Magsley

Steps To Dyeing Vegtanned Leather?

17 posts in this topic

So I am making some belts for a costume and they were cut from vegetable tanned leather from Tandy's leather. I didn't really know what I was doing and just applied the dye some pieces that were dry, some that were damp, and some that were wet. When they were dry they were all very stiff and some were very discolored- blotchy and uneven coloring. Some of the belts' edges were slightly curled up too. What are the steps I should take to dye vegtan leather and get a good result? I am using oil-based dye, Fieblings (I think I spelled that wrong). I just would like some clear steps on how to dye my leather and have everything look nice and even! I'm a complete newbie.

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What I would do: Pour the dye in a pan. Dampen the leather, not that wet, like you are going to tool it. Put on gloves and pull the belt through the dye. Pat the leather dry with a rag. Lay it flat to dry.

Aaron

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If you put some conditioner like Lexol ( not a lot i rub it on using a trimmed piece of wool on sheep skin ) on the pieces you have dyed it should help limber them up.

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What I would do: Pour the dye in a pan. Dampen the leather, not that wet, like you are going to tool it. Put on gloves and pull the belt through the dye. Pat the leather dry with a rag. Lay it flat to dry.

Aaron

Okay, so I don't need to clean the leather or anything before I dye it?

If you put some conditioner like Lexol ( not a lot i rub it on using a trimmed piece of wool on sheep skin ) on the pieces you have dyed it should help limber them up.

Would just using it on a rag work? And is Neatsfoot oil about the same thing?

Last night I applied some more dye to the really unevenly colored pieces to try and even them out and it kind of worked, any tips on fixing the pieces besides just blotting dye where its too light? Thanks for your help so far, I'm glad I got the hide on sale so I don't feel bad wasting pieces :)

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I've had the same problems, I use the same die and I use Purell "the hand cleaner" when the die is still wet the alcohol will even out the die. It will darken in the areas that you use it some. I think its the water that's in it. I would think you could take just alcohol and do the same thing. Thats what I do.. Rob

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Are you wiping the leather after the dye dries? The "blotchy" looking spots you're talking about could be just pigment that didn't get soaked into the leather. I just take a paper towel and rub it on the leather until it stops picking up the color.

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Okay, so I don't need to clean the leather or anything before I dye it?

In general I don't. You can wipe it with deglazer or alcohol if it needs it.

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I do all my dye work dry. When I want a solid color I cut a piece of sheepskin that is as wide and tall as the belt is wide. I then trim the hair down to about a centimeter and use that as my applicator, just rubbing in small circles down the length for the first coat, and then in long passes from tip to end and then end to tip to even it out. I have found that soaking the leather afterwards also evens out the color.

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I have found that soaking the leather afterwards also evens out the color.

When you say soaking, do you mean in the dye or with water? I'm assuming water.....

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Thanks for all the tips, I also went back to Tandy's and bought some Neatsfoot oil to combat the stiffness. I've been applying the oil dye on dry leather and it has been working to eaven out the color, except on two stubborn pieces (the only pieces that were tooled). One of the pieces has a bit of a "crackled" look, without actually being cracked...

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When you say soaking, do you mean in the dye or with water? I'm assuming water.....

I do indeed mean soaking in water. I wet stitch my stuff, and even if the dye work is a little splotchy at the start, by the time I'm done stitching, after repeatedly submerging my piece, the dye is a lot more evened out.

I also use almost exclusively the old Fiebing's Dye. I have found that the new green label Fiebing's acetone based dye migrates much more when the leather is soaked in water.

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Can you cut the oil die with other oil?

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So I am making some belts for a costume and they were cut from vegetable tanned leather from Tandy's leather. I didn't really know what I was doing and just applied the dye some pieces that were dry, some that were damp, and some that were wet. When they were dry they were all very stiff and some were very discolored- blotchy and uneven coloring. Some of the belts' edges were slightly curled up too. What are the steps I should take to dye vegtan leather and get a good result? I am using oil-based dye, Fieblings (I think I spelled that wrong). I just would like some clear steps on how to dye my leather and have everything look nice and even! I'm a complete newbie.

Mags, this is pretty much SOP. The neatsfoot should take care of it. Next time before you dye, clean it with rubbing alcohol to get dirt, oil from your fingers, etc. off and while it's damp from the alcohol apply the dye with a dauber, piece of shearling, or piece of soft cloth - you can spray it if you have a sprayer - an air brush.

Don't over oil it. You'll have to learn by doing, but too little is better than too much. You can always apply more oil. Pure neatsfoot is best. I wouldn't mess with compound neatsfoot.

As mentioned Lexol - real good stuff in my opinion. Esp. if working with natural russet as it doesn't darken it. It's easier to work with than neatsfoot, soaks in better, less residual esp. at the surface.

After you oil, let it set at least 24 hours. Neatsfoot may take even longer than Lexol. I like to let a fan blow over it. Next step is to buff heck out it. Once it evens out and you're not getting rub-off you can apply a finish coat - or - another coat of dye if it needs it - it usually doesn't need any more dye if you cover it well. Plenty of people dip dye things like gun leather so you can daub it on heavy and not go overboard.

From you last post you had pretty much figured it out. You on the right track. Don't be discouraged with a few splotches and uneven hues. Where ever you burnished, slicked, matted, i.e. compressed and sealed the surface you'll have to add more dye and give it a change to penetrate those less porous areas.

You're getting there!

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Mags, this is pretty much SOP. The neatsfoot should take care of it. Next time before you dye, clean it with rubbing alcohol to get dirt, oil from your fingers, etc. off and while it's damp from the alcohol apply the dye with a dauber, piece of shearling, or piece of soft cloth - you can spray it if you have a sprayer - an air brush.

Don't over oil it. You'll have to learn by doing, but too little is better than too much. You can always apply more oil. Pure neatsfoot is best. I wouldn't mess with compound neatsfoot.

As mentioned Lexol - real good stuff in my opinion. Esp. if working with natural russet as it doesn't darken it. It's easier to work with than neatsfoot, soaks in better, less residual esp. at the surface.

After you oil, let it set at least 24 hours. Neatsfoot may take even longer than Lexol. I like to let a fan blow over it. Next step is to buff heck out it. Once it evens out and you're not getting rub-off you can apply a finish coat - or - another coat of dye if it needs it - it usually doesn't need any more dye if you cover it well. Plenty of people dip dye things like gun leather so you can daub it on heavy and not go overboard.

From you last post you had pretty much figured it out. You on the right track. Don't be discouraged with a few splotches and uneven hues. Where ever you burnished, slicked, matted, i.e. compressed and sealed the surface you'll have to add more dye and give it a change to penetrate those less porous areas.

You're getting there!

Wow, thanks so much for this! All this is so helpful!! Its kind of hard to find exactly what I need since everyone's leather situation is different. I will definitely be keeping your advice in mind when finishing up my belts, the color is pretty much even now and I'm about to go apply the neatsfoot oil :)

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As a newbie I can not tell you how helpful this forum has been. Thank you to everyone for all of your advice! This leather stuff is hard sFun_duh2.gif

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This leather stuff is hard sFun_duh2.gif

With time, patience, practice, perseverance... It does get easier.

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I guess I do belts a bit different: for dying, . . . I pour about a pint of dye into a 11 x 14 cake pan, . . . and snake my belt through the liquid allowing it to remain perhaps 5 seconds in the dye, . . . always face up throught the dye, . . . then hold it with both hands and watch the excess dye on the top of the belt migrate down into the leather. I then lay the belt on a piece of cardboard, . . . in a 20 inch or so circle, . . . resting on the bottom edge fo the belt.

About 20 minutes later, . . . I flip it to the top edge, . . . give it another 20-30 minutes, . . . hang it up by the buckle end to finish drying. It hangs for the balance of 24 hours.

I wish the best to any and all who are thinning their dye with water, . . . the dye is basically a petroleum based product, . . . the oil simply will not mix with the dye, . . . and the same goes for wetting down leather before dying it. The water displaces the dye, not allowing it to penetrate, . . . thereby giving a blotchy result.

May God bless,

Dwight

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