The Blog

Can You Paint Leather?

Can You Paint Leather?

At Andar, we love giving fine-quality leather products the treatment they deserve, crafting designs that express who we are while giving off that iconic sheen. 

With the right leather paint, you can give your favorite leather garments and furniture a fresh new look, covering up scratches and scuffs in the process. This is a fun DIY project that can easily make your home and wardrobe shine with just a little bit of know-how.

With the best tools, you can restore worn leather products, giving them a complete makeover. 

So follow us through this short beginner’s tutorial as we break down how to paint leather furniture, jackets, shoes, bags, and so much more. 

A Makeover for Your Leather Items 

Whether you're working on a large product like a leather couch or a smaller item like a laptop case or handbag, leather paint can revitalize the shine of leather items with fresh, newly vibrant shades.

Not only that, but you can fix cracks, cover scratches, and completely change the aesthetic and mood of your favorite outfits or even the rooms in your house. Give those leather couches a fresh new color to match the paint in a new room, or add a unique design to your favorite boots and jackets. 

It takes a little bit of preparation, but overall the process is fun and totally worth it. Read along as we break it down for you. 

Preparing Your Leather for Repainting 

Before you can start painting your fresh new colors and designs, prepare your leather piece so that the leather paint can easily stick and keep a consistent shade without peeling.

Let’s go through it, step-by-step: 

  • Clean Your Leather: Remove all that dust and grime that’s built up over time. Put some soap on a damp cloth, or use a mixture of isopropyl alcohol and warm water to clean your leather without getting it too moist. This is especially important for those outdoor leather garments that might need some extra love.
  • Rinse and Dry Your Leather: Before proceeding, check that the leather is completely dry. First, use another clean, damp cloth to rinse the leather of any soap or cleaner residue. Run it over with an additional microfiber cloth to help the drying. Afterward, let it sit for a half hour or so, letting that moisture air dry. 

Deglaze the Leather Surface for the Best Results 

Deglazing your leather takes the finish off, which ultimately helps you make an even coat of paint without peeling. 

Dampen a soft cloth or cotton balls with some of the deglazer, and gently run it over the surface of the leather in circular motions, just like you would while cleaning. Rinse with a clean, damp cloth after and let it dry. 

Some artists use other types of alcohols or natural acidic solutions to deglaze, but these can cause your leather to dry out quickly, deteriorate, or crack. A leather deglazer has acetones that carefully break down the leather finish without overly corroding the leather itself. 

Using an Acrylic Paint on Leather 

Now that your leather surface is prepared, you’re ready to paint! While many types of paint can stick to leather, including latex, oil, and enamel paints, acrylic leather paint is one of the best paints for beginners and comes widely recommended. 

Acrylic leather paint works great for many types of leather, including faux leather. That’s because acrylic paint is water-based, which means it can be easily absorbed into the leather, making for a smooth, even finish. 

Plus, it’s non-toxic and easy to clean (should you make a couple of mistakes). Acrylic paint is super affordable; you can expect to pay less than five dollars an ounce. 

For your first coat, you’ll want to apply a thin coat, ensuring that the leather soaks in all the paint. Luckily, acrylic paint dries rather quickly, so before long, you’ll be ready to add your next coat, adding some vibrancy to the color. Keep going until you’ve reached your desired shade. 

Using Enamel and Oil-Based Paints 

While acrylic paint is a popular and affordable choice, some artists opt for enamel paints or other oil-based brands on their leather instead. These paints take a longer time to dry, but they can lend themselves to real artistry. 

With oil-based paints, you can work with the layers of paint more, blending colors and adding depth to create intricate designs on clothing pieces or furniture. They can make for a thicker first coat, conceal brushstrokes, and add some high gloss to your finished product.

But be warned, these paints can make it a little bit difficult to clean those stray drips. So make sure to use a drop cloth while you work and keep a damp towel handy. 

Best Paint Brushes for Your Project

Of course, depending on the type of leather you’re working on, you may use a variety of paintbrushes. Some artists use a sponge brush to carefully coat the grainy texture of their leather and avoid excessive drips. 

Many artists will use regular brushes to apply their leather paint, using wide, flat brushes for filling an area with even color and smaller, fine-tipped brushes for more intricate patterns or for getting into those tight crevices and folds. 

The bristles of your brush can make a difference depending on the paint you use. A natural bristle, made from horse or hog hair, is great for painting with oil-based paints. For water-based and acrylic paints, a nylon or polyester bristle is best, as a natural bristle would absorb too much of the water and make it hard to get an even paint application. 

Using Painter’s Tape for Straight Lines 

Painter’s tape can be another super useful tool while painting your leather. It can save you some unnecessary headaches from cleaning up or covering up a mistake.

With painter’s tape, you protect those parts of the leather piece you don’t want to be painted. For instance, when painting leather shoes, you can tape over the laces or soles to avoid accidentally painting those parts. Or, when painting a couch, use painter’s tape to easily create straight lines, stripes, or other geometric shapes. 

Seal the Deal With a Top Coat of Paint Finisher

Finally, when your leather is fully painted, it’s important to protect your work and keep that leather healthy, flexible, and durable. Finish up your paint job with an acrylic paint finisher. This will act as a sealer, protecting your newly painted leather from scratches, cracks, and the elements. 

Depending on which paint finisher you use, you can go for a glossy sheen, an elegant satin finish, a matte finish, or anything in between. Your leather piece is not only protected, but you can restore or enhance its classic shine. 

If you’re working on leather shoes or a leather jacket, you might want to use a waterproofing finish for your top coat to give it some extra weather protection. 

Keep Your Leather Beautiful 

We hope you found this guide on painting leather useful as you work towards restoring your leather pieces or giving them a new makeover. At Andar, we’re passionate about using fine quality, full-grain leather in our products for resilient, striking beauty that you can rely on.

We’ve got a wide selection of handbags, laptop cases, phone cases, and sleek, elegant wallets. And if you need the best advice on caring for these products and keeping them shiny and new, we’ve got a wealth of guides on our resources page

Hope to see you there! Thanks for reading!


What Is Acetone, And Does It Have Risks? | Medical News Today

Bristle Basics: Which Paintbrush Should You Use? | Popular Mechanics

Water-based Paint Vs. Oil-Based Paint - How to Choose the Right Paint for Your Project | House Beautiful