Laser Thursday: Keychains Galore

This week, Nick and Shell recommended some great keychain projects for us to try. My husband just became a property manager and is quite serious about his mega collection of keys, so it seemed like a fitting gift for him. I bought a few icon illustrations from The Noun Project and was especially delighted with how well the turntable and ferry etched into the leather.

For scale, the big orange key is bout 4" long.


They did turn out nice!

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Looks great! Can I ask if this is veg-tanned leather, and was it white before you did the laser etching? Is it Proofgrade?


Is there anyway to “seal” leather after laser engraving. I did some veg tan leather but I get the “char” smudging on my hands if I handle or rub it. Is there any way to limit or prevent this by sealing it in some way?


Good question I would like to know as well.
Maybe it doesn’t do that at a different rate or something?

If it transfers so easily, I would think brushing with a soft brush would loosen and remove residual char.

Yes, it’s a very soft, thin, and strong vegetable tanned “kip” leather.

The laser process doesn’t change the color (other than where engraved) - it comes a very light khaki type color. It dyes extremely well, too.

Beta - we test materials quite a bit to get the right properties, as well as to ensure that we can source it consistently without them changing formulation on us. This is a material we’re experimenting with but may not be final.

One technique I’ve used is to rub it with leather oil before. Then any discoloration comes right off.


Oiling leather is a great way to protect it from future diacoloring from moisture or grime. There are a few different products out there that can help - dyes, sealants, waxes and oils.

Older products were very effective but could be toxic and problematic for disposal. I’ve used Tandy Leather Factory “Eco-Flo” in various colors. Wear gloves though, these products are designed to stain skin. I’m also a fan of their “Super Shene” product to retain the original leather color and seal the leather (don’t let it freeze though! I killed a whole bottle by storing it in the garage one winter), it’s easy to clean up and doesn’t stain my skin. Neatsfoot oil is a must for leathers that are going to be seeing the weather.

Leather edges need different protection than the hair side (the shiny smooth side that would have been the very external layer of skin) of the leather: when I first started leather working I spent hours on one project, only to have the leather start a small tear at an edge that grew to ruin all my effort. This was nice thick 12oz. leather. I quickly learned the value of finishing edges, either by heavy burnishing (I used gum tragacanth or even spit and rubbed it until it was smooth with a piece of hardwood), Fiebing’s Edge Kote, or even latex paint.

Find a local leather craft store- they are almost always friendly and willing to advise and share their experience. They may even have sample products or open work hours and work tables where you can finish your projects in store and get advice along the way.

Sorry, sounds like an advertisement. Just sharing what I’ve found has worked for me.


Good advice - we use neatsfoot oil, too.

Thanks for the info - i’ll stop at Tandy Leather down the street on Monday ( was kind of planning anyways )- but asked as well in the forum due to the unbelievable extent of informational wealth that can be obtained here!

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