How to Paint Pleather

Updated April 17, 2017

Pleather, or "plastic leather," used to be considered the cheap alternative to genuine leather, but now it is becoming a fashion trend even among celebrities. Pleather is made from polyurethane film or vinyl, and while it is inexpensive, there are other reasons to choose it over the real material. Pleather is easier to use in various craft and costume-making projects, it is simple to care for, and its production does not involve the use of animals. The fact that pleather is an "animal friendly" material is a common reason given for its emergence in high fashion shows around the globe.

Protect all surfaces that should not be painted. Put a tarp or old sheet under the item to be painted, wear old or protective clothing, and use stencils or other materials to guide your painting.

Spray or brush paint the pleather using only paint that is either acrylic-based or manufactured for use on vinyl surfaces. Start out with a very thin coat, and build on that with another thin coat or two if necessary. If you make a mistake, remove the excess paint with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol.

Follow the paint manufacturer's instructions for drying time.

Allow any paint-stained protective cloths or clothing to dry, then save for future painting projects if desired.


Do not use regular spray paint or any non-acrylic-based paint on pleather. It will either not adhere or will result in peeling and/or cracking. Using too much paint, or a thick coat of paint, will result in peeling. If you will be spray painting on a regular basis, consider wearing protective goggles and a breathing mask.

Things You'll Need

  • Spray paint for vinyl or acrylic-based paint
  • Fabric paint brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Protective clothing
  • Protective cloths or tarp
  • Stencils or other design guides (if applicable)
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About the Author

Joyce Kelly began her professional writing career in 2010. She brings expertise ranging from psychology to information technology to nutrition. Kelly has a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Hood College of Frederick, Md.