Introduction to fish leather

I have just come back from Iceland where I bought some fish leather. I found out about it just before I went as I saw it edging a felted bag someone had made at my spinning group. At first I thought it was snake. I would never approve of killing an animal for its skin, I was shocked to see they still sell real fur there. If I wore fur back in the UK I would get a very frosty reception, I can’t recall the last time I saw it sold. Even charity shops can’t sell fur these days as no sensible woman would be seen dead in it.

However this looks like a nice medium and it strikes me as very green to use the skins of the fish to produce products rather than throw them away. I didn’t  know if fish leather is produced in other countries than Iceland but apparently they are looking at developing this in Nairobi, where it makes excellent use of a material that is normally discarded and is obviously suited to developing countries. I see great potential for its use worldwide..Now I have to decide what to do with it. I bought two skins by accident, I was engaged in conversation. Had I known I was buying two I would have got different colours. I have never tried making anything with this before so when I do it will be an experiment. In the meantime I have started a Pinterest board to post up ideas.  I have thought about using it for applique either on felt or heavy material, and the idea of making a bracelet sounds relatively easy. As I have never tried making anything in leather I probably need some patterns.  If any of you have used fish leather please let me know, and tell us how you got on with it.DSC_0001



  1. Hi Madpam – just thought I’d let you know there’s also a fish leather tannery here in Western Australia – called Mermaid Leather. I bought some a few years ago – shark, stingray, barramundi, groper and others, though have yet to do anything with them! Stingray especially is super hard wearing and used to cover motor bike seats and hand bags. Why not try making a mobile phone cover?? That would be very cool, especially in that fabulous purple colour you bought. Good luck!

    • Hi, thanks! Since posting this I have discovered that fish leather is also made in Canada. I have no idea why it is not more popular…however I am inspired to make something from it. At the moment I am toying with the idea of a simple wallet. I have never done any leather craft so I am still thinking. Its the sewing I have to get my head around. I did find a nice pattern but it is in Japanese! Its a kind of Origami, I need to work out the folds! Watch this space for updates.

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