Sealing the leather after the laser engraving would enhance the durability and appearance of the workpiece. Apart from the visual appeal, the sealant makes the engraved leather smooth and builds a protective layer.
In this article, we will write about the proven ways of sealing leather and other important aspects of leather engraving.
Remember, sealing is not a mandatory step. It only helps in bringing aesthetic appearance and maximizes durability.
How can you do leather sealing?
Sealing leather after engraving is a vital step to protect and enhance the longevity of your leather items. Here’s a concise guide with relevant details:
Before sealing, ensure your engraved leather is clean. Use a soft, damp cloth to remove any debris or dust from the engraving.
Choosing a Sealant:
Opt for a leather sealant that suits your particular leather type. Resolene, for example, is a popular acrylic-based option that offers a flexible, water-resistant finish and typically costs around $12-$17 for a 4-ounce bottle, sufficient for multiple small projects.
Apply the sealant using a wool dauber or a soft sponge. Begin lightly, ensuring you work the sealant into the grooves of the engraving. It’s crucial not to over-apply, as this can make the leather surface look plasticky.
Allow the sealant to dry completely, usually taking about 24 hours. Avoid rushing the process, as a properly cured sealant ensures maximum protection.
A properly sealed leather item can extend its durability significantly. For example, a leather bracelet exposed to daily wear and tear might usually start showing signs of age within a year, but sealing can extend its life by an extra six months or more, depending on usage and exposure to elements.
Advantages of Sealing:
The main advantages include improved resistance to moisture and dirt, maintaining the crispness of the engraved design, and preventing fading. Moreover, sealed leather often has a lustrous finish that enhances the visual appeal of the item.
How many types of sealant are there?
When it comes to sealing engraved leather, there are several alternatives to acrylic-based sealants. Here’s a brief overview of a few options, along with their pros and cons, and estimated price ranges.
- Pros: Natural look and feel; enhances the depth of color; can be buffed to a soft sheen.
- Cons: May require reapplication more frequently; not as waterproof as synthetic options.
- Price Range: $7 – $23 per container, depending on brand and size
- Pros: Provides a flexible, durable, water-resistant finish; doesn’t change the leather’s color significantly.
- Cons: Can give a plastic-like finish; may require careful application to avoid streaks.
- Price Range: $10 – $20 per bottle.
- Pros: Completely natural; gives a soft, matte finish; conditions the leather.
- Cons: Not as protective against water as synthetic sealants; may darken the leather.
- Price Range: $15 – $25 for pure beeswax.
- Pros: Penetrates deeply to create water resistance; enhances the natural look of the leather.
- Cons: Takes longer to dry; repeated applications are needed for best results.
- Price Range: $10 – $25 per quart.
- Pros: Conditions and preserves the leather; easy to apply.
- Cons: Can darken the leather; not as much sealing protection as others.
- Price Range: $10 – $25 per bottle.
Remember, the choice of the sealant would depend on what kind of leather are you engraving. The price may vary depending on the brands and location.
How would you decide on a suitable sealant?
Knowing the exact value addition that each type of sealant provides would help you choose the appropriate thing you need. It varies by the purpose and the types of leather you are engraving.
For the Urban Sophisticate: Wax-Based Wonders
Take, for example, the classic case of a high-flying attorney with a full-grain leather briefcase. A wax-based sealant is the silent guardian of this prized possession. It not only accentuates the leather’s natural patina but also ensures the briefcase breathes just as freely as the attorney in the courtroom. This way, the briefcase maintains its luxe appeal while enduring the daily hustle.
For the Trendsetter: Resolene, the Protector
Consider the fashion-forward influencer who sports a vibrant, dyed leather belt. Resolene steps in as the perfect companion, offering a flexible, water-resistant layer that prevents the belt from succumbing to the fading effects of spotlight and wear. Now, that eye-catching accessory retains its pop of color through seasons of style.
For the Vintage Enthusiast: Beeswax’s Timeless Touch
Imagine an antique lover’s cherished possession: a leather-bound journal from a flea market treasure hunt. Beeswax is the ideal choice to preserve this relic’s rustic charm. Its natural finish not only enhances the journal’s vintage feel but also conditions the leather, ensuring the diary remains as stories-filled and supple as it was when first discovered.
For the Outdoor Adventurer: Tung Oil’s Resilience
Picture a hiker’s trusty, weather-beaten boots. Tung oil is the unsung hero for these loyal companions, providing a deep, penetrating seal that repels water and withstands the rugged trail. The boots remain durable without losing their innate character, ready for the hiker’s next escapade.
For the Sports Fanatic: Neatsfoot Oil’s Flexibility
Envision a baseball player’s well-oiled glove or a horse rider’s meticulously maintained tack. Neatsfoot oil preserves the flexibility necessary for those swift catches and comfortable rides. It keeps the leather in game-ready condition, ensuring each piece remains a dependable part of the sports arsenal.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of imagery can I achieve with leather laser engraving?
Imagine your favorite high-resolution photograph or a detailed graphic design. Laser engraving can replicate that on leather with astonishing detail, down to 300 DPI (dots per inch). For example, if you engrave a portrait on a 6×6 inch leather wallet flap, the laser can capture fine lines like individual hair strands, creating a remarkably lifelike image.
Will the leather engraving fade over time?
Laser engraving on leather lasts more than 50 years (if you seal the leather properly). The laser alters the leather’s surface, making the design a permanent fixture. However, if you constantly rub or scratch it, the design might fade just like any material would wear out. Think of it as a tattoo for your leather; it’s there to stay unless it’s intentionally removed.
Is there a size limit for the leather I can engrave?
our engraving size is generally limited by the machine bed. For instance, a typical laser machine has a bed size of about 12×24 inches, so anything that fits within that area you can engrave. However, leather engravers come with pass-through and extended beds which allow you to engrave larger sizes. If you’re thinking of engraving a mammoth design, commercial lasers with beds up to 48×36 inches can handle larger projects, like a full leather jacket back panel.
Can I laser engrave old, worn leather items?
Absolutely! As long as the leather isn’t too brittle or damaged, it can be engraved. However, too old PU leather is not recommended for engraving as the polymer particle breaks after ages of rigorous use.
Sealing leather after engraving is not a mandatory requirement. This is an extra procedure that brings professionalism to your work and offers value-added appealing images to the engraved leather.