Home Improvement

Building of color Tan in leather, all that you need to know

Photo of author

By Kaleem Ullah

Tan is essentially an earth tone. It falls under the family of Brown color.  Alike other earth tones, Tan colour definitely gives away a positive vibe, following with warmth and surety. 

Tan is neither a primary or secondary color. This color is considered to be neutral therefore can be paired with anything. The hex code for a color tan is #D2B48C. 

How to make color tan at home for beginners?

 If you’re using acrylic or other paint mediums then add 15% Blue, 55% red, 30% yellow and use white moderately. 

Evidently tan comes off as a mixture of either orange or yellow with brown as the primary hue. Avoiding white/red can help you achieve variations in tan. 

There isn’t only one shade to Tan so don’t be afraid to experiment with burnt sienna instead of red, or Prussian blue instead of cobalt. 

Nevertheless, Tan is a very unique color that for centuries has been used in many fields which will be discussed in this article. 

Tanning of Leather  


The English word Tanning was derived from the Latin word tannum meaning oak bark. 

Most ancient civilizations produced and utilised leather for harnesses, armor, and sandals. Around 7000 and 3300 BCE this incredibly complex procedure was being carried out by natives in Mehrgarh now in Pakistan. 

Our ancestors mainly used vegetable tanning to achieve the ideal color of the leather. Primal tanning techniques release harsh odors ( odoriferous trade ) which were mostly handled out to the rural inhabitants. 

The century-old method before tanning a leather consists of dehairing, degreasing and desalting each animal hide.   Commonly in the tanning process they used an acidic compound called tannin extracted from bark of specific trees. 

Beamhouse Operation in steps – 

# Soaking                                # Bating 

-# Liming                                  # Drenching 

-# Deliming                             # Pickling 


Types of Leather Tanning : 

# Chrome tanning – this method of tanning was developed around 1800’s, in this process people of the tannery uses chromium ( III ) salts as substitute to natural tannin. It is most commonly used because of how rapid the process becomes. Not only this but chromium is also used for the stabilizing the leather while cross linking the collagen. 

# Vegetable tanning – this method of tanning was developed in 400 BCE, it uses only organically available tanning agents and not mineral or synthetic based chemicals. Due to the usage of vegetable tanning agents the hide becomes less water soluble and more resistant to bacterial onset. Hence the leather becomes really flexible. In third world countries like Yemen and Egypt they soak the animal hides in a bath filled with crushed leaves and Salam Acacia

# Tawing – this method was used by ancient Mesopotamians around 1600 BCE. The tanneries used no chemical/organic tannins to stabilize leather. Instead, they used alum or aluminum salts altogether with binders such as egg yolk, flour etc explicitly between 20 and 30 °C.  


How & Why does Leather naturally get a tan colour? 

The fundamental tint that any leather aquires is highly dependable on it’s tanning agents. Undyed leather under primitive tanning gets a light tan color. 

Only through vegetable tanning can we naturally obtain a tan tint. Vegetable tannins mature into a light brownish tinge as known as tan, over longer periods of usage will form a patina and naturally darken the leather giving it a vintage aesthetic. 

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