Leather is a super fine and luxurious material when it comes to jackets, bags, or any other accessories. Altering it might sound adventurous but if not done right, it may lead to irreparable damage so if you’re getting into it, make sure you’re doing it right. If you’re new to this whole ‘dyeing your leather’ thing, we recommend you do it under a professional’s supervision or at least follow some basic guidelines. There could be many reasons why someone would get this urge to alter their leather, one being the limited color options available in the market. The most common and widely used leather jackets and bags are all shades of brown or black. But what if someone wants a leather wallet that’s deep maroon or beige? How about a leather tool kit in grey color? How about a leather keychain in mustard color?
Some people may get bored with an outfit after wearing it on a regular basis for a while so to breathe new life into the item, changing the color seems convenient and effective. Sometimes you could be lucky to get your hands on these colors from somewhere but might have to compromise on the quality of leather. So if you’re not willing to do that, dyeing your leather at home is your best option. So next time you want to opt for an unusual and distinctly trendy look, you know what you gotta do, right?
You must have heard about or used hair dye at least once in your life. Remember how some of the dyes come with two separate containers that you have to mix, fix and then apply? Similarly, most leather commercial dyes come with preparers. You must pay attention to the ingredients while choosing one because the alcohol-based dye can often cause stiffness. The color you see in the dye container may not represent the final color on the product which is why you must apply it to a small hidden spot for a patch test before coating your jacket or a bag. Follow these steps while using commercial dyes in order to make sure that the final results are up to your expectations:
Clean The Jacket
Before you apply the dye to the leather surface, make sure that there are no dust particles or huge stains on it. To get that smooth and even-textured surface at the end of the whole process, clean your leather using a soft piece of cloth or a paper towel.
Most dyes contain chemicals that can cause burning if spilled on your hands. So before you begin coloring your leather, wear rubber gloves to save any dryness, tearing, or other damage to your skin. You can put on the gloves you have in your kitchen for dishwashing as well.
Follow Instructions Given On The Dye
Leather dyes, if not used properly can ruin your leather accessory. Sometimes the guidelines on the packet are absolutely essential because you cant afford to mess things up by adding too much or too little of one element or another. The duration for which you need to let the leather rest for drying. Should you let it dry naturally or use a hairdryer and so many other things you should be careful about.
You should wait till the dye is fully dry because otherwise you can smug the color and ruin the leather surface. Even the thin coating of dye can take hours to dry completely so be patient.
Apply Leather Conditioner
Once you’re done with the dyeing and made sure that the leather is fully dry to touch, you can call it a day after one last step; Leather conditioner. This step is important to restore the moisture and the smoothness of real leather that could have been affected while dyeing.
Vinegar and Rust
This is a bit older method but has been proved effective in the past. You have to pick the right source of rust to make things work in the best way and have to be careful to use the right amount of each element. It could be the cheapest way to dye your leather accessory if you’re looking to turn it into black. People often buy a brown leather jacket but soon get bored of it and want a black one and instead of spending $300 bucks again, it's better to dye it at home.
This method works best on vegetable-tanned leather, if the leather is chrome tanned, there’s a chance that the dye wont last in it for a long time. Once you’ve mixed vinegar with the rust (iron oxide), let it sit for a short while for all the acids and other elements to combine. Filter it to get rid of any solid particles and soak a teabag in it to make sure that the leather maintains it soft texture.
Pros And Cons Of Dyeing Leather
The best thing about dyeing leather is that you get a brand new accessory with minimum effort and almost free of cost. However the risk is too high. Sometimes if you are dyeing your premium quality leather that you’ve spent hundreds of dollars on, the dye may turn out to be of low quality and cause irreparable damage. Similarly, if the leather is of cheap grade, it may not hold up dyeing at all.
A leather jacket or a bag may seem ok initially after coloring but start to tear and stiff in a while. Chemicals that are used in the dye can have such detrimental effects on the leather. In some cases, you may have to apply multiple coats to make sure an even tone and smooth texture. It can add to the overall weight of your leather accessory.
Basically, it is a complex process that requires attention and experience so if you’re not 100% sure about it, we’d recommend that you don't experiment with it. Instead of ruining your precious leather accessory by dyeing, consider buying a new one.