Leather’ and how to treat it

Kraft-tex, fabric
Kraft-tex drying after being washed

I won’t lie, this stuff tripped me out when I first saw it. I was walking through Byron and little shop had these massive leather tote bags in all sorts of metallic colours. The shop owner saw me touching them (because I’m like a 4 year old and have to feel everything shiny), and asked if I knew what is was made of.

“Feels like painted leather” I said.

“Nope, it’s paper!” She replied, smiling as the shock moved across my face.

What. The. Hell.

I spent that entire night frantically googling this mystical material.

The makers of bags are called Uashmama (who have a whole range of cool things), and call it ‘washable paper’. It feels exactly like leather, but it’s a manufactured paper product that’s a vegan alternative to cow hide. I’ve even seen their stuff pop up in Newcastle now, at one of my favourite Hunter Street shops, Studio Melt. I don’t know exactly their source, but commercially it’s available as Kraft Tex (or KraftTex, Kraft-Tex depending on where you look).

But with some more research, I discovered that this isn’t some new technological miracle, it’s been around for ages. If you own a pair of jeans with a leather name tag on the back, it’s probably not leather, but this Kraft Tex.

Of course I bought some. It comes in bolts like fabric, but feels like card stock. The website said to wash it once to give it a bit of texture. So this weekend, I decided to see what happened when I washed a bit. I didn’t send them through the machine, but soaked them in boiling water for ten minutes. After they became soft, I crumpled them and molded them a bit to get that rough texture. After drying, as if by some miracle, it turned into a really supple leathery material!

The next level is seeing how well this takes fabric paint. I bought some silver over the weekend, and in my head I have some really cool accent pieces for tote bags I want to do.


2 thoughts on “What is Kraft-Tex Paper ‘Leather’ and how to treat it

  1. Love this! I also stumbled across this paper at the Olive Tree Markets, I too started googling but can’t seem to find many Australian suppliers… Where did you manage to find yours?

    1. I couldn’t find any Aussie supplier either! Oddly enough, I found it on http://www.bookdepository.com/, and it had free shipping from the UK. I bought a bolt of the tan and have heaps left over, so let me know if you’d like to buy some. It’s currently sitting in the craft room not getting much attention 😦

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