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Tips for Dyeing Leather Goods

Mar 25, 2008
The Best way to learn Leather Dyeing Techniques is to experiment with various dyes and leathers.

Different leathers have characteristics all their own. No two leathers will give the same results when dyed. It is suggested that you experiment with colors and techniques on a scrap piece.

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, gloves, hoses, etc. Spraying gives good results for shading and even application of dye. It is suggested that you wear gloves to prevent the dye from getting on your skin.

Highlighting of belt can be achieved by applying lacquer (Neat-Lac, Lac-Kote) 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 bring out 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, etc), it is suggested that you test some of these finishes. Possible finishes for the edge of belts include edge enamel, burnishing wax and edge dye.

These dyeing tips have been directed primarily at belts. These basic principals may be used in dyeing any other tooled item. Experimenting with different dyes and finishes will give your project a unique look and Personal Satisfaction.
About the Author
Craftsman Ethan O. Tanner takes the mystery out of Leather dyeing and Leather Finishing
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