Thursday, February 3, 2011

Leprechaun (Finishing the leather work)

 The hat starts with two layers of a thicker grade of leather than the shoes and pants so it can hold it's shape better. The shape is cut and a hole is cut to fit the man's head. (These are mirror images which are glued suede sides together with Fabri-tac.)

The leather is curled on the front edge as they are glued together to hold the shape.

 The cap part of the hat uses the hole from the brim and a strip of leather which is super glued together and attached to the brim.
 The hat is shaped to the head and then sealed with Minwax Polyurethane Satin Finish which is a water based clear sealer. It gives an oiled leather look without being too shiny and helps hold the shape of the hat as it soaks in and stiffens the leather slightly.
* This leather is from an old coat which was dyed green in its past life. Parts of it have bleached out in the sun so when it is sealed the natural brown shows through the green- in case you are wondering why this is now a brown hat.
 I use a coarse sanding pad to rough up the leather where there would be natural wear.
The cape is made of a single layer of the same leather. I distress the edge by grabbing it with pliers and ripping the bottom.
Some wear spots are added by scraping with the sharp edge of a knife.
 The cape is attached.
 The cape will "float' of his back by simply gluing it on his shoulders.

 His pants and shoes have been "wet down" with the sealer as well just to add a little shine to catch the light and liven-up the piece a bit.
The shoes are brushed with some Raw Umber to dirty them and to fill the stitching with paint to look like thread. (Right sole not all the way done yet)

The soles, sides, heels, and toes of the shoes are then sanded to look like they are worn.
 The finished leather work. the cape has been sealed to make the wear spots show better.
 The knees and seat of the pants have also been sanded to show wear.
Buckles are put on his shoes after the sealing and sanding are done.
Next time we will finish this guy and take a look at where we are going next. Have a great day!


  1. Applause!!!!!!! This is just WONDERFUL! I've used shoe polish and paint on leather, I have problems being around strong odor chemicals. The leather work is GREAT! I must try this method. So much to look at, the details are AMAZING!!! Again, you have given your work a soul.
    Thank you,

  2. I'm loving this guy more and more all the time. Wish I could afford him so he could come live with me! Wonder if the hubby would be jealous! LOL The process you're using to distress the leather is amazing, Mark!

  3. Fantastic! I too would like to buy him:) Are the buckels on his shoes made from polymer clay or something else?
    I'm inspired to work more with leather now!:)


  4. Any suggestions about how to handle my residual super glue on the hat? Yours looks so wonderful and you give me great courage, but my hat sucks! Where the cap meets the brim I have some telltale shiny spots. I could cover it up with a hatband, but I prefer your hat, of course. Go after it with acetone? Will that destroy my hat?

  5. I just love him, my fav just awesome - thank you so much for sharing

  6. Thank you all for the great comments. (You do know everything I make is for sale, just contact me and make an offer)
    Folk Heart,
    Super glue on the hat really isn't a problem if you are distressing the hat. As hats are worn they tend to absorb sweat at the area where the cap meets the brim so discoloration is normal. now you just need to get rid of the shine. Here are some ideas. Embrace the sweat band idea and use a little Raw Umber acrylic paint to darken this area. The acrylic will tone down the shiny surface since acrylic dries flat. Option two is soak the entire hat in polyacrylic. The leather will soak into the hat in different amounts leaving a plotted surface which will disguise the hard stain of the soaked in super glue. You can then sand for rough spots and wash with accrylics if you want to tone down the shine. Tey these ideas on a scrap of leather to see which may work for you.

  7. Wow, I need to proofread before posting comments. It should say "blotted surface" and "Try these ideas" oops!

  8. Thank you so much for the tremendous tips and solutions! You are such a generous soul and I will experiment with each of these suggestions. I certainly do appreciate your prompt reply and attention to detail. Proof-reading is hardly necessary...I didn't even realize there were any typos until your second comment. Amazing how the brain skims and speed reads. Words fly when you are enraptured. Thanks again, Mark !

  9. KayC, Sorry, missed this one. The buckles are actually ornaments from scrap booking. They have so many little studs and fancy things you can use a s buttons and doll details. Take time to look at all the rows in your local craft store, you may be surprised!

  10. Fantastic! you have well designed scluptor.