Paper Bag “Leather” Finish

Simple technique gives a coffee can an upscale finish

Paper Bag Leather Finish Coffee Can | SuzerSpace

I’ve seen a lot up upscale Mod Podge posts on the blogs and Pinterest – really cool things like map covered dresser drawers and tables, and some stunning wall and floor treatments.

Personally, I remember this craft from art camp – tearing tissue paper or napkins and carefully gluing them around a glass votive candle holder to create a stained glass “masterpiece.”

I decided to use this technique to cover a coffee can I keep in my kitchen to keep my dollar bills. It’s my “rainy day” fund – whenever I end up any one dollar bills in my wallet, I move them into this can. This serves two purposes – 1) It means I can’t buy overpriced and really bad for you snack food at the candy machine at work and 2) those dollar bills add up.

This process is pretty straightforward.  I took a paper bag that didn’t have printing on it, and cut two 1″ wide pieces that were long around to go around the diameter of the can. I glued those even at the top and bottom to hide the can edges. Then I tore the bag into small pieces.

paper bag pieces for a coffee can leather finish

I crumpled up and smoothed out the little pieces to give them some texture. And then I realized I didn’t have any Mod Podge in the house. There is an ongoing battle on the Internet on whether you can just use watered down Elmer’s glue for this, and I’d say for a project like this, the answer is yes.

To keep from ruining a foam sponge, I went a messier route. I dipped each little crumpled piece into a tub of water, and then wrung it out. I then squirted a little Elmer’s on the piece, and rubbed the glue into the water into the paper. I then applied them onto the can, being sure to overlap enough so none of the can showed below. The glue is water based, so all the mess washed off my hands pretty easily.

I think because I used watered down glue instead of Mod Podge it ended up without the shiny finish. So while this was supposed to look like leather, it kind of looks more like cork. I like it, and my dollar bills are now living a classier life in my new decorative finished can.

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