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December 4, 2018

Product

The Art Of Watching Paint Dry: Hand-Dipped Wallets

Product

December 4, 2018

When you think of the term “hand-dipped,” visions of ice cream cones in the sweltering days of summer may come to mind, but here at Shinola, it means something a little different.

Matthew L., an artisan working out of our leather studio, spent weeks hand dipping wallets to achieve a two-toned aesthetic. 

The wallets are available at eight stores: Canfield, Woodward, Somerset, Rush Street, Tribeca, Grove, Venice and San Francisco. 

Check out what he had to say about the process below:

How does this process work? 
I’ll receive different colors of wallets with an assigned color to dip them in. I’ll fill up this vat with as much paint as I need to get the part I need to hit. Then I dip it into the paint until it touches the bottom of the vat, pull it out and make sure the paint drips and evens out in a way that’s smooth and looks nice.

What kind of paint is used? 
Leather paint, it’s the same paint we use for the watch strap edges.  

Is there a special technique? 
It’s a case by case basis, you feel it out and make sure you’re looking at every surface as you’re tilting it to make sure it’s all even and smooth. It’s mostly just tilting back and forth and keeping it at an angle to make sure it doesn’t all sit in one place

How long does each wallet take to dry?
It takes about 15 to 20 minutes for each wallet to dry.

Are certain wallets harder to dip?
They’re all pretty similar. The more suede texture is a little different to work with because it soaks up so much more. Red is a really thin color, so you have to coat the wallet more. Black is a little more full coverage.

What’s the hardest part about this process?
The dipping is the easy part, it’s mostly the waiting process and making sure it dries and doesn’t look too wonky. But part of the beauty is the imperfections, each one is slightly different. 

What’s the best part about the process?
I like dipping, I like getting my hands dirty—generally that’s pretty fun.  It’s kind of meditative, you’re literally watching paint dry. 

What do you want customers to know about these wallets?
I guess that it’s not a completely mechanized process, that it’s done by a person and that each are a little different.  

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