Today I thought I’d talk about getting an airbrushed design on your leather jacket. Actually you can get a design on anything leather. Leather saddlebags look great with designs on them. So do leather vest, leather purses, even leather chaps.
But the back of leather jackets is what most people pick to have a design made. I use to run a leather store where I airbrushed designs on leather jackets. I also airbrushed monograms on luggage, purses and briefcases. Now, I am not very artistic, so all the designs I made were done by stencils. They can make even a non artistic fool like me look great!
See the design in the picture above? That was my most popular design, the double dragon. All of it was done by stencil, then covered with a clear coat. Leather jacket designs can really personalize your jacket and make it stand out. You can make a statement with it, show your pride, or just show off a beautiful picture.
You can even make a design of your pet, your motorcycle or whatever else you want. Flames on the sleeves and top look cool. I had one design that looked like flames blowing over one part of the jacket and sleeve. You can think of some really cool leather jacket designs. But before you get one here’s what you need to know.
When someone airbrushes a design on a leather jacket, they first strip the part to be done in rubbing alcohol or something like that. You need to get any oils and sealer off so the paint bonds to the leather. Once it’s dry they then make the background, if any, then the foreground. Depending on how complex the design is there can be anywhere from 3 to 30 layers of airbrush paint on it!
All of those are very thin, just a spray. Then once it cures they often put a clear coat over the whole thing to protect it and make the colors stand out. For the best type of design it’s worth the time and money to find someone who does it regularly for a living. Getting some guy who airbrushes T shirts will not know about how to paint on leather.
Leather jacket designs can be fully free hand or a mix of free hand and stencils. Mine were all stencils, I can’t even paint a solid background free hand without messing it up! Getting someone who is good at freehand airbrushing will get you a much better looking design, and more unique too. They can pretty much do anything you want them to.
Now, that comes at a price! Mine only cost $25.00 bucks as it came with a new leather jacket they purchased. But most free hand artist will charge from $100.00 to $400.00 bucks for a custom design. That’s more than the leather jacket itself cost most likely. It’s up to you how much the design means to you. A little monogram, eagle or a touch of flames on the sleeves should be much less.
Where do you find good airbrush artist for leather jacket designs? Well I hope to make a list of them soon right in here. In the meantime try looking online for “leather jacket designs” “airbrush artist” “airbrush leather jackets” and so on. So lets say you find a good airbrush artist and get your leather jacket done, how do you care for it?
Well there are a few problems with an airbrushed design. It bonds to the leather a little, but it’s still just paint. So any scratches or nicks will remove the paint. When you clean it, hand wash it with a mild soap and gently wash the surface. Never use any chemicals on it! Taking it to a dry cleaner might ruin the design if they don’t know how to care for one.
Also, the paint and clear coat tends to block any conditioner you put on it to help the leather. So it might start to dry out under the design. However if you had good treated leather to begin with the paint should seal it in and preserve it. The more exposed to sunlight it is, the faster the colors will fade.
If an airbrushed design sounds like too much work, you can also get patches and embossed designs on them. I’ll make a post about each some other time. So I hope that gives you a little insight about getting a leather jacket airbrushed design. Get a good artist, pick out a custom design, and you’ll have a beautiful design on your favorite leather jacket that means so much more to you!