After tooling done, I put the leather in the sink and filled about an inch or so with hot water. I then boiled up three pots of water and added that as well. Let it soak for about 15 minutes.
I'm not ashamed to say that I garbage pick. Yup, in addition to garage sale shopping and thrift store browsing I am known to drive up and down looking in trash on occasion. I found this one on the way home from dropping the kids off at the bus in the morning. An appartment building must have been getting a new kitchen. They had some old cabinets and old counters on the street. They also had this one. This was a brand new counter top. This is only a small chunk of it. Looks like it was supposed to be the corner piece and it was cut wrong and tossed out. Brand new, no scratches or anything. I quickly grabbed it. I chopped it into three pieces. I use this as the base when tooling or cutting. Very very hard stuff too! You can also see the leather tooling set of tools that I made for another project. All made from nails and chunks of old metal I had in the garage.
After the leather was sufficiently soaked and floppy as a wet noodle I place it on the head. I stretched it a bit to fit the crown better and found that I had no problem at all getting the piece into position as I had hoped. Pinned all the pieces into place. As you can see now I planned on twisting all the fringes up. Having them cut in wiggly shapes helped make them into odd streaming fringes as I had hoped.
Was a bit worried if this piece would dry and harden the way I had pinned it. Let it dry for a little over a day and this is what it looked like.
Ready for the next step I removed all the pins and found the shape rather stiff. Not quite as hard as I was hoping but I think I will wet it slightly again and then bake this part. Held up really well though. Not sure what will happen when I apply the paint. Will have to be sure not to wet it too much. I'm thinking that I'll coat it with a few layers of glare before painting so that way any pores which would soften with the wet paint will be filled with glare.