How to dye a leather chair

Updated February 21, 2017

If you've ever seen the perfect leather chair in a second-hand shop, one that was in good shape, no rips or scars on the leather, but it was a terrible colour you may have thought about buying it and dying the leather. Or maybe you own a leather chair but your new interior doesn't complement the colour of your favourite leather chair. Ultimately, dying a leather chair is not too difficult.

Choose the colour you want to dye your chair. Be sure to select a dye that is appropriate for the way the leather on your chair was tanned. In most cases it will be vegetable tanned. If you're not certain, contact the manufacturer.

Clean the leather with a combination of leather bleach and water. Use 1 oimce of leather bleach to 1 pint of water. This will not bleach the leather or change the colour, rather it will fade any water spots on the leather.

Dampen the leather with a sponge. Avoid soaking the leather, just keep the surface damp to the touch. This will allow the leather to evenly absorb the dye.

Apply the first coat of dye with a wide brush. Once it has been applied to the entire surface, wait until it dries before adding the next coat. This can take anywhere one to two hours.

Flex the leather once the first coat of leather dye is dry. This will keep the leather from getting stiff in between coats of dye.

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until the leather is the desired colour.

Complete the job by adding a coat of leather finisher. Leather finisher comes in spray cans or bottles. Spray or apply the finisher evenly, and allow it sit for a while until every coat of dye and finisher is dry on your leather chair.


Check the instructions on the dye you purchase to dye your chair to see how long it is supposed to take for each coat of dye to dry. If you want a lighter colour than what your dye is then consider adding a bit of dye solvent to the dye to make the colour lighter. If you want your leather chair to be a darker, richer colour than it is, consider using an oil based dye. Consider applying a deglazer after you clean your leather chair and before you dye it to remove any waxy or oily substances that may be on your leather chair. You can apply it with a clean cloth.


Don't forget to flex the leather in between dye applications, if you don't the leather could become stiff and may not take the dye as evenly as you'd like. Test a small piece of leather that cannot be seen with the dye you've chosen to be sure it the colour looks like you want it too, that way you won't ruin the whole chair if you end up hating how it looks.

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