Leather stamping for pleasure and Profit- How to make leather crafts
Stamping that originated from the rubber stamping of the letters and papers for official and business purposes, later on developed into a fine art of today, thanks to the miillions of school children and their parents who were the first to explore the possibilities of various attractive art forms in their scrap book and projects.
Stamping for making multiple images on surfaces or mediums by means of pigments or inks was a later phenomenon and the medium for making such images were extended from papers to plastics, glasses and later even to leather. The mediums so used were for different ends . while the glass and plastics were later additions Fabric and leather were the ones that gave a boost for the commercial exploitation of the art of stamping.
Stamped leather novelties are plenty available in the market today. The key holder , small and big pouches with stamped designs or forms , or even show pieces are sold in the market made of cut leather or even on regular sheets .The stamping gives the leather a face lift and an aesthetic appeal.
Leather stamping is both a good past time and a lucrative job. Leather stamping requires variety of stamps made of metal or any hard substance. Unlike in inked rubber stamping of paper or fabric leather stamping involves imprinting of desired object ,designs or forms by giving pressure on the leather. Leather stamping make use of stamps to make an imprint on the surface of the leather by striking hard the stamp by means of an instrument called the mallet. Normally the stamping is made on the tanned leather softened by dampening the surface with water that facillitates easy imprinting. The drawback in the leather stamping is that the stamped design or object fades away once the leather gets wet or flexed. The oils and fats of leather is usually replaced in order to avoid softening of leather by its contact with water .
The first step for making a leather stamp craft is to obtain the leather. It would be well advised to purchase the leather from tandy or leather factory though the craft stores may store small quantities of leather suitable for stamping. The shoulder or belly piece of leather is comparatively less expensive and would be a nice choice. Cut leather available in small stores is also useful but it is a bit costly. The big pieces need cutting and shaping. Leather shears are used for cutting the leather pieces to the desired size and shape. Alternatively sharp knives can also be used. The edges of the leather should be smoothened by means of beveller.
The stamp is pressed into the leather by a mallet an instrument to hit the stamp on the leather surface. By tipping the stamp side by side better impressions can be made. Care shoul be taken to ensure that the stamps are not bounced resulting in multiples images.Buying mallets for variety of stamps can be expensive however home made mallets from a piece of dowel rod and branches of hardwood trees can be used to hit the stamps. Another point to be considered in leather stamping is the two sides to leather. They are the flesh side, which is comparatively rough, and the other the skin side, that is smooth, Stamping is to be done only on the skin side of the leather and not on the flesh side.
A leather press can also be made at home that would facilitate smooth impressions avoiding hitting and the image could be perfected by rotation of stamp and leather in semicircle form
It is inevitable to wet the leather by a sponge or spray bottle before taken up for stamping. Though uniform wetting is required dripping need be avoided. The wet leather should allow getting dry a bit and turning the color to light tan when it is ideal to stamp the surface. The leather should not be too wet or dry. Though normal stamping of leather do not make use of any color, leather can also be painted by acrylic paints or paint pens.
With little effort and a lot of imagination and skill leather stamp crafts can be made to suit the need and to the preferences of the individual and if taken seriously can be a very lucrative hobby.