After a lot of experimentation with how to apply dye, I came across the Molotow transformer markers. They have a 250ml bottle where you can attach a 50mm wide head. This works really well and compared to soaking a rag with dye there is almost no mess. A friend of mine once told me that leather dye will make a HUGE mess if you were to spill it all over your table. This has off course never happened to me as I am very careful and never make mistakes.
What ever method you chose it takes some time to dye a piece this big and you have to go over the same spot multiple times. I try to divide the piece into smaller sections and take one at a time. Unlike using a rag, going in a circular motion does not work well. You need to go back and forth, up and down, and if you're feeling wild you can even go diagonally.
As you can see there is quite a difference in the colors of the main piece and the gusset after dyeing. I thought that when they dried the colors would be more or less the same but this was not the case. All I had to do was to apply more dye to the main piece. Be aware that even though you use the same dye the end result will not necessarily be the same on different types of leather. Almost 500ml of dye was used total. I know a lot of people prefer fieblings professional dye but after trying both I prefer "ROC leather dye". This is very fortunate as it is not possible to buy the professional dye in my country (when I tried it, I ordered it from the US which was very expensive).
After the dyeing and drying process, the leather needs to be buffed to get rid of any excess dye. Use a old rag for this and spend some time buffing the leather. I think I spent 5 minutes on the main piece.
After all the dying it is time to condition the leather. I use a conditioner that consist of Vaseline, neatsfoot oil, beeswax and sap. Apply it using an old rag and let it sit for several hours. The leather will soak up most of the conditioner depending on how much is applied. Finish by removing the excess with a clean rag.
The back side of the straps will sometime be visible so I chose to dye them as well. I did not apply conditioner after dyeing it.
When dyeing leather the edges always seem to curl up a bit so it is a good idea to make the piece you dye a bit bigger than you need it to be. This along with the fact that the leather can shrink or warp when you dye it is the reason I dye before I cut. On smaller pieces it does not matter that much, but with big pieces like this it could effect the dimensions.
I used a combination of these three dyes:
80 % ROC Yellow brown
15 % ROC Red brown
5% ROC Tan
I cut the butt so I got a piece of 120cm x 65cm and the shoulder I cut 110cm x 21cm.
When dyeing leather the edges always seem to curl up a bit so it is a good idea to make the piece you dye a bit bigger than you need it to be. This along with the fact that the leather can shrink or warp when you dye it is the reason I dye before I cut. On smaller pieces it does not matter that much but with big pieces like this it could effect the dimensions.
The leather right after dyeing.
The color on the main piece is not even enough so I applied more dye
This is after the second dyeing and drying;
Now it is time for buffing. What I like about the ROC dye is that almost nothing comes off. This is the rag used after 5 mins of buffing:
Time to apply the Leather Protection Cream:
The back side of the straps needs to be dyed as well
Now they just need to dry