However, one of the problems with cheap, thin leather is that the dye has soaked all the way through the material. This makes most laser etching into such material difficult to see. So this Instructable details a series of novel steps on how to etch such leather to produce a high contrast design.
Materials and Tools:
- Dark dyed, cheap, thin leather
- Painter's masking tape (I used the 2" wide blue stuff, good because the lasers cut it nicely and it's not very sticky, important for later steps)
- Light colored spray paint (I used silver metallic)
- Duct Tape
- Laser cutter/etcher
- A design (preferably monochromatic, without too many gradients. Think b/w clip art or vector art)
Step 1: Etch Your Design
Speed: 60% (minimize wear for a smaller design)
My line size is 3pt and I etched two passes at the above settings in raster mode.
Step 2: Painting
Now, for some leather, there may be the concern that spray paint's solvents will dry out the leather. This wasn't a huge concern for me, but if it is for you, you may want to use an acrylic leather paint designed for this material.
Let the paint dry thoroughly, not just to touch, this is important because...
Step 3: Remove the Tape
(notice I didn't wait for the paint to dry completely, which made for sloppier removal)
Step 4: Finished, Enjoy!
Again, I made this at the TechShop in San Jose, CA. Happy making!