What better way to show that special someone how much you love them than to make something for them. These leather Pendents and Components are beautiful, and easy to make. Better yet, make a date of it and make them together, each creating something special for the other enjoying the time together.
I have sorted this into 7 steps so that if you need to reference just one section of leather working skills it will be easy to do.
1) Cutting shapes using Sizzix
2) Simple tooling (use of a swivel knife)
3) Shaping veggitable tanned leather
4/5) Dying, and Painting
6) Sealing and Protecting
7) Adding eyelets
The tools for each group:
1) Cutting the pattern:
Sizzix Big Kick Cutter http://www.sizzix.com/657850/sizzix-bigkick-machi...
Cutting dies: Stay away from thin-lets, and originals
Flowers (could not find, borrowed from a friend) Exacto knife, in case cut doesnt cut all the way.
2) Simple tooling
Swivel Knife : http://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/craftool-sw...
Water bottle or water and a sponge
Stone block like a 1" counter top piece DO NOT USE YOUR COUNTER TOP
leather mallet or other soft mallet.
3)Shaping Veggi Tanned Leather
Bowl of water warm- hot NOT boiling water
Things to shape with, metal, wood, even cardboard covered in plastic wrap. I used a mini cupcake pan... if metal: coated ONLY.
Step 1: Tools and Materials Continued
4/5) Dying, and Painting
wool applicators (comes with the dye)
rag one for oil, one for dye.
Leather Paint can work alone http://angelusdirect.com/collections/paint/product...
Acrylic Paints: I like golden
Fabric Paint Medium: Must be used if using high quality non-leather specific acrylic paints http://www.dickblick.com/products/golden-gac-900-f...
dish for water
drop cloths or newspaper
6) Sealing and Protecting
resolene: the option that I used this time http://angelusdirect.com/collections/paint/product...
Paint brush, flat
drop cloths or newspaper
7) Adding Eyelets
Eyelet setter http://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/craftool-d...
Matching hole punch http://www.tandyleather.com/en/product/craftool-de... I love this set, and it was cheap.
Hammer/ mallet NOT Steel
Step 2: 1) Cutting Shapes Using Sizzix
After playing sooo much with my Sizzix and trying other plates some of which were not designed for it i have come to the serious conclusion that I have to fix up my fathers old OLD rolling printer that looks kinda like the one here http://www.madisonartshop.com/11presspackage.html . I need MORE, movability and strength.... ahh but sizzix was a good start.
Other things that I have learned: Thinlets will NOT cut through any of the leather that I have. Nor will the Original sets, there blades are too short. But they will give a solid outline to follow with an exacto knife if you want. The various embossing templates do work, especially if the leather is wet.
ok on to the directions...
1) Use thin vegetable tanned leather that is thinner than the cutter.
2) Crop your leather to fit over the cutting face how you want it too.
3) Layer your pieces, acrylic plate - leather - cutting block face up - acrylic sheet. See image
4) Push your layers through the sizzix till you see the handle move, then continue turning the handle in that direction.
5) Pull out your pieces, if any are still slightly attached use an exact-o to separate.
whoot, now you have a nifty shape to play with...
Step 3: 2) Simple Tooling
Warning here, I am still really knew to tooling. I am getting pretty good with a swivel knife so I will go over that in detail, but as for how to use the other tools, um play...
To start off with
Dampen your leather, I have learned to do this 2 ways, one with a sponge and one with a spray bottle. Either work well. Dampen it, the leather will get darker, and quickly return to normal, dampen it again. You want the leather darker but not visibly wet. If it is too wet, the tooling will squish, If you are new to leather play with some scrap for a while.
Using a swivel Knife (thanks to John Clos for teaching me how to use a swivel knife)
1) dampen the leather it helps for cutting as well as tooling.
1) Hold it strait up and down, no left to right angles or it will under cut your leather.
2) draw the knife toward you as I have shown in the image.
3) when ever possible start from the end you would like a deeper cut and move where you want a lesser cut.
Tooling: here is where you would bevel your piece and in the second image, there are some leaves where I have beveled them, and some that I haven't. I am still getting used to this and so I do not want to teach bad habits here.
On some designs you might want to use stamps.
1) hold stamp firmly
2) hit with a heavy mallet again not steel or you will ruin the head of your stamps.
Later you will see gear shapes, I stamped these lightly several times with 3 different steam punk related stamps.
Step 4: 3) Shaping Vegetable Tanned Leather
Shaping Vegetable if simply FUN!!!! You are able to do lots of different shapes, twists, turns all kinds of things. This instructable only covers super simple shaping, but trust me there is a whole world of possibilities here.
Soak the leather pieces in warm - hot water. DO NOT USE BOILING WATER You want them to stay in the water until it stops releasing air bubbles.
Shape them. I shaped mine by gently bending them and some pushing in my hands, then laying them in various ways over and in a mini cupcake tin.
WARNING: I also tried draping some over two metal ring mandrels. These were NOT coated and the resulting stains showed up after staining the leather and even after most of the painting. YUCK...
Let them dry I left mine over night. I have been told that you can put your oven on low, turn it off when it reaches the right temp and then put your leather in... but I have never tried this.
Step 5: 4) Dying
I like to use the combination of dying and painting leather.
Dying Leather Do this first.
1) rub olive oil or jojoba oil on the leather, this allows the dye to stain more evenly.
I highly recommend looking at https://www.instructables.com/id/how-to-dye-leather... it has some great advice, including this step.
2) apply stain with wool applicator (comes in the box) or fine paint brush for tiny area's
3) wipe off leather with rag, like you are buffing the leather. Dye a little, wipe it off, dye a little more wipe it off. How long the dye sets before wiping will drastically alter the results.
4) let dry, if shaped I recommend putting them back the way you were shaping them.
5) if you need to, re-dye the leather to reduce splotches. This is pretty common so just plan on it, then it will just be nice if you don't need to.
Step 6: 5) Painting Leather
*Use either a leather acrylic or you can add fabric medium to high quality acrylics. I have lots of acrylic that I trust, but not much leather acrylic so I use both. You can also use the fabric medium to thin out the leather acrylic paint :)
*I recommend thinning out the paint (either one) with the fabric medium as well.
Tips and Tricks
*Add your colors is thin layers. Lay it on, wipe it off. if you want more of that color repeat. This way you can achieve some rich variation.
*Metallic paints can be over overwhelmingly brilliant so add just a little bit, wipe off, add more to the next area wipe off.
*Using lots of colors in super thin layers really makes a nice impact.
*For a darker feel, or an aged look, try adding thinned out black over your piece and wipe off quickly. See the gear photo to see the difference. Also using colors that match the natural oxidation of various metals you are tying to imitate can create those aged looks in the same way.
Play and have fun with it. try many variations to get a feel for how it might turn out.
Step 7: 6) Sealing and Protecting
Once again I am fairly new at this and I have so far only tried 3 methods. It is important to seal and protect leather for many obvious reasons, and one of those is that if you have shaped your leather, and it gets wet, it will lose that shape fast.
1) Acrylic Spray Sealant.
Spray evenly over one complete side, don't forget to do this over a covered area.
CON: doesn't bend as well, I expect will crack in time. Need more area covered and best to do out doors, because of vapors.
2) Leather Conditioner (Dr. Jackson's)
PRO: leaves a soft looking coat. Feels nice.
CON: I do not know how well it protects the paints. ???
3) Acrylic Resolene
PRO: leaves a nice shine, and brings out the acrylic colors nicely
Con: Will mess with dye a bit. I have heard that it reacts poorly with Browns. But it will carry some dye off. If you have un-dyed area's do those first, then the dyed ones because it will move the dye.
Please if people have other insights that they can share I will gladly add them.
Step 8: 7) Adding Eyelets
I recommend finding scrap leather of the same type and PRACTICE first, to make sure you are using all the correct sizes.
1) Punch the correct size hole for your eyelets
2) Put the eyelet in through the front, and turn the leather face down over the flat back side of the setting anvil. (flat side of anvil up)
3) Place the eyelet tool over the back of the eyelet strait up and down.
4)Tap with soft mallet till it is set.
PSST, Grommets have washers that you would also use then the layers would be front of grommet -Front side of leather- washer then hit setting tool with mallet.
The last picture is of variations of the things I did in this batch to help inspire. Note that only the leaves have Eyelets in them. I do not know yet how I am using the gears and flowers so I will leave them as is until then.
There is a world of fantastic Leather artists out there and if any of you would like to share on here, be my guest. I would love it.
A special thank you to John Clos for teaching me to use a swivel knife and to Jason from the Spokane Tandy leather store https://plus.google.com/116726688938332888662/abou...