Step 8: Leather Carving
What you will need:
- Shading tools, square and pear
- Stylus and deerfoot (micro shader)
- Swivel Knife
We'll begin by tracing a design onto the leather with the stylus. I solemnly swear I'll post the pattern I made for this bracelet. Designs are fairly easy to create, and some free ones may be found on Tandy Leather Factory's website.
Cut the lines you traced on the wet leather with your swivel knife, or a razor blade if you want to do it real ghetto style. Apply even, light pressure with your index finger while drawing your entire arm across the leather, using your thumb and middle finger to pivot the blade. Again, screw around on spare leather to get the feel first. keep your blade upright, you want the cut to be square with the surface, and about midway through the leather. It does not take much pressure to do so. Smooth, long stroke are much better then short choppy ones. Think of it not as cutting but painting.
Once your lines are cut, time for shading and tooling. A square shader has a rounded squarish head set at an angle. Place the point of the angle on the cut line and tap the tool with your mallet. I like to hold my tool in my left and strike with my right (dominant) hand. Keep it square. Follow the line to an intersection. Review your work. You can always go over it again, so don't whack it hard the first time round. I like to clearly define my exterior edge lines. For the interior lines depending on what you wish to depict, you can lightly trace it with the stylus and deerfoot (eyes, nose). For the wings I "feathered" the line by drawing the tool away from the cut line while lightly tapping on it with the mallet. EXPERIMENT!! Scrap leather is cheap.
Examine the images closely. The darker the burnishing, the more pressure applied.
Once complete, head back on over to the Dyeing and FInishing step. I recomend lighter colors for carved leather, I think it shows the tool work better.