How to Dye Leather With Paint

Krista Lee Childers

When leather gets dingy looking, it is possible to renew it by painting it with specially made leather paint and dye -- paint that will not chip or crack on the leather.

Leather paint can restore all kinds of leather items.

Leather paint and dye is available in many colors, making it possible to paint clothes, upholstery and shoes in vivid colors unlike the neutral shades of natural leather. You can also repaint the leather in the color that matches it naturally. Because leather breathes and is unlike other craft surfaces, it is important to follow any directions on the paint bottle.

  1. Remove any dirt or oils from the leather. Apply 99 percent isopropyl alcohol to a cotton ball or old, clean towel and wipe it over the leather surface. You can also buy a prepping agent that you mix with water to remove excess oils.

  2. Rough up the leather with fine-grit sandpaper. Move it around the surface with a light circular motion. Doing so moves around the fibers, allowing the paint to stick better.

  3. Allow the leather to dry completely. Check the directions on the container of your leather paint and dilute with the correct amount of water if instructed. Many paints are already prepared for direct application to the leather.

  4. Blot the paint or dye on the leather with a sponge in circular motions until the entire surface is covered. Some paints have sponge applicators included. Let the paint dry and repeat if you missed spots or to add more intense color.

  5. Apply the paint in short strokes with a paintbrush until the entire area is covered. For details or small areas, use a small angled paintbrush. Let the paint dry and repeat if there are spots or to add more intense color.