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Hello everyone. I am a new leather worker and I am going to be starting a big project soon. I am planning on making a leatherbound journal for a gift. With this journal, I shall have a border and details carved/pounded in. I would like the journal to be black and the details to be red, however I am not sure how I should go about coloring the details.

If I dye the details first and then do the base, I'm worried the black would sink in to the details, so I'm a bit wary about that tactic. If I paint the details, first I'd need to know the type of paint but then I'd also need to know how natural it will look. I also am unsure what I should use to seal the dye for each idea.

This shall be on vegetable tanned leather.

If anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for your time reading this. 

Edited by Dansus

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You are correct in being concerned that dye can soak in to surrounding details, so you just have to be careful.  Never put a fully loaded brush against any part you want to leave another color.  If it were me, I would dye the red first and then carefully dye black around the remaining area.  If you chose to paint, you will want to use acrylic paints, and the techniques are the same, except that acrylic paint will cover dye.  However, I find its best to leave any area that is to be painted un-dyed.  Dye can leach into the paint and discolor the paint so that you need more coats to cover the dye.

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If you moisten the leather a little, it will help reduce the amount of dye that wicks beyond your brush.  And of course, as above, don't load the brush heavily with dye.  Touch the brush to the leather a little way away from the edge of the portion you are dying, and work slowly towards the edge.  Do a little practice on some scrap to get a feel for it.  Don't saturate the leather with water, or with dye. 

Tom

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