I love working with leather and exploring ways to decorate it. Here I chose the technique of batik, using wax and dye, to make a colourful leather wallet.
Vegetable tanned leather, 1 to 2mm thick is suitable (14 x 8 in.)
Sam brown stud
Sewing awl and needle to make lock stitches
Revolving punch pliers to punch holes
Metal ruler for cutting straight
Grooving tool to create a channel into which the stitches are set, thereby protecting them from wear and use
Edge Slicker to burnish and smooth the edges of cut leather
Stitch Marker to mark stitches evenly or use a measuring tape instead
Water based leather dyes, I used ochre, brick red, cranberry and blue (Identity store water based leather dyes)
Pieces of sheep’s wool, stiff paint brushes in different sizes
Batik wax, soy wax is best
Wax melting pot to maintain the wax at the right temperature during the batik session or use a double boiler (with caution, don’t let the wax boil or smoke, and don’t leave it unwatched!)
Beeswax leather finish
Step 1: Cutting the Pattern
Draw the pattern on thin cardboard according to the measurements given in the diagram. Place the pattern pieces on the rough side of the leather as close together as possible and draw around them.
Cut out all the pieces with the utility knife and the metal ruler. The two little rectangular pieces at the bottom are used to give volume to the interior pocket.
Step 2: Grooving, Punching Holes & Burnishing
Using the grooving tool, drag a channel around the edges that will be stitched, about 0,5 cm (¼ in) in from the edge. This gives you a guideline along which you will sew and make the stitching line look even.
Lightly dampen the stitch groove and run the stitch marker around the edges that will be stitched.
Punch holes with the smallest size of the revolving punch pliers. The distance between two stitches
should be between 0.5 cm and 0.8 cm. If you don’t have a stitch marking wheel, you could use
a measuring tape to mark the stitches evenly.
Burnish all the edges with an edge slicker (dampen the edges and rub them with the slicker until they seal).
Step 3: Decorating the Leather
First dye the leather in a light colour using the piece of sheeps wool, than apply the hot wax with a stiff paintbrush.
Let the wax dry and dye the surface in another colour. You can repeat this process several times,
depending on how colourful you want your design to be.
Use an iron (set at a low temperature) and old newspapers to remove the wax once you finished the dyeing.
In my design I dyed the surface first with lighter and then with darker colours using different sizes
of stiff paintbrushes to apply the melted wax between layers of dye.
I use only water based leather dyes, I have no experience with oil based dyes.
Dye the rough side of the leather with a dark colour.
Step 4: Stitching the Wallet
I used the stitching awl method to stitch this wallet. See the pictures on how to lock the stitches using the awl.
Step 5: Attaching the Sam Brown Stud
Sam Brown studs are fastened using a screw on the back side.
To fasten the stud to the leather flap you will need to punch a hole in the flap and then cut a line from it as shown in the pictures.
Step 6: Ready to Be Used
And here it is, ready to be used and enjoyed.