Step 6: Staining and Finishing
Stain can be some tricky business, you only get one shot (unless you are after black). I decided on a nice acorn brown to compliment my brass watch and hardware. I highly recommend wearing gloves for this step. I apologize for the quality and lack of images, this was done at about 1 am Saturday morning...
Protect your work surface. Shake up your bottle, AFTER confirming the integrity of your bottle's cap. Dip a paper towel, or clean rag into the stain, you only need a spot. Apply to a scrap piece of leather. MAKE SURE IT'S WHAT YOU WANT!! Water based dye takes a moment to set in, but that doesn't mean slap it on and leave it. In a fluid, circular motion (due to the small size of this project just make horizontal strokes, I recommend circular on bigger items such as wallets purses etc..) apply the dye to the item, then wipe it off with a clean rag/paper towel from where you began. Wipe on, wipe off. Repeat. Continue until it reaches the color you want. Let it set for about 3 minutes at room temperature. Then buff with a clean paper towel. If it's too light, you can apply more, if too dark, to bad.
I highly recommend applying Neatsfoot Oil, it helps seal and protect the leather. It darkens leather slightly, you can forgo dying in favor of an oil finish.
After 24 hours, the leather can be sealed with boot polish. Dab some onto a clean cloth and have fun buffing. Moar buff, moar shine. This should be done monthly to keep the leather in good condition.