Saturday, 28 December 2013

Update on red leather dye (with picture)

Thanks to the input of my judges at the Queen's Prize Tourney (Master Dafydd, THL Lassarfhina, and Mistress Gaerwen) I've been able to tweek my process for my red dye and get something that I would be really happy to use on a project. It's a nice rich red, and a big improvement on the brick/brownish-red colour I was able to get prior to the QPT.

For those who didn't see my last post, here are the things I did differently with this batch from the previous.
  • I used purified water in hopes of getting any chemicals/minerals out to see if that would make a difference.
  • Totally unintentionally, I let the brazilwood bloom longer before making my dye. Last time I bloomed it overnight (so about 12-14 hours), but this time I got busy because of the holidays so it actually sat for at least 24 hours.
  • I double checked the recipe and based on my notes from last time I may have miscalculated how much water to use (I had cut the recipe in half but my notes say I used the full 680 ml of water). I may have just written it down wrong though so not sure if this is a difference or just a scribal error.
  • I pre-soaked the leather in my alum water for a full two minutes instead of just a quick dip to moisten.
  • I actually soaked the leather in the dye for 30 seconds rather than just painting it on.
  • I did four coats instead of three
  • After the last coat, I applied the oil finish after about 8-10 hours of drying instead of 16 when it would be fully dried and faded.
So that leaves me with four working dyes that are ready for use on select projects (I still need to be careful what I use them on since I'm not entirely sure they won't rub off over time or if they get really wet). I still need to do some more experiments with the black, but otherwise the only thing left is the bane of my existence and the one colour I haven't been able to get to work at all, the blue dye.


  1. That's a really great colour, well done!

    What happens to it if you leave it in the sun for a few hours?

    1. I'm not sure about the sun but I did notice when I pulled it out a few months later for my Kingdom A&S presentation that it had faded a fair bit.