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How to use Leather Dyes and Finishes

Aug 7, 2008
Dyeing leather is an art, not a science. Variations in textiles, conditions and creative touch will have a direct effect on the result. Fiebing Leather Dyes and most alcohol based dyes most likely are combined and mixed to accomplish intermediate colors and tones. In most cases the common rules of color mixing apply. By mixing your leather dyes, it is not essential to carry so many colors, but even so you may reach your desired color shade.

Common examples of mixing leather dyes are: Yellow and Blue = shades of Green, Yellow and Red = shades of Orange and Red, Red and Blue = shades of deep Purple to Lavender, Red and Purple = Wine, Brown and Yellow = shades of Golden Brown and Tan, Brown and Red = shades of Maroon.

Do not attempt to mix Fiebing's White Leather Dye or Fiebing's Grey Leather Dye. The reason for this is white and grey are not compatible for mixing with the other dye colors. Mixing of various leather dyes will add an additional color variation to your leather craft project. It is essential to test your color mixes before dying your entire project.

Fiebing's Acrylic Resolene is a thin acrylic top finish that will give your project a medium shine and will provide some water resistance. It is very versatile as it can be applied as a top finish over all types of leather dressings from dyes to antiques. Since Resolene is an acrylic finish, it is applied in light coats so as to not build up too much. The result is a tough but very flexible finish that should last for a long time.

Resolene is best applied with a damp sponge. Apply a light coating using circular motions to ward off streaks. If you apply too heavy, you may have bubbling which will bulge and form rings when dry. Allow each coat to dry out entirely before applying your next coat. Resolene will from time to time look blue when wet but will dry out clear so do not panic.

For a more delicate finish on your leather projects Leather Balm is an ideal choice. It is a particularly formulated Liquid Wax for coloring, softening and polishing articles of smooth leather. It can be buffed to a rich soft, smooth luster. Leather balm with atom wax is not a water resistant top finish. It will protect your leather projects with a soft durable waxy finish for a natural Leather look.

Edge enamel is a very fine product for having the edges of your leather project look finished and complete. Most edge enamels contain a waxy compound, and after you apply the edge enamel to your project, you should strop the edges. Crafters often use a nylon edging wheel or a canvass cloth for stropping belts.

The finest method for dyeing and finishing your leather project is hands on crafting. Learn to mix dyes, experiment with finishes and you are on your way to making fine leather products. There is real pride, accomplishment and gratification in making a quality leather project.
About the Author
Leather expert and knowledgeable Ethan O. Tanner explains the different types of leather dyes and gives steps on how to dye and finish leather for your craft project.
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