Stretching Leather

For some projects you may need to stretch to fit, what I mean by this is that leather will naturally stretch over time so an item that fits everything perfectly on the day bought may be a little loose for its intended purpose in a few month/years. To combat this I may occasionally make a project a little tight so that when it stretches everything will fit perfectly.

Stretching leather may sound scary but the process is quite simple, there are two ways to stretch leather, the first one is a dry stretch and the second a wet stretch. here’s how to do both:

Dry Stretch

To dry stretch an item is really easy, first get all the items you want to fit in your leather product together, decide which piece will fit in which part, test it out and try and fit all your stuff in the spots you chose and see which parts of your leather are good and which will need to be stretched. Next wrap your items that will fit in the spots that need to be stretched in plastic wrap and force them into their designated spots, for a tight fit use only the item you want to fit; For a looser fit add a few extra layers of saran wrap around your items, or for things like a wallet add an extra card to the slots! once you have your item all stuffed leave it full for 24-48 hrs. At the end of the 24-48 hrs remove all of the saran wrapped items from your leather product and condition your leather. It should now be stretched to fit your items! if it has not stretched to your satisfaction, you can try dry stretching it again as many times as you want OR try wet stretching.

Wet Stretch

Wet stretching your leather is a lot harder on your leather, as such I only suggest doing this method once or twice to avoid damaging your leather. done properly you should only need to wet stretch your leather once. I usually suggest a Wet stretch for things like rings or small pieces of jewelry that are to be worn. To do this all you have to do us soak your piece until it is completely saturated in warm water and then wear it or fill it and leave it until completely dried (for water sensitive items you can wrap them in saran wrap before stuffing them into your wet leather item.). It usually takes about 24-48 hrs for small items although it can take longer for larger items.

The main thing to be very careful with when when wet stretching your leather is to let it air dry on its own. Do not put it in direct sunlight, by a heater, in the dryer or in front of a fan. it must dry completely on its own. Once it feels completely dry (even on the inside) I would let it sit for another couple of hours and then condition it thoroughly.

It is supper important that you replace any oils lost during this process to keep your leather strong and flexible. But it is also important that your leather is totally dry to avoid trapping any moisture inside your leather which may cause it to mold.

Depending on the type of leather you have you may notice some stiffness in your item after wet stretching it, this is normal just work a conditioner into the grain trying no to deform it to much which can cause it to crack if it is deformed before it has the chance to absorb the conditioner. I suggest conditioning it completely waiting for it to dry and then reconditioning it again if you have wet stretched your leather.

And that’s all there is to it!

Those are the two easiest ways to stretch you leather, both have there pros and cons, dry stretching is safer but it may take a lot longer to get the results you want. Wet stretching is works almost immediately but is harder on your leather! if you are wondering which method you should use, send me a message and I can let you know which method if any any I would use!

Remember that your leather will stretch on its own over time, for certain items I wouldn’t suggest stretching them at all as over time you will find that they are perfectly stretched just after everyday use.