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marbled leather.

My last class (😭) at Craftcation was leather marbled keychains, and it just so happened to be taught by Sadye Harvey of Temerity who teaches at Makers Mess. I attended her marbling night craft happy hour earlier this year and loved it, so I was excited attend another one of her classes.  

We used a lot of tools and materials for this project.

  • Vegetable-tanned leather
  • Trays
  • Water
  • Carageenan (a thickener)
  • Acrylic dye (for leather)
  • Paintbrushes
  • Alum (a mordant)
  • Resolene (a dye sealant)
  • Foam brushes
  • Precision knife or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Leather punch
  • Rivet and rivet press anvil
  • Mallet
  • Key rings

First, we cut out leather shapes. For shapes with a straight edge, I used a precision knife and ruler. For other shapes, I made a soft outline with a skewer stick and then cut with a precision knife. For anything that would become a keychain, we made sure to include a 2-inch tail at the top of our designs so they could be attached onto the key rings. We punched holes using a leather punch.

To prep the leather, we sprayed each piece with an alum solution. The alum draws the paint to the leather surface.

Then, it was time to prep the marbling baths. The trays were filled with water and carageenan, a thickener. Sadye provided a demonstration on how to obtain various marbling patterns. She taught us how to dilute the paint to the right consistency – the paint should dissipate on the water surface, not stay in one place or sink. She recommended to use between 3 and 6 colors for marbling projects. Any more and the paint may get muddy. Samples!

We each mixed paints and got to marbling! It was so fun to see everyone’s color palettes.

When placing the leather on the paint bath, we had to be careful not to introduce air bubbles or else it would leave a blank spot on the leather. After dipping, we rinsed off the slimy carageenan coat and painted on a thin later of Resolene, a dye sealant.

Once dry, we attached the leather pieces on key rings using rivets. Above left: Sadye’s work! Above right: my work! 🙂 With my extra leather pieces I plan to make gift tags. These are perfect for sharing…

I could make these all day! What a fun way to end my Craftcation experience. I cannot wait for next year! Who’s coming with me?

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