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Small job gold leather tooling/gilding/embossing?

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  • Small job gold leather tooling/gilding/embossing?

    Hi all,
    I'm in a bit of a pickle! I have a small (and fairly cheap, to be honest...!) leather wallet-type thing that I would really like to have some gold lettering on, 3 or 4 lines of smallish print if possible. Unfortunately, the process that seems most often used for this is hot foil blocking (I think), which companies either require huge runs for or charge about £15 per line!

    The wallet only cost £10 to start with and it's not for anything highly important... I'll come clean and say that I'm an amateur magician and need this for a trick, although unfortunately I'm still a student too so paying £40 for a few lines of gold lettering just isn't possible!

    Is there any way I can put some smart looking gold lettering on a leather wallet without expensive "hot foil blocking"? It'd be fine even if it started to wear off fairly soon, the wallet doesn't get every day use. It's not even important that it be embossed... I just want the lettering!

    Can you get gold transfers with decent adhesive or that you can put on with an iron or anything like that? Or does anyone do their own similar leather lettering who is feeling really kind and would like to offer to help me out with this for a modest fee?!

    Thanks for absolutely any info at all!

  • #2
    I think you can do it yourself with a bit of the hotfoil stuff and a soldering iron or pyro iron. But I don't KNOW, and you would have to experiment...

    Scorch's Pyrography :
    Crafts on Flickr :


    • #3
      This might be a good option.

      I know that Fred Aldous stocked it if you phone them they would say if it would do the job you want.
      "You've Got to Keep Your Mind Wide Open" - AnnaSophia Robb
      my Folksy shop Goldy'sclearoutblog debaynewebdesign


      • #4
        Some experience

        I have quite a lot of experience as a bookbinder, and as such am familiar with gold lettering on leather.

        A one off charge of £30/40 has to be expected when dealing with hot foil blocking, because of the time it takes to set up for a one off project.

        A heated stylus has been mentioned, and with gold foil you can indeed write in gold, but the result to my eye always looked poor.

        I seem to remember alphabets of gold and silver letters with adhesive backing being stocked by my local crafts shop, this may be the direction to move in, particularly if you do not mind the result being impermanent.

        Good luck.

        For DIY gilding and antique finishes to gold leaf.
        For the esoteric & unusual in bookbinding


        • #5
          Thanks for your help folks.

          I toyed with the idea of buying a leather stamping set and some hot foil and doing on my own with a soldering iron, but it's just too much faff!

          I looked into those stickers and found letraset dry transfer lettering. It seems to suggest that you can use it on all sorts of surfaces, so it's got to be worth a shot. It may scratch off immediately but I suppose I can always try some kind of clear lacquer.

          At £2 a sheet plus P&P, I think this is going to be the best option!

          I phoned the tonertex lady but she seemed very unsure as to how it would work with leather, and also, I need smartly printed text rather than hand-written, so I think that whole avenue can be written off.

          Thanks again, I'll let you know what the results are like!


          • #6
            I agree with Richard, we used to gold block leather diaries and, depending on the materials used, it can be a fiddling process to set up for a run so one off would cost the earth.
            God helps them that help themselves.


            • #7
              Hmmm, yes!

              The thing I find very annoying is how big scale everything had to be these days, and how no one has any flexibility

              As a magician, I quite often really need the services of someone who makes a living doing the smaller single bits and pieces of leather work, metal work, woodwork etc. but unfortunately these days everything's "ooh, how many do you need? Set up costs... minimum orders..."

              The technology has superceded the original skill. It's perfectly possible to do gold foil blocking on a small scale - leather stamps, roll of foil, some kind of heater. Mark it out with tape and do it by hand... as most people on this forum do with one thing or the other really!

              But there's a distinct lack of hobbying workmen who will run something off for you in their lunchbreak for a few beers and a reciprocal favour, and I think that's a real shame. I always ask local people, in the home that one of them will go "ah yes, old Bill down the road, he does his own leatherwork, I'm sure he'll sort you out".

              Instead it's - corporate this, promotional that, postage and packing £11.99, mimimum order 500...


              • #8
                Oh I do sympathize, for years we had an engineering firm nearby that would make any type of component we wanted for our tractors and machinery, we would just take in the old bit and a few days later they had a brand new one waiting. Nowadays we have to either buy a whole new caboodle when we only want one bit, wait for weeks for an extortionately priced part from Asia or try and find a second hand part that is less worn than ours.