Sometimes your leather goods need a little help and
you've got the urge to dye or paint it. With dye it's
pretty straight forward, but if you want to paint it
there's a little more involved to make it look good.
Whenever you are attempting a
project like this, always test it out on a scrap piece
first. When using different pigments, be sure to let
one dry before adding the next color.
What to Use
Use water-based acrylic paints
designed for leather because they are more flexible
than ordinary acrylics. If painting the entire surface
of the leather, check to see if your leather goods are
vegetable-dyed, as they absorb the paint better than
leather goods tanned by other methods.
Not sure if the leather goods
are vegetable-dyed? Test a scrap piece to see how well
it absorbs the paint.
What to Do
Begin by cleaning the leather
goods, using a solution of one ounce of leather bleach
to one pint of water, applying the solution with a soft
brush or wool dauber. You can also lightly sponge the
leather with water prior to painting in order to ensure
a more even absorption of color. Don't soaked it, just
get it damp.
Applying the Paint
You can paint over a large area
of the leather goods or just a small part for highlighting
effects. If you want to do the former, paint over the
leather first with a water-diluted solution of the paint.
In this way, you'll prepare the surface of the leather
goods to receive the undiluted paint.
Use one part paint and one part
water, and apply in broad, even strokes with a wool
dauber. Add more water if the leather is not absorbing
the solution, and more paint if the color is not showing
sufficiently. Two coats of the solution should be applied,
leaving sufficient time between coats for the paint
to be absorbed but for the leather to still be somewhat
damp and not dry. Try this out first on a scrap piece
of leather and take your time.
Applying Undiluted Paint
Now it's time to apply the undiluted
paint using a brush or wool dauber, and broad even strokes.
For small areas that you wish to highlight, use undiluted
paint and a small paintbrush. To prevent the paint from
cracking, it’s important to flex the leather goods
throughout the drying process. Do this between coats
of paint as well.
Using an Airbrush
Another option when applying
paint is to use an airbrush. A double action airbrush
allows you to control the flow of the paint and the
air with one finger and avoids the initial blob of paint
emerging with a single-action airbrush. You can strain
the paint to remove any flecks by using a piece of pantyhose.
If you over spray, acrylic paint can be easily removed
while it is still damp.
Tools to Use
* Water-based acrylic paints
* Leather bleach
* Wool dauber
* Paint brushes or airbrush
* Vegetable-dyed leather goods
and water-based acrylic paints work best
* Clean the leather goods with
a solution of water and leather bleach
* Apply two coats of water-diluted
paint, with sufficient time between coats for the paint
to be absorbed
* Apply undiluted paint
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