Author Topic: How does one go about stamping design into leather?  (Read 19763 times)

JingleJoe

  • Zeppelin Overlord
  • *******
  • Posts: 4709
  • The Green Dungeon Alchemist
    • Green Dungeon Alchemist Laboratories
How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« on: April 23, 2008, 10:17:33 am »
Thats pretty much all I need to know:
How do you stamp, and get something to stay stamped, in leather? Even just a line or dot would be good nothing fancy is required;
All I seem to be able to do is put holes in my leather :(
Green Dungeon Alchemist Laboratories
Providing weird sound contraptions and time machines since 2064.

Steampunk Socialist

  • Guest
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 10:45:32 am »
I'd be really interested in this, for a while I've been intrigued with the idea of creating a bracer/wrist band in leather with some distinctive steampunkish design.

Spykke Von Gratto

  • Deck Hand
  • *
  • Posts: 49
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 10:49:19 am »
I don't know about stamping, but I have a small engraver that I use for putting any sort of detail into leather. Got it from the dollar store, too! I'm pretty sure its just a hand fan motor with a small steel rod sticking out, but it gets the job done if you're patient.
To Do list:
Keyboard Mod
Mouse Mod
Tower Mod
Glasses Mod
Goggles
Headphone Mod

von Adler

  • Guest
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 10:51:22 am »
You need to wet the leather first, or possibly impregnate it with oil for a lasting effect. I don't know how the latter is corretly done and I'm not at all sure you could easily do it yourself; stamping leather is sold as a separate fabric and is a different sort of leather than the non-stamping garment leather.

But if you just want to try out things, wet the leather with water and then stamp it; however, a design stamped this way may fade quickly especially  if the leather is stretched. Wetting the leather is needed so it can be compressed; dry leather doesn't compress all that well, so you'll just end up punching holes in it. Try it out on a scrap first, as wetting the leather may ruin it.

Hieronimous Stonebender

  • Snr. Officer
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
  • Architect of Fortune
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 11:32:59 am »
You need to wet the leather first, or possibly impregnate it with oil for a lasting effect. I don't know how the latter is corretly done and I'm not at all sure you could easily do it yourself; stamping leather is sold as a separate fabric and is a different sort of leather than the non-stamping garment leather.

But if you just want to try out things, wet the leather with water and then stamp it; however, a design stamped this way may fade quickly especially  if the leather is stretched. Wetting the leather is needed so it can be compressed; dry leather doesn't compress all that well, so you'll just end up punching holes in it. Try it out on a scrap first, as wetting the leather may ruin it.

This actually works rather well with(untreated) leather.

Wet the leather(do not soak it, but rather dab it thoroughly with a wet rag).
Use a dull point, i.e. a thick knitting needle to trace a design.
Trace it over and over untill it looks the way you want, be carefull not to damage(break) the surface.
Let it dry.
If you wish to color or stain the leather, this is the time to do it. If the imprint rises a bit here, retrace before it dries.
To protect and keep the design, rub thoroughly with beeswax.

You can stamp as well instead of tracing, but in my experience the imprint is more likely to rise and fade, and hard to realign if you want to try to re-stamp it.

Hope this helps


Sean Patrick O-Byrne

  • Zeppelin Admiral
  • ******
  • Posts: 3193
  • Belligerent Hairy-Bloke and Improper Philospher
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 12:25:09 pm »
A little elaboration, having experience in this area. Metal stamps are ideal, and if you can use a rawhide hammer, as steel will damage your tools over time. Damp the leather evenly (Takes practice to find out exctly how much) and place on a hard clean surface like marble or something. You'll want to do your tooling on the side that would have been outside the animal. Just give it anywhere between a light tap to a good wack for different effects. Experiment a bit with some scrap if you can, if not then start light and get harder. If the leather dries, redampen it.

Note: this is for use with untreated leather.

If your in the states or Canada, check out the Tandy Leather Factory for any supplies, beginner kits and thousands of neat wee things you might want. They're what started me out. I don't know if they delive to europe.
Well I've worked among the spitters and I've breathed the oily smoke
I've shovelled up the gypsum and it neigh 'on makes you choke
I've stood knee deep cyanide, got sick with a caustic burn
Been working rough, I've seen enough, to make your stomach turn


www.doctorsteel.com

Zwack

  • Zeppelin Admiral
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • And introducing the wonderful Irish (Mrs Z).
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 01:35:36 pm »
As one who has done a fair bit of leather work the above are about right... (my wife and I both carve and stamp leather and We've made quite a few cases, eye patches, journal covers and so on).

First point.  You need to be using Vegetable tanned leather, not Chrome tanned leather.  If you cut into it and the middle is a kind of grey then it's chrome tanned.  Whether it's "treated" or not is not so important as long as it's not water proof.

Then you want to get it wet.  Wipe it with a damp cloth until the surface colour changes you probably want to play with a practice piece for a bit before doing the final design so that you have some idea how wet you want it.

Then you add your design...  If you don't want to buy specialised tools then you can use a dull point (knitting needle, rounded nail, empty ball point pen) to mark your design.  You can press harder to start stamping the design in.  Al Stohlman originally taught himself using a knife, some "spoons" and stamps carved from nails.  He didn't case the leather (make it wet) so it was much harder...  But it is possible like that.

If you have a fancier design you might want to "carve the design" and then stamp it.  The simplest method would be to cut the outline (no more than half way through the leather) with a very sharp knife (or a "swivel knife" if you want the proper tools) and then use a small flat punch to press the design down (your choice if it's inside or outside, both are normal techniques).

For proper tools and the right sort of leather you could try Tandy leather factory or your local craft store, but this is one of those places where it can get expensive quickly.  If you have a Tandy nearby and you only need a small piece then check out their scrap bins.  They also sell dies, rivets, snaps, and fancy conchos (larger metal ornaments) and studs.

I hope that this helps,

Z.
"At least those oddballs are interesting" - My Wife.
I'm British but living in America.  This might explain my spelling.

Zwack

  • Zeppelin Admiral
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • And introducing the wonderful Irish (Mrs Z).
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2008, 02:09:12 pm »
As a follow-up here are some pictures of a Journal cover that I created for my wonderful wife.  The leather was cut, carved, stamped and dyed by me.  My wife painted the macaws on the inside flaps.  The actual article isn't very steamy but change the design and it could be.  (Links as Spoiler seems to be broken)

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal1a.jpg
The design was traced, and the front cover has been carved and stamped.

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal2a.jpg
The inside flaps, one has been dyed and painted, and the other has only been dyed at this point.

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal3a.jpg
All of the parts are ready for final assembly.  The entire thing was hand stitched  The triangle visible on the left hand inside flap is the stitching for the end of the tab with the snap on it.

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal_all_a.jpg
The completed journal from the outside.

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal_back_a.jpg
A close up of the back cover.

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal_front_a.jpg
A close up of the front cover.  The snap uses a celtic concho as it fitted with the overall design and looks nicer than the plain snap.

http://www.colliecapers.com/birdboard/journal_inside_a.jpg
The inside of the Journal showing the tab I mentioned earlier.

Z.

JingleJoe

  • Zeppelin Overlord
  • *******
  • Posts: 4709
  • The Green Dungeon Alchemist
    • Green Dungeon Alchemist Laboratories
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2008, 02:36:59 pm »
Thankyou all :)
I've got plenty of scraps for testing I will begin leather-work after I've had a shower! :D

Hieronimous Stonebender

  • Snr. Officer
  • ****
  • Posts: 507
  • Architect of Fortune
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2008, 03:40:26 pm »
Wow... Zwack my good man.

That is truly very nicely done. There is no doubt that you know of what you speak. An am nothing but a humble amateur.

sidecar_jon

  • Snr. Officer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1036
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2008, 03:56:56 pm »
All very nice indeed.. being a bodger my first thought was brand it in with a hot wire... which would work but stink something horrible!

dr490nw4rri0r

  • Officer
  • ***
  • Posts: 536
  • Are we evolving? No. We're starting to learn again
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2008, 09:24:39 pm »
My idea would be to find what you want stamped, heat it with a torch, and then slam it down hard into the leather, but that would make the leather a bit brittle unless it were water treated.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Steven S.

  • Officer
  • ***
  • Posts: 55
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2008, 11:06:27 pm »
Another important thing (besides the right amount of dampness) is stamping the leather on a hard, stable surface.  This helps the design show better on the leather and gives better relief if you're carving.  A good idea might be to place a cutting board over a concrete floor...

Zwack

  • Zeppelin Admiral
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • And introducing the wonderful Irish (Mrs Z).
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2008, 11:16:06 pm »
Wow... Zwack my good man.

That is truly very nicely done. There is no doubt that you know of what you speak. An am nothing but a humble amateur.

Thanks, I am but a humble amateur myself...  I tend not to repeat myself (with the exception of eye patches, but I have a limit to how many of them I will make).

Yes, branding would work (heating the stamp up, and burning it in), or pyrography (just plain burning a design in).  I gave a list of different techniques in a different thread that can be used.  Dye and paint might be the simplest, while pictorial carving is more complicated. As for punching holes, or cutting a design all the way through, that's known as filigree and is perfectly acceptable as long as that is what you're trying to achieve.

For reference, I use an offcut of a granite countertop as a carving/stamping surface, I use veg tanned leather (around 6oz weight), swivel knives (two different sizes) a polypropylene mallet nd an assortment of stamps with different shapes and textures.  I also use a heavy duty "box cutter", a beveler, a stitching groover, an awl, needles and a stitching pony...  But there are even more tools that I could use... As I said it can get expensive quickly, but you can do a lot with just a swivel knife and a beveler or two.

Z.

JingleJoe

  • Zeppelin Overlord
  • *******
  • Posts: 4709
  • The Green Dungeon Alchemist
    • Green Dungeon Alchemist Laboratories
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2008, 11:55:47 pm »
Unfortunatley none of the methods here were really suitable for my current leather :( or vice versa...
The burning it in kinda worked, but not so great.
Thankyou all anyway this information will come in handy for me in the future!

SteamKit

  • Snr. Officer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1043
  • Call me Kit, everybody else does.
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2008, 12:30:09 am »
Random tip to anybody using a stamp. Hold it down tight, and try to do it in one solid whack. Loose stamp will give you this ugly visual echo.
Allen Personal Translocation Modules: Why travel when you can arrive?

I didn't become an unlicensed surgeon to be called "Mister."

Great Bizarro

  • Snr. Officer
  • ****
  • Posts: 772
"No matter where you go, there you are"

CapnHarlock

  • Zeppelin Overlord
  • *******
  • Posts: 2604
    • this is a work-in-progress -
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2008, 02:49:37 am »
A trick learned in the 1960's Boy Scouts - if you need leather stamps and cannot afford them, get the largest available plain head nails and some files and cut your own :)
Jeremiah Cornelius Harlock
At Your Service

"It's so hard to know if you're bound for a fall,
But better to have tripped than never danced at all."
"Dancing Under The Rose" - The Albion Band.

Mad Maxine

  • Zeppelin Captain
  • *****
  • Posts: 1442
  • I'm the one in the hat.
    • MySpace
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #18 on: May 31, 2008, 05:40:58 pm »
I've got a wood-burning type tool with multiple attachment tips. I'm going to give that a shot, myself.
Dedicated to the destruction and repair of objects in the name of curiosity.

Affian

  • Snr. Officer
  • ****
  • Posts: 266
  • Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Steam.
    • ÆON
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2008, 09:17:38 pm »
A trick learned in the 1960's Boy Scouts - if you need leather stamps and cannot afford them, get the largest available plain head nails and some files and cut your own :)
Ye'gads this is a brilliant idea, now I just have to raid my father's workshop.:)
Baron Nicodemus Ainsworth
ÆON

Ezra M. Thorngrave

  • Deck Hand
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Ezra M. Thorngrave, Esq.
    • MuseEvolution
Re: How does one go about stamping design into leather?
« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2010, 03:57:20 am »
While this post hasn't seen anything in the way of commentary in quite some time, I thought it may be useful to provide a link to the leather carving video's now on the Tandy Leather website...

http://www.tandyleatherfactory.com/home/infoandservices/Leathercraft-Videos/Leathercraft-Videos.aspx