How to Frame a Painting on Leather

Just Hanging Around

Grumbler in Training
Jan 19, 2006
West Virginia
Is a painting on leather treated just like mounting a canvas on stretcher bars? Can it be stretched and stapled? Does the leather have to be treated with anything first? I have a customer coming tomorrow and would appreciate any information as quick as possible. Thanks
I did a very old leather piece using Mylar-D. I would not recommend putting any holes into it.

I laid the leather on the bottom mat. Then I cut a double mat (needed for extra strength and support) at least 3 inches. I taped the mylar over the leather, putting the tape just under the edges of my cut mat. I pulled the Mylar as tight as I could as this is what will hold the leather in place. Oh, my cut mats were about 3/4" away from the edge of the leather, that made my tape no more than 1 inch from the leather. Then I taped the top mat down to the mylar. Everything is held in place by pressure.

Because there is such a small space between the leather and the double mat, it should stay in place. We banged it around pretty good to see if it would stay there and it did.

Good luck, it should be a fun project.
See how much unpainted margins you have to play with, if the whole thing is painted to the edge it will be tricky.

Assuming it's not and you have a nice 2" margin of virgin leather around it...............

Why treat it different to something on fabric?
Isn't there an issue with the buffering in the mat board when framing an animal product? I just got one in today, from Ethiopia, and I chose the Crescent 1182 from the Rag Mat Museum Solids line. I picked from that group because it did not say buffered on the back.

Did I pick the correct type?

What type of tape can I use to hinge this puppy?
Un-buffered mats are always the safe choice when framing organic things that may be alkaline-sensitive.

I don't think we don't know enough to give concrete advice on mounting for this job, but hinging may not be my first choice. Starch paste would be the safest adhesive, but it may not stick to leather that has oil content.

How thick is the leather? Does it have texture? What kind of paint and/or other media have been applied to the skin? Does it have an irregular shape, or is it neatly cut? Are thre edges to show, or be covered by the window mat? Is it flat, or wavy/cockled?

For a typical leather of up to, say, 16 x 20, I would consider using a fine mesh fabric overlay mount. That is, prepare a mount board covered with a few layers of polyfill and a fabric background. Lay the artwork on it and then wrap it in Stabilitex or Crepeline. The polyfill provides a slight tension to make the assembly slightly rounded, helping to hold it in place.
Is it tanned or raw hide? As Jim noted, there
are many critical factors one would need to know
about before working out a support strategy. One
could attach heavy weight Japanese tissue to the
margins of the hide, all the way around and attach
the other side of the hinges to a strong backinb
pannel, to maintain the shape of the skin. Without more data, it is hard to know what will
work best for this piece.