Embossing Leather is a great way of adding texture and interest to any project. With the wide range of different types of Embossed Leather you can really make a bold statement. A lot of people have started mixing embossed leather with traditional style furniture frames to create beautiful contemporary spins on classic pieces. There are a few important things to keep in mind though when using embossed hides.
The Embossing process consists of stamping leather with a large metal die. These die are approximately 30″x30″ in size, but will vary. Most Embossed leather is embossed on the half hide. Half hides are split down the spine, so the hides are on average 20-25sqft in size and tend to be about 30-40″ at their widest point. There are some patterns that are able to be stamped on a full hide but the process is far better suited to half hides.
The size of the die and the usage of half hides has an impact on the end use of the leather. Some patterns are very easy to repeat and a good embosser will be able to line the patterns up seamlessly. Some patterns, however, are very difficult to match up. On these hides you will clearly see the join which will have a big impact on how you can use the leather. Basket Weaves are a prime example of this, the pattern is pulling the leather in many different directions so it can be very hard to line up the pattern. The result is a hide that has a “paneled” appearance to it. This will restrict the size of panel you are able to cut from the hide.
One of the other things that it is important to keep in mind with Embossed Leather is that on patterns like Croc you can have a tight repeat. This can create a very busy material. It is important to see if you can see a larger swatch or image of the Embossed pattern as the combination of the repeat with the 3D texture of the Embossed leather can become a distraction in larger panels. The repeat with Embossed leather is really important as unlike other materials leather is a natural product and the hide is an irregular shape. So unlike fabric where you have a standard width to work with, with an Embossed hide you are limited by the shape of the hide as well as the repeat.
Some of the most common uses for Embossed Leather are in accent pieces such as occasional chairs, cubes, ottomans and pillows. Some other interesting applications are headboards, cladding furniture such as desks and tables, and even floor and wall tiles. It is important to know the kind of usage a piece will get as Embossed Leather will ware different than standard upholstery leather. With some Embossed leather if you pull the hide too tight when upholstering you can pull the emboss out of the leather. With a lot of Embossed Leather the accent colours are hand tipped in, so these colours can rub off over time which will change the look and appearance of the piece.