Burning leather to create art is satisfying and very versatile. Numerous tones and effects can be created easily! It can be done with a simple soldering iron, or with a pyrography pen which allows for more precision than a typical soldering iron. There really isnt much can be said other than to give it a go, as most techniques are learned by trial and error. With this Piece, I created a portrait, the dark burn of the leather was espeically suited to the dreadlocks, but the heat is subtle enough to also create skin tones and fine details.
Step 1: Selecting Leather
Leather Pyrographing is best suited to Vegetable tanned leather, this
is also known as tooling leather and is available from leather work specialists. Other kinds of leather are carcinogenic to burn, as whatever chemicals are present in the tanning process, you will be inhaling. If the leather is too thin it will wrinkle at the touch of heat so make sure to get a decent thickness, and ask for unsplit veg tan leather.
Step 2: Using the Tool
The pen can get to 1100 degrees , but for leather, its often best on its lowest heats, and build up the heat in a circular motion on the leather. As moving slower creates a darker burn, the tool must be kept moving on the leather at a constant speed. its very hard to do lines the way you would for a pen or pencil because of this, and so its best to move fast, in a circular motion, and build up the tones slowly. Turning the heat up with impatience will likely cause mottled burning and sudden blasts, sometimes it even sets on fire! There really is not much you need to know to get started just treat the leather like skin and be gentle with it, and you can create all kinds of art.