How to Dye Leather a Different Color

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Change the color of your leather clothes.
Change the color of your leather clothes. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Dyeing different leathers produces different results. As leather is a product of nature and comes from an animal, it follows that no two animals are the same and no two leathers will accept dye the same. You may be tired of the color of your leather chair, have purchased a car with distasteful leather interior or have decided that your leather jacket could do with a splash of color. Follow a few simple steps and enjoy leather that is personalized to your style.

Things You'll Need

  • Sponge brush
  • Damp rag
  • Water-based leather pigment dye
  • Leather top coat
  • Rubber gloves

Choose your dye. Water-based pigment dye is widely available from craft stores in a range of colors. Use the color chart as a guide only because once the dye is used on your particular piece of leather, the results are rarely an accurate match to the chart.

Test a piece of the leather first to ensure that the desired color is obtained before dying the whole item. Follow these instructions for the test piece first and then once satisfied, follow them for the whole item.

Apply a leather deglazer, by pouring a little onto a damp rag and rubbing it onto the leather. This removes the protective surface that was applied at the time of manufacture. In addition, dirt build up over time or protectors and conditioners that the leather has been treated with need to be removed. The deglazer leaves the leather with a clean surface ready for dyeing. Stop rubbing when all the dirt and finishes are removed from the leather.

Mix colors of dye if you cannot find the shade you want. Use white to lighten the mix and black to darken it. Add dye to an old plastic container using a spoon and mix well with a stick.

Prepare the dye. If you have not mixed your own colors, shake the tub or bottle well and stir with a stick. This mixes in pigments that have sunken to the bottom.

Put some dye onto a sponge brush (this resembles a wedge of sponge attached to a handle). Apply the dye evenly to the leather until it is covered. Allow it to dry. Apply a second coat of leather dye if required. Leave it to dry.

Apply a top coat to the leather. This can be purchased in matte, satin and gloss finishes. It gives you the desired finish while protecting the leather. Apply with a clean sponge brush and leave it to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Cover surfaces with newspapers to prevent accidents. Wear rubber cloves to prevent staining your hands.

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