There are so many wonderful things about making a hand-tooled collar….especially the hand-made part! It might look complicated, but making a collar—as well as tooling just about anything leather that you can imagine!—is really very simple. . .you just need the right supplies.
Blank Leather Collar
Leather crafting mallet
Hard surface such as marble, granite or thick wood or metal block
Water spray bottle (a fine mist is best)
Leather tools (alphabets and designs)
Acrylic craft paint
1. To start, simply sketch out your design so you’re prepared, and then moisten/soften the leather with water. I simply use a little spray mister, but you could use a paint brush or even a wash rag to soak the leather. 2 or 3 sprays with a mister does the trick, and the leather should be soft within a minute.
2. While the leather is still soft, place the leather collar on a hard surface, either marble or very thick wood—something that won’t move or give under pressure. Pick out the designs that you will use and place the die right where you will want it on the collar. Keep in mind that the designs are mirror image, so everything will be backwards from what you are seeing.
3. Once you have the die in place on the hard surface, strike once very hard with a leather crafting mallet. Tip the die slightly to each side, and then strike again. It’s very important to remember not to hit the die over and over again because it will cause it to bounce and leave a shadow impression. A clean impression will come from a few really hard strikes.
4. Once you have the design you desire tooled into the leather, simply paint the parts that you want painted with craft paint. Once the paint and leather have had time to dry (usually a few hours or overnight), apply a final coat of leather stain. There are many colors to choose from, and the stain is really the finishing touch to make the collar have some fabulous patina. Let the stain dry, and you’re finished!
The best part of a tooled leather collar is that it will get more and more attractive over time, and will last forever. It’s the perfect match for your beloved pooch, and the best way to show your love of your companion while expressing your artistic side. Most of all, make sure you have fun! Mastering the process may take a little bit of practice, but once you have it mastered, you will be able to make jewelry, home décor and gifts. These tools are a wonderful investment and can be used for so many things, allowing you to make customized, priceless gifts for your family, friends, and their four-legged companions.
“See All Good, Say All Good, Hear All Good, Do All Good.”