There are various ways of heightening the aesthetic appeal of items produced with leather. Some of these include printing, carving or incision, embossing, weaving, in-laying, on-laying, thonging, stamping and scorching. These decorative processes have been discussed in this article.
This is the process of transferring an inked design onto a leather material either by the use of screens, relief blocks or stencils. Oil based paints and permanent inks are used for printing designs onto the leather material.
2. Carving/ Incision
This decorative technique involves reducing the thickness of the leather around a marked out design on a leather material by chipping away or cutting off, the same as with wood or other materials. The leather material should be damp before the carving is done with a suitable sharp knife.
This is the creation of a raised design or pattern on a leather material. This can be done by placing a cut-out template of the design or pattern on a hard board. The damp leather is laid on it, after which the edges of the cutout template are defined with the fingers or any appropriate tool to create a raised effect. Embossing by raising is suitable for light or craft leathers, whereas embossing with the wheel and carriage is most suitable and often used on heavy or strap leather.
This is creating an interlaced design or pattern with different colored strips of leather on a leather item.
This is the creation of decorative stitches by the passing of thinly cut strips of leather (thongs) of equal measurement through the carefully punched holes at the ends of a leather item.
This decorative technique involves the cutting out of a drawn design (Positive areas) and placing a new colored leather piece under the cutout design thus, in-laying. The in-laid leather piece is maintained in a position either by stitching, sewing or gluing.
This decorative technique is the exact opposite of the in-laying decorative technique. In this technique, the design is cut from a different colored leather and either sewn, stitched or embroidered on the leather item. This is the same as appliqu.
This is the creation of designs onto the leather material using heated stamps of varying designs. Before the heated stamps are stamped on the leather material, the surface is moisture or made damp to assist in creating well-defined designs.
This technique is applied on leather by first sketching or tracing patterns, motifs, drawings etc. on leather then a metal rod or soldering rod is heated and in the hot state used to burn along the lines traced onto the leather. This will leave a permanent burn or scar on the leather as a decoration.