Reconstruct the past in real leather with Skelosaurz! The dinosaur skeleton kits brought back to life with primal skills & water!
About this project
PRIMEVAL ART HAS EVOLVED
It’s tiny dinos skeleton sculpture! Have a blast from the past building your own leather dinosaur toys! Piece together and form pre-cut, miniature dinosaur bones to make your own little fossilized buddies…
Skelosaurz are natural toys, designed by award-winning and published leather artist, Janelle Becker, who specializes in kinetic, skeletal sculpture and has worked with leather design for over a decade.
Made of durable, high quality leather, these little dinos teach the basics of leather wet forming while giving the reward of a toy! These poseable, paleo-art models can be personalized in a variety of ways and your Skelosaurz can be built into a miniature museum!
“All you need to make them is water. I use a vegetable tanned leather that’s easy to form by hand, but also remains durable once the figures have dried into shape.”
These prehistoric leathercrafting kits include instructions, metal fasteners, wooden clips and a forming stick, which help to shape individual leather pieces as well as allowing detail to be drawn on them like cracks in the bone, making for a great fossilized look! Skelosaurz can additionally be tooled (meaning carved into for extra detail). Each comes with its own natural cork stand for display and these mini dinos can be painted, dyed or even colored with markers to become a fun, lasting heirloom toy for you and your family to enjoy!
“The idea is to make these leather kits into a reality.”
We’ve exhibited Skelosaurz at The Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo and held a test workshop at the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show, where the mini dinos enjoyed a successful class, but they’re still in the prototype phase. In order to get beyond that, we need to have the financial support that will allow us to manufacture easy-to-use consumer kits with high quality leather to share with everyone who wants to build their own dinosaur menagerie.
How it’s done…
While the original prototypes were cut and built by hand, in order to make enough tiny dinos for everyone to enjoy, we plan on utilizing powerful lasers to cut out their shapes. By being able to have our own efficient, cutting machine to dedicate fully towards manufacturing our dinosaur kits, rather than outsourcing them like we have for past workshop models, we’ll be able to lower their cost. The resulting effort allows us to spend more time on new designs and have plenty of ready-to-build models made for you!
Leather is such an amazing material; being strong and malleable at the same time. You can stretch it considerably with the help of water and once it dries, it will keep its form. Leather is also able to retain various levels of flexibility, depending on how it’s treated. Water based paints and dyes can keep that bendiness to it while alcohol based dyes will give you a stiffer result. You can also leave formed leather in its natural color, allowing the oils from the tanning process to glow through!
As a leather artist, experimenting with shaping and pressure was my first step in learning leather working. The kit’s wooden forming tool assists in stretching the nose into shape as well as making indentations onto the damp leather surface. Marks are best made once the form is firmly shaped and nearly dry. It’s a great way to play with building depth and design on your dino!
Another common method for marking involves cutting into the surface slightly. If you have a swivel knife, it’s fun to pre-draw on features like cracks in the bone and then you can cut over them while they’re still flat but wet. Once you form them, the cracks really show up and it gives a nice fossilized look for a little leather toy.
It’s really fun to sort of personalize these guys however you want. They’re totally toolable for experienced leather artists and a great introduction to others who haven’t worked with leather before!
From concept to finalized figures, Skelosaurz has had roughly three and a half years in the making and all that time spent has led to a more refined and efficient way of producing them. There’s been a lot of effort put into their instructions, keeping in mind that they should be simple to assemble with limited tools. This way, anyone can build Skelosaurz from what’s in the package, and some water.
“I think it’s important to have natural toys around at this point in time, but it’s cool that these can also serve as an introduction to an entire skill set that can last a lifetime.”
A new experience in art toys & an ancient craft for a new generation…
Sustainable, safe materials for an eco-conscious world.
- Vegetable tanned leather is a tanning process that uses vegetable oils versus toxic chemicals to tan a hide. For example, chrome tanning makes for an inexpensive alternative; but while being quick to mass produce, it’s known to have a heavy negative impact on the environment, degrade quicker and overall lacks the warmth and natural tanned scent expected from a nice leather hide. Vegetable tanned leather takes quite a long time to tan in comparison and is more costly but leads to a higher quality leather that is stronger, safer, better accepting of dyes and is longer-lasting.
- We only use real, full grain leather hides, the highest quality of leather and the preferred grade for tooling. None of the faux alternatives such as naugahyde, which is generally coated in rubber or vinyl resin, or bonded leather, a glued together scrap which has been resurfaced and has a weak, easily degradable structure.
- H20-forming requires no added chemicals. This means that it would be okay, though unfortunate for the Skelosaur, if your pet got ahold of a raw scrap to chew on!
- All leather used is a natural byproduct of the food industry which allows for less waste in bovine processing. It’s good to use every part of the animal that we can, especially when it comes from our own livestock.
- Natural-grain cork is used as a base for all of our mini dinos. It’s a high quality, lightweight material made from the Cork Oak; the only tree with bark that can be harvested many times without damage to the tree itself. It’s also an attractive, porous material that takes on color well if you should choose to paint or dye it!
Skelosaurz leather H20-forming kits
Skelosaurz constructed leather models
Kickstarter exclusives & limited editions..
Stretch Goal Skelosaurz Buried Rewardz!
Ichthyosaur is super cute and ready to make a splash! Ichthy’s ready to be uncovered if Skelosaurz reaches its funding goal of $18,500!
Monstrous Mosasaur might be lurking in the depths below! Mosa is ready to be uncovered if Skelosaurz reaches the funding goal of $20,000!
*Measurements are based on formed and posed models.
Being an organic material, leather can have minor variances in width and grain, as well as how it takes on dye after being tanned. All hides are hand sorted meticulously for the best quality leather, yet small scars from bug bites or scratches is not uncommon to find on a cow hide and is a result of everyday life lived outdoors. A great trait of leather is that it can always look better with wear. Each model art figure will be slightly different in this way, adding to its character, natural beauty and thereby resulting in no identical reproductions. Every Skelosaur is managed with care and will be regarded as your own.
Your support will help us to make Skelosaurz happen and bring a primeval art into a new age of toys! Here’s how we plan to utilize funding:
The ancient craft of leather working goes back to the dawn of man and has helped us to survive as a species. It’s an art where respect is important to keep in mind while working with the hide of an animal. Over time, this primeval skill will hopefully never be lost to us, so learn a bit of our ancestors art and get ready to build a little fossil friend today!
Risks and challenges
We’ll be working hard to bring Skelosaurz to everybody who contributes as quickly as possible so we can show our thanks for your support! The plan following the funding of the campaign will be to get our materials of natural vegetable-tanned leather (the highest quality of tanned, durable leather using safe, natural tanning agents) and to swiftly start the manufacturing process of cutting out all our little dinosaurs. Then they’ll each be carefully inspected and placed into their kits or built into colorful ready-to-roam the Earth again buddies to be shipped to all of you!
We expect a 6 to 12 month delivery time from the end of the funding period to cover any potential delays in manufacturing such as setting up the laser for cutting or in obtaining our quality leather hides from our preferred tanneries. Not to mention that every assembled Skelosaur will be hand-built and tooled by the artist, so it’s worth the wait to have each model made with care. All in all, you can expect us to put in the extra effort to get your Skelosaurz to you despite any setbacks we may face; we will keep you up to date so they certainly won’t be going extinct!