Frank

Tattooing Leather

15 posts in this topic

A friend of mine stopped by this afternoon. I've been helping him out with leather working tips and tricks. He freely admits he cannot tool at all. He has been a tattoo artist for about 30 years. He pulled out this rifle scabbard and holster he made which he used a tattoo gun on. All of this was completed free hand, just going by photos and ideas in his head. I was simply stunned to say the least.

If anyone wonders whether or not you can tattoo leather....tell them yes!!

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That's some beautiful work.

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Hi Frank,

Your friend did beautiful work. it's really amazing how well an artist can do with just about any tool.

I'm not knocking his work at all, it's just beautiful, but it looks less like a tattoo and more like an engraving or etching. I'm guessing he used his tattoo machine without applying any ink.

Since he's a very experienced tattoo artist, can you ask him if he has any hints about how to get a good nice ink tattoo onto leather? I'm really interested in this and have been looking at cheaper tattoo machines, but before I buy anything I'd like some more information.

thanks for any help,

ken

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Hi Frank,

Your friend did beautiful work. it's really amazing how well an artist can do with just about any tool.

I'm not knocking his work at all, it's just beautiful, but it looks less like a tattoo and more like an engraving or etching. I'm guessing he used his tattoo machine without applying any ink.

Since he's a very experienced tattoo artist, can you ask him if he has any hints about how to get a good nice ink tattoo onto leather? I'm really interested in this and have been looking at cheaper tattoo machines, but before I buy anything I'd like some more information.

thanks for any help,

ken

Me too me too, please. My wife doesn't like stamping and tooling but she would be awesome with a tattoo gun. He really did a great job, I'm wondering what he put in his gun to make it look like its embossed.

Peace

Bryan

Edited by bkingery

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Hey All,

I'm sure my friend is going to love the comments. He wasn't even sure if his work even looked good. Of course the most judgmental person is the one doing the work...or it should be anyways. Yeah, he just did the engraving with the needle, not with actual ink but if I know him, he will try it with ink to see how it works out.

The next time I talk with him about it, I will try and get some more information for you all and keep you posted.

Frank

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I just talked with my friend this evening and he said he has tried to tattoo leather using ink but it does not work at all. He mentioned that the ink likes to bleed through the grain of the leather and causes a mess. I'm also guessing that conditioning the leather afterward would cause problems as well.

I forgot to ask about the needle that he uses but I'm sure I'll talk with him again soon. I just figured I'd give everyone interested in the topic an update.

Frank

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Those look great. I love the detailing on the buildings. I had never thought of tattooing leather. I have burned designs into it, but never thought of tattooing. Great idea.

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He definitely spared no detail when it came to the tattooing. I am going to try and get him to tattoo a rifle scabbard for me. I'll give him the leather with the layout and have him tattoo and then I'll finish putting it together. I'm sure it will hang somewhere in my shop.

I have given him a few ideas as to what kind of things he could do with that...table top covers, rocking chair covers (seat and back), photos, and stuff like that. I hope he goes ahead with the ideas as I think he would do great with them.

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I just talked with my friend this evening and he said he has tried to tattoo leather using ink but it does not work at all. He mentioned that the ink likes to bleed through the grain of the leather and causes a mess. I'm also guessing that conditioning the leather afterward would cause problems as well.

I forgot to ask about the needle that he uses but I'm sure I'll talk with him again soon. I just figured I'd give everyone interested in the topic an update.

Frank

Frank your friend definately has some skill with the needle thankyou for posting it I like looking at different ways of decorating leather and this definately qualifies. Also nothing against your friend but it definately is possible to use ink in the process if he's interested he might want to check out these

http://obritztattoos.tumblr.com/

http://obritztattoos.tumblr.com/page/4

http://electricsolos.com/home.html

http://twohandstattoo.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-09-11T03%3A11%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=10

http://www.polkaproducts.com/furniture/tattoofurniture

http://www.phebeparisia.com/p/tattoo.html

http://charlie-goldthorpe.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-06-21T15%3A33%3A00-07%3A00&max-results=7

Tattooing rawhide http://www.facebook.com/pages/STATE-STREET-TATTOO-GALLERY/257732464699?v=info#!/pages/STATE-STREET-TATTOO-GALLERY/257732464699?v=app_2392950137

and from a member here http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=19531&hl=tattooing&st=0

This is all that I have found in the year or so I have been looking the trouble is no one goes into detail of how they are doing it.

Again great work

Cheers,

Clair

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Hi Clair,

thanks for all the links.

the 2 videos are very interesting. it looks like the artist is tattooing on thin wet rawhide with a folded towel for padding below.

but all the shoes and furniture were made of leather not rawhide. now i wonder if a soft upholstery leather would work better than veg tan.

on many of the flat pieces of leather that have various tattoos, you can see an ink stain halo around the tattoo. as if ink had been wiped past where a protective top coat had been applied.

i would love to learn more about how these were done.

Frank,

thank you for speaking with your friend about his tattooed leather. He told you the ink bled through the grain, do you know if he was using veg tan or chrome tan?

thanks,

ken

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Hi Clair,

thanks for all the links.

the 2 videos are very interesting. it looks like the artist is tattooing on thin wet rawhide with a folded towel for padding below.

but all the shoes and furniture were made of leather not rawhide. now i wonder if a soft upholstery leather would work better than veg tan.

on many of the flat pieces of leather that have various tattoos, you can see an ink stain halo around the tattoo. as if ink had been wiped past where a protective top coat had been applied.

i would love to learn more about how these were done.

Frank,

thank you for speaking with your friend about his tattooed leather. He told you the ink bled through the grain, do you know if he was using veg tan or chrome tan?

thanks,

ken

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]you can tattoo leather the same as you tattoo on a person i am a full time tattoo artist and i have done several tattoos on leather looks the same as it does on a person ,

Edited by tattoosbyjay

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Ken,

If I remember correctly, he was using oil tanned veg. tan leather. I want him to try on just standard veg. tan to see how he does. Maybe it will make a difference.

Frank

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]you can tattoo leather the same as you tattoo on a person i am a full time tattoo artist and i have done several tattoos on leather looks the same as it does on a person ,

hi tattoosbyjay,

you did wonderful work on the koi. can you give more details please? is the koi on veg tan or chrome tan? did you use any sealer for the surface to prevent ink from staining where you didn't want it? some say that it's harder to tattoo leather. can you explain why? is the leather harder on the needles? do you use different needles for leather than for human skin?

i have no desire to attempt putting a tattoo on human skin, but i would like to tattoo some of my leather products.

any help would be very appreciated,

ken

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hi tattoosbyjay,

you did wonderful work on the koi. can you give more details please? is the koi on veg tan or chrome tan? did you use any sealer for the surface to prevent ink from staining where you didn't want it? some say that it's harder to tattoo leather. can you explain why? is the leather harder on the needles? do you use different needles for leather than for human skin?

i have no desire to attempt putting a tattoo on human skin, but i would like to tattoo some of my leather products.

any help would be very appreciated,

ken

it is veg tanned leather , all the neeldes and ink are the same, it is harder than tattooing skin just because the leather is harder than skin i didnt use any sealer prior to tattooing it, id say if you are not alrady a tattoo artist tattooing leather will be a bit difficult, the koi was the first thing i tattooed on leather i just wanted to see if it would work, i wish there was more info i could give but my tattooing background is was made me able to do it on leather . any questions feel free to pm me thanks , and thanks for the compliment

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