I get a lot of people asking for unusual leather patterns. This was one of them so I thought I would upload a quick tutorial on how I created it so others can use the ideas to create their own patterns.
Step 1: Adding Fur Texture
This project as you know was on a belt. I had already added a line either side of the belt with a saddle makers groover.
I fitted a "hair blade tool tip" to my swivel knife. This tool makes about 5 little hair lines at a time so it's great for feather patterns fur alike. I started at one end and just had fun being random with the way I ran the "fur lines". This will create the base for your spots to go on top.
Step 2: Adding Spots
A lot of cat patterns have spots that are random in shape but follow a pattern when you look at the fur as a whole. I cut 2-3 spot placements together and worked up the length of the belt using a standard swivel knife blade. These cuts go over the top of your "hair'" markings.
Step 3: Adding Colour
I used an acrylic stain in orange to create my first layer of stain. This is the base colour. I went pretty light on (just a skim with a rag). On the rest of the belt I repeated the staining till it was noticeably darker to create a gradient feel.
Notes on leather stains:
I have used oils and acrylic stains and out of the two I prefer acrylics because I find them to be easier to work with. Some past oil-based stains I have used have faded with time but my acrylics are still going strong. The ability to layer acrylics on top of themselves is great because you can create darker shadows more easily. I did use some oil based colours also but it was really out of necessity rather than preference.
Step 4: Painting Spots.
Here I used a black acrylic stain and a fine-tipped brush to paint in the spots. You will see the black bleed down the side of the spot into the groove that you cut.
Step 5: Mid Spot Colouring
Next I used 2 parts orange and 1 part brown to make a new darker colour. I used this to put blotches in-between the black spots. I also went over the black spots again to make sure any missed spots are completely covered.
Step 6: Brown Edging
I used the brush to paint the edge of the belt lines brown. Keep applying till you are satisfied with the colour but don't let it bleed into the orange part of your belt.
Step 7: Final Check
It's important before sealing any leather project to make sure your stains are exactly how you want them. Go back and check everything is good and then once happy, apply a finish of your choice. I use an oil-based saddle-maker's dressing.
Step 8: Completing the Look
Once the finish has been applied, I put my leather projects in a plastic bag in the sun. This process heats up the leather and allows the finish to soak deep into your job, creating a lasting luster.
Hope you all enjoyed this tutorial and maybe it will help to keep your pants up.
Happy leather making!
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