Of course, the traditional way to achieve the distressed, vintage look and feel of a decades-old leather bag is to, well, carry it around for a few decades. But if you’re not in the mood to wait, here are 5 steps to get you there in a hurry.
Using a spray bottle, lightly mist the leather with rubbing alcohol. You may also apply it with a cloth or even a toothbrush. Be sure to not drench your bag - you just want to dampen it with the rubbing alcohol, which will then dry out the leather and begin producing a weathered look.
While the leather is still damp with rubbing alcohol, crease, crumple, and knead the leather. This will create the well-worn look of lines and folds in the leather.
Rub a fine grade sandpaper on the leather to increase the worn look. Be sure to focus on parts of your bag that would naturally experience the most distress, like the bottom and corners.
To achieve a further distressed finish, take a heavy bristled brush to your leather. Apply the brush in the same way you did the sandpaper, and continue to focus on points of natural wear.
Finally, to add a dusty, aged appearance, take your bag outside and toss it in the dirt. Dry dirt, that is. You’re not trying to get the thing muddy. But kick it around in some dust, dirt, or even a sandbox if that’s your style. When you’ve got the look and feel you want, just brush off the excess.
A word of caution: You want to age your leather, not ruin it. So don’t go hog wild here - take one careful step at a time and evaluate your progress before moving to the next step. Once your bag is distressed, you can’t un-distress it!