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How to repair ripped leather

Most of us have several leather items in our lives. A great pair of trousers, running shoes, a skirt and even the upholstery in your car can be made of leather. You can rip the leather just by getting it caught on a stray nail or with a sharp fingernail. Leather repair kits are one option, but another option is to use a few easily found products to repair the ripped leather.

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  1. Head to your local craft store or art supply store and stock up on the items you'll need to repair the ripped leather. You can use a leather repair kit, but most people have found that it doesn't work the way they like.

  2. Lay the leather down flat, or as flat as you can make it, and apply special leather cleaner. You'll want to clean the area first because you might have some grit or debris on the leather that will cause the glue to be less strong or not work at all.

  3. Hold the ripped portion down and apply quick drying glue on top of the seam where it's ripped. You need to hold it taut while you apply the glue, so it might be helpful to have someone else hold the leather while you glue it. Make sure to let it dry before you continue.

  4. Sand down the glue using a fine grade sandpaper. You just want to sand the glue down so that it lays flush with the leather, but be careful not to scratch the leather with the sandpaper. Brush off any sand or grit that might be on the leather with your hands.

  5. Apply leather cleaner to the part you just repaired and wipe down any excess. Wait for the cleaner to dry and then finish it off by using a conditioner for leather.

  6. Tip

    If you're worried about damaging the leather even further, take it to a professional. An auto repair expert can fix leather upholstery while a tailor can usually fix rips in leather clothing.


    Most leather repair kits advise you to use the enclosed vinyl paint to hide the seam. This tends to make the leather look fake or the repair job will be highly noticeable.

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Things You'll Need

  • Leather cleaner
  • Quick drying glue
  • Fine grade sandpaper
  • Leather conditioner

About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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