I’ve read a few things about vegetable-based leather alternatives; not vegetable tanning, but the leather itself being made from such things as palm fiber and fruit skins. This is something I’d love to try. Not that I’m morally opposed to animal leather, I just find that plant materials are a lot easier to obtain in my current situation. But I can’t seem to find much information on how to tan veggie hides, searching “fruit leather” only gives me snack recipes, and I doubt traditional leather-making processes would work with cellulose instead of collagen. Anyone know more about this?
Yes, why not if that is what you have available. I tried a search on “avocado skin leather” and that does get some results, try the images too.
How lovely would an orange peel hat smell if you could preserve it well… getting images of hats from scaled diamonds in my head and of woven orange peel strips…
I’ll be hunting for info on how to do that from now on, too!
So what I’ve seen about “plant leather” is it’s more like the way you make felted wool (or paper): layering the fibers together to make a fabric and then sort of pressing it with a preserving oil. I bet you could even make a stamp out of avocado or other lovely textured rind to give it a leathery exterior. Could you do the same with fruit skin? Now comes the interesting part…what oil could you soak fruit skins in to keep them pliable? I personally think the felting method would give it the best durability, as fruit skins are designed in nature to break apart easily to distribute seeds.
Well I guess the only option is to try it out! Or not, and never know what would happen. Which would be kinda silly. Thanks all, much better input than on Paleo Planet! They were all cutting me down for wanting “counterfeit” leather because the “real deal” is better, completely disregarding my stated lack of access to animal hide at the time, and suggesting I buy used toxin-tanned leather jackets off Craigslist for scrap. That place sells used pregnancy tests.
When researching veggie “leather”, we might also look at bark, leaves etc. and how to make them durable while still pliable.
The idea of layering fibers could go from very simple (pulling sheets of algae out of the water), to very intricate (spinning and weaving flax, nettles). For some, there likely are already good waterproofing techniques.
I’d be interested in very basic approaches, like experimenting with those algae sheets more. After pulling out a sheet of about 1’ x 1’ it seemed like a fine thing to wrap moss in for diapers, or to use it as a sieve bottom for very fine powder of sorts. Never tried either of these out, though. This topic now made me wonder if you could use wax or such to waterproof it for other uses. It looked promising that the sheet was quite strong and stable as long as it was kept dry.