Leather Craft Dyeing Tips

by Ethan O. Tanner

Dyeing of Leather is easy with some basic knowledge of Leather and Leather Dye.

Different kinds of leather have unique characteristics all their own. Not all leathers will give the same results when dyed. It is suggested that you test colors and techniques on a scrap piece of leather.

For Block Dyeing wrap a folded piece of cloth around a small block of wood and fasten the cloth in place with staples or brads. Dip a wool dauber into some dye and apply to the cloth on the block. Some good effects can be achieved on embossed and plain leather goods by rubbing lightly in long strokes.

Wrap a piece of cloth (cotton) around your index finger and Dip your finger into some dye and apply to belt. By blotting out excess dye on another piece of cloth you can limit the amount of dye to go on the belt and produce a shading effect. This technique works well for dyeing embossed blanks because you can apply dye to small areas.

Spraying – This requires some equipment: Spray gun, compressor, hoses, spray tent, etc. Spraying gives good results for shading and even application of dye. It is suggested that you wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.

Highlighting of belt can be achieved by applying lacquer (Neat-Lac) to the belt before applying dye. Carefully avoid lacquered area when applying dye. Lacquer will resist antique finish but not the leather dye and after dyeing the belt a coating of antique finish will accent the highlights.

Final protective finished for the belt include many substances including lacquer, acrylics, neatsfoot oil and waxes. Depending on what type of finish you want on the belt (glossy, semi-gloss, satin, etc.), it is suggested that you experiment with some of these finishes. Possible finishes for the edge of belts include edge enamel, wax and edge dye.

These dyeing tips have been directed primarily at belts. These basic principals may be used in dyeing any other leather tooled or embossed items. Experimenting with different dyes and finishes will give your project a unique custom look.

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