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Information needed on painting leather.

Discussion in 'Puppet Building and Performing' started by muppetperson, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know what type of paint is used to paint leather on moving lip and eyelid mechanisms on marionettes and ventriloquist dolls so the paint doesn't crack with movement?
  2. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    What kind of leather is it? The type of leather that you are working with sometimes makes a big difference.

    A really good all purpose option for leather until recently was Meltonian's Nu-Life spray paint, which was primarily made for Cobblers to use in shoe repair. It's fantastic, but the manufacturer began discontinuing it earlier this year (you might still be able to find some online).

    An alternative might be Angelus Leather Paint, which can be bought online or in craft stores (I have not used this myself, but I have heard of others using it). Craft stores like Michael's probably sell other leather paints. You could also try a specialty leather supply store like Tandy Leather and see what they recommend.

    A cheaper option to try is white glue tinted with acrylic paint. You might need to apply several coats to get a durable finish, but cosplayers use that technique all the time and most glues probably have the flexibility you need.
    muppetperson likes this.
  3. muppetperson

    muppetperson Well-Known Member

    I have to look for the leather, but I believe I need thin Kidd/Goat leather. Thanks for your imput.:)
  4. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Something else to keep in mind is that depending on the leather, you may have remove whatever it is coated with before you paint it. You can usually do that with acetone.
    muppetperson likes this.
  5. Smörebröd

    Smörebröd Member

    Although your request is from September I want to give my advice at this topic.
    Buck-Beaver is correct with his advices, but acrylic paints is not up to date anymore.
    The binder system for professional leather coatings (automotive seats, clothing, bags etc) is polyurethane dispersion. These coating systems are much more long-life flexible than acrylic systems.
    But there are two disadvantages vs. acrylic systems. PU-Coatings are 2-pack systems, the application may be a little bit more challenging for a privat person. And some cheaper coatings showing some yellowing after a while (but indeed it's just annoying at white pigmented paints). If acrylic systems are still common at most puppetmakers maybe these two disadvantages are the reason. If I had the choice I would decide for PU-coating.
    I'm a chemical engineer working for 15 years at R&D in the coating and plastic industry. So you can trust my words. ;)
    muppetperson and FoxWorthy like this.

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