No matter what you’re planning to do to alter your leather, always start by cleaning it. Whether you’re going to paint it, emboss it, treat it for scratches or even shrink it, make sure that your leather is free of dust or any other stains in order to get the perfect outcome. As a result of frequent use, it is natural for your leather to fade after a while. It can actually make your leather accessory look entirely different. The intensity of this difference can vary depending on the type of leather and the quality of it. No need to throw it in the pile of ‘probably never going to wear’ pair of clothing items just yet. We might have a few creative ways that can restore your leather jacket, bag, or shoes. The results are not guaranteed, or may not be as accurate as you may have intended but will definitely make a visible difference.
Clean Your Leather
As far as cleaning your leather is concerned, Finished leather is coated with oils and waxes for protection hence need special attention while cleaning. A small amount of saddle soap mixed with water is fine to use on it. Even mild soap can be too harsh for the most sensitive leathers. If this is your first time cleaning the leather accessory at home and you’re not sure how the leather will react to a certain cleaner, do a patch test. Popular home made solutions i.e. baking soda, white vinegar, or lemon juice sound useful but can be harsh on delicate leather and can make things worse.
Before you start the process of dyeing, you must make sure that the leather surface is clean and there are no dust particles. Uneven surfaces can damage the dyeing process and in the long run, the color might not hold itself because of that. You can use vacuum, mild soap or a piece of damped cloth for that purpose. Let the leather dry completely before applying any dyeing agents.
Use Oils To Darken Leather
Oils are known to be beneficial for darkening leather. Mink oil and Coconut oil are often used on leather surfaces for moisturizing and protection purposes as they contain natural properties to condition, and darken leather. Suede is believed to be very delicate and changing its color can be a bit complex but coconut oil can even do wonders in this case. With your preferred leather oil, you can go ahead and begin the process of darkening your favorite faded leather item.
- Soak a soft microfiber cotton cloth in coconut oil. Make sure to target a small section of the leather surface at a time to avoid oversaturation. Wait for it to dry before moving ahead.
- Rub the cloth on the surface in back and forth motion to apply a uniform layer. You can dip the cloth in oil after a while if it dries out.
- Let the leather sit for 12 hours or overnight to dry completely at room temperature. Once dry, you should be able to see a visible color difference, it should be 2-3 shades darker than the original color.
Use Polish To Darken Leather
Using shoe polish to darken leather is the most common and old way when it comes to faded leather shoes and boots. The wax content in the polish is responsible for the color change of leather. The waxes are penetrating, so causes the leather to darken with each application. Follow these steps to get your polishing right;
- Depending on the color of your leather accessory, pick a polish; black or brown, a soft brush to apply the polish and a piece of soft cotton cloth.
- Use the cloth to apply polish on the leather surface in gentle circular motions. Make sure to apply a small amount/thin layer at a time for a uniform texture.
- One of the best things about leather polish is that it shows instant results and when you reach the other side of your jacket or a bag for polish, the previous one would already be darker.
- Let it dry for a while and then use the brush to rub off any excess polish from the surface.
Let your leather accessory rest overnight to dry completely. If the final result is not up to your expectations, you can apply another layer of polish for a darker shade.
Now that you are familiar with the process of dyeing leather, you may take out your old abandoned leather jacket or bag and give it a stunning twist using any of these methods.