Hiding in plain sight (wulfae) wrote,
Hiding in plain sight

Leather bag - Dyeing

Table of Contents.

1 - Table of Contents, and why in the first place.
2 - Research.
3 - Designing.
4 - Tooling.
5 - Other Leatherworking Steps.
6 - Dyeing.
7 - Assembling.
8 - Sewing a lining.
9 - Finished pictures!


Okay, here’s the secret to dyeing *anything*. YOU CAN DILUTE THE DYE. Check and see what kind of dye you have, because you’ll need to use something different depending on what it’s made of, but with the water based Eco-Flow, you can just use water.

I did not know this when I first tried dying my leather. Of course I would do the largest piece that I’d put all my effort into first, and then be so dissatisfied with how awful and dark it looked that I didn’t do anything with this project for about half a year. I just had these materials that I’d spent a fair chunk of change on sitting around, mocking me with how awful and unfinished they were, forever.


gross gross gross gross

And then I read in an old hippy leatherworking book my dad had bought at a garage sale that you can dilute the damn dye. OBVIOUSLY, you can dilute paint, why not dye?

So basically I scooped out some of the dye, which is a gel, and then used a paintbrush to mix it into some water. Then I applied washes to the leather, to better control just how dad ratted dark it would be.

I wanted a few things to be brighter, so I applied some finish to them in the ‘resist’ technique. I wanted the TARDIS windows, light, and the swirl in the sky to be brighter. Next time I won’t keep anything the undyed leather colour, the contrast between it and the dyed parts is just too great, and it’s a little eye catching. Next time, I’ll put a wash on, and then put the finish on. But that’s just me!

I also had to try to lighten up my main piece of leather. Saddle soap to the rescue!! A guy at Tandy thought this might work to take the dye out, since there hadn’t been any kind of finish applied.

And it worked!


It took a lot of saddle soap, and it made an awful mess, so definitely use gloves and have something protecting your work area. And wear old clothes. I was also a little bit worried about how the leather looked... Purple, almost? Sort of dusky and purple? It didn’t really seem to affect anything, so that’s good.

It did dry out the leather a bit, so I decided to apply some calfsfoot oil. I was warned that it would darken the leather, which I obviously didn’t want, so I decided to do a little test.

This is it with the oil on top of the leather,

These pieces are tiny, I am so cheap with materials.

And this is it on the flesh side.

Seriously, these are like three times as big as they are in real life.

Which didn’t actually make it too much darker at all. That’s how I applied the oil, and it seems to have worked. Next time, I’ll apply it on the leather side, but since I’ll be oiling the entire bag, hopefully nothing will look out of place, shade wise.

After all of this, it was time for the finish! I had decided that I wanted something kind of shiny, so I bought some Eco-Flo Super Shene, and I’m pretty happy with it. I put two coats on everything, and it seems like it should repel water pretty well. (It was also on sale. Happy day!)

Strap and gusset drying.


Strap and gusset.

Front piece

Back piece and flap.

Front piece

The front piece. I included these pictures so it’s easier to see the final design I came up with. The flaps are on the front and back pieces, and there is no seam allowance along the flap piece, because I don’t have to fold anything over there. (Duh.)

I was a bit anxious to get everything finished, though, and I might have rushed the coats. It was pretty humid here that day, so they might have still been a little bit tacky. I’m wondering if that’s how I got a little bit of debris, possibly, stuck to my finished work.

(It bothers me a little bit, so next time I’m a)going to be more patient and b)put down some plastic over the old workbench in the garage behind the house that I rent. I don’t know when it was used last, or for what!)
Tags: crafts, doctor who, leather

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