How to Tan Fish Skin Using Denatured Alcohol

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Taxidermists have used tanned fish skin for many years, but there is a new unsuspected market for the skins of our aquatic friends. Tanned fish skin is now being used by the fashion world from South Africa to Milan to New York to make everything from accessories such as wallets and gloves to dresses. This is not as complicated a project as you might think. Using easy to find items, you can be making your own material in no time and making award winning fashions.

Things You'll Need

  • Fish
  • Water
  • 1/3 cup dish detergent
  • Large glass container
  • Wooden spoon
  • 1/3 cup glycerin
  • 1/3 cup acetone
  • 1/3 cup denatured alcohol
  • Baby powder
  • Zip type freezer bags

Get a fish with enough skin for the project you are going to make from it.

Wash the fish and remove all the meat from the fish and set it aside in a cold place. You can use it as a meal after you have finished cleaning the skin and preparing it for tanning.

Remove all the scales and as much fat and muscle as you can see. Add a 1/3 of a cup of dish detergent to a gallon of water in a large bowl and let the fish soak in it for three hours.

Mix together 1/3 of a cup of glycerin with 1/3 of a cup of acetone in a glass container. Add to this 1/3 of a cup of denatured alcohol. Stir these ingredients well with a wooden spoon.

Apply this solution liberally to the fish skin. Hang in a cool dry place to dry. It can take weeks in some places. Once dry, sprinkle with a mild natural body powder such as baby powder. Roll the skin over itself and place it into a zip type freezer bag. Make sure the bag is large enough to keep it from being squashed. Store it in a cool dry area until you are read for its use.

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