How to Change Leather Color-An Insider’s Guide

One common activity amongst leather enthusiasts and lovers of leather artifacts is color change, and it’s an excellent maintenance technique. Modification in leather color is cost-effective and may prove pretty handy in making an existing leather piece look much better. So, whether you are a leather enthusiast or simply you have several leather products learning how to change leather color might prove highly beneficial.

You can achieve a complete refinish or color change of leather with the right products applied in a specific sequence. It may seem tricky, but a guide on the steps involved would help you attain tremendous results, making the leather item look new.

This article will reveal the process of changing leather color in simple and effective steps. You can follow these tips to ensure your project yields great results.

Changing Leather Color: Step by Step

People using leather goods feel concerned about the color of their leather items, as the new color loses its luster over time. But there are ways you can make color on your items last longer. If you are interested in learning how to change the leather color of shoes, you can get this done with ease.

Below you have expert methods of completing this type of project.

how to change leather color on furniture

Recoloring Top-Coated Leather

Wiping the Leather Surface

It is common for leather surfaces to accumulate dirt and grime over time. Thus, it is imperative to clean the leather with a suitable cleaning solution and a soft brush or microfiber cloth. Such action ensures a long-lasting finish.

Sand the Top-Coated Leather

It is great to sand the protected coat using special automotive-grade sandpaper (with 220 grit). This action would leave light scuffing on the leather surface without severe physical damage to the artifact.

The rationale behind this “sanding” is to remove decayed or loose existing finishing. Hence, you would have a smooth surface and allow the new color coat to absorb into the leather once applied.

Applying an Etching Material or Prep Agent

Additional prepping on the leather piece continues, as it would help to apply a prepping agent or etching material. Although this may seem controversial, an alcohol-based prepping material rubbed over the leather after sanding would leave a clean surface.

Gently wash the leather with isopropyl alcohol and wipe the wet particles off with a dry cloth-you can repeat this step if needed. Then, let the prep material dry (a hairdryer can help) before you proceed.

Put On the New Color Finish

Once you get satisfactory results from prepping the leather surface, the piece is ready for the new color finish. For this project, it is advisable to get water-based colorants, as oil-based options can cause serious damage to the leather item.

There are three major water-based colorants: polyurethane, acrylic, and latex. Your choice relies on your needs and budget. While polyurethane finishing is pretty expensive, it is versatile and quite effective.

Nonetheless, acrylics are moderately priced but lack long-term durability late the former. If you require more flexibility and excellent adhesion properties, you can go for latex. When you get the colorant, apply it on the leather in light coats using a spray tool. Kindly let the previous coat dry before applying another.

Condition the Leather

After several hours (say 24 hours) of letting the finish cure, it would help condition the leather to make it look shiny and soft. Get a good leather conditioner and apply in small circular motions with a soft brush or microfiber cloth.

Supplies Needed

Your leather color change kit should consist of the following:

  • Color coats
  • Sandpaper
  • Leather cleaner and conditioner
  • Applicator sponges
  • Masking tapes
  • Hairdryer
  • Leather prep
  • Spray tool

Color Change for Suede/Nubuck

how to change leather color shoes

Clean the Leather

Start by dusting the leather material to remove dirt and other particles. Then, wipe the piece’s surface with a soft cloth dampened with a suitable leather cleaner. Once completed, kindly allow the leather to dry before you continue.

Prep the Leather Surface

Apply an appropriate leather prep agent onto a dry cloth and wipe the leather piece, ensuring you don’t get it overly wet. It is fine if you need to repeat this application but rub off any wet particles on the leather with a dry cloth.

Apply the Finishing

Aniline dyes are best suited for this kind of project, as it gives off excellent results. Spray light amounts of the dye onto the leather, and avoid wiping the dye. You can further apply more coats of the dye after letting the previous one dry.

Supplies Needed

  • Leather cleaner
  • A prepping agent
  • Aniline leather dyes
  • Hairdryer
  • Soft-bristle brush
  • Masking tape
  • Spray tool


Q: What can I use to recolor leather?

While a few options come to mind for handling a leather recoloring project, you would find commercial dyes very effective. There are alcohol-based, oil-based, and water-based dyes.

You might check out these three on test materials to see which one you would like. But, most leather enthusiasts prefer water-based leather dyes since it appears great on the leather item and allows easy cleaning.

Q: Can you change the color of the leather in your car?

The leather color change is possible, and you can recolor the leather in your vehicle to any color you like. But, it is crucial to learn how to change the leather color in a car to ensure you get outstanding results.

Kindly get your leather recolor kit ready and start the process; begin with cleaning the vehicle’s leather and prep further to get a smooth surface. Then, spray the leather lightly to prevent a messy outcome, and let it dry.

Q: How do you make leather spray paint?

Get a bowl and pour in some acrylic paint; then, add an equal part of water and mix thoroughly with a paintbrush. This mixture should work effectively in coloring your leather piece, and you can apply it to the leather in thin layers.

Q: How do you shade leather?

Whether contemporary or trendy appearance, you need a shading tool to shade your leather artifact. Then, employ the tool and work across the pattern on your leather piece, doing so carefully to ensure an excellent result.

Q: How can I dye my leather couch?

Instead of looking for a “leather sofa color change service,” you can decide to paint or dye it yourself. Begin with the simple prepping steps;

  • Wipe off dust and remove any debris
  • Clean the surface with an effective cleaning solution for leather
  • Rub an etching agent; isopropyl would be effective

Let the leather couch dry, and spray the dye in light coats. Leave the cushion to dry and let the dye cure.

Q: Can you use a Sharpie on leather?

Standard paint markers work on leather, and Sharpie is an excellent option since it yields laudable outcomes. It is recommendable to try such markers on scrap leather first before working on the main leather piece.

Q: How do you dye leather jackets?

First, you should make sure the jacket is clean, enabling the dye to absorb properly into the leather. Wipe with an appropriate leather cleaner and leave the jacket for some time to let it dry.

Try out the leather dye on an inconspicuous area of the jacket, and it appears fine; continue to apply it on the entire surface. Kindly apply the dye in light coats and dry it before putting it on another dye coat.

Final Words

A leather color change is possible and can be pretty easy if you have the right supplies and put the proper skills to use. Rather than searching for a “leather sofa color change service near me” or thinking or thrashing your old leather bit due to its color, you can engage in a DIY recoloring project.

This action saves you some money, and the outcome would also be great if performed accordingly. If you’re looking to recolor your leather item, this guide presents expert tips and tricks on how to change leather color.

Evina Naomi

Ewofere, Evina Naomi is a biotechnologist and passionate content writer. As a great lover of leather and various leather crafts, she broadly addresses leather-related issues. She is a writer of many excellent articles on leather. With great knowledge and enthusiasm, readers can access researched pieces on various leather types and the best techniques that work on them. Naomi is here to lead you through the journey of choosing excellent leather products and ensure you handle them rightly. So you can embark on your leather sewing and crafting journey with her and have an incredible experience.

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