Picture it: You’ve fallen in love with the perfect leather jacket online, or found the comfiest pair of leather boots on the high street only to find when you get home, they’re the wrong color.
Leather these days comes in just about any color, but most often in a million shades of brown. Meaning, unless you bring your whole wardrobe to the shops with you, you can easily buy a new boot or jacket that’s not quite the right color.
Luckily, there is a solution. And all it takes a little craftiness and a lot of confidence in your own abilities. Alternatively, you can always rope someone else in for the job, so that if it goes wrong, they’re to blame …
Leather Dye vs. Leather Paint
There’s a significant difference between leather paint and dye. While paints are great for decorating garments, dye sinks into the fibers for a more permanent color. If you’re just wanting to change the whole color of the jacket, dye is the way to go. That said, if you want to create an intricate pattern, seek out the best leather paint option.
Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that you won’t be able to dye a color lighter. Black or dark brown leather won’t magically become tan …
Dyeing Leather: What You Will Need
As with any dye, you need to make sure you always use rubber gloves. You’ll also need to cover the area you’ll be dyeing in with newspaper or plastic. Of course, you will need your choice of leather dye, as well as a dye preparer and some brushes or daubers. To seal everything in, you’ll also need a sealant.
Step 1: Prepare the leather
A dye preparer will help you to remove the existing finish on the leather. Saturate a rag or cloth and rub against the leather in a circular motion till the shine becomes a little duller. You’ll then need to leave the leather to dry. Once that’s done, take a good look at the garment to see where scuffs or cracks are appearing. You can fix these with sandpaper. If the cracks are too deep, a neutral-colored dye will help seal them before you use the real color.
Finally, using a spray bottle of water, lightly dampen the leather. If you’re dyeing shoes or boots, stuff the toes with newspaper to create a smoother surface to work with.
Step 2: Dyeing the leather
Use a rag to apply the dye. For larger projects, you may what to invest in a spray gun to apply the dye quickly and evenly.
Before doing a second coat, wait for the leather to fully dry. While drying, make sure to flex the leather from time to time so that the fibers stay separate and loose rather than clumping together. This will help make sure your garment stays soft.
Step 3: Seal the leather
Use a leather sealant by applying it to the garment or shoe with a damp sponge. For the best results, apply 1-2 coats. Once dry, suit up and enjoy your new look!