Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Embossing and Dyeing and Antiquing

Friday night we went to Dick Blick (art supply mega-mart) and procured an inexpensive (but decent) airbrush to use with dye. We do have other airbrushes in the house, and this one is almost identical to an old one of Ron's, but that one is pretty well used.

We tested the airbrush with the new golden brown dye Saturday morning, and it worked quite well - Ron got nice coverage while using much less dye than applying with a rag. It also turns out that, although IIRC the dye is petroleum-based, rubbing alcohol works as a thinner. (Forced discovery, as the cans I thought contained various thinners contained wood stains). This is something nice to know, because alcohol is less nasty than mineral spirits or other high-test thinners, is fairly cheap, easy to find, and might work for removing dye spots from my hands if necessary (not that I usually care, although I do wear gloves to try to minimize dyeing myself).

Saturday morning we went to the LF store, for antiquing. I have a couple jars of paste antiquing, but LF doesn't carry that brand/type any more (Fiebing's). I was waffling if I wanted to switch to the LF house brand, "Eco-Flo", which is a more liquid gel. Our local store has a table where you can try the different finishes, so we took along some embossed samples (because the whole point is bringing out the embossing) to play.

The first employee said you absolutely must use a resist applied to the design areas you want to leave highlighted, to which I replied "yeah, no, forget it". Fortunately, the manager rescued the situation and explained that no, you can use a spray resist/finish applied to everything, and demonstrated. We were mostly convinced, and left with a big bottle, and a couple ideas.

On the way we made another stop at Dick Blick, and got a couple squeegees. We also got another paint bottle or two for the airbrush, to try it with black dye.

Squeegee tests were very encouraging. You can use a lot less of the antiquing gel with a squeegee than you can with paper towel or a sponge, and using a squeegee, you don't need resist at all. Here's some samples:

The top two are un-dyed, just embossed. The bottom three have all been antiqued. The bottom two were dyed, the bottom one heavily, and had a coat of spray resist before antiquing. The middle, floral, pattern strip was not pre-dyed or resisted, the antiquing darkened up the lighter/higher surfaces.

In general the floral embossing design looks nice. The celtic one doesn't produce a very deep impression, it really needs the antiquing to make it stand out. Both those rolls are from Leather Factory. The basketweave roll is pretty good. The "Yahoo" design (bottom one in the picture above) produces a really nice deep impression if you have thick enough leather, which shows off very well when antiqued. Both the basketweave and yahoo are from Tippmann, which makes the embossing machine.

Ron also embossed some black harness leather strips (IIRC the celtic design) , and made a stack of wrist bands. They look nice, but to get a good impression you have to set the machine so tight its hard to crank a strip through. From now on we'll use vegetable-tanned leather, which takes an impression better, and dye it black.

Worked a little bit on hanging pouches on Saturday. Sunday and the previous weekend we were working on sewing, see natter natter natter on my personal blog about that.

This coming weekend I want to finish the hanging pouches, the three tails that need swivels, and hopefully make some drawstring bags. And we've got some brown embossed strips that are dyed, but need to be antiqued and turned into wristbands. Because we really need more things to find room for. 

I also still need to get more ammo cans for packing the new yarn into. And I need to get price stickers made and onto all the knitting needles . . . 

. . . because next weekend is CodCon!

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