How To

How To Darken Leather

When purchasing leather, you may find that the leather that you want is lighter than what you expected. While it is true that in some cases you can exchange the leather for a darker hue, there are times when you will be pressed for time, or the leather is non-exchangeable. In these situations, you will need to know a practical way in which to darken your leather. Here are a few methods.

Method One: Use Oil

​One method in which to darken leather is to use coconut oil or a non-scented oil on the leather. Ensure that the oil will not cause the leather to rot or mildew. It is best to use a natural oil. Apply the oil evenly using a cotton swab or a clean non-abrasive cloth. Keep in mind that the darker you want he leather the more coats you should add. Another consideration is that some oils when they dry will cause your leather to stiffen, so keep that in mind.

​Method Two: Shoe Polish

A bit crude of a method to changing the color of your leather, shoe polish can be added to darken up the shade a bit, especially if you have leather shoes. How to darken leather is easy. Simply apply the shoe polish evenly (small circles) over the entire surface of the leather. Let it dry and then with another rag, buff it. The downside to using shoe polish is that it is rather messy and rather smelly. However, the pros are that shoe polish is relatively cheap, does not require specialty equipment, and that the results are instantaneous.

​The trick to darkening the leather using polish is to pick a shade which corresponds to the natural leather and then go one or two shades darker. I would not advocate using a mega store to find shoe polish, but rather go to your local leather artisan or leather provider and seek a professional brand.

Method Three: Dye

When you buy leather, you should take into consideration whether or not the leather is Aniline or not. If the leather is Aniline, you should be able to saturate the leather in a dye to darken it. You can choose how to darken leather products by choosing different colors. When dye is applied, you will need to let the leather completely soak into the pores. Keep in mind that when the dye dries the color could be lighten.

Semi-Aniline products can be dyed in some cases. However, the protective coating over the leather would have to be sanded off or another method would need to be applied in order to have the dye adhere to the skin.

Method Four: Use Professional Leather Darkening Oil

Some use cleaner and conditioners to darken their leather. Depending upon the conditioner which is used there may be some slight alteration to the color for a time. However, as the leather dries out the color is apt to lighten. If using a cleaner and conditioner, it will be the conditioner which darkens the leather. Check with your provider to see how to darken leather in this way.

Leather Darkening Oil is similar to conditioners as well as the coconut oil method, only it is a professional product which is specifically designed to darken leather. Apply the darkening oil in the same method that you would apply any cleaner, solvent, or polish to leather unless the instructions tell you otherwise. Let it dry completely to see the results before applying any additional coatings to the leather.

Method Five: Heat

This method is a bit dangerous for your leather project and I would only suggest that you try it under the careful watch of a leather professional. You can apply a measure of heat to the skin of your leather to darken it. Keep in mind that you are essentially cooking the skin (think of the skin of a ham before and after it is roasted and you will get the concept). It is very easy to burn the edges of the leather or to tarnish the skin. If using the heating method keep the temperature low and the leather located well enough above the heat to avoid burning. Note also that due to leather being a pore based skin, the longer you apply heat, the stiffer it will become as it dries out.

Get some help before you commit to the change

If you are new to darkening leather, you should seek out the advice of a professional leather artisan. The professional should be able to show you how to darken the leather properly, or to offer that service to you. In addition to their expertise on darkening leather, they should be able to advise which products are best suited for your specific project.

Leather Products/Gadgets

Best Glue For Leather Shoes

When crafting leather shoes, it is important that the design and the stitching are done properly. Gluing the leather is also essential to shoe design. And while the glue should not be your main focus, overlooking what type of glue you use can have negative effects on the overall professionalism of your craft If you choose a glue which does not have a strong adhesive, the seals will break and the shoe may fall apart. On the flip side, if you have a glue which dries and contracts too much it may pull the leather and work adversely to the stitching. Here are a few of the best glues for leather shoes.

Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue

This glue is intended for permanently bonding leather together and so it is a suitable choice when looking for the best glue for leather. Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue comes in a 4oz container and dries clear. It is not advised that this be used on large portions of the shoe, but rather on those touch up spaces and detail work. While the glue does come out of the tube thick and colored, it dries clear. There is a slight aroma when wet, but it dries clear and odorless.

Customers have stated that the bonding of the glue is not as strong as they anticipated. Leather artists are encouraged to use a clamp or a press when using this type of glue.

Top Pros

  • Needle point nose makes for easy flow of glue too hard to access spaces while the screw cap allows for the leather worker to pour and brush if needed.
  • Very inexpensive and sold in bulk as well as singular
  • Dries Clear and is odorless

Top Cons

  • Glue is dry clean only which may play against the method of cleaning for the leather being used. Check your leather first to establish that the glue you are using does not limit the cleaning or conditioning of the leather on the shoe.
  • Not strong enough to work on high abrasion surfaces, only good for detail work.
  • Leather must be clean of the contact may not hold

Best suited for those which have leather shoe designs with small stationary details which need to be glued and stitched. For many, this glue is considered a hobbyist glue and not on the same level as a professional grade glue. Leather working should with this glue should be coupled with nice stitching skills.

Shoe Goo

Rubber soles can come away from shoes overtime and cause the shoe to become useless and many shoes may have to be discarded, but Shoe Goo can save your shoes from the waste bin by repairing them to perfection. Typically heat and water are the main reasons why a sole will come off the leather of a shoe. Leather artisans are encouraged to dry and treat the leather for any repairs which may be needed, including leather conditioner and leather cleaner before applying glue.

Top Pros

  • Comes in 3.7 oz. tube, but is sold in multiples so you never have to worry about drying out.
  • Waterproof, so there is never a worry when using this product on any shoes you choose.
  • Very versatile product. Great for vinyl, leather, and rubber soled shoes.

Top Cons

  • Can be difficult to use due to the blunt tip of the applicator.
  • May not hold when applied to work boots.
  • Product is black and therefore it can be quite messy to apply.
  • The quantity of the glue tends to be a bit low for most projects.

This product works best when shoes are allowed to dry completely before wear. It is not intended for projects that require a quick fix. The glue must be allowed to sit or you run the risk of breaking the seal on the glue. For maximum performance clean the leather surface which is to have the glue applied prior to using.

Gear Aid Freesole Urethane Formula Shoe Repair

Even the highest quality made shoes can sometimes begin to show wear and tear. That is not the time to panic or even get rid of the shoe. The right type of glue can fix the problem with ease ,and Gear Aid Freesole Urethane Formula Shoe Repair is all the adhesive you will need for any shoe repair. When compared to other shoe repair products, this adhesive always seems to come out on top.

You should be careful when using this product to keep the glue off of your hands. The thinner nature of its composition make the glue a bit hard to control in some situations. Plan your project and use minimal amounts of glue at a time for best results.

Top Pros

  • Dries clear so therefore there is minimal mess involved in using the product.
  • Increases shock absorption and tread for maximum durability.
  • Great for use in all types of footwear whether you need to repair your boots, running shoes, or your favorite pair of leather shoes.

Top Cons

  • Cap can stick so to avoid this, make sure that the tip is completely clean before applying the lid back to the product.
  • Adhesive can get stuck to hands and is difficult to remove. Gloves are recommended when applying the product.
  • This product will adhere to just about any surface so make sure that you repair shoes on a surface that you do not mind the glue getting on or put down a barrier to prevent any unwanted glue from getting on the surface.

Gear Aid Freesole Urethane Formula Shoe Repair comes in a 1oz tube that is convenient to use multiple times when properly cleaned and stored after each use. Realistically, you will probably need to purchase a few tubes of glue. In most situations this would be a back up glue or an emergency glue due to the small tube.

Gorilla Original Gorilla Glue

If you want to be assured that your shoes will hold when they are repaired, the most trusted source is Gorilla Glue. Original Gorilla glue is the perfect adhesive for a strong, durable hold for all types of shoes. Best of all, this product is good for a variety of repairs to damaged leather. Gorilla Glue has long been used by professionals in a variety of different fields for a secure hold on securing different types of items. This product is sure to give you the hold you desire, without the mess and strong odor of some other glues on the market today.

The downside to using gorilla glue is that if there is not enough space given for the glue to expand, it can break the seal. As the glue will probably be dried by this time, it does make for a frustrating re-gluing process requiring stripping the glue and possibly sanding the leather.

Top Pros

  • Gorilla Glue has been reviewed many people throughout the world and therefore it has a strong reputation of excellence instead of just empty claims as some of the newer products have.
  • Unlike other glues on the market that seem to faint at the sight of water, Gorilla Glue is completely waterproof, so your favorite dancing shoes or even your work boots will be able to last for years to come.
  • The applicator on the 4oz. container of Gorilla Glue has a pointed tip for easy application and getting into tight spaces. Even if your shoe soles are only slightly coming apart, the glue is able to not only get into the tight spaces, but provides a tight seal due to the natural expansion of the product. The product expands up to 3 times into every crack and crevice to ensure that the bond is strong for an ongoing hold.

Top Cons

  • If the bottle is not sealed properly, the product can dry out within a few days. To ensure that the product stays liquid, tighten cap completely and store upright in an environment that does not exceed or go below the recommended storage temperatures.
  • The cap of the bottle can sometimes stick making it hard to get off from a previous use. The solution is simple and the issue can be avoided if you ensure that all glue residue is removed from the cap before putting it away after use.
  • Gorilla Glue is thinner than some other glues on the market and therefore some previous customers have expressed that it can drip onto other surfaces. The glue should be used on surfaces with a protective layer to ensure no unwanted damage occurs. It is also recommended that the user slowly apply the product to avoid any drips or unwanted buildup on the shoes.

Gorilla Glue is a product that has a great reputation for excellence. The expansion of the product ensures that the seal holds tightly and the glue does not dry with a dark color, so it can be used on a variety of different shoes. The ease of application and the durability of the product makes Gorilla Glue the only glue needed for repairing shoe. In addition to being a leather glue, gorilla glue can be used on any maintenance task around the home.

Barge All Purpose Cement

Offered in a tube, the all purpose glue adheres to leather, rubber, and vinyl. It is a professional grade product suitable for holding the soles on shoes as well as binding together leather to leather. The glue has a very potent aroma and so those using the it are advised to have plenty of ventilation. There is no odor after it dries. Those which require a great deal of glue may want to use the 32 oz opion offered by the same company. However, for binding the leather on shoes, the tube should be good enough for most jobs.

Top Pros

  • Highly professional grade formula seals leather to leather permanently. The glue dries without the need for a clap on the pieces.
  • Quick to dry depending upon the amount which is applied to the leather shoe
  • Established in the industry for over 30 years with positive feedback

Top Cons

  • Glue may dry a bit too quickly for some people to work with it successfully
  • Very strong aromas. You will need to ventilate the area.
  • If you ever have glue dry on the lid of the tube, it is pretty much useless. As the glue is rather messy regardless of the needle point nose, it is essential to clean the tip after every use.

This is the best glue for leather shoe artisans who want to have a professional look and a firm bonding between the leather as well as the rubber soles of their shoes. Bard seems to be an industry standard for binding leather, whether that is on tennis shoes or on luxury hand crafted shoes. When working with BARD leather glue, keep the lid on the container when not in use and have some thinner nearby to handle any messes which may occur.

Still don’t know which to buy?

​The best way to find the proper glue for your project is to seek out the advice of a professional leather artist. The artist will be able to show you which glues he or she uses and explain to you the purpose of the glues being used. Consideration should be given to the volume of glue that is required for the project being worked upon. If you are doing extensive gluing, buy multiple tubes or upgrade to a pint or quart container. Just make sure you keep the brushes clean if you do. When purchasing any non-odorless substance, it is always best to check your workspace for ventilation. Keep windows and a fan running to avoid poisoning yourself.

​Glues typically run around $5 a tube with the option to purchase in bulk. If purchasing in bulk it is strongly advised that you store the glue in a dedicated workroom or storage area with plenty of ventilation. Avoid storing your glues above your tools. If the tube gets punctured in any way, you do not want the glue dripping on and ruining your tools.

How To

How To Soften And Stiffen Leather

When working with leather, it is important for the craftsman to have the ability to shape and shape the leather to his liking. The skin should not control the artist but the artist should control the skin. Therefore, whether you are a beginner or an experienced hobbyist who wants to become a professional, you need to understand on the site how to soften and harden leather.

How to soften leather

To soften your leather you need to clean the pores of the leather or expand the pores of the skin. Think about your own skin. When it is moisturized, you have more flexibility. However, when the skin is dry and cracked movement is limited. There are a few options which will open up the leather pores for you. Wiki suggest using rubbing alcohol. And while this may clean out the pores, I would be adverse to using such on quality leather. Instead, use a top quality cleaner and conditioner. The leather will look and certainly smell better. To make the leather soften use a petroleum jelly ensuring that you let the jelly seep into the pores and that you cover the surface evenly. Once that is completed, wipe down the belt and apply additional cleaner and leather conditioner if needed.

Another method for softening leather would be to use coconut oil. To do so, take your coconut oil and a cotton swab to apply a level coat over the entire leather surface. As you apply the coating you will see a substantial darkening of the oil. The oil does not give the leather an oily feel once it dries. Keep in mind, the more oil you add, the darker the leather will ultimately appear. Once the oil dries the leather will be harder. Again, the more oil that you apply the harder the leather will become. You can try to warm up the oil and brush it on if you do not want to apply it from the typical hard form. It is not advised that you use olive oil or another type of scented oil on your leather as most people do not want to have their leather smelling like an Italian restaurant.

How to stiffen Leather

​If leather gets a bit soft, you can stiffen up the leather in a few ways. An artisan may find that leathers which are soft and inexpensive. Hard leathers are a bit more expensive and harder to come by. To harden the leather you will need to have some beeswax. You do want to ensure that you do not have any coloring to the wax as this could discolor the leather. Melt the wax down and then add the leather to it. You do want to keep the coat consistent. Once the leather is completely saturated, pull it out and and shape it how you want. When it hardens it will be stiff and will not be too easy to mold. Keep in mind that the leather will darken due to the wax.

​Should you not want to use wax you can use water in an iron skillet/ cauldron. Bring the water to abou 180 degrees. Do not boil the water as it will burn the leather. Drop the leather into the water. It will roll up as it hardens. The material will start to unwind as it gets harder. It will also get darker and thicker. When you first pull out the leather it will be pliable and rubbery. When you get this done use a clamp to squeeze the leather between two pieces of wood. This will push out some of the water. Let it sit for a few days. This cauldron and press method produces leather which is flat and somewhat like cardboard. It can be cut and sanded. Additionally, should you want to shape the leather to a specific shape, you could press it onto a curved or specialty mold.

What you should not do

​Do not put your leather in the oven. While the leather will shrink up and it can get hard, you are cooking the leather and exposing the material to fire. It is a bad combination for many reason, but the primary reason on why this is not how to stiffen leather is simple. If you burn the leather, it is useless.

Related Topics: Best Kitchen Tile Backsplash Ideas: Express Your Style

​Need some help? Get advice

​Leather is a bit fickle to get mastered and it does require that you take a level of practice and trial and error. To understand the best methods for softening or stiffening leather, go and observe a professional leather artisan. Keep in mind that various leathers have different ways in which they are softened and stiffened. You would not want to kettle boil nubuck leather.

Leather Handicraft

Leather Buying Guide For Leather Handicraft

If you are looking into leather working for either a career or as an enthusiastic hobbyist, then you need to have the proper leather for the projects. Understanding the variations between the grades of leather as well as understanding the different cuts of leather will help you greatly. However, picking the right leather for your handicraft can be a bit frustrating, especially if you are a novice to leather handcrafting. Here are a few things which every buyer should keep in mind when purchasing leather for handicrafts.

Determine the Type of leather you need

The type of leather that you use will delegate the results of your project. Typically the type of leather can be broken down into one of eight categories. These categories are bridle, chrome oil tanned, kipskin, latigo, natural vegetable tanned strap (tooling & molding leather), Shearlings & Sheepskins, suede, and upholstery. Belts are pretty diverse in in terms of the type of leather. Yet, boots are generally made of chrome oil tanned and paddings tend to be made of sheepskin. Have an understanding of the type of leathers and what their primary purposes are.

What thickness do you require?

Leather thickness is measured in ounces. For every ounce the product gains .015625 (1/64th) of an inch. While this may not seem to be a huge margin of difference, it does add up. If you were to pick a leather of only 1 oz it would equivalate to .40mm while picking a 15 ounce leather would equal 15mm. That is quite a difference. When choosing your leather thickness keep in mind that belts and high durability leathers tend to stay around 8 ounces while luxury leathers (apart from shoes) tend to range from 2 to 5 ounces. Knowing the thickness is critical to making quality leather products. Keep in mind that the thickness of the leather may disqualify certain types of leather from being used. For example, if you require a higher ounce of leather, sheepskin may be too thin to work for your handicraft.

When buying the right leather for your leather handicrafts, you will find that there is a common back and forth between the thickness and the type of leather. The thickness will be the main factor followed by the type. Once you have these two elements determined then you can start worrying about the aesthetic qualities such as dye, texture, cut.

The Cut

The thickness of the leather goes hand in hand with the cut of the leather. The closer that the cut is to the belly of the animal from which it originated, the more delicate the leather will be. Patterns of leather are generally associated with the hide pattern. These are Side, Back, shoulder, double shoulder, bend, double bend, culatta, double culatta, and bellies. If you are unsure about which cut to purchase, ask your local professional leather artisan for advice.

Finished or Unfinished?

Unfinished leather is a leather that has been strictly dyed. There is no protective coating or any other measures taken upon the leather. Finished leather has a protective coating put on the surface, usually pigment based. While the unfinished leather dye tends to have a more vibrant coloration and a “truer” color, it also has a higher potential to fade as UV lights hit it. Additionally, as there is no protective coating, stains and damage to the leather is higher. Leather artisans should restrict the use of unfinished leather to luxury items.

Finished leather due to the protective coating may be slightly off from the actual dye. However, the colors tend to last longer, do not scuff or fade as quickly, and are resilient to stains and absorbing defects. Finished leather is typically the choice of the leather artisan making upholstery, belts, and non-luxury items.

In the professional world, finished and unfinished leathers are sometimes referred to as Aniline Leather or Semi-Aniline leather. Ensure that the leather is full or top grain when this association is made.

How much leather will I need?

Perhaps one of the most critical decisions in buying leather is the quantity that you will need. Where you could buy yards upon yards of leather, the fact of the matter is that genuine leather is expensive and that purchasing too much is just not practical. When planning your project, do a rough estimate of the yards of leather you will need. My process is to add 20% to the total needed leather to account for mistakes, defects in the leather, and other additions which may be required. Larger projects, such as a sofa or a chaise should add a minimum of 50% to account for such. For example a tufted leather sofa requires 19 yards of material. To be on the safe side you would want to purchase 27 yards minimum.

There is not set formula

While this guide will help you in finding the best leathers for your project, there is no definitive set of rules to follow. You will have to learn as you go which leathers, cuts, dyes, and thicknesses work best for your projects.

How To

Choosing The Right Leather Sofa For Your Home

When furnishing a house, it is essential that a person goes beyond just picking out what goes with the walls and the windows, and find furniture that transforms the space into a home, for there is a difference between having a house and having a home. A home is a space where one can relax, it is a refuge from the exterior world. That is why having furniture which adds to the comfort, relaxation, and tranquility of the home is so important. When picking out a leather sofa for your home there are a few considerations you should keep in mind. Here are a few.

The color

Color plays a very important role into a person’s moods and overall mental health. According to an article by Penn State entitled Do certain Colors Evoke Emotion, there are social as well as innate reactions to color. Therefore, the color of the sofa should be considered. A red leather sofa has a tendency to relate love and joy as well as leadership and courage. A blue leather sofa may relate a sense of health, faith, power, and knowledge. Typically, oranges and yellows should be avoided as these have a tendency to give off a sense of uncertainty and caution. Grey leather sofas, black leather sofas, and white leather sofas convey power, elegance, mystery, and cleanliness.

Of course, the color of the sofa is not the only indicator as to the emotional ambiance of a room. Pairing the sofa with the other décor is essential. You do not want to have the sofa as a focal point due to it clashing with the rest of the home.

Pairing the interior space

Picking your sofa should be a merger of the existing interior space and the new furniture. Keep in mind the color of the walls, the main curtains, the textures throughout the room, etc. If you have a room which is minimalistic focusing mainly on blacks and whites, then a gray leather sofa may be the best option for space. At the same time, if you wish to make the sofa a highlighted center point of the room you could choose a dark red leather sofa. Just ensure that the rest of the room has subtle hints of red so as not to overpower the space.


There are variations to the types of leather sofas which are available, primarily in the construction and the type of leather. As such, the use of the couch should be calculated. If the sofa is to be placed in a room with high traffic and use, such as an entertainment room or home theater, then the leather should be thicker to maximize the durability. Cowhide is preferable in this instance. Rooms which have minimal use or “soft” usage may wish to have a nubuck leather sofa. Buyers should understand that nubuck leather sofas do require a bit more cleaning and care than the standard leather sofa. However, the feel is a bit more luxurious and can tie a day room or parlor together quite nicely.

​Studs, brass, connectors, and legs

Consider the studs, metal, and other connector/supporting elements of the sofa before you buy. While the leather may be the perfect color, if the arms have excessive studs or antiquated stud nails that modern look which you are trying to obtain may not work. Additionally, you have to consider the durability of any arm embellishments. Wicker and latticework may have aesthetic demand in the market, but in terms of durability and functionality, it is weak. Homes with small children or pets should avoid buying a leather sofa with fragile detail work.

​Legs of the sofa should be of solid wood. There are some which will argue and state that as long as the core is solid that the exterior can be of a different material or have detail work on it. Yet, from my experience, I have found that (1) the legs are not really seen unless they are damaged and an eyesore, and (2) by having wicker or detail work on the legs (apart from perhaps carvings into the wood) a person is more apt to have damage to the lower portion of the sofa.

​Weight and size

​Like any piece of large furniture, the sofa’s weight should be a factor when choosing the best leather sofa for your home. Although the orange leather sofa may look appealing in your living room now, you may decide that you want to redecorate that room and move the sofa to the day room. If the sofa weighs a ton, then I can guarantee you that your attachment to the furniture will diminish. Also, ensure that the sofa clears your doors and hallways before purchase. It does no good to have a stunning couch which is too wide to fit into your interior space. This may sound a bit redundant, but I cannot count the number of times which I have had to jimmy furniture this way and that to help friends get a sofa into their apartments and homes.

​Cost calculations

When determining whether you wish to purchase a sofa for your home, take note of the costs. By this, I do not mean that you should pick one which is more expensive over another. Instead, I mean that you should calculate if the cost is worth it due to the craftsmanship. Is the leather durable? How have the seams been bound? Is the leather dyed throughout or just on the topmost layer of the design? Do the legs support the weight of the couch? What filler is used on the cushions and will that filler warp the leather over time? Such are the questions you should ask. Just because a business puts a large sticker on a sofa does not make it a quality product. On the same note, just because a price sticker is low does not indicate poor craftsmanship. It could just be that the store is trying to move some inventory.

​Consider cleaning and care

​Leather requires a level of cleaning and care. You will have to use leather cleaners and conditioners on the sofa from time to time to maintain that shine and a new look. Nubuck and other “luxury” leather options will require additional care and consideration. If you have little time to allocate to yourself and to the upkeep of the leather, choosing a low-maintenance option will be the best solution.

​Above all get a sofa that is comfortable

​Regardless of whether you choose a yellow leather sofa, blue leather sofa, black leather sofa, or neon pink leather sofa, it has to be comfortable for you. You will be sitting on it and enjoying the room. If it looks good but does not feel good, what is the point of having it? Get something which meets your style, is comfortable, affordable, and has a warranty. Should you have any questions about how to find the best leather soft for your home, ask your local leather artisan. Should you have questions about a specific make or brand of the sofa, do some online research. Almost every sofa will have reviews which list the pros and cons.

How To

A Basic Guide On How To Dye Leather – Step By Step

Have you ever wondered how leather craftsmen get such bright colors or how dark black and light brown come about? The answer is of course dye. If you are a hobbyist or even a professional leather crafter, dyeing leather may be something new. It’s a process and you need to practice, but Cheap Air Tickets‘ guide will help you in the process. Here is a basic guide on how to dye leather.

The equipment you must prepare:

  • Cloth or sponge
  • Latex gloves
  • ​Leather dye
  • Leather finish

Step One: Don’t Dye your skin

Leather is skin. You are about to dye the skin of another animal. That being stated, you do not want to have your skin dyed. Put some gloves on (latex is best) and have a few to spare just in case you rip through them. While it may be a bit tiresome to change out gloves throughout the process, in the long run it saves a lot of soap and frustration.

Step Two: Open a window

As dye is chemically based, you will want to have a lot of ventilation. No, you will not dye incautiously if you do not ventilate the room, but you may get as high as a kite. Physically, the chemicals can cause headaches, vomiting, etc. if you are exposed over long periods of time. It is best to have a fan or something to circulate the air and to keep as many doors and windows open as possible.

Step Three: Chose your leather and clean it

The only real concern that you should have for the type of leather is in the treatments which have been done prior to it as well as to the grain. Yep, you need to consider about everything. First, if the leather has been pre-dyed then you need to look for waxes and other such things on the leather which will prevent the dye from setting. If the leather is untreated, then consideration needs to be made to the thickness of the leather (as the thicker it is the more dye will be needed to fully saturate the leather). Top grain leather should be noted as a concern as, by definition, the leather is on the top surface. This means that imperfections and defects will be accented when dyed.

Before you progress to the dyeing phase, you should clean the leather. Leather Cleaning in this circumstance does not necessarily mean using deep conditioners and such. You may be able to simply wipe it down.

Step Four: Avoid the water down

Some leather artisans have advocated that a water based dye can be watered down and applied to your product. But this is a bit counterproductive. If you add a water based dye, then you will need to add an oil based coat to put oils back into the leather once you are done, as overwatering can damage the leather. So, my advice would be just to find a color that you want and to apply the coats in thin layers, rather than trying to cut the dye.

Step Five: Add the first coat

Applying the first dye coat should be done in small circles. Use a non-abrasive cloth or a sponge and apply the dye from the left to the right. It is important that you keep a consistency to the circles. Do not make large and small circles. Additionally, you will want to overlap your circles. Typically a ½ inch overlap is sufficient. Do not neglect the edges of the leather. This is where that attention to detail will really shine. Even if you are performing a dye to an already died leather, such as a vegetable dye, it is crucial that you apply a base coat and that it is applied in a consistent method.

Step Six: Diagonal coats

After you have given the first coat a chance to dry, then apply a diagonal coat either from the left to the right or from the right to the left. The important thing is that you apply your coat with even strokes and overlap. The diagonal coat will cover up some of the circle marks from the previous coat. Let the first diagonal coat dry and then apply an additional coat in the opposite direction (so if you went from left to right, go right to left). Allow it to dry.

Step Seven: Apply a finish and buff

Once you are satisfied with the dye color, I use Fibbing’s Tan Kote to finish. After the finish  had time to dry, buff the leather with cotton cloth to ensure that you have the consistent look. When the buffing is done, you want to look at the leather for any definitive lines in the dye. If you see that there are, then it is advised that you add another thin dye coat. Remember, you want the leather to have a clean and professional look.

Hot Topics: Best Places to Visit in India 

Step Eight: Let it rest a day and then condition it

Let the leather sit and settle/dry for a day or two. You will not be able to tell right off the bat the effectiveness of the dying. It takes a few days some times to have the leather take on and absorb the color. Do not rush the process. The last thing that you want is to have your leather blotchy because you decided that this area and that area need more dye (which you should not apply to selected areas but rather do full coats to avoid this).

Conditioning and cleaning of the leather should be done only after you are completely satisfied with the end result. As these cleaner contain chemicals and weather proofing elements, it may be quite difficult to have dye adhere to the skin after application.

If you get stuck, ask a pro.

If you get stuck on the dye process, contact me directly via blog comment. Most importantly, practice often. It is a skill and it does take some practice to master.


All About The Types Of Leather Are Used To Make Shoes

Shoes, unlike other leather products which vary from geographic location to geographic location, are primarily constructed in the same method universally. While there are some slight stylistic differences between the “type” of shoe, creation is the same. However, it is the type of leather which is used which makes a substantial defining factor to the quality, luxuriousness, and durability of the fabric. Leather in shoes is not exclusive to cowhide, and so the artisan as well as the consumer should understand some of the differences between leather options which are available.

Types of leather used in shoes

While calfskin is the more popular of choices among shoe craftsman, goat, pigskin, cordovan (horse), as well as exotic leathers such as buffalo have been used. Additionally, the use of non-mammal skins can be used for more luxurious projects. Ostrich, alligator and snakeskin are leather derivatives. The case in point is that there is such a diversity in the types of leather available for use on shoes, that one should focus on the construction and the functionality of the shoe. The more luxurious a shoe’s construction, the thinner and more delicate he leather used in the shoe can be. However, even with something as delicate as lambskin, there is a certain standard to the thickness and the application. Understanding the type of leather, and its practical applications for shoes is the first and most essential part.

Consumers should be aware that a great many “luxury shoes” which are offered at discounted prices are not genuine leather but rather bonded leather or imitation leather. At its simplest definition, the appearance of leather is presented under the guise of leather, but in reality the person is purchasing trumped up vinyl.

Shoe construction

Typically, a shoe is constructed by stretching the toe of the shoe over a wooden or metal frame and then sculpting the rest of the shoe accordingly. As such lower portion of the shoe tends to have thicker ounces leather ratings than the top of the shoe. The toe and along the laces may also have slightly thinner leather. If luxury leathers are used, the shoe is traditionally layered with a thicker more durable leather to ensure durability. This allows for the more delicate leather to be presented on the exterior for aesthetics while the inner is formed for contact with the foot and for functionality.

Professional leather artisans should pay careful attention to problematic areas when choosing the type of leather in shoes. Areas such as he back inside where the sole rests, the exterior heel, the toe, all need to have thicker leather as these areas will receive ample amounts of abrasion.


  • 1 oz = 1/64
  • ​2 oz = 1/32
  • 3 oz = 3/62
  • ​4 oz = 1/16
  • ​5 oz = 5/64
  • 6 oz = 3/32
  • 7 oz = 7/64
  • 8 oz = 1/8
  • ​9 oz = 9/64
  • 10 oz = 5/32
  • ​11 oz = 11/64
  • ​12 oz = 3/16
  • 13 oz = 13/64
  • 14 oz = 7/32

When determining the type of leather to use for shoes, especially where it pertains to the durability of the shoe as well as the perceived value of the shoe, the thickness of the leather should be noted. As one would assume, the thicker the leather the less flexible he shoe will become. This does not mean that the shoe should be made of thin material either (as it would be prone to tearing). Typically, a luxury grade shoe is made from 7-9 ounce rated material. Rated ounces are equivalent to 1/64th of an inch or .4mm in thickness. Keep in mind that finer quality may fluctuate a few ounces, but there should not be anything which ranges in the 1 to 3 ounce range on a shoe.

What is the grain and how does it play into the type of leather I should use?

Grain is a nice way of talking about the pores and the defects on the leather. You need to remember that leather is the skin off of an animal and so there are going to be pores and defects present naturally. While most people are comfortable with the term grain, putting “this material has very little skin defects visible” is a little bit upsetting. That being stated, there are two main kinds of grains.

Top-grain is leather which has been made from the very outer part of an animal’s skin. Nubuck is one such example. In most cases, the leather is sanded and then dyed to give it a sleek and suede appearance. Top-Grain tends to be a bit more susceptible to stains, tears, and such, especially if the top grains have been sanded. Full-grain leather is leather which shows all of the natural grain (defect). It is the most natural look.

It is important that the artisan ask about the grain. It may be that the so called grain that is being presented is in actuality a print. There are a few ways in which you can tell if you have real full-grain leather or imitation. First, look at the cut of the leather. Real leather will have a bit of ruggedness to it. Secondly, look at the grain for a pattern. Real skin defects are not in a pattern but are rather sporadic in the design. Third, look for the pores. All of this adds up to show the quality of the grain.

Define the purpose when you determine the type of leather

Finally, in determining the type of leather in shoes to use, determine the practicality of usage. You would not want to put lambskin on a pair of tennis shoes. The application would make no sense. On the other hand, you would not want to use thick leather on a pair of loafers as the appearance would be more to the tennis shoe than to the luxury shoe.

It all comes down to a balance of experience, education, and evolving as you hone your craft. Of course, if you have any questions about which types of leather are best for a shoe, please feel free to contact me. With the information available, there is no reason why you should not be able to create the perfect shoe using the perfect leather selection.

Leather Types/Info

Knowing The Thickness Is Critical Thing To Making Top Quality Leather Products

Wearing leather is more than just choosing a bag or jacket that looks good. Consumers should pay attention to the durability, flexibility, and actual orientation of the leather to determine for themselves whether The Mire product is worth the investment. Usually, one can gauge the quality of leather based on the price of the product. The saying “you get what you pay for” is true.

Yet, this is not necessarily the case. Higher ended products may have cheaper material but higher prices due to the name brand associated with that product or the accessories adorning the leather. The only real way in which a person can make a general calculation to the quality of the leather is to measure (after of course checking the basic elements of quality such as stitching) the thickness of the leather. Here is how you do so.

The basic feel test

Looks can be somewhat deceiving in leather products. While the first appearance of a product may appear thick, upon basic observation you may note that the product is layered with thin leather. While the layers do lend to a more durable product (given that the treads and the binding are properly constructed), it is always better to have a thicker leather for certain products then to try to make a weak product stronger by piling more layers on top of it. When measuring the thickness of leather use two fingers to “rub” the seams and check for layering. Additionally, looking for stitching of layers and visible variations in thickness should give an indication of the quality, flexibility, and durability of the product.

Understand the basic types of leather and why you should or should not buy it

There are a great many differences in leather from nubuck to bonded leather. Add to this the manner in which the leather has been dyed, whether that is from Aniline or Semi Aniline leather or natural tanning, there are a lot of variables to take into consideration. Just because a leather is labeled as being delicate or luxurious should not automatically render the thickness as being thin. Delicate only means that the owner will need to take careful measures to keep the integrity of the design and the durability of the product in order. A great parallel to this would be in stating that a woman is delicate and needs to have careful attention and care. Does this mean she does not have thick skin? Not necessarily. In the same way which a person should not jump to conclusions in this regard, they should not jump to conclusions based upon the “quality rating” of the material. Base your conclusions on type, thickness, stitching, dye, and the flexibility of the leather.

What does the tag tell you?

The first step in measuring leather it to take a good look at the tag of the product. While the mega store leather or fake leather is not apt to have detailed information about the thickness of the splitting of the leather, some of the more luxurious leathers may provide the ounce information or the distributor should be able to tell you the ounce range. For every ounce which a product gains 1/64th of an inch is added or 0.4mm thickness. So if you are comparing two nubuck jackets and one distributor claims that the product is made from 7oz leather and another measures at 9oz leather is quite a difference. The 7oz leather would be 2.8mm while a 9oz. would be 3.6mm.

An additional trick to determining the quality of leather is to look to see if a tag is a mixture of leather and synthetics. In many cases if a product is a mixture the leather will be thinly split (the more you can get out of a hide for cheap the higher the potential profit). While this works for the corporations looking to make a buck, it does little for the overall quality of wallet, handbag, jacket, etc.

Are there any standards to thickness?

Those which sew leather are familiar with the iron (a measuring tool typically reserved for shoe leather artisans). But consumers typically do not have this device sitting around in their wallets or purses. As such, understanding that certain products have a standardized thickness is important.

Shoes – Due to the need for a durable construction, shoes generally have a 12oz thickness. Where the toe and the upper portion of the shoe may be thinner, the main bulk of the shoe should be thick. Additionally, specialty luxury shoes may have thinner ounces than others while “working” boots will end to have a thicker ounce measurement.

Belts – Again, as the belt is a highly bent leather and requires a high level of durability, the thickness reflects such. Belts are usually 8 ounces.

Wallets and Bags – Leather handbags and thin wallets have perhaps the thinnest measurement out of common products. The luxurious leather bags and the wallets are about 2 to 5 ounces. The reason, of course, for this is to prevent the person who is carrying the bag or the wallet from having a boxy, cardboard looking product. Could you imagine having a leather handbag of ¼” thickness weighed down with contents upon your shoulder? First it would be impossible to carry for a long period. Secondly, there would be no bend to the leather resulting in damage to the inner lining.

Read Also: Best Things to See in Singapore

The best way to ensure quality leather measurements

The best way in which you can ensure that your product is created with quality in mind is to have a professional leather artisan make your product. The professional artisan understands the various thicknesses of leather and should be able to relate the importance of a certain ounce selection over another available selection. Furthermore, when a person opts for a machine split leather product, that person may or may not get the thickness portrayed. While the calibration of the machine should be accurate, 1/64” of an inch is rather small and fluctuations in a machines operation are very likely to shift from time to time.