How to Repaint Leather Motorcycle Seat Letters

Written by ryan voss | 13/05/2017
How to Repaint Leather Motorcycle Seat Letters
Decorative seats are common on custom bikes. (silver chopper image by Inger Anne Hulbækdal from

Motorcycle seats are often intricately decorated, with interesting designs and lettering tooled or painted onto the leather surface. Painted designs, however, tend to wear off with time, particularly designs like letters that have a lot of edges compared to their overall surface area. With a little care, you can repaint worn letters to make your motorcycle seat look as good as new.

Remove the seat from your motorcycle.

Clean the seat by wiping it down with a rag using a mild soap and water. This will remove any dirt or grime to help ensure you get an even coating of paint on the lettering. Be sure to wipe away any traces of the soap as well before proceeding.

Mask the areas around the letters with painter's tape. You may need to use a craft knife to cut the shape of the letters out of the tape and mask them properly.

Sand the letters gently with a fine-grit sandpaper. Gently roughening the surface will make it more receptive to the paint, but try to avoid putting any deep scratches into the surface of the leather. Be sure to evenly sand all parts of the letters, paying extra attention to corners and edges.

Spray the letters with a leather painting prep product according to the manufacturer's instructions. This will remove any oils, varnishes or other products in the leather that would prevent the paint from adhering properly.

Apply a very thin coating of leather paint to the letters, either spraying it on or using a paintbrush. Keep this coating as even as possible and apply only the absolute minimum quantity of paint necessary to cover the letters completely.

Dry the paint completely with a hair dryer.

Apply and dry more coats as needed to achieve the colour you want. Apply each coat as thinly and evenly as the first, and dry them immediately with the hair dryer each time in order to maximise the adhesion of the paint to the leather and the underlying coats.

Remove the painter's tape and mount the seat back on your motorcycle.

Things you need

  • Mild soap
  • Rag
  • Painter's tape
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Leather painting prep spray
  • Leather paint
  • Hair dryer

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