Advice/Opinions Leather v Faux Leather

Hi, all!

So I’m working on things for my daughter’s baby shower. I made patches for koozies. I have real leather and engravable faux leather from JP Plus. I’ve attached pictures of the leather untreated and then treated. Can’t see the design on the real leather once treated and I think they need the treatment due to wet hands/condensation, etc.

Which do you prefer? And/or any advice on treatment for real leather that doesn’t turn it nearly black?

I like the real deal but not with it treated.

I bought the leather treatment from JP Plus.


I think it may boil down to personal preference. I don’t like fussing with leather. I would just buy the leather like koozie and engrave it. No patch. No finishing.


How did I miss that on their site??? :dizzy_face: Well, I’ve already bought real leather plus JP’s faux leather and have 150 neoprene koozies…and the shower is next weekend. I think I’m stuck between the real leather patches or the faux leather patches. But will definitely keep the faux leather koozies in mind if I need to do koozies again! :persevere: Thanks for pointing those out for me! I appreciate it!


I will defer to the leather experts on the forum about how to treat the leather. But as far as which look I prefer, I like the one on the right, the color compliments the copper fasteners. It looks thinner too, si it might wrap the can better.


I think they both look awesome but my preference is the real leather!


People probably won’t use these after the baby shower so not treating the leather probably won’t be that big a deal. They’ll go in the souvenir/memory drawer to found sometime in the future.


@hansepe, @dklgood, @rvogt, @bwente, thanks for your input! I appreciate it! I asked my daughter her preference, and she agrees, she likes the real leather, the one on the right, the best. She also said don’t bother treating them.

But I would like to know for future reference if anyone out there knows of a leather treatment that doesn’t change the actual color of the leather.

There is very little chance you will get any treatment for natural leather that will not change its appearance. Leather treatments are based on replacing the oils that would normally be generated in the dermal layers and a lot of which are removed in the tanning process. This addition of oil darkens the leather. The best solution is to get a lighter color leather and allow for the addition of the treatment into the design process. When you want contrast in engraving, consider getting a bleached or light dyed leather to make the engraving stand out better. Then either plan for the darkening or get a leather that doesn’t require treatment.

That being said, I like the appearance of both the natural leather photos more than the faux leather.


I thought about the lighter leather, but what about cleaning the soot from it? Any good tips for that? I took duct tape and tapped it on the pieces to get as much off of the brown leather as I could.

Clean it before you unmask it, or use leather cleaner. I wouldn’t use duct tape either. I would get some paper masking since the adhesive on duct tape can leave nasty residue on a lot of materials and can pull up the surface on leather.


Highly customized (non-consumable) favors are always tricky. I’m working on some ornaments for my niece’s wedding and we have discussed this at length. Once side will be just a generic design so people can display that and the back will be very simple.

As for the leather, I’ve not found anything that won’t darken it. Also, keep in mind that if you have animal-loving guests, they may prefer the faux version. I suspect that’s more of an issue in some parts of the world than others, though.


@ben1, I questioned my use of duct tape, and wondered at times whether I was actually pulling soot off or whether it was some of the top layer of the leather. :grimacing:

@ChristyM, definitely understand what you’re saying. It is so difficult to do something customizable and yet hope that it can be made useful for the person receiving the favor. Luckily, I don’t believe anyone invited to the shower is averse to leather, but that’s something I had not taken into consideration that should be out of respect for your guests.

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I love real leather but if you’re concerned about what the condensation or wet hands will do to it then go with the faux.

Although, when using a koozie maybe they won’t get too much of this on them…

@awebs76 There’s just something about real leather; isn’t there! It’s been voted the favorite here as well as among my family. I’m going to let the leather go as is and it will just darken if it gets wet or with age I guess like it normally does. At least they’ll look nice during the party! :joy:


As others have already mentioned, just about any treatment in leather will alter the color. The thing that I’ve found that tends to darken leather the least is a golden mink oil paste with a white terry cloth, usually used for weatherproofing things like leather boots. (

I’m sure there are probably some good home-brew options involving a custom formulation of beeswax and other things that would work too, but I’m not at all knowledgeable in that sphere.

As for cleaning the leather after lasering, I try to mask before, and use baby wipes (before removing masking). Lasering without masking makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to remove the charred goop formerly known as leather from the actual remaining leather due to its porous nature.

Nice work on the tags!




@SpecterWorks, Thanks for sharing the link to the Fiebing’s Golden Mink Leather Preserver! I may order some and just do a little testing with it to see how much it changes the color,

I wasn’t masking, but have started to half way through this job, and it has helped immensely on the top. The cut edges are a different story and have been quite a mess to deal with.

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Good choice!

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I treat cut edges with a damp paper towel, either with water or isopropyl alcohol, and exam gloves. The gloves keep the soot off my fingers and reduce the transfer to the workpiece and the paper towel takes the soot off pretty easily. It also reduces the length of odor of the cut piece.