You may or may not have noticed that I’m having a bit of a black glitter moment. I’ve possibly accrued just a few black glitter items at this point, including but not limited to:
There also may or may not be a show coat, horse boots, saddle pad, bridle, etc… all black glitter. I can’t quite explain my attraction to it… it’s dark which I like but it’s a little fun, thus I suppose it appeals to me greatly. It’s already been decided that Presto will run XC in black sparkles – he’s emo, so it works. It pleases me greatly to see just how much black glitter stuff is out there on the market with equestrian items right now. I need moar.
So naturally when I picked up that Custom Wolfgang Solo dressage saddle for a song, because it’s a bit older and faded:
There was only one possible outcome here. Naturally it was a foregone conclusion that it would get a dye job. I’ve dyed 4 or 5 saddles now and the outcome is always deeply deeply pleasing. It’s a fairly easy project given how much of a difference it makes. So I started gathering my supplies, and had the idea to see if I could find a way to glitterize the piping along the back of the saddle. I fell down a very very deep google rabbit hole before deciding to try Glitterlites – a flexible leather paint that has glitter flake in it. I figured worse case scenario it would suck and I’d just remove it with deglazer. No topcoat is permanent, after all. So I ordered the dye and the Glitterlites (I opted to order from Weaver Leather, since they had everything I needed) and started putting together all the rest of my supplies.
I won’t go over the dyeing steps in detail again here, because I’ve covered that before a couple times in previous blogs. Short version is: I wiped down the saddle very well with just water, then scrubbed it a few good times with deglazer. Once I was satisfied that the topcoat was gone, I applied two thin coats of dye, then got to buffing. I touched up the seat and knee rolls (they had the worst fading) with one more thin coat, did more buffing, then let it dry. I opted not to do a sealant on this one, so after the dye coats were complete I conditioned it heavily with a high-beeswax content conditioner (intentionally keeping the conditioner off the parts I was going to add glitter to). I could have just waited until after the glitter was done to condition it, but I was impatient so ya know.
Anyway… here’s some closer shots of the fading it had before.
And here was the final product.
These are the only kind of craft projects I’m interested in.
Anyway, lets skip back to the glitter application.
So the Glitterlites is really just lots of black glitter inside of a clear topcoat. You just… paint it on. I’m a fairly shit painter – my hands are shaky and I’m impatient with crafting stuff in general – so I opted for set of smaller brushes so that I could just go slowly but also get in all the nooks and crannies. Some sites suggested that you lightly sand the surface of the leather first, but 1) I didn’t have sandpaper 2) I didn’t want to risk accidentally sanding other parts, since sanding a little bit of piping is not that easy. I figured meh – we’ll see it what happens – and jumped right into it with reckless abandon (shocking for me, I know).
Because that glitter is in a clear coat, it does go on looking a little scary. Kind of lumpy and white. I opted to do a decently solid coat on a small piece to start with, let it dry to see how it looked, and then adjusted my application process from there. Honestly though, it wasn’t hard. I ended up doing two coats, and then went in and spot filled some areas after I was done with that to make sure I had full and even coverage. I did the piping around the back of the saddle, the little bit around the pommel, and then the really narrow strip on the back of the cantle (with a teeny little paintbrush). And honestly, it came out even better than I expected.
I think it looks freakin gorgeous, and really similar to the glitter accents that Devoucoux offers on their saddles. I think you’d have to get literally inches away to notice that it isn’t quite as smooth a finish as those… and I don’t think anyone would ever guess it was glitter leather paint.
I’m pretty thrilled with how this one came out. I was perhaps a little more impatient with my buffing step than usual so I might need to go back and do a little more rubbing on the knee blocks, but it’s so freakin pretty. It looks twice as expensive just from $15 worth of supplies, and it’s got whole new sparkly glory to it now. We’ll see how the glitter paint holds up over time… so far so good, even when I accidentally banged a stirrup iron into it. It’s meant to be used on leather, hence why it’s flexible, so hopefully it will last decently well. I figure worst case scenario I have to touch it up sometimes, but we shall see.
The only problem is that now I find myself looking at all my stuff with the “but could I put glitter on it???” eye. Nothing in my tack room is safe from Glitterlites. And while they don’t make it in navy, I did find a custom shoe painter that has mixed their own navy by combining the royal and the black. Hide yo kids, hide yo wives, we bout to be glitterizing errything out here.