One thing that I had always avoided in the leather section of a craft store was the grab bag-like “trim pack” that they offer for you to buy. Usually, these bags are stuffed down near floor-level and are tossed around every which way, in the wrong basket and with the wrong pricing, of course. I’ve avoided these because hanging nicely on the wall right above them are perfectly squared off pieces of leather that you can look at and inspect before you buy. After all, that’s the point of a grab bag: You never know what you’re gonna get!
However, yesterday I decided to get adventurous. These bags, or “trim packs” as Tandy Leather likes to call them, come in three different grades of leather and basically contain scraps left over from when they’re done with projects at the factory. So there’s no guarantee as to what’s in the bag, though you can stand there in the aisle all you want trying to move the leather scraps around in the bag to see what’s really in there (or, if you’re like some people, you can just open the bag and see what’s inside and steal the scraps you like, but The Paladin Project in no way shape or form encourages this practice).
Anyway, as I was saying, these bags come in three different grades of leather: Suede, Premium leather (ie, leather, but the thinner stuff), and Latigo (which is the thick, armor grade leather). The suede-filled bag seems a little bit on the empty side to me, however. And the latigo bag normally seems to feature only one good sized piece of latigo leather and the rest of the scraps come in the form of “laces”. However, the premium leather bags are very well-filled, and premium leather isn’t that bad a grade for crafting purposes, either.
So while searching through those bags, I was actually drawn in by the presence of a basket weave tooled piece of chestnut leather, which makes the piece look like it was woven. In another bag, I was drawn in by the presence of a rather large piece of dark brown leather, which immediately screamed “Ari’s New Belt Bag” to me. So, I decided to bite the bullet and buy both bags (Bite the bullet is a bit of a strong phrase. A bag of leather scraps is actually cheaper than buying a single piece of squared off leather from the rack. Plus, I had an AC Moore coupon for 50% off, which I then could use at Michaels because they take competitor’s coupons, fyi)
Bringing the bags home and opening them, I found, was like unwrapping a Christmas present. My heart was pounding at each new scrap of leather I came across in each of the two bags. And it was quite a variety! Not only was there the basket weave leather and the dark brown, but also some blue and yellow leather scraps as well as a huge piece of charcoal gray which is absolutely lovely. I was also particularly fond of the metallic, cherry red I came across (and might find a way to incorporate into the Steampunk Arm). No, none of the scraps are perfect. And they’re all strange sizes. However, it’s still a really good deal on leather for the price. And it also provides me with a few extra pieces to try new techniques on before I begin a new project, so that I’m not destroying a major piece.
So, Tandy Leather’s grab-bag of leather scraps? The Paladin Project approves!
(Oh, and my room just smells DELICIOUSLY of leather at this point, too…)