I have a growing fascination with air plants. I typically grow roses, orchids, and houseplants that I find interesting. But there is just something about these soilless darlings that I cannot resist.
I spotted an air plant recently that looked like long blades of grass and immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. This is a quick and easy project that will display your air plant and a fun message.
- Air Plant
- 4-5 oz Veg Tan Leather (approx. 6 x 9)
- Leather Letter Stamping Set
- Leather Super Shene
- Leather Gel Stain
- Scissors (for cutting leather)
- 2 Dobbers
- Paper towels
- Pipe Wall Fastener
- 2 Eyelets
- Sponge & Water Dish
- Eyelet Setting Tool
- Leather Edge Groover
- Leather Hole Punch
- Paper (used to make a shape template)
- Rubber Gloves
TIP: LEATHER & TOOLS
I am new to leather. I have been very happy with the service and selection offered by Tandy leather. They have an online store but I am lucky enough to live near one of the small stores. The staff is helpful and really knowledgeable.
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Step 1: GETTING STARTED
- Begin by finding the perfect air plant. This will help to determine the size of your planter.
- Create a paper template for the shape and size of your pineapple, this will depend on the air plant that you selected.
- Using a pencil, trace your template onto the rough side of the leather.
- Carefully cut out your pineapple using scissors designed for cutting leather.
TIP: SMOOTH EDGES
If you are not completely satisfied with the smoothness of your edges, you can use a tool called a leather edge to round them off a bit more.
Step 2: STAMPING YOUR LEATHER
For my message, I opted for one with pineapple flare: “Be Sweet, Stand Tall, Wear A Crown”.
- Begin by sketching out the placement of your message on your paper template, this will vary based upon the size of your pineapple.
- When you are happy with the lines and spacing, create light guidelines on your leather pineapple using a pencil.
- To begin stamping your message, wet the smooth finish side of your leather pineapple. You may need to do this several times during the stamping process. Wetting the leather allows the leather to absorb and hold the imprint of the stamp.
- Allow your leather to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
If you have never stamped leather, I suggest practicing on a scrap piece first. It can take a little practice to learn how to stamp deep enough to make your imprint but not capture the square outline of the stamp. A deeper imprint will also help to capture stain and really make your stamp stand out. If you look at the "Be" on my product you can tell that I did not have a deep enough imprint.
Step 3: STAINING YOUR LEATHER
Once your leather has completely dried, you can begin staining. Erase any remaining guidelines at this time, or if they are light enough you can stain over them. We are going to begin with the finished surface of the leather, hitting the cut sides at the same time.
- Put on your gloves!
- Pick up a generous amount of the gel stain with your dobber and apply it in a circular motion to the entire leather piece. Be sure to really work the stain into the imprint areas and exposed sides.
- Once you have covered the leather with stain, use a paper towel to remove the excess. Wipe the surface areas in a gentle motion, you do not necessarily want to remove it from the stamped areas.
- Repeat this step until you are happy with the shade of your stain. You do not have to wait for the coats to dry in between. I applied 3 coats to mine.
- Once your front is dry you can move onto the back if you are leaving it exposed. The back is a rough surface and a bit more difficult to do. You could also skip the back stain in favor of an alternate backing such as felt or wood.
TIP: STAINING YOUR IMPRINT
The choice to remove stain from an imprint area is an artistic one. I have worked on projects where I did not want the imprint to be darker. If that is the case be sure to remove the stain from those areas during your paper towel wiping step.
Step 4: SEALING YOUR LEATHER
Once the stain has dried, you are ready to apply the first coat of Shene. This will seal your stain and protect your finished product. Apply one coat of Shene now before cutting out the pineapple lines. Once you cut out your lines, apply a final coat to seal your masterpiece.
- To apply Shene simply dampen a small portion of a paper towel and rub the product onto your leather. Give a light but complete coverage, you do not need a thick layer of Shene.
Step 5: CUTTING YOUR LINES
You will need a straight edge and leather edge groover for this step. The edge groover has an attachment that allows it to be used along with a straight edge tool. Because the lines should be straight and crisp, using the attachment is important.
Your template guidelines should no longer be visible but you are able to use the lettering as your new guide.
- Begin by completing the series of lines that run parallel to your lettering. Position the straight edge and edge groover under the first line of text. Be careful not to run into your stamped letters. The lines should run just underneath the lettering. Repeat this step until you are at the bottom of the pineapple, then complete the lines at the top.
- You are now ready to begin the second set of lines. These will intersect with your first set. Begin by positioning your straight edge and edge groover. You want to follow a similar angle, adjust the tools until you are happy with how the line will intersect with the first set. I focused more on how the lines would intersect with the first and not the lettering. I was careful not to cut into my lettering. I opted to lift the edge groover and jump over any stamped areas. This left some voids in my lines but I like the effect that it gave.
- Once your lines are cut, apply your second coat of Shene.
TIP: EDGE GROVER
An edge groover is a simple tool but if this is your first time using one, grab your scrap piece and run a few practice lines. At this step, you are working on an almost finished piece. You do not want to risk a mistake at this stage. The attachment of the edge groover will also leave a depression but not cut the leather. You can lessen this by applying less pressure to that portion of the tool.
Step 6: INSTALLING EYELETS & HOLDER
Once the Shene is dry, and it dries rather quickly, you are ready to add the eyelets and holder.
- Position the holder near the top of the pineapple. Mark the circles where the eyelets will go.
- Remove the holder and using a leather punch, cut out the circles.
- Reposition the holder and slip one of the eyelets through the holder and the opening that you created. Crimp the eyelet using an eyelet setting tool. Repeat for the second side.
- Make sure that your eyelets are secure.
Step 7: DISPLAYING YOUR PLANTER
You have several options when deciding how to display your planter.
- The eyelets provide a nice finish that you can use to attach a chain or cord to hang your planter on a wall.
- You can attach a mounting bracket to the back of the finished piece and hang it as you would a photo.
- You can create a stand for the back that would prop it up on a tabletop.
- You can glue magnets to the back and display it on an appropriate surface.
Mine is being gifted so I have packaged both a chain and magnets with it so that the recipient can decide.
Participated in the