How to Care for Your Hair-on Hide Rug

You did it, you pulled the trigger and purchased that beautiful hair-on hide rug you’d been eyeing for months! They’re gorgeous, and a great centerpiece to any room in the household. But…like anything we walk on in our house, cowhide rugs demand general maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape. Not only is this a pricey investment, but if taken care of correctly it’s something you can pass on to your kids and grandkids. These rugs are very durable and have a lot of misconceptions about their care. They really aren’t that needy, and no you won’t have to run your lint roller over it every night. Here’s a few tips and tricks for your new hairy friend.

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How do I clean my hair-on cowhide rug?

If you wish to vacuum your rug, we suggest either using a robotic vacuum (like a Roomba) or putting your traditional vacuum on the lowest setting, and then gently vacuuming from the center out, careful not to get the ends of the rug caught in the brush. An alternative to vacuuming is to take the rug outside and beat it to clear dust and dirt the old-fashioned way.  

But, what about spills? While hair-on cowhide rugs are naturally resistant to stains, it is important to act quickly if you spill something that can risk leaving a permanent mark. If the stain is liquid, carefully clean it with a little water and a damp paper towel or sponge, being careful not to rub the stain or water into the rug, as liquids can get trapped underneath and cause problems later. For pet stains, follow this procedure but add an additional step of taking some vinegar or mild soap to the stain. Most methods that you use to clean your own hair will work on these rugs as long as you care to not let the water seep in. If the stain is oily and the above process does not work, you can also use eucalyptus oil to help lift the stain before rinsing it again. And finally…for food stains or stains that have particles in them, it’s important to scrape up the particles first, going with the grain of the hair as you do. Then you follow the previous steps to finish the cleaning.  

If none of the above helps remove stains from your rug, it’s best to look into a professional cleaning service to come to the rescue!

Now that basic cleaning is done, what do I do if my cowhide rug is curling on the sides? This usually tends to happen when the thinner sides of the hide have been exposed to too much heat. In this case, it’s best to remove it and store it in a cooler room or remove it from direct sunlight to give it time to uncurl. When you need to store your rug away for a time, it’s best to roll it up instead of folding to avoid creasing, and to store it in a box in a cool, dark place that stays dry.

Now you know how to care for your gorgeous rug!  

Getting Started with Denny

We’ve told you before that Denny teaches short classes on Friday mornings for the members of our staff that don’t get to make cool leather products daily. A few weeks ago, he taught some members of our marketing and e-commerce team how to make their first stamped projects. Today, we present to you this simple craft that Denny was able to teach several rambunctious ladies in about 45 minutes. 

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The craft in question are coasters made with just a few simple stamps and pre-cut circles. The student pictured went off-book and used a tap-off pattern, which you can read all about in this blog post


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What You’ll Need: 


The Process

This project is simple! You can have your first stamped coaster complete in a matter of minutes. 

Step 1 – Wet the Leather 

How much water to use is just one of those things you have to try out for yourself, but less is more in the beginning. We recommend using a spray bottle to get even and light coverage. Try a little water, wait a few minutes and see if the leather is soft enough to make an easy impression – if you have scrap leather of a similar weight, it should work well for testing. 

Step 2 – Set the stage 

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Use winged dividers or a compass to create a line around the perimeter of the circle. Make this circle go in as far as you’d like – we stuck to about 1/4″. 

Then, place your ruler in the center of the circle. Use your ball point stylus to make a light impression down the center of the circle from one end of your newly marked circle to about ¾ of the way down. If you end up taking the line all the way to the end, it shouldn’t make a big difference as it’ll be covered up in subsequent steps. 

Step 3 – Stamp away 

Grab a patterned stamping tool of your choice and start somewhere near the center of your circle taking care to align your tool with the center line. Use this tool repeatedly to obtain the desired pattern. Test this out on a scrap piece of leather if you have one! It’ll help you get the alignment right and help you with things like a basket weave tool which requires rotation. 

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Denny is breaking the rules here and starting near the edge, but he’s an expert and knows how far to keep it away from the edge. You are free to try this method too, we just don’t recommend it for your first time. 

Repeat your stamping steps and lean your tool to the side when you get near edges to get a faded effect. You want to leave some space between the ends of your stamping and the line you made with your winged divider in step two. This will allow your border tool to make clean impressions that won’t cover all of your awesome stamping work. 

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Here is one of Denny’s coasters. Notice how the faded-out the edges of his design allowed the border stamp to come in seamlessly. 

It doesn’t totally ruin it if you go to close to the edge but it looks a lot cleaner to fade the edges out.

Step 4 – Decorate that borderline 

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Here’s one a class member made. Inconsistent spacing and running over the original stamped design because it was brought all the way to the edge.

Take your camouflage or border stamping tool and line it up with the guide you created in step two with the winged divider. Repeat the pattern along the edge until it’s complete. You may want to practice how you will line these stamps up as that can get a little messy too – check out the image above to see what we mean. 

Step 5 – Have fun with it! 

You can leave the coasters as they are and allow the environment to have its way with your work or you can color/seal it. We didn’t do the coloring and sealing in the class, but that doesn’t mean we can’t tell you how. 😉 

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We recommend using dye or antique paste if you’re going for a uniform and classic look. For those of you who want a bit more color and design, we recommend using some paint like Angelus acrylic paint

You can use any finisher you prefer, but we recommend Master’s Quick Shine – it has a glossy, long-lasting finish that dries quickly and won’t bulk up your project. 

Step 6 – Bask your own glory

For you are done! It may not look perfect, but it was made by you and we’re sure there are plenty of cups that would be honored to rest upon your coaster, even if it looks like this…

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We hope you enjoyed that simple little lesson. We sure did! We love learning at SLC and there is always something new to pick up. If you have any tips, tricks or suggestions to add, feel free to let us know! Did you try this project? Please do show us here on Tumblr or share it with us on Facebook and/or Instagram. Until next time!