It doesn't take much to fix leather when you have the right repair kit, filler and dyes. Leather repair kits can work for rips, tears and puncture holes. To repair faded leather, simply redye it with the same color or use a new leather dye product in your chosen color. The type of damage determines whether you need to actually repair the leather or to condition it to remove small abrasions, scratches and fading. To repair cracks, clean and apply a filler before the dye and then apply the sealant.
Repair Holes and Punctures
To repair punctures, tears or holes in leather, you need a kit meant for repairing leather tears. The kit contains all the ingredients you need to patch and cover the tear, rendering it almost invisible to the eye.
Things You'll Need
- Leather repair kit
- Alkaline based dish soap
- Clean, lint-free cloth
- Hair dryer
- Foam sponge
Step 1: Clean the Area
Clean the area around the tear with an alkaline or Castile soap, and then rinse and thoroughly dry it.
Step 2: Cut a Patch
Cut out a patch that fits beneath the tear, and ensure that it spans the tear on all sides inside the hole. Trim away loose threads from the edges of the hole.
Step 3: Glue the Patch
Secure the patch and the leather by applying the adhesive or glue from the kit to the underside of the leather between the patch and the leather. Use the small tool that came with the kit to apply the glue. Press the leather against the patch to ensure the patch sticks to the glued underside.
Step 4: Heat It
Apply the heat from a hair dryer to the glued patch to help make it cure faster. You can also allow it to dry -- at least 20 minutes or so -- on its own.
Step 5: Add the Filler
Dab some of the filler onto the tool or palette knife included with the kit. Cover the patched hole -- after it has dried -- with the filler. Once the filler fills the gap in the leather where the tear was, remove the excess around the hole from the leather. To speed up the drying process, use a hair dryer for about 15 minutes before adding a second coat of filler to the tear.
Step 6: Color It
Mix the color to match the the leather furniture's color, and then add it. Test the color on an inconspicuous area of the leather until you achieve the best color match. Dab the matched color onto the repair with a small foam sponge. Repeat as necessary until the patch is level with the rest of the leather on the furniture.
Step 7: Leather Finish
Apply the leather finish that comes with the kit over the newly repaired hole to seal the patch in place.
Wear, Peeling, Cracking and Color Fade
Lightly tweeze peeling fragments on bi-cast -- a polyurethane-type finish on cowhide -- or bonded leather to remove loose fragments and bits. Clean the area with a leather cleaning product. Lightly sand the peeled area. Remove any lifted pieces caused by sanding with the tweezers. Use a sponge to rub the dye matched to the color of the leather furniture onto the peeled area. Let it dry to the touch before applying a second coat of color. You may need to add four coats of color before letting it dry and applying the sealing finish to the item. You can use a hair dryer to speed drying along.
Leather furniture rife with cracks requires you to clean, dry, lightly sand and apply a leather filler over all the cracks. Allow the leather cleaner to thoroughly soak into the furniture before wiping it clean with a damp, lint-free cloth. Let it dry overnight before proceeding, as the leather hide must be thoroughly dry in the cracked areas.
Lightly sand the cracked areas to create a surface the filler can bond to. Remove the dust and debris with a dampened cloth. Once the area is dry, apply the filler to the cracks, drying between coats until the area with the cracks is even with the rest of the leather. Apply the color-matched dye, in as many coats as needed. Let it dry, and apply the leather sealant finish.
The steps to repairing cracked leather are similar to repairing holes, but without using glue and patches.
Simply clean faded leather using a leather cleaning product. Let it dry, and then cover it with a coat of dye -- apply the dye to the entire surface of the leather furniture piece. Use the foam applicator, a sponge or a rag to apply the dye. Let it dry, as recommended by the product label, before applying the finish coat.