Brush Lettering on Leather

Today I'm going to show you how to brush letter on leather!

I've had a stack of leather for ages now, ever since I skinned that couch, and I've always had a project in mind for the scraps. I was going to make leather bottle tags for my bar area. I got a metal alphabet punch kit and everything. I read all the how-to's I could find, and started hammering away. I realized the leather I had wasn't really thick enough to stamp on, and it was way too textured. 

I had to rethink everything. 

Brush Lettering on Leather. When scrap leather meets gold paint - Little Eli

To begin I gathered my supplies: leather scraps, a #1 round brush, and some gold acrylic paint. Note: the leather I was using has a heavy texture. It's not the best for lettering on, you'll see why later. But its not the end of the world, so use what ever you have. 

I started experimenting with the thickness of the paint. Here it is right out of the bottle. Really thick paint, inconsistent coverage, and my brush ran out very quickly leaving streaky marks. 

Too thick

Too thick

Too thin

Too thin

Then, I added a bit too much water. Very light coverage, would pool in the low spots, and took forever to dry.

Ok, so I added more paint until I got a consistency that was workable, without it pooling between the ridges. I suggest adding just a few drops of of water at a time until you get what you want. It takes a lot of paint to compensate for a bit too much water. 

Bingo Bango!

Bingo Bango!

Working with metallics is a lot of fun. I love that the paint adds a whole new dimension to the piece, on top of the fact that it's leather.

Eli Tips:

  • You want you brush to be loaded but not dripping. Re-dipping is not a big deal, but too much paint leads to sloppy letters.
  • I cut my tags before lettering. You could do it after, but just make sure its completely dry. I messed up a few moving them without being careful.
  • Experiment! When mixing mediums like this, there is bound to be some trial and error. Plan for that. Luckily, acrylic paint can be mostly wiped off if you make a mistake.
  • Practice first. Get warmed up and your hands moving before you make the jump to leather and paint. If you are working on a quote, get the layout figured out on trash paper first. On a name tag? Make sure to check your spacing so you can get it all to fit.

This was my first time working with these two media together, so I'll update this post if I have any issues with pealing, cracking, or the likes. I can't promise you this will last forever, but it should work wonderfully for something temporary like gift tags or place markers.  

I whipped up some gift tags and a new quote for my office pretty quickly. I'm pretty sure you can't have too much gold or leather in your life.