Stiffening leather tutorial
For my floral pieces I stiffen leather is several ways. Today I am going to share one of this ways with you. The result is a flat stiff piece of leather that can be shaped with a flower iron. I use flat stiff leather to make a range of flowers including my camellias, gerberas etc.So here is how I do it. But first of all the kit:
1. Measuring jug
2. A piece of genuine leather for stiffening
4. White (PVA) glue
5. Measuring spoon
and a piece of plastic or a glass board as seen in the picture.
I use a rather thiсk PVA glue intended for craft purposes. The ratio of glue to water can be from 1 to 5 to 1 to 10 depending on how thick your leather or glue are and how stiff you want the leather to be. You might need to experiment with the quantities, but the general guidelines are: the thicker the leather the weaker the solution (less glue). The ready to use solution should look like milk.
I use a measuring spoon to measure the amount of glue.
In the picture 10 ml of glue are being mixed with 100 ml of water.
Dissolve the glue in water to get a solution resembling milk. If you have sensitive skin consider wearing gloves.
Immerse the piece of leather (about A4 size or so) into the solution and make sure it is well soaked in it.
When the whole piece has been soaked, twist it to get rid of extra solution. The leather should be almost dry.
Then stretch it to make it even and thin it a bit more. I tend to use leathers with a thickness of 0.6-0.8 mm or so the sellers say but it is still rather thick for the flower making. Stretching the wet piece of leather in some cases makes it thinner but it all depends on the properties of the particular leather you are using.
I stretch in all directions: horizontally, vertically and diagonally.
With your both hands flatten the stretch piece of leather on the smooth flat surface (like this glass board).
Leave the flattened and smoothed piece of leather to dry completely before cutting and tooling it. It might take up to 24 hours.
Coloured leather skins are rather delicate and may require more gentle handling than the black leather shown in the photos above. For more detailed instructions on how to stiffen coloured (especially pale) leather skins refer to our detailed LEATHER DAHLIA TUTORIAL.
Good luck with your stiffening!