Hello Friends! So today I am going to talk a little about what I’ve been doing to color leather. I’ve been playing around with embossing pieces of leather with different things, one of which are cardstock die cuts and stencils. I don’t have a lot of leather tools and material so I reached into my mixed media stash of products to figure out a way to color my test cases.
You should check out my introductory post if you haven’t already. It’s long, but I talk about how to prepare the leather as well as other tips and warnings for using your die cut machines with leather. These machines can be broken if you don’t know what you are doing so please be careful!
I did try a leather dye, but it didn’t add a lot of contrast because the dye sunk in to the leather and I couldn’t wipe it off the embossed/debossed sections very well. So it was pretty hard to see the impression. I tried pulling in a little bit of gold in there to see if that would help. And I really didn’t like that. So I decided to try some different stamping products and show you what I’ve been using that seem to be working.
One of the things I’ve been using is alcohol ink. In my test case case here I use just a regular, i.e. non-metallic- color of alcohol ink in the impressions using
a Q-Tip to kind of dab it in there. In my case I’ve been using Adirondack and Distress alcohol inks by Ranger. In the second step, I brought StazOn pigment ink pad in brown across the leather. The StazOn ink pad is a raised up ink pad so it works nicely to drag across the higher areas of the leather. I also showed a test case where I used a metallic alcohol ink, and then brought the brown over the top and I thought that turned out nice.
I left the test cases sitting around for a little while and nothing seemed to rub off, and the leather is still pretty supple- it’s not dried out and stiff.
So I really like that as a means of coloring. In the meantime, while I’m waiting for some other leather products to show up.
In the video I show you how I take a Q-Tip and, pouring out a touch of the metallic alcohol ink on a non-stick craft sheet, I color in the debossed areas with a Q Tip.
If you’re daring, you could just use the bottle itself, but you’re probably going to get that over everything. You could bring a rag with alcohol on it to go back in and wipe off spots that you got the alcohol ink that you didn’t really want to, but I find the Q-Tip works great. You could also of course use a paint brush. I use a couple of coats of this shimmery ink just to have it show up a little bit better. After I was satisfied with the alcohol ink and it had dried a bit, I brought the StazOn brown pigment ink pad across the top straight from the pad so that it will stick to anything that’s popping up.
Here’s how that turned out:
In the second demonstration I show you a different type of leather that has a wax coating over it. It comes as a blue color, and then I believe they put a white wax coating over the top. So when you start to emboss or tool it or do whatever-even scratch it- the white wears away and it shows the original color. It ends up with a nice contrast where the white wore away in the recesses after embossing. I did use a StazOn pigment ink pad in white to go back over it to punch up the white a bit. So my point here is that the leather you are using doesn’t have to be tan leather. It can be other colored leathers and you can still use those StazOn ink pads to bring up the highlights.
Here’s the wax coated sample:
The final part of the videos shows a quick explanation of something else I tried and may re-visit. I used a sample where I had three different thicknesses impressed into leather and I filled the well of one of them with embossing powder and heat set it. Then I went over it with a StazOn pigment ink pad. I didn’t do a super good job of it in this test, but it is kind of an interesting idea, so I may play around with that a little bit in the future.
Here’s the embossing powder sample:
If you’re looking around your stash, stamping and inking products that are more permanent are better, especially if it’s permanent on non porous surfaces. Those products should be better for longevity. And people should not be wearing leather in water. They shouldn’t be swimming in it. They shouldn’t be even washing dishes or taking a shower, or anything like that. Cleaning can also affect the coloring agents on leather. Leather is definitely not a nondestructive type of jewelry.
So in any event, if you want to play around with some of these stamping supplies to color your leather, hopefully these ideas have inspired you.