CitizenKate

Photo Demo: Using Latex Rubber to Mask Dye

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I got a chance to use latex rubber as a dye mask on my powercat clock project (yes, I'm finally getting some more work done on it), and decided to snap some photos as I worked so you could see how well this latex rubber works as a dye mask.

If you like to spray on your dyes, this seems to be a fairly trouble-free way of keeping the dye off the areas of your project where you don't want it.

PLEASE NOTE: Putting this latex product on leather may affect how the leather is able to absorb dye after the latex is removed. It has also been known to cause some discoloration of some leathers. (I haven't had this problem with the leather I use, but some people have reported this problem.) It's generally best to only use it on areas you don't plan to apply dye to. It is still usually okay to use paints and antiques or stains in those areas. But if in doubt, test first.

ALSO PLEASE NOTE: This demo was done with the dye being applied with an air brush. If you are applying dye with a bristle brush, you will still need to be somewhat careful around the edges of the area being dyed. If your brush is loaded too heavy as you work around the edges, the dye can bleed under the mask. To prevent this, be sure your brush is loaded relatively lightly as you work around the edges near the mask.

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The product I used is from Woodland Scenics that I got from the local Hobby Lobby in the section where model train stuff is.

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It's a fairly thick, creamy material with a very slight odor to it. I think it was a little thinner when I first bought it, but it has sat on my shelf for probably about a year, and has thickened slightly in that amount of time.

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I found it easy to apply with my acrylic shader brushes. This is the second coat that is going on. Two coats seemed to work fine, as you will see at the end.

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Here is how the project looks after two coats of latex have been applied to the entire matted area in the middle of the clock, around the powercat logo. It still hasn't dried completely, but when the entire application of latex turns clear, it's dry and ready to spray on. It took this one about a half-hour to dry completely.

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I masked off the rest of the leather with "purple" painter's tape to protect it from overspray. The latex is used to get into the more intricate areas of the design, and the painter's tape is used for more nondescript areas.

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Now spray the entire area. You don't need to worry too much about getting it on the mask. In fact, you want to make sure the color is nice and even all the way to the edges of the logo, so the dye needs to be sprayed well into the masked

area.

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Now the tape is removed...

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And here's the slick part... look at how this stuff just peels right off the leather!

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Behold, Willie is purple! (Although it looks a little more brownish in the photo.) Almost a perfect dye job. I ended up getting just a little bit of latex into the edge of the logo, so after I removed the mask, I was able to do a little touch-up in a couple of spots with a lightly-loaded brush. There was no noticeable discoloration of the leather where the mask was applied. (But note: the slightly discolored areas you see on the project were caused by mold. The mold is dead, but the stain, unfortunately, is more or less permanent. Fortunately, this is going to be my clock, not someone else's so I don't have the dilemma of whether to re-do it or not. I'm hoping the antique will cover up that little problem.)

I'm hoping to finish this up tomorrow - no promises - the leather part, anyway. I'll post another photo after the dye, stain, and finish are done.

Kate

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Edited by CitizenKate

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live and learn. i'da never thought of that. guess thats why i visit here! :P

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Actually, I didn't think of it, until gearsmithy brought it up on in another discussion. I love all the brainstorming that goes on around here!

Kate

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Hi Kate,

That is a really neat demo. Now all you have to do is come up here to ND for a weekend and show me how you get all those neat effects with your airbrush. :begging: Thanks for taking the time to photograph what you did and share the pics with us all.

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Kate,

Picked some up today and tried on scrap. Really easy to use and to lift off. One and two coats worked but, I'd feel safer with 2 coats. I didn't spray but, daubed the dye on.

But, it's a good thing yours sat on the shelf for a year....WOW, strong amonia odor while the lid is off.

I'm working on a simple holster and will use the resist on the initials and post (if holster turns out ok).

Thanks for the tip/idea

*UPDATE* Heavy daubing is NOT a good thing. It came up under the latex. Spraying like Kate would be much better....so much for the black holster with brown initials..

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Kate,

Picked some up today and tried on scrap. Really easy to use and to lift off. One and two coats worked but, I'd feel safer with 2 coats. I didn't spray but, daubed the dye on.

But, it's a good thing yours sat on the shelf for a year....WOW, strong amonia odor while the lid is off.

I'm working on a simple holster and will use the resist on the initials and post (if holster turns out ok).

Thanks for the tip/idea

*UPDATE* Heavy daubing is NOT a good thing. It came up under the latex. Spraying like Kate would be much better....so much for the black holster with brown initials..

Spray works the best, but you can daub it too, just be sure to get the latex into your cut lines. When you cut the grain you expose some of the flesh, which acts like a wick that dye can seep through and get under the latex. If you want to brush your dye on my experience has been to cover the area you want to resist with latex including the cut lines beside the raised portion. this will cover the flesh side and prevent wicking. Then after you brush on your dye, peel back the latex and with a very fine brush "finish" the piece.

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Kate,

I have now got the nak of using the rubber and it is very easy. I did learn (like you originally said) 2or 3 coats are required. On this, I brushed the brown after spraying the black. Had some preval sprayer problems so had to touch-up daub but, the latex worked perfect. I also found that I can apply the latex a lot easier now after a few attemps (just like anything else, practice). Still don't understand the bluish hue in photo....it's really black, in person.

Holster_Chris.jpg

Thank you for your tutorial as it will save me a lot as my coloring complexity grows.

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Great idea thanks for sharing.

Man I love this place!

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Hi Kate,

Thanks for doing this tutorial, beautiful work on your clock face!

I've never tried this before, i like to airbrush my dye and i would love to use this technique. I see this thread is 3 years old, so I would like to ask a few questions please.

Are you still using this technique? if so have you had any problems during the time since you posted this?

You mentioned that the latex product you used had thickened on your shelf, how about now, is it still good, or have you replaced the original bottle? I guess what I'm asking is have you found out what the shelf life is for this product?

have you learned any additional tricks or tips for this technique?

Thanks for any help,

ken

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Another guy on this site had shared that as well. I started using that method and works great. Thanks for sharing..

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Thanks to Kate I've been using this technique for masking. Here is an example of using liquid latex for masking in various layers to do a paintjob on a leather backpatch I made. It works great.

http://www.lordofleather.com/twistedsisterhowto.html

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I purchased some from Hobby Lobby, it works great. Thank you.

Jim

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Some bits of info on latex.

Being accustomed to liquid latex as used to create effects in the performing arts, this information may be helpful. Liquid latex consists of around 33% latex and 66% water. To this mixture, ammonia is added around 0.3%, for cosmetic latex whereas craft and mould making can contain twice the amount of ammonia, which is generally the cause of the odour. Ammonia acts as a preservative, helps the product to remain white and to control the pH. The shelf life is approximately 12 months dependent on the amount of additives included. Like many leatherwork chemicals, like contact glue, it should be applied in a space with good ventilation or a fan to direct air to an open window/door.

Latex can cause an allergic reaction to certain people, which in some cases is sudden and severe; this is going to be a risk factor for the user. The high water content means there will be shrinkage as the latex dries – around 2 % to 3%.

When buying liquid latex, unscrew the cap and look for yellowing and dried latex in the neck of the bottle an indication that the stock is getting on in shelf life.

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