Bicast Leather


Definition of Bicast Leather

Bicast leather is a type of leather obtained by extracting the bottom layer of hide, coating it with a polyurethane layer, then embossing it with a pattern that resembles real leather.

This type of leather originated from people’s desire to have a cost-efficient alternative to real leather shoes. It was later fully adopted and used on clothing and furniture.

To make bicast leather, these are the steps involved:

  1. Rawhide is split and the top layers removed until a very thin bottom layer (about 1–2 mm thick) is left.
  2. A bonding agent is first applied to the split leather to enable the polyurethane layer to adhere well.
  3. A thin layer of polyurethane (about 0.15–0.3 mm thick) is pumped onto a casting paper then transferred to the leather by pressing the two together.
  4. Before this layer fully cures, a stamping machine is used to emboss the leather with patterns that resemble real leather.
  5. Next, the leather is buffed to smooth out any imperfections then finished by spraying with a clear lacquer coat.

The polyurethane and lacquer coats applied improve the look of the leather since it's not appealing on its own.

Besides resembling real leather, products made from bicast leather are cheap and therefore a good option for anyone looking for leather look-alikes without a heavy price tag.

The finishing coating also acts as a barrier that prevents the Bicast leather from staining or getting scratched easily.

However, unlike the full grain leather we use at American Bench Craft, bicast leather has several disadvantages owing to the fact that it's not porous or “alive” like real leather:

Here are the disadvantages of this leather type:

  • The glossy coating can’t absorb moisture or air to keep it supple. It becomes brittle with time and starts cracking.
  • Oils, grease, and dirt which give real leather a patina do the opposite on bicast leather and instead make it dull and sticky.
  • It’s not breathable and so you can tell that you’re wearing a bicast leather item because it feels cold and sticks to the skin.

The table below compares the features of bicast leather with other leather types:

Leather Type Durability Breathability Maintenance Requirements Appearance
Bicast Leather Moderate Low Low Resembles real leather
Full Grain Leather High High Moderate Natural, shows imperfections
Top Grain Leather High Moderate Moderate Smooth, uniform appearance
Bonded Leather Low - Moderate Low Low Can appear artificial over time

Example of Bicast Leather in a sentence

“My new sofa is upholstered in bicast leather. That’s why it feels cold when I sit on it.”


Bycast leather, split leather.

Related terms for Bicast Leather