Tanned salmon skin without making use of glycerine together softener (post-treatment), Loes Bogers, 2020

Tanned salmon skin with glycerine used as softener (post-treatment), Loes Bogers, 2020


Very strong, translucent tanned fish skin the varies indigenous stiff and a little rigid come flexible/soft and malleable when treated with a softener. The feeling of this tanned and also dried fish skin is much more like thick document than leather of cow hide. It has actually a similar braking surface ar friction. It is thinner 보다 leather that mammal hide, however equally strong if no stronger.

Physical form


Color there is no additives: color of the fish skin

Fabrication time

Preparation time: 1 Hours

Processing time: 1 week

Need attention: every 2 hours, to shake the jar (the an initial 3 days)

Final type achieved after: 1 week

Estimated price (consumables)

1,10 Euros, because that a productivity of approx. 400 ml demorphs liquid that is supplied once (cost the the fluid is about 3,30 euros however can be offered at the very least 3 times, if no more). Fish skins can be derived for totally free as waste native friendly local fish mongers.



Fresh uncooked fish skins, e.g. Salmon skinsthe amounts below are enough for 1 large fish skinDenatured alcohol 96% - 200 mlstabilizer: denatures ("kills") and removes the collagen indigenous the cell to prevent the tissue from rotting and also disintegrating ~ dryingoptional: substitute part of the alcohol with a mix that alcohol and a herbal alcohol-based ink)Glycerine - 200 mllubricant: soft the leather and adds flexibilityDish washing soap (eco) - 5 ml


Big glass jar, v tight fitting lidto fit every the fish skinsBlunt scraping toolto remove any type of fish and also fat from the skinsLarge wooden boardto dry and also stretch the fish skins onHammer and also nailsto nail the fish skin to the board for drying


3 skin


Preparing the fish skins

Scrape all the meat, fat and also membrane turn off the fish skins with a dull scraping tool. Really clean it all off, the skin can take some handling. To wash the fish skins extensively with cold soapy water (some say to leaving it for a work to remove slime)Rinse the fish skins through cold tap water

Prepare the demorphs liquid

Put the glycerine and the alcohol in a glass seasoned Sumberge the fish skin in it and shake vigourously for 1 minPut a little weight on peak if the skin is not submerged (take out before shaking!)

Tanning process

Keep the fish skins in the jar because that 3 job Shake the seasoned vigourously because that 1 min every few hours, (or at least once a day)

Drying process

After 3 days, take out the skins (keep the tanning fluid for following time)Optional: rinse the fish in cold soapy water, and also rub some additional glycerine onto the fish (both sides), because that a soft, flexible fish leather.Nail the skin to the wooden board. This avoids them native curling and also shrinking. Don"t make it too tight (it have the right to tear at the nails). Leaving the board to dry outside, top top a balcony or close to an open window.When totally dry, take it them turn off the board.

Drying/curing/growth process¶

Drying the skins with the scales encountering down (towards the wood), outcomes in a smoother surface.

Mold depth: N/AShrinkage thickness 0-5%Shrinkage width/length 0-5%

Shrinkage and also deformation control

Nailing them to a wooden board stretches them and prevents shrinkage and curling.

Curing agents and release agents


Minimum wait time before releasing from moldA week to dry and also reduce the fishy smell.


Further research needed on drying/curing/growth?

Not sure

Process pictures¶

Putting the skin inside a jar, Loes Bogers, 2020

Tanning the skins, Loes Bogers, 2020

The skin nailed come a board for drying (some plain and also some with turmeric alcohol-based ink), Loes Bogers, 2020


Add natural alcohol-based colorants come dye the fish skins (e.g. Turmeric, hibiscus, or grated beetroot/red cabbage: submerge in alcohol and shake every hour because that a day).Other softeners come try: animal leather balm, coconut oil, other oilsPutting a fish skin in the range for 5-10 minutes at low warm (70 levels Celcius), the turns very flexible.Make a suede-like soft animal leather by tan the fish skins in boiled linseed oil. Include a rock or something hefty to produce a the majority of friction as soon as shaking the container. Take the fish the end to dry, repeat if the is not soft enough. There are numerous linseed oils out there. Raw is frequently used because that outdoors use and contains less chemicals and also petrol-based drying agents however dries a lot slower and can remain sticky. The method used v raw linseed oil is comparable to they way fishing nets are impregnated to stand the harsh conditions at sea.


Cultural origins of this recipe

Traditional tanning methods are century old and also have been exercised by individuals in many of the Nordic nations (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway), the Joepik in Alaska, the Nanai in Siberia, the Inuit in Canada and also Greenland. It is exercised all approximately the civilization (e.g. Follow me the Nile in Kenya, in Mexico and in Australia). Originally, the involved tanning acids from e.g. Oak and chestnut bark, urine, or alternatively with egg yolk and also vegetable oil and then cold-smoked over fire to do it water-proof (also stays clear of mold and also bacteria growth). Alutiiq artist June Simeonoff Pardue has actually been credited for this non-traditional tanning procedure with alcohol and glycerine. Fish skin can also be cleaned and also dried without tanning.

Needs more research? not sure

This recipe was originally published as Fish Skin Tanning in the 6-8th grade heritage Kit Curriculum, by Chugachmiut heritage Preservation, Anchorage, Alaska USA: link


This an approach is strongly associated with aboriginal cultures. Using them - specifically without crediting the as cultural heritage - is controversial.The process is smelly, yet the finished product is nearly odorless if done wellThis material is animal-based (but the manufacturing & tanning process is considerably eco-friendlier process than those that e.g. Cow hide.Denatured alcohol is harsh on skin however not dangerous, don’t usage on open up skin however.Choosing fish that room not locally abundant or known to be overfished is taken into consideration problematic.

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Try to find fish native sustainable fishing industries, and also fish the is in-season, or the bycatch from neighborhood fishing industry.

Sustainability tags

Renewable ingredients: yesVegan: noMade of by-products or waste: yesBiocompostable last product: yes, however only professionally (home composting that animal-based materials is not allowed in the EU)Re-use: the demorphs liquid can be reused

Needs more research?: not sure

Fish skins are thought about a garbage product the the fishing industry and also are regularly trashed as many civilization tend come favour fish fillets there is no skin.


Strength: strongHardness: variableTransparency: translucentGlossiness: mattWeight: lightStructure: closedTexture: rough/mediumTemperature: warmShape memory: highOdor: center (after thoroughly drying)Stickiness: lowWeather resistance: needs further researchAcoustic properties: needs further researchAnti-bacterial: needs additional researchNon-allergenic: needs additional researchElectrical properties: needs additional researchHeat resistance: lowWater resistance: waterproof/needs additional research top top stitching methodsChemical resistance: needs further researchScratch resistance: highSurface friction: medium/variableColor modifiers: nobody


Maker(s) the this sample

Environmental conditions

Humidity: 40-50%Outside temp: 5-11 levels CelciusRoom temp: 18 – 22 degrees CelciusPH tap water: 7-8

Recipe validation

Has recipe to be validated? Yes, through Cecilia Raspanti, TextileLab, Waag Amsterdam, 9 march 2020