Friday, May 13, 2011

Envelope style Kindle case

Yes, I've been a bit scarce again, I've been trying to finish up my old project back log and that has meant I wasn't really working on anything new. Then I got a Kindle and decided I didn't like any of the commercially made cases. That lead to working out a pattern and deciding it would be cool to have something that was tooled to act as an advertisement for my business and this is the end result:

The case is made from 4 ounce tooling leather, lined with camel colored suede (I don't have any pictures of the interior so you'll have to trust me on that) and closes with two brass buckles. The tooling design comes from one of the vintage leathercraft books I've collected, in this case Designs for Tooled Leather Book II by Louise Hoeffer (second edition published in 1938). It was intended to be used on a book cover which I thought worked well on a case for a digital book. In doing the tooling I decided to go with inverted carving and finished off by painting it with Lumiere acrylic paints. The entire piece was then stained chestnut tan, the paint touched up and sealed.

The pattern worked out well so I'll be making some to add to my shop, but I'm not sure if I'll do any with carved designs. I love doing the carving but the time that goes into it means that larger tooled pieces are more expensive and that seems to put people off.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Neo-Victorian Ferns the beginning

I thought I'd try something a bit different and do as close to a step by step set of pictures as I can manage on one of my larger pieces. I can't find the pictures of the early steps, prepping the design to get it ready for transferring to the leather, if I find them I will put them up as a separate entry.

This piece is one that I've wanted to make for some time now, since I saw the spiral of leaves that looked somewhat like a fern to me. It comes from the Dover book Victorian Floral Designs which is a reprint of Suggestions in Floral Designs by F. Edward Hulme originally published in 1880. Like most Dover books you can use a certain number of designs without permission and if you have an interest in Victorian design I really recommend it.

Here is the moment before I began to transfer the design to the tooling leather. The leather has been rubber cemented to poster board to keep it from stretching and deforming when it is tooled, and has been sprayed with water. I always cut the poster board at least an inch or two larger that the tooling leather on each side because it gives me enough space to staple the tracing film to it to keep the pattern in place as you see in the picture above. The next step is to trace over the design on the tracing film with a stylus which will engrave the design into the damp leather. (And yes it can end up being a lot of tracing with some projects, on this one I will end up tracing this design 7 times. )

And this is the transferred design, as you can see the ferns and lines are engraved into the leather, this will give me the guidelines I need when I start my carving and tooling. But not quite yet because I want the design to repeat across the cover so I will be transferring it 4 more times.