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Leather Dyes and Finishes Explained

By Gordon Wallace

Dyeing leather is an art, not a science. Variations in textiles, conditions and creative touch will have a direct effect on the result. Fiebing Leather Dyes and most alcohol based dyes most likely are combined and mixed to accomplish intermediate colors and tones. In most cases the common rules of color mixing apply. By mixing your leather dyes, it is not essential to carry so many colors, but even so you may reach your desired color shade.

Basic examples of mixing leather dyes are: Yellow and Blue = shades of Yellow, Green and Red = shades of Red and Orange, Red and Blue = shades of deep Purple to Lavender, Purple and Red = Wine, Brown and Yellow = shades of Golden Brown and Tan, Brown and Red = Maroon shades.

Don't try to mix Fiebing's White Leather Dye or Fiebing's Grey Leather Dye. The reason for this is grey and white are not compatible for mixing with the other dye colors. Mixing of various leather dyes will add an additional color variation to your leather craft design. It's important to test your color mixes before dying your entire project.

Fiebing's Acrylic Resolene is a thin acrylic top finish that will give your project a medium shine and will allow some water resistance. It is very versatile as it can be applied as a top finish over all types of leather dressings from dyes to antiques. For Resolene is an acrylic finish, it's applied in light coats so as to not build up too much. The result is a tough but very flexible finish that should last for a long time.

Resolene is best applied with a damp sponge. Apply a light coat using circular motions to avoid streaks. If you apply too heavily, you may experience bubbling which will pop and form rings once dry. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying your next coat. Resolene will occasionally look blue when wet but will dry clear so do not panic.

For a more delicate finish on your leather projects Leather Balm is an ideal choice. It's a particularly formulated Liquid Wax for coloring, softening and polishing articles of smooth leather. It can be buffed to a rich soft, smooth luster. Leather balm with atom wax is not a water-repellent top finish. It will protect your leather projects with a soft durable waxy finish for a natural Leather look.

Edge enamel is a very fine product for having the edges of your leather project looks finished and complete. Most edge enamels contain a waxy compound, and after you apply the edge enamel to your project, you should strop the edges. Crafters often use a nylon edging wheel or a canvass cloth for stropping belts.

The best technique for dyeing and completing your leather project are hands on crafting. Study in mixing dyes, experiment with finishes and you're on your way to making fine leather products. There's real pride, achievement and satisfaction in arriving at a superior leather project.

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