How to fix a tear in a leather sofa

Written by jim franklin
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How to fix a tear in a leather sofa
True leather is made from animal hide or skin. (Overstuffed Brown Leather Reclining Sofa image by James Phelps from

True or genuine leather is processed hide or skin from an animal. It is dyed various colours and sewn, stitched or otherwise assembled. Leather can have varying grains depending on the age, breed and lifestyle of the animal. It is a popular choice for clothing, shoes, wallets, car interiors and even home furniture such as sofas. But leather's soft surface can easily wrinkle, scratch and tear. Repairing tears in leather sofas requires the use of special kits.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Leather repair kit
  • Leather touch-up kit
  • Leather finish
  • Scalpel
  • Tweezers
  • Q-tips
  • Hair dryer
  • Palette knife
  • Grain pad
  • 1,200-grit sandpaper

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  1. 1

    Clean the tear and surrounding area with rubbing alcohol.

  2. 2

    Trim any worn leather edges around the tear with a scalpel.

  3. 3

    Use tweezers to insert the canvas cloth that came in the leather repair kit. Insert the cloth in the leather and behind the tear.

  4. 4

    Apply the leather glue in between the leather and the canvas cloth. Use a small pointed object like a Q-tip.

  5. 5

    Press the leather against the canvas cloth.

  6. 6

    Apply a thin layer of heavy filler from the repair kit to the tear with a clean Q-tip.

  7. 7

    Dry the filler with a hair dryer.

  8. 8

    Continue applying layers of filler and drying them until the torn area is about a 3/4-inch full.

  9. 9

    Apply a final layer of filler. Make it even with the rest of the leather using a palette knife.

  10. 10

    Create a grain pattern by lightly embossing or pressing a grain pad against the filler.

  11. 11

    Allow the filler to fully dry.

  12. 12

    Apply two or three coats of leather touch-up paint using a sponge. Apply the paint only to the filler area.

  13. 13

    Blend the colour by applying the touch-up paint to the surrounding area.

  14. 14

    Allow the touch-up paint to dry.

  15. 15

    Add a leather finish to seal the surface and protect it.

Tips and warnings

  • Large tears or leather that has two tones of colour may require a leather colourant kit. Spray the top layer of colourant over the base coat.
  • For cracks that form during or after the repair process, add more filler. Allow the filler to dry for 5 minutes and gently sand using 1,200-grit sandpaper.

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