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New project: Tattooing Shoes

BastiaanB

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Hi there

At the beginning of this year i finished my first ‘patina-project’. I really enjoyed the work, and started searching for a new project. I’ve always been fascinated by the Berluti tattooed shoes, but since I’m still a student those shoes are way out of budget. Than the idea arose to make my own ‘tattooed shoes’. The shoes on the picture below became the inspiration of the project (not the tattoo):



Last May I contacted Pepe Albaladejo from Meermin shoes. I asked him if they could make a wholecut in raw leather. Despite of it was a unique request, it was not problem. About 3 weeks ago I received them:



Last week i visited a Tattoo artist with 5 prepared pieces of (calf)leather. The first piece (stage 1) was raw unfinished leather. The last piece (stage 5) was fully worked(Dye, renovateur/mink oil, crème and wax). The stages in between where partly worked(only dye/dye with renovateur/ dye with renovateur and crème).
Since i’m not known to tattooing at all, and the tattoo artist wasn’t known to tattooing leather, the main goal of the visit was to look if the the tattoo ink would stick on the leather, and if so, at which stage would it stick the best.







The answer on the first question: Yes, the tattoo ink sticks on/in the leather (like expected). According to the tattoo artist, it almost felt the same as on a human skin.
The answer on the second question (at which stage): It doesn’t mather at which stage. You can tattoo your shoes at each stage. The results where the same. Ofcourse i’m not sure yet if the durability of the tattoo is the same at each stage, but at the moment I don’t have any reason to assume there is a difference. After one night I tried to work the tattooed parts with crème and wax. Despite of some ink that came of, the tattoo looked the same after the treatment.

During the tattoo process sadly one issue occurred. When you look closely to the pictures you’ll see dark spots around some of the tattooed parts. At those parts it looks like the leather soaked too much liquid (dye or maybe water, used when colouring). Different techniques, needles, and depths (of the needle in the leathers) didn’t solve this problem. We couldn’t find a direct cause of the appearing of the spots (when they do and do not appear.
It almost looked like the spots appeared at random, cause at some tattooed parts the spots hardly appeared. My theory is that some of the leather parts are more dry than other parts. These dryer parts absorb more liquid with the spots as a consequence. But like i said this theory is based on my own science
. Any other view though is welcome!

I’ve got another idea that might solve the problem. I didn’t discuss this with the tattoo artist yet. I found out that the tattoo ink she uses is based on water. For dying the shoes I use Teinture Francaise (Saphir). I thought that maybe this dye is based on something else than water and is, because of that maybe more suitable to tattoo leather.
What are your thoughts about that?
Maybe you have a totally different opinion about doing this job. Like I said, any input is more than welcome !
 

Quadcammer

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I think its a cool project, but I don't think the end result will be too popular here. Tatoo'ed shoes may be more of an SW&D thing
 

phoenixrecon

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If you are able to tattoo brougeing that would be.kinda cool
 

FlyingMonkey

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I think this is an intriguing project - there is actually a DiY thread on SW&D where they would probably be far more constructively interested than most over here.
 

BastiaanB

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I think its a cool project, but I don't think the end result will be too popular here. Tatoo'ed shoes may be more of an SW&D thing

I know its a risky project. A lot of people will think its disgusting and i'm okay with that. I will move this topic to the SW&D section if this increases the chance of substantive response.

I believe people on the leatherworker.net forum have worked on tattooed leather with some success, might be worth a visit.

Thanks. I'm gonna take a look at it
 

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