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  1. I used that method with a cleaned dried corn snake skin and it worked ok. If I had to do it again I'd get one of the rep tan kits instead. I bought some home tanned boa skins that were not well tanned, stiff but usable for some smaller craft projects. There were similar fleshy parts along the spine and parts of the sides. I suspect that the constrictors either have thicker muscles there or have extra muscles that non-constrictors do not. I soaked in lubristretch 2000 http://shop.trubondtanning.com/Lubri-Stretch-2000-Quart-LS2000qt.htm and was able then to work the skins softer and when the fleshy parts had soaked up enough, then scrape and peel off the stuck bits.
  2. Shark is dang tough. You might be able to rip it off from the glue, any other leather is probably more likely to give than the shark. However, if you want to try to make one, I found some very nice shark for a good price here. http://www.ebay.com/itm/112220720754?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT Not regular scrap, some good sized pieces and quality leather. Also has some other exotics. Even has some anteater. His first listing he didn't realize how rare or pricey it is now, been in storage for some time but in good condition. Outside of some dust, no sign of mold, deterioration. I got 2 pounds for a lower price and was astonished at the size of the pieces and quality. That and shark look like remnant from high end boots. Some of the pieces of either would be big enough for some holsters. Maybe send a message asking if any pieces in the size you need. Prompt shipping at reasonable cost, well packed.
  3. RFLMAO! Your description of what the fumes can do is hilarious! Depending on how much heavy flexing, wear and tear, and if it will be stitched over it or not, there are some very low odor adhesives that will work. Even some glues like E6000 or Weldbond have fumes that make me feel bad and smell terrible. I usually use some fabric or crafting glues. Most of what I do is small item crafting not going to take heavy friction or flexing or soaking wet. For example, a costume jewelry cuff with alligator as a large inlay. It has to flex at the hinge, this gator skin was fairly stiff but it won't be worn daily, the cuff has a raised edge so the edge of the skin won't catch and be pulled and unlikely to be worn while swimming. I used a bit of low odor Fast grab tacky glue in the middle to help hold it while I positioned it. I had shaped the gator by getting it damp, wound elastic wrap around it overnight until dry, trimmed the edges for a good fit. So it wasn't too slippery to work with. Had scuffed the metal of the cuff for better grip. The fast grab held it while I used Fabric Fusion which has very little odor, dries clear, flexible and waterproof. One of the glues that sets by reacting with water from the air, so no off gassing. But it does take a few hours to set. So I made sure no glue oozed out from the edges, rewrapped to hold it tight and left it for several hours. Not had any problem with adhesion. I did use the fabric fusion on one item I covered with python and made a big enough error I wanted to take it off. The python was a thick enough skin that I managed to peel the backing off. The flesh side was stringy enough that it split but didn't tear. So the weak link wasn't the glue but the leather.
  4. Post some pix when done. Do you have a link to the online guide?
  5. JulieP, From digging around on the net--I'm an insatiable data junkie and always curious to find new ways to do things. I wasn't satisfied with standard leather dyes, paints, methods and finishes and started to check alternative art and crafts. I've not tried using coarse salt yet. The same effect from watercolor with salt works on silk/fabric painting as do the alcohol and scrumbled plastic, etc. Plus sun painting, marbling, and so on. Quilting sites have also had some very good info. Some of these fabric arts are meant to be wall art, dyes/paints not steam heat or chemically set and items meant to be used lightly or with more rugged wear. With quilts that have a lot of dimensional effects, the sort of hard use our animals put a quilt through jumping on and off, needing frequent washings, would of course wear both the fabric and surface paints or dyes much more than the same quilt not being treated roughly. http://www.quiltingdaily.com this site has some free ebooks with various methods and one describes how to fix 'fugitive' mediums like watercolor, pastels, charcoal. And some info on painting with dyes or paints on fabric, using shiva paintsticks etc. For the Inktense pencils and blocks, using setacolor or setasilk extender plus a few drops of versatex no heat binder appears to get the best ratings. Other fabric mediums can be used, without the versatex, do need some brief heat setting, sometimes as simple as 30 minutes tumbled in a hot clothes dryer. or 5 minutes in a 350 oven. I've not tried those with leather, used only an iron, both a standard size and small craft iron. And the round transfer tip of a pyrography tool works also, mine has a variable heat control. A heat gun can also work but not sure how people estimate how hot for how long. The setasilk is the thinnest of these acrylic fabric mediums. And can be diluted with water even further but may reach a point of dilution that the acrylic molecules are not able to bond very well just as over diluting artist or leather acrylic sealer or paints will fail if overly diluted with water. The setacolor is thicker and meant to be diluted at least 50/50 with water. Several reports of people using the versatex no heat added to any of the fabric mediums and allowed to dry thoroughly for several days, even up to 2 weeks before washing works effectively and leaves a softer feel on the fabric. Less important on leather. The Colorhue dyes are a specific brand. The only one I've read of that is an instant set for protein fibers but there may be other brands or commercial forms. I got mine through Dharmatrading.com http://www.dharmatrading.com/dyes/colorhue-instant-set-silk-dyes.html Appear to have the best price on the Colorhue, good prices on other dyes, chemicals and clothing blanks including dog T shirts and bandannas. But not the best prices for the Shiva or Inktense. I found both the iridescent shiva mini 15 color set and the inktense 72 color block set on Amazon at the lowest prices. For prep on these, no oils, even with the oil sticks as there is a specific fast oxidation reaction that polymerizes the oils to bind them to the fibers. I've used acetone on leather. I've done it with and without using the watercolor ground--thin very fluid acrylic with something added to give a bit of 'tooth' for paint, pastels, finishes to grab onto. This keeps liquids from wicking into porous or absorbent surfaces and on slick surfaces like glass or metal, the tooth allows them to stick. Possibly priming with the fabric medium might work. For even coverage, you could scrape off some of the inktense into water and apply with spray mister, foam roller, foam brush or any method that works for you. Some online videos showing how it is used on fabric might help. Effects on damp and dry fabric and leather do vary. One thing I like both with the blocks and oil sticks, is using them for rubbings with fabric and on the exotic leathers I love with textured patterns, over the surface to enhance the grain. The inktense works well both on dry or damp fabric/leather, the shiva must be used on dry ones. Dharma trading has a lot of info on how to use these. You might want to check out the Pebeo alkyd paints. Supposedly designed as glass paint and multimedia on canvas other art board surfaces, I tried them on fabric and leather and was impressed with the flexibility and durability. Can be scratched with enough effort but pretty tough when fully cured, a week at most for a very thick layer. There is a thickener available for use on non-horizontal surfaces. The Pebeo Vitrail has both gorgeous transparent deeply colored version and an opaque version plus a pearlizer. And clear extender to dilute the colors. Can be blended. The same extender appears to be the base for the really cool Pebeo Prisme and Fantasy moon paints. Must be used on horizontal surfaces. These have the base mixed with transparent pigment and mica flakes from medium micron size to very fine. As the solvent evaporates, this creates currents to lift and then drop the micas to create some really cool crater or cell effects. And I found that getting the clear extender and using automotive candy pigments and micas, paintwithpearl.com has the best prices and some really cool chameleon and color shift stuff, I can get the same effects. Not much cheaper but far broader range as I have a lot of colorants and micas. Here's a few pix https://www.paintwithpearl.com/project/effects-leather-and-reptile-skin-effects/ My preference for a final sealer on leather has been something like krylon crystal clear aerosol as I get a smoother thin coverage. The fabric medium might be enough but I like having an extra layer to protect against abrasion. Have fun and do a lot of stress testing first on the collars. I didn't test one sealer I was using on belt buckles several years ago and found I goofed somehow. I was playing music on a hot humid day and bent over my buckle just enough that my sweaty shirt dampened the buckle and lifted dye onto my shirt. better me than someone else!
  6. JimDad, the no-flow or a resist only works on silk and other fabric when it can penetrate the entire fabric deeply enough that the liquid colorant doesn't wick beneath it. And since it is designed to be washed off, it will, like the alginate or any thickener added to a colorant, will hold some of the colorant and take it with when washed out. In fabric this needs to be compensated for by adding extra dye to the mix. Similar to using an antique finish where it is applied heavily but much is removed when taken off. Using other resists, from commercial ones such as wax, solvent or water based resists for batik, and other resists such as corn or potato dextrin, the latter can give a cool crackle effect as it dries, and even washable glue or corn syrup, they all need to coat the fibers and block the dyes or paints. Even mashed potatoes and cooked oatmeal can be used as resists. Both will crackle when drying and the oats in the oatmeal can give a cool bubble or cell effect. Once dry and crackled a bit more by hand if desired, the dye must either be an instant strike and set like the colorhue or be thickened to prevent rewetting the resist and wicking under or through it. Even the colorhue is more controllable when thickened. Shaving cream makes a quick and dirty thickener for it and other dyes as well as a surface for marbling fabric or leather. Neatsfoot oil does act like a barrier to spreading or a resist if it has absorbed deeply enough to do so. Keeping that from wicking into some area you don't want which is why wax and other resists are high viscosity. Has to be fluid enough to coat the fiber but not so much that it spreads to unwanted areas. And the antifusants that do wash out won't work if flooded with dye. Like a sponge absorbing water up to a point and then excess will drain off. Misting with a fine sprayer through a stencil or other masking method and letting the area dry before adding more color if needed. If using a dauber or sponge, being sure either is barely wet and testing on paper or scrap before touching the fabric or leather prevents the flooding. I messed around with that long enough to have some success but decided that using a thickener was more efficient for my needs. Unless I want the crackle effect. And a crackle stencil and thickened dye is still faster when I don't care if it is a unique pattern. Aloe vera gel can also be used as a thickener. and washable school glue can also be blended with dye to thicken it. Both will hold it but with leather dyes that don't chemically set, removing them without smearing them while washing out may be a problem. Alkaline set 'fiber reactive' dyes can work on leather, need at least an hour while somewhat damp at normal room temps, longer if chilly, for the dyes to bond to the fiber. These can be used with mild acids such as vinegar or citric acid but also need heat. Acid silk and wool dyes http://www.prochemical.com/directions/MX%20PDF/Leather.pdf but what a hassle! The alkaline dyes I've experimented with so far didn't seem to be too negative on most of the leathers, no more drying or stiffness than alcohol based dyes. Once I've rinsed thoroughly to neutralize the pH, and dried, my usual oil or wax treatment brings it back about the same way as with alcohol based dyes. One very thin snakeskin I tested with a very heavy application and let sit too long in a plastic bag in direct sun for several hours shriveled to the point of no return.Might simply have gotten too hot. I should retest another scrap. So far the Colorhue dyes are the easiest on leather. Fast, easy, permanent, not as lightfast as some other fabric dyes but perhaps more so than many leather dyes. The Inktense applied dry and can give a lot of control and don't lift off at all once I figured out how to be sure it was fully wetted through without any build up on the surface that would flake off or flooding the dry ink so much it spreads. The acrylic diluent mediums do allow a bit thicker application but need some heat setting or the fixative after drying. Possibly using an acrylic leather finish would do the same. Ink added to the sealer to paint with or applied over it carefully to activate it without spreading or smudging. Applying the Inktense directly from the block or pencil onto damp leather or a damp brush rubbed over the block and painted on have a different effect than the dry block or pencil that is activated. Any strokes are still visible unless blended or so wet they wick and bleed. The oil based paintstiks have been interesting. Again it's taking me a bit to learn how much pressure to use so I'm not getting too much so that when I burnish it over dry paper or cloth that I don't have to do so several times. The artist grade version is as lightfast as good quality artist pigments. Most will last longer than leather dyes.
  7. I've recently found a couple of things that might help. One is a water color ground. http://www.danielsmith.com/Item--i-284-055-011 Basically this is appears to be a form of acrylic adhesive enough to stick to even plastic, metal or glass but a bit of roughing may be advisable, and give properties similar to watercolor papers. Another thing to try is sodium alginate used to thicken fabric dye for silk and fabric painting. dharmatrading.com has a whole range of such. The 'low tech' hack for fabric paint thickening is to mix with shaving cream. Used more for marbling, stenciling, silk screen printing and won't give as fine a line for details as alginate but does work. And I'm having luck with colorhue dyes instead of leather dyes. These are a protein dye for silk, wool, linen that are 'instant set' or instant strike. As a 'true dye' ie that bonds chemically with the fiber rather than pigment molecules in between fibers, once the dye locks onto the fiber and sets, its permanent. Some washing off, washing out of any dye that didn't set before drying, once dry can't be reactivated, and there will not be any rub off or lifting. Dharma also carries these. And they can be used with either the alginate or shaving cream. Probably also mixed with gum arabic as watercolor paints can. Alcohol dyes will make arabic clump. And one other thing to try. Use setacolor or setasilk, the colorless fabric medium extenders, plus a few drops of Versatex "No Heat" Fixative and your usual watercolors. This is something quilt makers are doing to fix 'fugitive mediums' such as watercolor pigments, powdered pigments, and dye pigments that they may not want to steam or chemically fix with a mordant. Again basically some very low viscosity acrylics. They do come precolored but you can add your own watercolors and even mica and other dry pigments. Derwent inktense blocks and pencils are one last option. They are are dry ink. Can be applied like colored pencils/pastel sticks dry and then activated with water or blend of water/fabric medium or used wetted with water or blend of medium. Once wetted through and dried, they are a water proof ink and can NOT be rewetted like watercolors. Any lifting or washing out would come from a too thick application that wasn't fully wetted and activated or is so thick that it is pure mechanical flaking off. Adding the fabric medium acts like an acrylic finish to prevent rub off. After these last 2 dry fully, a brief heat setting may be belt and suspenders insurance against any rub off, lifting if wetted during sealing or smearing. One more way to color leather that looks promising but I've not fully tested yet are the Shiva paintstiks. An oil paint in stick form. Specially formulated to be low acid and fast drying. Used on silk as well as just about any other surface it can stick to. The low acid form means no need for a gesso or ground like oil paints. Once dry--allow at least 24 hours or up to a week to dry fully if applied thickly, and heat set, 15-30 seconds with an iron set for silk, it can be hand washed. Do not dry clean. Alkyd paints can also be used on leather and fabric. Not as acidic as regular oil paints and they dry within a few days. I used some Pebeo vitrail on leather. It dries to a flexible finish, fairly scratch resistant and when I goofed on one project, adding chameleon color shift mica too heavily to allow the natural colors beneath it to show and tried to remove the stuff, it was dang difficult. Citrus based solvent barely made a dent, acetone didn't do much either and finally with some odorless mineral spirits and a lot of elbow grease got enough off the surface to fix it. And this medium gives more depth and transparency than anything I've seen. It's quite thin but there is a thickener available. And the clear extender can be mixed with your own pigments, and colorants. I've used candy auto paint pigment for transparent effects, the chameleon/color shift micas and candy pearl blends from paintwithpearl.com and alkyd paints. Also oxide and lake dye pigments from tkbtrading.com meant for cosmetics, soap making, nail polish etc. The color fastness of some of these may be better than most leather dyes. The micas appear to virtually NOT change color no matter how much UV they are exposed to. Any transparent colorant is likely to have some degree of fading, candy auto paints will fade within a few years with exposure. But may be significantly better than most leather dyes.
  8. It seems likely that would work. If you have access to laser printing, perhaps take a scrap in for trial? A pyrography tool would probably also work. One video series online about pyrography on leather mentions using it on other leathers than veg tan with the warning that the fumes from chrome tanned leather can be toxic so be sure to use proper ventilation or chemical fumes respirator.
  9. how long? specifically that part of the lower tail or all the hornback? http://www.allexoticleather.com/category-s/37.htm I contacted them once about getting some caiman that wasn't dyed or finished so I could dye myself, was lower priced than shown on the site for the finished stuff. might ask about seconds also. the pic looks like a cool gnarly piece. you might also try http://stores.ebay.com/PARTNERS-LEATHER?_trksid=p2047675.l2563 and contact him about caiman, he might be able to get gator or croc but I've gotten caiman and some other exotic leathers from him, got a really nice price on an unfinished ivory colored ostrich skin a year or so ago. caiman will be shorter but usually a lot cheaper. you may need to click on a listing and then send a message asking if he has anything else to suit your needs. at times on ebay you can find wild caught home tanned gator hornback at a good price that has more of the gnarly look. this guy also gets a lot of gator http://www.ebay.com/usr/boomer2563stanton does it have to be already tanned? from boomer I got some lengths of dried back and tail to soak and pull the scutes out of. you could get a reptile tanning kit and DIY. depending on what you need, I still have at least one length of that dried back and tail left. would have to check to see if it is back or tail portion, was some gnarly stuff. there's another guy on ebay that had some dried hornback at one time but was over priced in my mind. but may be cheaper than commercial. found it http://www.ebay.com/itm/G467-7-43-black-full-Gator-ALLIGATOR-bony-SCUTE-back-with-tail-ARMOR-croc-/390625156535?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5af312ddb7 he's got a store online somewhere and does have some other stuff so you might also try to contact him. might also try springfield leather. they had some hornback, think was caiman at a decent price. been awhile since I looked.
  10. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Artistic-Brown-Pythone-Bracelet-Ammonite-Fossil-/331511540082?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d2fa0a972 Any idea how to do the ruching trim on this? My guess would be something like pliver/skiver strip with sides folded over, perhaps glued first, then scrunched a bit at a tie and glued in place.
  11. Thanks Kid, this is very useful and I appreciate it greatly. I'll save this post to hard drive.
  12. I will keep some and am practicing on some of it right now for a hair slide that will have a 1" shell rose attached to the center. Leaving some thicker part under it to keep it from flexing as much around the edges yet not so stiff overall that putting the stick in is a struggle. And I found your advice to be very true when I worked on the dang hip hop hat from hell I recently finished. http://leatherworker.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=62514&hl= Sheer determination and several restarts did end up with a good deal of learning from errors and how to do some work arounds with materials on hand. And in learning some things not to do for this project I did find some of the goofs will help in other things. Giving myself permission to do things badly at first, notice the errors and try to improve but not give up in the leather projects and many other areas in life. If you are afraid to make a mistake, you will be afraid to do anything in life was something I heard years ago from a fabulous teacher. Most things in life I've found rewarding and useful have involved a lot of error, very often a good deal of dirt, sweat and strain--including skull sweat and strain, and refusing to quit just because it didn't come easily or naturally at first. Yes it is nice when things do come naturally but if I limited myself only to those things, my life would have been much less interesting. Overcoming challenges in one area boosts confidence to tackle others. Doing that damn hat gave me the confidence that dissembling the clothes dryer to clean out the lint chute and replace the seals and then the washing machine agitator dogs. Dissembling and reassembling with videos and schematics has been much easier than dissembling a hat and then assembling a new one.
  13. Thank you both. I will try some of the local shops. We do have a shoe repairman as well as a saddle repair shop next to the track. Hoping not too busy this time of year. And also have some belt strips cut as cutting such a long piece without goofing it is beyond my current skill level. I did do some extensive skiving on a test piece which gave me some good practice in control as well as how to determine by the feel of the leather how far I wanted to go. Took one section down so far on the flesh side the look and feel changed. I liked the effect enough to skve the whole piece I want to use for a project. The practice is useful as well as good forearm and grip exercise. But not something I want to do very often. Thank you again!
  14. dbanks, I'll send you a private message with my email if you wish to contact me. To do it yourself, I suggest NOT doing it the way I did. My printer was also out so I could not download and print a pattern. I had hoped to be able to take wide blue painters tape and tape off the hat with several layers on each part and then cut off to make a pattern as was suggested in one article I found on copying clothing. But the damn tape wouldn't stick well enough to what I suspect was waterproofing. I used a craft felt with adhesive backing that stuck well enough to be able to trim to size and still had enough stickiness to hold the skins while I trimmed. But thicker than I wanted as a liner. I'd suggest getting a pattern, I did find some bucket hat patterns online that were adult size, may be able to find the link a bit later and will pm you with it. And then realized the printer wasn't working. Since stitching or lacing was going to be even worse with my vision limits the first week and I didn't really want either showing, I used a stiff craft 'felt' that was more like a stiff interfacing and had enough porosity to get some air flow both for drying the adhesives and comfort wearing. If I am going to do anything like this again, I'll probably get some non woven interfacing from a fabric or quilt shop, use a pattern and possibly select a fabric for a lining. Cut the interfacing first and use pins or double sided tape to assemble and be sure it will fit the way you want. Glue or sew the leather to the interfacing with the seam allowance left from the pattern and if using a lining sew or use a fusible seam tape to hold to the liner, and then sew or glue the seam allowance. Being able to glue the leather to the interfacing before doing any dying if you wanted helps keep it from shifting shape. Even the adhesive was temporarily cause it to swell a bit and distort but on drying went back to shape quite well. Had I been able to see the original black lizard, when I first laid out the pieces, I would have been able to get the curves for the brim out of the sides of the belly/back but in 4 pieces instead of 2, did cut the top piece from the center and the side pieces were going to be made from a contrasting dark red, I think one skin would have given me the 2 pieces or perhaps again cut into 4 pieces. Without the belly scale pattern to contend with it was easier to lay out without being concerned with matching up the scale pattern as much. A patchwork would probably work out fairly well. I considered making a patchwork of red and black for the brim if needed to prevent cutting another skin. I had intended to dye the underside of the brim black but the thin non woven material I used on the underside didn't take it well--didn't have fabric dye and leather dye didn't look good. But I did have a lot of the heat transfer foil and that didn't take too long to put on and the gold underside complemented the rest. I left a slight gap between the leather of the brim and the side pieces as getting that right with the thickness was going to be a pain and I did intend to use the black trim. I wasn't sure if I would need to do that with the top but by putting the leather on top first and the side pieces after with enough extra, managed to cut it closely enough that touching up the gilding hid the edge. If I'd had more time I was planning on trying a rolled edge with some thin black lambskin but this worked well enough. It doesn't have the usual bucket hat floppy feel, I offered ostrich but he chose the lizard. Ostrich probably would give the floppy look. Gilding leaf might not take that too well. The hot stamp foil will also transfer with the leafing adhesive and has a built in sealer that adds durability, there's a guy on ebay who sells rerolled foil in a variety of colors, holographics, metallics. not expensive, just a lot of fiddling around work. The lizard could probably take the short bit of heat needed to use a regular clothing or a small craft iron. That worked on the black lizard and some pale blue that I put some holographic oil slick pattern on. WIth the lizard it might be possible to get by with a much simpler method if you don't care much about how the interior looks or feels. Just butt the edges together, perhaps a rolled edge in between and use some thing soft enough on the inside to hold the edges together, a soft leather, possibly just an interfacing material and adhesive. The edge of the brim was smooth enough I simply touched it up with a copper metal paint pen.
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