How to fix a leather sofa with a little rip on the arm

Updated February 21, 2017

A leather sofa is a major piece of decor. Even a small rip on the arm of the sofa affects the overall look of the room. With the help of simple techniques and products, you can quickly and effectively repair the rip in the leather without having to replace the entire sofa.

Lift up both edges of the rip gently with a pair of tweezers to examine the leather. Cut off the frayed or jagged edges with a scalpel or X-acto knife to create a flat and clean edge on both sides of the rip.

Moisten a clean cloth with rubbing alcohol and wipe around the rip in the arm of the leather sofa. The alcohol will remove any dirt or oily residue on the leather material. Dry the area for two to three minutes with a hair dryer.

Measure the length of the rip in the arm of the sofa with a tape measure. Add two inches to the total measured length.

Cut a piece of canvas sub-patch. It should extend one inch past each end of the rip and be at least three inches wide.

Grasp the canvas sub-patch with tweezers and insert it into the rip so it lays flat underneath. Use the tweezers to lift the edges of the rip and squeeze a thin layer of leather glue on the underside of both edges between the arm rip and canvas sub-patch.

Press the edges down onto the canvas sub-patch so they lay flat. Hold the edges down firmly for up to five minutes.

Squeeze a tiny amount of leather filler inside the leather rip on the arm of the sofa to create a very thin layer. Smooth the leather filler flat with a palette knife. Dry the filler with a hair dryer for two to five minutes.

Apply another thin layer of leather filler into the rip and dry with the hair dryer. Continue to insert leather filler into the rip until the area is almost full.

Fill the rip with the last layer of leather filler and smooth it even with the palette knife. Lightly press a grain pad onto the wet leather filler to replicate the texture the leather sofa may have. Allow the leather filler to dry for at least 30 minutes.

Apply the leather colourant over the dried filler with a sponge. Refer to the colour guide and application directions included in the leather repair kit for complete instructions. Allow the leather colourant to dry for at least four hours before applying additional coats of colour.

Apply additional coats of leather colourant, using the sponge, if desired.

Squeeze a small dot of leather protector and conditioner onto a clean cloth and apply it to the repaired area.


The canvas patch must be large enough to lay behind the leather material for easy adhesion.

Things You'll Need

  • Tweezers
  • Scalpel or X-acto knife
  • 2 clean cloths
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hair dryer
  • Tape measure
  • Leather repair kit
  • Canvas sub-patch (included in kit)
  • Scissors
  • Leather glue (included in kit)
  • Leather filler (included in kit)
  • Palette knife (included in kit)
  • Grain pad (included in kit)
  • Leather colourant (included in kit)
  • Clean sponge
  • Leather protector and conditioner
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About the Author

Rachel Turner has been writing professionally since 2000, focusing on gardening and home improvement topics. Her articles have appeared online at SlowTravel and in publications such as the "Arkansas Gardeners," "One Step Ahead" and "Writers Now." Turner holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.