JiffyJones

No idea what I'm doing, but happy to be here!

Recommended Posts

Greetings from Dallas, TX!

I'm a graphic designer/illustrator by day and freelance by night. Recently I was commissioned to create some masquerade masks, and decided in my infinite wisdom to suddenly (and on a week deadline) hurl myself into learning an expensive, intricate, and time consuming craft that I know nothing about. A relative helped with some basic advice and sending me a big ol' box of scraps (I will likely post pictures asking what on earth I'm supposed to do with each kind), and this forum/youtube helped with the rest!

So after much panicking and muttering of the ancient incantation "pleaseletthiswork", I miraculously finished these on time. One is a moth and the other an owl; tooled, burnished with saddle soap, painted, and sealed.

Now I have a handful of tools and a shoulder of tooling leather (6-7 weight) that I bought out of sugar induced excitement, but I don’t know where to go from here! I would love to try making a small tooled bag next, because I’m clearly a masochist.

Suggestions/thoughts are always appreciated!

P.S. Ignore the creepy purple light, I swear I don't live in a bordello

20171130_225946.jpg

20171130_232515.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mjolnir   

Thank you for the inspiration. I've wanted to do masks. Did you just shape them or use a mold? you've got a niche. Others will tell you how to perfect the craft, I can just tell you the artisanship is incredible!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, Mjolnir said:

Thank you for the inspiration. I've wanted to do masks. Did you just shape them or use a mold? you've got a niche. Others will tell you how to perfect the craft, I can just tell you the artisanship is incredible!

Oh wow, thank you so much! 

The first prototype was made out of paper towels and sharpie so I could bend it over their features and find a shape for each of their faces. After tooling, they were soaked and molded to their faces, with some exaggeration here and there.

You should give masks a try!! I had a lot of fun, just squeezing and shaping and seeing what happens! I would love to learn more about it! Or about anything, for that matter haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rockoboy   

Excellent work. I cannot tell where the leather finishes and another medium (if there is one) begins. If these items were your 1st (or 100th) attempts, you obviously have a huge talent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Rockoboy said:

Excellent work. I cannot tell where the leather finishes and another medium (if there is one) begins. If these items were your 1st (or 100th) attempts, you obviously have a huge talent.

Thank you!!

They are each one piece of leather and paint/stain

No hardware or anything because I don't know how to use and don't have a snap setter hahaha! I think that should be my next purchase?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, the leather part of making the mask can be a bit tricky and it seems like you have that all sorted but your painting skills are off the chart. That is some really nice work. I can make stuff that would be pretty hard to destroy, you can make beautiful stuff that is pretty hard to destroy. You can be taught the mechanics of making stuff from leather but you can't be taught the artsy side of it, that is talent, and you have my envy. I dig those masks for sure. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, battlemunky said:

Yeah, the leather part of making the mask can be a bit tricky and it seems like you have that all sorted but your painting skills are off the chart. That is some really nice work. I can make stuff that would be pretty hard to destroy, you can make beautiful stuff that is pretty hard to destroy. You can be taught the mechanics of making stuff from leather but you can't be taught the artsy side of it, that is talent, and you have my envy. I dig those masks for sure. 

Thank you!!

I have so much to learn, it's really overwhelming! Super glad you like the masks- I can never tell if I'm moving in a good direction!  Do you have any recommendations for projects that lend themselves more to being tooled and painted/dyed? I guess things that are handled less frequently?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I's recommend doing a search on here for Gray Halliday and looking at his stuff. It runs from wall art to guitar straps. Also, a general search on carving may be good too. With your painting skills and eye for coloring you could do some magic on some carved leather.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
JMcC   

Wow...just wow Jiffy :o!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
olfart   

Welcome from the Texarkana corner of Texas!

If you're just beginning, I haven't been born yet.  Those masks are magnificent!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much, guys!! I need the encouragement haha

I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I also just started on a bag! I am in the process of tooling the flap, and the tongue is going to tuck into a strap on the front as the closure. Eventually the face will be painted- I'd like to try to use the natural tawny color that the leather is now as a base so it looks a bit fleshy. I was going to Super Shene the painted parts for sure, but what about the rest of it? I wanted it all to remain somewhat pale, like the creepy naked cat demon that it is (only the flap is probably going to be this detailed though!) but will it look awkward without some kind of dye/color?

I am going to have to start sewing soon and I'm TERRIFIED! AHHHHH.

I also don't know if the embossing of the eyeballs is going to remain, or if they will flatten over time. It feels pretty stiff. I'm currently working on the tongue- I keep hammering it into a form I like and it keeps popping back up haha! I think I need to make the cuts a little deeper or something? Paint might be the best solution though so I don't make the part that's probably going to get the most damage too brittle?

Still terrified, though.

DumbFaceBag2_1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
garypl   

That is a very cool bag front!  Can't wait to see it finished and painted!

Concerning the finish, I recommend you take some scraps of this leather and experiment with different waxes/finishes to see how they wlil affect the color.  Then you can apply to your project.

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JiffyJones said:

Thank you so much, guys!! I need the encouragement haha

I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I also just started on a bag! I am in the process of tooling the flap, and the tongue is going to tuck into a strap on the front as the closure. Eventually the face will be painted- I'd like to try to use the natural tawny color that the leather is now as a base so it looks a bit fleshy. I was going to Super Shene the painted parts for sure, but what about the rest of it? I wanted it all to remain somewhat pale, like the creepy naked cat demon that it is (only the flap is probably going to be this detailed though!) but will it look awkward without some kind of dye/color?

I am going to have to start sewing soon and I'm TERRIFIED! AHHHHH.

I also don't know if the embossing of the eyeballs is going to remain, or if they will flatten over time. It feels pretty stiff. I'm currently working on the tongue- I keep hammering it into a form I like and it keeps popping back up haha! I think I need to make the cuts a little deeper or something? Paint might be the best solution though so I don't make the part that's probably going to get the most damage too brittle?

Still terrified, though.

DumbFaceBag2_1.jpg

Haha, you could use a Sam Brown stud for a closure, then the cat would have a tongue ring. 

Just a thought, feel free to use it though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, bikermutt07 said:

Haha, you could use a Sam Brown stud for a closure, then the cat would have a tongue ring. 

Just a thought, feel free to use it though.

Yeah, I think if I have trouble getting it to stay in the strap thing I'll definitely do that haha!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is really really nice work, do you know that if you put the leather in a warm domestic oven after you've shaped it and while it is still damp it will permanently harden into shape really well? the oven needs to be 'hot but not hot enough to burn your skin' probs about 60 degrees or whatever weird temperature scale you use in the US :o

Absolutely love your painting, Acrylic works really well on veg tan leather - especially Angelus Acrylic Leather paint (any decent quality stuff is good though.)

Good luck and keep at it.

Andy P.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PS,,,,,, Don't be worried about stitching, it's the most therapeutic and relaxing part of the whole thing, 'couple of beers, good film on netflix  a couple of bags to sew and I'm sorted, (I am getting old though.)

Get yourself a pile of decent saddle stitching needles, I use John James size 2, 3 and 4 for just about everything. Get or make a stitching pony of some sort - doesn't have to be fancy to start off with, some way to mark the stitch holes - I prefer irons, and a good sharp awl. I like to use braided thread but there's loads out there, just try a few and see what you like. maybe watch a few different youtube videos.

Have fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DJole   
3 hours ago, JiffyJones said:

Thank you so much, guys!! I need the encouragement haha

I don't know if this is the right place to post this, but I also just started on a bag! I am in the process of tooling the flap, and the tongue is going to tuck into a strap on the front as the closure. Eventually the face will be painted- I'd like to try to use the natural tawny color that the leather is now as a base so it looks a bit fleshy. I was going to Super Shene the painted parts for sure, but what about the rest of it? I wanted it all to remain somewhat pale, like the creepy naked cat demon that it is (only the flap is probably going to be this detailed though!) but will it look awkward without some kind of dye/color?

I am going to have to start sewing soon and I'm TERRIFIED! AHHHHH.

I also don't know if the embossing of the eyeballs is going to remain, or if they will flatten over time. It feels pretty stiff. I'm currently working on the tongue- I keep hammering it into a form I like and it keeps popping back up haha! I think I need to make the cuts a little deeper or something? Paint might be the best solution though so I don't make the part that's probably going to get the most damage too brittle?

Still terrified, though.

Have you thought of using a diluted antique finish? Perhaps that will emphasize the detail.
It's a well done piece, by the way, so I think your design choice is wise here, to hint or suggest color rather that saturate it with a full-on dye job. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, KittenThrasher said:

That is really really nice work, do you know that if you put the leather in a warm domestic oven after you've shaped it and while it is still damp it will permanently harden into shape really well? the oven needs to be 'hot but not hot enough to burn your skin' probs about 60 degrees or whatever weird temperature scale you use in the US :o

Absolutely love your painting, Acrylic works really well on veg tan leather - especially Angelus Acrylic Leather paint (any decent quality stuff is good though.)

Good luck and keep at it.

Andy P.

Thank you!

So, do you think if I hypothetically only wanted to harden the face and not the bendy part of the flap, that I could maybe cover the parts I want to remain somewhat malleable with like wet paper towels?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, DJole said:

Have you thought of using a diluted antique finish? Perhaps that will emphasize the detail.
It's a well done piece, by the way, so I think your design choice is wise here, to hint or suggest color rather that saturate it with a full-on dye job. 

I would love to experiment with paint consistencies! Has anyone had any luck with something to thin leather paint or help it's transparency without just watering it down? I have some beautiful thin cova color, but I would also like to play with the opacity! Like with pouring medium, or maybe gouache? Do you have a particular antique finish you like or recommend?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mjolnir   

you are mixing media. I am fascinated! I have been wanting to know how close dyes correlate to paint. Acrylic/water. Oil/ thinners. Oil is said to be more resilient on leather. brilliant work so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
garypl   
1 hour ago, JiffyJones said:

I would love to experiment with paint consistencies! Has anyone had any luck with something to thin leather paint or help it's transparency without just watering it down? I have some beautiful thin cova color, but I would also like to play with the opacity! Like with pouring medium, or maybe gouache? Do you have a particular antique finish you like or recommend?

You have me thinking now about mixing media.  I was checking a dye color tonight by using a wool dauber to apply some light brown dye to some scrap.  I then used the same dauber to apply some Tan Kote to see if it would darken it further and I was surprised to see pleasant brown streaks in the finish.  I will try to find time tomorrow to mix a little dye with some Tan Kote and see how the concoction turns out.  I’ll post results when I finish.

Gary

Just now, garypl said:

You have me thinking now about mixing media.  I was checking a dye color tonight by using a wool dauber to apply some light brown dye to some scrap.  I then used the same dauber to apply some Tan Kote to see if it would darken it further and I was surprised to see pleasant brown streaks in the finish.  I will try to find time tomorrow to mix a little dye with some Tan Kote and see how the concoction turns out.  I’ll post results when I finish.

Gary

I will also try mixing some acrylic paint with Tan Kote.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DJole   

First take a look at videos like this, to see if this is what you want:
Using antique gel and hi-lighters:

 

I myself used a resist and some antique to get the edges on these pieces here:


MaskBitsSide.jpg

I used a resist (2 coats) on the large light brown sections. When wet, it gets a little darker, but then it dries clear.  I left the stamped sections bare, with no resist. 
I wiped the pieces with a full strength antique black -- I must admit, it's a bit terrifying wiping it over the resist-treated portion, because I wasn't sure if it would work or not!
But it did -- after letting the antique dry according to the instructions, I wiped the pieces down with a damp sponge, and the antique dye wiped right off the big treated portion yet stayed mostly down in the depths of the tooling. The raised portions turned a "worn out" charcoal gray. 

What you should do is experiment on scrap leather -- use different strengths of antique dye, diluting it (either alcohol or water, depending on the dye) to get the shade you want.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, JiffyJones said:

Thank you!

So, do you think if I hypothetically only wanted to harden the face and not the bendy part of the flap, that I could maybe cover the parts I want to remain somewhat malleable with like wet paper towels?

Never tried that; I imagine it would work, maybe with some fabric toweling or something that won't dry out much or at all, 'certainly worth a go on some scrap at least, I know someone who 'diferentially' hardens stuff with a hair dryer, she's quite happy with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
garypl   
20 hours ago, garypl said:

You have me thinking now about mixing media.  I was checking a dye color tonight by using a wool dauber to apply some light brown dye to some scrap.  I then used the same dauber to apply some Tan Kote to see if it would darken it further and I was surprised to see pleasant brown streaks in the finish.  I will try to find time tomorrow to mix a little dye with some Tan Kote and see how the concoction turns out.  I’ll post results when I finish.

Gary

I will also try mixing some acrylic paint with Tan Kote.

 

Well, I didn’t have time to play with the dye today, but I took some green acrylic paint an$ started diluting it with Tan Kote.  In the photo, the patch on the far right is straigh5 paint.  Moving left, I added Tan Kote to the paint, starting with about 20% TK to 80% paint, then added another 20% TK, etc until the far left patch which was @60% TK plus I added a small amount of water.  The conclusion I reached is that Tan Kote does not play well with paint - too streaky.

66A3F0A9-C6B3-493B-ACB6-FBBBC558DBEA.jpeg.9da15cff2f4dc8ecafca9c49f89c33fe.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
alpha2   

From seeing this, I'd have to agree. Thanks for the info! I just read the bottle of my Tan-Kote, it says "used to thin Fiebings Antique Finish." Nothing about Acrylic paint. This is unexplored territory for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now