Over the last few years, cowhide, the skin and hair of a cow, has been popping up in more and more homes and even offices as people have grown to appreciate the versatility, warmth and richness that cowhide rugs and furniture bring to a space. For some people, however, questions and uncertainties about how cowhide rugs are made keep them for bringing cowhide into their homes.
The cowhide rug industry understands this though and prides itself on using a manufacturing process that is both ethical and environmentally sound. Want to know how cowhide rugs are made? Here is what you need to know?
Where Does the Cowhide Come from?
While cowhide rugs are made in pretty much every country in the world, cowhide from Brazil, Argentina and Colombia are considered the highest quality cowhide because of the humanely way the animals are raised and the chromium tanning process used. The tanning process used in Brazil is known for producing the softest, most supple cowhide. When you choose Brazilian cowhide, you know you are getting the best.
Are the Cows Killed Solely for the Hide?
No, all the cowhide used to make rugs and other products like sofas and chair are purchased from meat processing plants. When cows are farmed for meat and dairy products, the skin is a natural by-product that would go to waste if it wasn’t recycled into rugs and other items. It will give you peace of mind to know that a cow wasn’t killed so you could have an area rug in your dining room.
What Is the First Step Manufacturers Take?
Before a cowhide can be tanned, it is usually soaked in water which will help it remain soft during the tanning process. It is also submerged into a brine solution that pickles the hide in order to protect it from molt and gets rid of any bacteria that might be lingering on the hide. Most manufactures use chromium salts to get the softest but most durable cowhide.
What is the Tanning Process Like?
A hair on hide method is used in the tannery for cowhide which will be turned into rugs. The hair is kept on so that the hide will stay soft and will be at less risk for odor and molting. Then the cowhide is dried out naturally.
Sometimes after tanning, the cowhide will have a bluish-grey tint to it so and extra treatment of fats and dyes is used to revert it back to its natural colors. The hide is always matched to the exact colors and patterns of the breed that it came from.
How Are Cowhide Rugs Finished?
Once the cowhide is tanned, they can be treated in different ways to get the exact look you desire. Most popular treatments include animal-print stencils, acid washes and color dye. Cowhide can also be used to create a patchwork rug. Besides rugs, cowhide can also be used in pillows, furniture and other home items. A popular finish is to dye the cowhide to look like a zebra hide. That way you have the exotic look without all the guilt attached to hunting zebra. Also popular is dyeing the cowhide pink or metallic silver.
At Cowhide Outlet, only the best quality of cowhide from Brazil is used and only those hides that maintain their high quality throughout the tanning and finishing processes will be sold. Another thing you can count on is that their cowhide products are not treated with PCP, AZO-coloring agents, Chrome VI, formaldehyde or nickel. There are no hidden ingredients that you need to worry about.
Check out Cowhide Outlet products here. Besides rugs there are upholstered chairs and couches, kitchen placemats, even gun cozies. And remember, you don’t have to be a cowboy or have a home decked out in southwestern themes to decorate with cowhide. All you needs is just an appreciation for the beauty of natural cowhide.
Cowhide rugs can complement any style room. A soft white cowhide rug will complement a modern loft apartment just as much as it would a romantic master bedroom. If you are a history lover and have decorated your home with a 17th century French vibe or like an old English manor, then picture how great a cowhide rug would look hanging like a tapestry in your formal living room.
Cowhide can be whimsical too though. Cowhide lamp shades can bring an element of fun into the family room and cowhide placemats could be a real conversation starter.
Worried about clashing colors and patterns? Don’t worry, current design trends encourage mixing different colors and patterns so even if you have patterned wallpaper on the walls, you can still use cowhide. It is actually better when things don’t match exactly. There needs to be some common element to tie all the pieces in together, but it can actually be more visually interesting when you mix different colors and patterns.
But even if you prefer more neutral colors when decorating, the shades of brown, black and white found in most cowhide rugs will still complement the rest of the room, but also bring a special pop to it.
There really is no way you can go wrong with cowhide. And what makes it really unique is that no two cowhides are alike so you will never have to worry about someone else having the exact same rug or couch. Also, the softness and suppleness of cowhide will add texture, warmth and a hint of luxury to your home. You will feel like your home belongs on the cover of a home design magazine when you decorate with cowhide.
So if you are a cowhide newbie, go ahead and take a chance on a cowhide rug or start small with lampshades or placemats. When you see the high quality and that something extra special it brings to your home for yourself, you will be truly converted. And the best part is you can sleep easy knowing that your cowhide rug and other home items were made in a morally and environmentally responsible way.