Metal leaf is a wonderfully versatile material – in this case I’m using it to cover some scrap leather to create a pretty set of fall leaves hair pins. The imperfect texture of leather gives the copper some extra interest, and copper looks beautiful against most hair colors.
– leather scraps
– copper leaf
– leafing size (adhesive)
– leafing sealer
– E6000 or other metal and leather friendly glue
– sharp knife
– cutting mat
– hair pin findings
– ink pen
– aluminum foil
– rubbing alcohol
– paper towels
– template – Click here to download the template!
Cut the leaf templates out and plan how to arrange them on your leather. The piece I’m using came with this awkward cut in it so I’m using the narrow area next to the cut.
Trace the template onto the back of the leather. A normal ink pen worked on this leather on this day, but you might need to experiment. Sharpie often works well, too.
Cut them out with the knife on the cutting mat. Scissors may be tempting, but they’ll give you a really messy line.
Use sharp scissors to trim any scruffy bits of leather showing from the back.
For complicated curves I’ve found the best results if I cut a series of straight lines near the curve (then I sometimes refine little corners with sharp scissors, but only with very tiny cuts.)
Wipe the front of the leather down with rubbing alcohol to remove oils so the size works better.
I worked on top of aluminum foil because waxed paper and newspaper can sometimes carry and electric charge that affects the metal leaf. Spread a thin, even layer of size over the front side of the leather, I used a small piece of paper towel for application. Let it dry for a few minutes.
Press the leather piece face down onto metal leaf.
Trim near the leather.
Carefully press the leaf down and around the edges of the leather. Allow the extra leaf to break away and collect up any big pieces for other projects.
If you’ve nicked the surface anywhere just spot apply a bit of size and top it with a small piece of leaf – it will probably be unnoticeable in the end.
Apply several coats of sealer. I liked how mine looked after three coats. I again used a small piece of paper towel to apply the sealer.
Plan where to place the hairpin finding. It’s best to support the stem if you can.
Spread E6000 over the line for the hair pin.
Gently place the finding in the glue. Try to get some glue to wrap around onto the back of the pad for security, and try not to glue the hairpin closed.
Give them plenty of time to dry then start wearing them. Because of the materials used they’ll start to look distressed after a while.