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How to dye a leather jacket

Updated April 17, 2017

Dyeing allows you to customise the appearance of a leather jacket. It is also a reliable method for making older jackets look new again by touching up worn and faded colours. The dyeing process is generally straightforward, but some care and planning is required to achieve a professional-looking result.

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  1. Clean the jacket before you dye it. The best method for cleaning the jacket will depend on the type of leather used. Care instructions should be included on the tag.

  2. Test the dye in an inconspicuous place to make sure it will look right. Let the test area dry completely, then wipe it with a paper towel. This will this give you the best indication of how the finished dye will look.

  3. Prepare the work area. Clean off a large table and lay down newspaper. Make sure there is adequate ventilation. Wear gloves when handling dye; it is not dangerous to touch, but it can permanently stain skin.

  4. Rub the dye into the leather using a clean sponge or brush. Use a circular motion to minimise the appearance of brush strokes and to spread the dye more evenly. Work the dye fully into all seams. Apply dye to one area, then let it dry for several hours. Wipe the area with a newspaper or paper towel to remove any excess dye.

  5. Apply more coats as necessary to achieve the colour you want.

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Things You'll Need

  • Leather dye
  • Gloves
  • Newspaper
  • Sponge or brush

About the Author

Ryan Voss is a freelance writer/blogger and artist/graphic designer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His areas of specialty are current events, politics and the martial and fine arts. He has been freelancing in a variety of creative fields since 2005.

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