How to Re-dye a Leather Sofa at Home

Written by jennifer van leigh
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Leather furniture requires an investment, and though you may be overhauling the decor of your room, you need not get rid of your favourite leather sofa. With the use of aniline dyes made specifically for leather furnishings, dyeing your furniture is a perfect option for a room makeover on the cheap. Custom dyeing your leather sofa not only offers a way to spruce up you new space, but it also makes your sofa uniquely yours.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Tarp or dust sheet
  • Leather-specific cleaner
  • 2 clean cloths
  • Painter's tape (such as blue Scotch brand)
  • Aniline dye
  • Sponge or foam brush
  • Rubber gloves

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Instructions

    Brush-On Dye

  1. 1

    Prepare your workspace by laying out a tarp and positioning your leather sofa in the centre.

  2. 2

    Apply leather cleaner per manufacturer instructions to remove any surface dirt.

  3. 3

    If your leather sofa was treated or coated for protection, you may want to use a deglazer, such as those available from Fiebing Leather Dye. Apply treatment per manufacturer's instructions.

  4. 4

    Place painter's tape on any frame or trimming that you do not wish to dye. If there are small or detailed trimmings, you do not need to tape them; but you will want to keep a clean damp cloth nearby for quick fixes.

  5. 5

    Wear rubber gloves before mixing or applying dye. For custom colours or a drastic colour change, reference the dye manufacturer's instruction regarding mixing and intermediate colours.

  6. 6

    Apply the dye in smooth, even strokes with a sponge or foam brush, working in one direction. Follow the grain of the leather. Allow each coat of dye to dry before applying the next. Repeat for intermediate colouring or for desired depth.

  7. 7

    Remove the painter's tape. Remove excess dye from the surface of the leather by rubbing in a brisk circular motion with a clean dry cloth.

    Spray-Dye

  1. 1

    Prepare your workspace by laying out a tarp and positioning your leather sofa in the centre.

  2. 2

    Apply a leather cleaner to remove any surface dirt. Apply a deglazer if needed.

  3. 3

    Place painter's tape on any frame or trimming you do not wish to dye.

  4. 4

    Apply the spray paint per manufacturer's instructions, as each spray nozzle is different and requires different distance and handling. Clean up any drips with a clean cloth, and allow the dye to dry. Repeat as desired for intermediate colouring or desired colour depth.

  5. 5

    Remove the painter's tape. Remove excess dye from the surface of the leather by rubbing in a brisk circular motion with a clean dry cloth.

Tips and warnings

  • Perform a patch test with the aniline dye on a hidden or underside piece of the sofa.
  • White or light neutral leather offers the most dyeing options. The darker the leather, the less of a colour difference there will be.
  • To dye semi-attached leather cushions, such as the backrest cushions on some frames, flip them over and dye the underside first. Allow that side to dry thoroughly before dyeing the face of the cushion.
  • If possible, work outdoors.
  • Always wear protective rubber gloves when working with aniline leather dye.
  • Ensure proper ventilation.

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