Frequently Asked Questions
We've prepared this guide to help you determine what type of leather you have.
Also, on the internet, open a new tab, search these terms, and click on 'Images' to view examples of each type:
- pigmented leather
- semi-aniline leather
- aniline leather
- waxed leather
- oil pull-up leather
- faux/vegan/synthetic/vinyl/man-made leather
Look for an example that looks like your leather. Tip: the most common leather finish is 'pigmented' followed by 'semin-aniline'.
Examples of Pigmented Leather
Examples of Aniline & Semi-aniline Leather
Examples of Waxed & Oil Pull-up Leather
Examples of Nubuck & Suede Leather
Examples of Man-Made Leather
There are 3 options for treating faded aniline leather:
If your leather is faded, free of heavy marks and stains and/or the original finish is still intact (if there was one), this approach could be right for your job. It lets you re-dye the faded leather with transparent stain. Any blemishes will not be covered but may be blended so that they are less eye catching. Use a colour that is close to the original or slightly darker. After a deep clean with Spot & Prep (No.4), apply one or more applications of dye stain to render an even finish then finish with 2 coats of clear Topcoat (No.7) to seal the dyes and protect the leather. For greater coverage of blemishes, the Aniline Restoration Kit is ideal. Filling cracks and scratches is not possible with this option.
This is the most popular solution for faded, blemished, and worn anilines, semi-anilines and waxed leathers. It lets you replenish faded dyes then coat the surface with a blend of dyes, pigments and resins. The result is a cohesive, semi-aniline look with a pleasing and protective finish. Coverage is light to moderate which allows the natural features of the leather to remain appreciable whilst lightly concealing or blending marks and stains. For maximum durability, we recommend that you finish your restoration with 2 coats of Topcoat (No.7). Filling cracks and scratches is not possible with this option. See examples of other customer DIY jobs using this kit in the Customer Before & After Gallery.
If you are happy to change your leather from aniline to pigmented (painted/coated), you can use a Repair & Recolour Kit. It gives full coverage to conceal stains completely and allows for a colour change if desired. Filling cracks and scratches is possible with this option.
For more information, find more useful guides in the How To library.
The best solution depends on your leather type and the type and severity of scratches.
Pigmented (painted/coated) leather
If your leather is pigmented (painted/coated), you'll need a Repair & Recolour Kit. Start with Spot & Prep (No.4) to clean the surface. If there are loose tags (typical for cat scratches), use Glue (No.15) to fix the leather/coating back into position. Use Fill (No.14) to fill any pits or gouges. Once the surface damage is repaired, use the leather finishing trio: Prime (No.5), Colour (No.6) and Topcoat (No.7) to colour over, conceal and blend the repaired area. Head to the How To library, explore more FAQs and read through the product descriptions to learn more.
If it is just one small scratch, it may be best to do nothing. If there's a patina of scratches all over and the colour has faded, it might be time to do a restoration using an Aniline Restoration Kit.
If the scratch is deep and very eye catching, you can use a Repair & Recolour Kit (with filler) together with some Sample Pots (to create a mottled bi-tone or tri-tone effect). With some careful and artistic blending, it is possible to produce a well blended and concealed repair. However, it's important to know that aniline leather is dyed and usually has some light transparent pigments on the surface. The Repair & Recolour Kit contains leather paint which is necessary for colouring over leather filler. Dyes are not suitable for use over filler. Your result may be a signicant improvement on that nasty scratch, but it may not be a completely invisible repair. Choose 'Aniline' colours when repairing aniline leather. Head to the How To library, explore more FAQs and read through the product descriptions to learn more.
If your leather is waxed, try rubbing the scratch with you finger tip until it warms. This can soften the wax in the coating and minimise or remove the scratch. This works on some waxed leathers but not all. If it doesn't work, refer to the information relating to aniline leathers (above).
This is the most common outcome for older pigmented leathers. After years of use and especially when there's been inadequate or incorrect cleaning and care, the coatings can become compromised. Ongoing exposure to body oil, perspiration and soiling can break-down the bond between the leather and coatings. We call this flaking 'delamination'. You will need a Repair & Recolour Kit (including Leather Filler) to correct the surface irregularites then refinish (recolour) the leather. Effectively, your task is to prepare and repair the surface then apply new coatings over the old coatings.
Leather Binder (No.33) is a clear coating. It can also be helpful when the cuticle (surface) of the leather is very fibrous (frayed) and factured (cracked and may feel rough to touch). Apply it after surface prep then fill pits and troughs with filler (if needed). When you are happy with the surface, refinish (recolour) the area. For more information head to the How To library and read through the product descriptions.
You'll need a Repair & Recolour Kit. To repair cracks, apply leather filler in thin layers, allowing drying between each layer. When cured and sanded, recolour over the repair. This system is ideal for pigmented leather and can be used on other leathers where a painted/coated finish is desired or acceptable in return for no more cracks.
Thereafter, maintain a regular care regime to help prevent further drying and cracking. Head to the How To library, explore more FAQs and read through the product descriptions to learn more.
Depending on the needs of your job, you may need some leather Glue to fix any loose tags or sections, leather Filler to fill any pits, gouges or textural irregularities then some leather colour finishing products to conceal and blend the repair (primer, colour and topcoat). Kits are available with and without filler and glue.
All auto leather is coloured with Leather Paint (you may know of it as 'leather dye'). Note: Aniline Dye Stain is true 'dye' and is not suitable for use in cars.
It depends on your leather type and your objectives. Each colourant type has different features, benefits and applications.
Don't be afraid of the word 'paint'. Professional grade leather paint is not at all like house paint. It looks and feels sleek, elegant and renders a showroom finish. In fact, most leathers are painted or 'pigmented'. What many people think of as 'dye', is actually leather paint.
If your leather is pigmented, you'll need to use a Repair & Recolour Kit (a leather paint based system). Whilst its possible in some cases, it is not recommended to use Aniline Dye Stain or the Aniline Restoration Kit on pigmented leather.
- All leather steering wheels, car interiors, and white based colours are coloured with leather paint.
- If the finish on your leather is flaking, wearing off or has scratches that show the leather underneath, it is coloured with leather paint.
- If you want to use leather filler to fill pits, scratches and other surface imperfections, the leather paint system will be required.
- Read What type of leather do I have? and check out Customer Before & Afters to see the colourant types on real customer jobs
Some leathers are coloured with a penetrating stain called 'aniline dye'. Most commonly, aniline leather is a shade of tan. Whilst dyes do come in other colours (black, orange, green, yellow, blue and red), they are never white, beige, or taupe etc. White based colours are paints. Dyes stain leather with vibrant transparent colour. They do not coat or protect leather and cannot cover filler, stains or change colour (except to darken with a harmonious colour).
Many aniline leathers are semi-anilines. They are dyed then lightly coated with transparent paints to render a softly mottled look that has 'natural' appeal together with some practicle protection from the coatings. If your leather is in the aniline group, you can choose between paints or dyes. The most popular solution is a semi-opaque dye-based system such as the Aniline Restoration Kit. Use this one if you want to maintain a one-colour, semi-aniline look. If you want full coverage to hide marks, stains or leather filler, you can use a Repair & Recolour Kit which can give full opaque coverage. Using paints on aniline leathers permanently changes the finish to 'pigmented' (painted/coated).
They are both leather colourants. They share these features:
- pro-grade coatings designed for leather that delivers a beautiful, refined, show-room finish
- self-sealing (won't rub off onto clothing)
- not a polish
- correct use includes surface prep (deep cleaning with Spot & Prep (No.4))
- satin finish which can be adjusted for more or less shine (see other FAQs)
- designed for pigmented leathers
- can be used on man-made leathers but may give reduced durability because of the plastic nature of vinyls & fauxs
- can be used for isolated touch-ups or all-over colouring
They are not suitable for:
- use on suede and some nubucks
- use on surfaces that are exposed to rain
- dying aniline leather. They are coatings - not dyes. See FAQs and How Tos to learn the difference between dyes and paints/coatings.
Colour Cream is an all-in-one leather coating. It can be used for:
- same colour make-overs
- quick and easy refreshing of leather coatings with moderate durability
- unifing colour and softening the appearance of marks and stains
- semi-opaque coverage (sheer to almost complete depending on the number of coats applied)
- can be used on aniline, semi-aniline and waxed leathers when used in our Aniline Restoration Kit
- application by hand using a sponge
Recommended: Protect with clear Topcoat (No.7) for maximum durability.
It is not suitable for:
- changing the colour
- use over leather filler
- applying by spray
Leather Paint is a refined colour coating.
It can be used for:
- changing the colour (lighter or darker) or recoating in the same colour
- full refinishing (when used within the Repair & Recolour Kit system) with maximum durability. Can be used alone (without primer and topcoat but with reduced durability)
- completely uniform colour and full coverage of stains (several thin coats)
- correct use includes surface prep, primer, colour then topcoat
- coverage of repairs made with leather filler
- can be used to restore most other leather types rendering a coated finish
- application by hand using a sponge, roller, brush or by spray or air-brush
No, not necessarily. The products you need are determined by the leather type(s) you have.
If your sofa, handbag, car seats and shoes are all made from pigmented or man-made leather, the same cleaner and conditioner can be used on all pieces. You'll need this kit.
If your bar stools, sandals, satchel and armchairs are made from unfinished leathers such as nubuck, suede, aniline or semi-aniline, a different set of products is needed for these leathers. Here's a link to the products.
For waxed leathers, use these products.
If you have a mix of leather types, using the most suitable care system for each type is recommended.
Find coverage estimates under the 'Coverage' tab under the 'Product Description' (available on most products).
How long since the last service? The ideal interval between leather care services (clean, condition and protection) is about 3 months. When done regularly, the work is light and easy. If it has been more than 3 months since your leather was cleaned, your job may require more product and effort.
Our topcoats perform equally. Satin is low-sheen and the most common finish. Gloss is less common. High Gloss is rarely used. Matte is very flat and is best applied by spray gun.
Yes, regardless of whether you are using white or coloured filler, it is designed to be covered with leather paint for a well blended and concealed repair. Filler is a repairing compound (not a finishing product). It is for correcting textural irregularities such as pits, scratches, scuffs etc. Once cured, it can be sanded then coloured over using leather paints or a the full refinishing system in our Repair & Recolour Kit.
You can choose to blend around 10% leather paint into white filler to tint it. Finishing over coloured filler can be quicker than over white filler as fewer coats of colour may be required.
The Repair & Recolour Kit includes White filler. Coloured filler is available separately.
Yes. You can choose to recolour aniline leather with a Repair & Recolour Kit (a leather paint system). It offers full coverage that can conceal blemishes, cover filled repairs and allow for a colour change. This permanently changes the leather to 'pigmented' (painted/coated).
No. Pigmented leather has layers of paint and coatings on the surface that cannot be fully removed (to make it aniline/dyed and uncoated or lightly coated). To create an aniline look, you have these options:
1) Recolour with one of our aniline blended leather paints such as Aniline Ember, for example. This renders a single colour result with the luminours qualities of dyes (a somewhat semi-aniline look). Check out the Customer Before & After Gallery to see examples of this approach.
2) Using a spray gun, create a softly mottled finish that mimics the appearance of aniline leather by spraying a harmonious darker accent colour over a light base colour. To a lesser extent, this can be acheived by hand (if you are up for a big project).
3) Tint the original pigmented coatings using Aniline Dye Stain (No.29). Most pigmented leathers can absorb dyes. Note: This is an unconvential method and, in most cases, not recommended although it may work on small projects. Test first to assess compatibility with your leather, evenness, colour intensity and whether you like the effect. Choose a colour that is darker than the original and in the same family.
Example 1: use Aniline Cedar Dye Stain over stone or light brown pigmented leather
Example 2: Aniline Forest over mid green pigmented leather.
Example 3: As dyes are transparent, it won't work if you use Aniline Almond over a dark colour such as Dark Chocolate.
Man-made materials are less repairable than leather. They are fundamentally disposable. As they age, it is typical for the upper plastic layer to detach from the lower fabric backing as the glues and resins break down. The upper can also become brittle and crumbly as the plasticising agents expire. Attempts to repair these issues are rarely successful.
If the problem is minor, try using Glue (No.14) to re-bond the upper layer to the fabric backing. A Repair & Recolour Kit can be used address problems with man-made materials but durability may be undermined and reduced by the inherent nature of the man-made material itself.
Maybe. It depends on the severity and your leather.
Oils repel adhesion. Filler, Glue and coatings may not be able to stick to leather that is heavily impregnated with oil.
Coatings (Repair & Recolour Kit) may stick well initially and may even last for a satisfactory period of time but this can be difficult to predict. You may find that the greasy area needs touch-up now and then.
If your leather is aniline, you can choose to restain it with Aniline Dye Stain (No.29) in a colour that is similar to the colour of the greasy area. This can blend the stain so that it is no longer eye catching. The Aniline Restoration Kit was developed as a way of restoring faded and blemished aniline leather. It can give partial coverage to oily areas and is easy to refresh as needed.
Use Dulling Agent (No.30) in your paint and Topcoat Matte as your finishing coat.
Topcoat Matte is best applied by spray gun. It can look extra flat, even 'cloudy' especially when applied over Leather Paint that has not been flattened with Dulling Agent (No.30). If you want a finish that is flatter than Matte Topcoat, add Dulling Agent (No.30) to meet your requirements.
You'll need a Repair & Recolour Kit (recommended) or Leather Paint. All auto leather is coloured with Leather Paint (you may know of it as 'leather dye'). Note: Aniline Dye Stain is true 'dye' and is not suitable for use in cars.
Search FAQs for more information about selecting your colour, kit size, repairing, etc.
As your jacket and boots are new, apply the Water Repellent first. Then, when refreshing the treatment throughout the life of the apparel, at least twice a year, use them in this order:
- Cleaner – to remove any soiling that happens over time. Use a brush and cloth to lift the nap.
- Water Repellent – to reinstate the water barrier
- Conditioner – to help maintain softness and suppleness
- Protector – to help minimise soiling and stains
These products are compatible with most suedes. For some suedes, there can be a fractional darkening of colour. This darkening is typically inconsequential and barely noticeable. If your jacket and boots are a darker colour, it won’t be of concern. If they are lighter in colour, the compromise is a possible small change to the colour in exchange for a reduced chance of permanent marks and stains.
Use Mould Remover (No.29). It is an easy spray or wipe on solution that kills mould and mould spores. It can be used on fabrics as well. After treating the mould, clean the leather to remove any organic matter (grime from hands) that may be a food source for mould. Finish with a leather conditioner to maintain softness and suppleness. Have plenty of cloths on hand and dispose of them or launder them separately. Ensure garments are dry before storing in a mould free, dry cupboard/wardrobe.
In some cases, mould can leave behind stains in leather and vinyl. In other instances, mould can eat into leather coatings leaving behind a whitish, frosty look. To correct this damage, recolouring with a Repair & Recolour Kit is usually the best solution.
Restore and maintain suppleness with this 3 part solution:
2) Softener (No.22). This is a tannery grade leather softener. Use it as a once a year treatment.
3) Wear or use the leather. This results in 'milling' which is the tannery term for stretching, flexing, and tumbling leather. It helps to loosen the fibres and soften leather.
Almost always, yes. However, some anilines can mark incredibly easily - even with water. Protect (No.3) offers great benefits for all leather types but, in particular, aniline leather as it can help reduce fading and minimise stains. That said, due to the propensity for anilines to darken, this product must be tested in an inconspicuous area first to ensure compatibility with your unique leather. Although permanent darkening can happen, it is very rare. Do a small test spot. If your leather doesn't darken in response to it, make Protect (No.3) part of your ongoing 3 monthly care regime for the life of your sofa (or handbag etc).
The short answer? Every 3 months. However, it depends on the leather type, frequency of use and you.
Pigmented leathers are protected by coatings; Aniline leathers are not. Frequent care helps to minimise the risk of marks and stains. It also helps to maintain the health of leather. If you want to treat your leather once a week or once a month, you can. Just don't leave it longer than 3 months.
Frequency of use
Leather items that receive irregular use such as some handbags or apparel may need less frequent care. For example, a leather jacket may just need a service in the middle of winter and again before storing it away for the summer. On the flip side, if you sit in the same armchair every day, it will benefit from much more frequent care. If there are lots of people using the leather, step up the care regime to match.
Some people perspire more than others and medications can change skin pH. If you perspire a lot, your steering wheel, drivers seat and your favourite seat on the sofa will benefit from more frequent care. If you are up for it, you can clean, condition and protect on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. 'Light and regular' is the key. Think of it as you would your kitchen bench; a quick wipe down on a regular basis using a small amount of product together with a deeper clean now and then, gives best results. .
If the stain hasn't 'set-in', cleaning can be very effective. Regular cleaning, conditioning and leather protection can reduce or minimise stains over time. Having a suitable cleaner on hand when spills happens can be the difference between a spill and a stain. On fresh spills, grab the cleaner asap. Use a wiping and dabbing/wicking technique to draw out the spill, rather than a rubbing method. A gentle brush may help to agitate into the grain.
Pigmented leathers are usually more forgiving of accidents than aniline leathers. Anilines have no or minimal protective coatings which means that spills penetrate easily and many become permanent, indelible stains.
If the stain is old, it is likely to have penetrated the coatings and/or leather. The stain is in, rather than on, the leather. If maintenace strength cleaners do not shift the stain, you could try a strong cleaner like Spot & Prep (No.4). Keep in mind that a strong cleaner has the power to disturb coatings. Whilst this is not common, it can happen. Be sure to test in a hidden area first and watch for any unwanted effects as you use the product. When all else fails, recolouring over the stain using a Repair & Recolour Kit can resolve the problem.
Yes, Protect (No.3) is a wipe on silicone-free cream that repels soiling, making it hard for dirt and grime to stick. It helps leather stay clean and makes cleaning easier. It also contains a UV barrier that provides the extra benefit of reducing the drying and fading effects of the sun.
Aniline leathers can mark easily. Whilst regular cleaning and conditioning are essential to maintaining the health and good looks of your leather, there are 3 additional steps that may further protect and preserve its beauty.
Topcoats seal and protect. They are a durable PU performance coating that bonds to the surface of your leather forming a physical barrier to spills and stains.
- A clear topcoat may give years of durability (most durable coating)
- Helps to slow the absorption of spills thereby helping to minimise stains
- Helps to reduce the absorbtion of hair and body oils thereby helping to minimise greasy human stains
- Can be matte, satin, gloss or high gloss finish
- Water Repellent, Leather Protector and various conditioners can be applied over topcoats once cured (14 days)
- Can be recoated after correct surface prep as needed throughout the life of the leather
- Can be applied by sponge or spraygun
- May make the leather look and feel less 'natural' and more 'coated', altering any velvety easthetic and touch.
- Must be applied after correct surface prep which involves a strong cleaner that strips any silicones, oils, waxes or emollients that may have been applied by the manufacturer or via regular care products and could disturb colour
- For optimal adhesion and durability, apply over leather Primer.
Water Repellent can be suitable for aniline leather and can be applied over topcoats. It repels spills helping to minimise watermarks and stains. Apply every 6 months after a good clean to high traffic areas.
- Clear, low sheen and ultra-refined, this treatment makes minimal changes to the look and feel of most aniline leathers
- Water beads and rolls off
- Liquid consistency, simply sponge on evenly then allow to dry
- Reapply every 6 months focusing on high impact zones
- Ideal for leather that may be exposed to water and other liquid spills and splashes often
- Leather must be clean before applying
- Cost is higher than other protectors
Leather Protector is a wipe on silicones-free cream that makes it harder for soiling to stick, makes cleaning easier and contains a UV barrier.
- Easy to apply by damp microfibre cloth
- Can be applied after every routine clean and condition
- Helps to manage all types of soiling from dirt to crayons, pens, nail polish, food and human grime etc
- Helps to minimises fading and drying from sun exposure
- A small amount of product covers a lot of area
- Some anilines mark with just water. As with all products, test in a hidden area to ensure there are no unwanted effects such as darkening or shine
- Least durable treatment. Reapply every 3 months after cleaning and conditioning focusing on high traffic areas
For ongoing care of aniline leather, use this care kit.
There are 4 ways to get a matching colour:
1) Standard colour - we may have a colour in our range that matches your leather. Sample Pots can be useful for testing our colour range.
2) Mix a matching colour by blending colours that are close to your colour. For example: Cream + Beige = Your shade of creamy beige.
3) Mix a matching colour by blending colours from scratch. For example: White + Ochre + Black = Your shade of creamy beige.
4) Use our paid Custom Colour Mixing Service (minimum 1L order required).
- First, order the service plus the products you want (eg, Leather Paint, Aniline Dye Stain, Repair & Recolour Kit etc)
- Next, send us a sample
- When we recieve the sample, we'll mix your colour then send your products to you. T&Cs apply.
Yes. To test colours, order some Sample Pots. Choose any 3 or 5 colours. You can test:
To pre-test colours for Colour Restoration Creams opt for Leather Paint and for the Aniline Restoration Kit, you can test both the dye and paint.
Our smallest Repair & Recolour Kit (50ml) can be used to trial the products on a test panel/piece of leather. If you want to test the performance of the system, be sure to follow the full process and allow 14 days curing before commencing normal use tests.
To test your colours, apply 2-6 layers of colour, allowing drying between coats. Note: leather paint is low viscosity (thin and watery). It is not thick like house paint. It's this refined quality of the colourant that gives a sleek, showroom finish.
You can make a few test spots.
- in an inconspicuous place on your job (at the back, behind a cushion, on an inside seam, underneath)
- on the piece of white vinyl supplied with your samples
- on a leather off-cut that is the same or similar to your leather
- on an old white dinner plate
- on a piece of clear perspex
- on a piece of clear contact or tape applied to your leather (Caution: may remove coatings when removed)
Removing your test spots
Leather dyes are indelible. They cannot be removed. Leather paint can usually be removed within the first hour using leather cleaner and a brush. Thereafter, it may not come off leather. Adhesion to vinyl, perspex, ceramic and tape is typically limited.
Light and colour
Our perception of colour changes with the light. It can help to view your test spots in varying light conditions.
No. Photos are too unreliable and colour perception is somewhat subjective. We can't recommend or make comment on your colour selection. The best way to find the right colour for your job is to start with some Sample Pots.
It's possible. Many of our colours match popular car interior colours. We can't tell you which colour correlates with any given make, model, code or OEM colour name. Sample Pots can be a good place to start.
Yes. The Repair & Recolour Kit allows for full coverage.
It is generally easiest and requires less product to recolour in the same colour. That's because you don't have to be as thorough when it comes to the nooks and crannies and coverage may be achieved with fewer coats.
You can go light over dark and dark over light. For example, you can recolour Off White over Black or tan over Scarlet or Blue over Cream. With multiple coats, full coverage can be achieved. Check out the Customer Before & After gallery to view examples.
- Adding some White Leather Paint to your first coat can help to build coverage more quickly, especially if you want to use a bright colour like Lemon or Yellow over a dark colour like Brown or Black. This isn't needed when using any white based colour like Cream, Off White, Elderwhite etc
Only a little. This system is for aniline, semi-aniline and waxed leathers. Dyes are transparent stains which means that they don't give coverage and without coverage, you can't lighten the colour. We recommend that you choose a colour that is similar to the original or somewhat darker.
No. This system is a colour refresher; like make-up for your leather. It gives sheer coverage which means that you must use a colour that aligns well with the current colour.
'Aniline' refers to dyes. Leather Hero colours prefixed with the word 'Aniline' can be in the form of Leather Paint, Aniline Dye Stain or Colour Cream:
Leather Paints & Colour Creams
The leather paint and colour cream colours that are prefixed with the word 'Aniline' are a blend of leather paints and dyes. For example. 'Aniline Ember Leather Paint' is mostly paint with a dash of dyes. The result is a single colour leather paint with an extra dimension or vibrance coming from the dyes.
Aniline Dye Stains
When it comes to Aniline Dye Stains, all colours are prefixed with the word 'Aniline' and the product is dye stain (no paint in the formulation). 'Aniline Ember Aniline Dye Stain' is a transparent staining dye.
Yes, spot repairs are possible. You will need a matching colour and shine (topcoat) to achieve a cohesive result. Spot repairs may stand out because they are new, clean and fresh whilst surrounding areas are worn and subtly discoloured from years of use.
Often it is easiest and results are best when the entire piece is recoloured. A perfect colour match is not needed and the whole piece looks cohesively restored and renewed.
They are HEX codes. When choosing colours, it can help to know something of the make up of the colour. You can use the codes to view colours on a colour picker site such as Google Colour Picker. For further confirmation of a colour, try viewing it on various devices.
Our colours are mixed by skilled humans using precise formulations. Fifteen of our colours are 'master colours'. These pigments are carefully blended to create the rest of our vast range. Every colour is paintstakingly tested and measured for consistency before being released. Every care is taken to deliver a highly consistent range of colours.
Colour mixing is an inexact science. Slight variations in raw materials can give rise to fractional batch variations. Any such variation is likely to be unnoticable. That said, if you have a keen eye, it is best to order your full colour requirements in one order to ensure that the colour you recieve is from the same batch.
Tip: Example, you are colouring 2 armchairs and you think you will need more leather paint. Rather than completing one chair with the first bottle of colour, use it evenly on both chairs then, if/when you reorder colour, use the second bottle to finish both chairs.
Colour perception: The colour we see can be impacted by:
- the colour of the ambient light (natural, electric, day, night, sunrise, overcast)
- the colour of surrounding surfaces (walls, furnishings)
- the colour of the substrate you are painting (complimentary and harmonious colours can have both pleasing, jarring and misleading effects)
- subjective perception (we don't all see colour the same and we all like and dislike different colours)
- soiling and stains (dirty leather is always a different colour to its clean version)
- leather paint is lighter when wet than when dry (and takes up to 14 days to cure)
Using a rubbing technique and household cleaners can remove colour from leather. Also, when leather is unsealed, colour can be removed by normal cleaning. Leather can be unsealed from manufacturing or because the original sealant has worn or become compromised.
When colour comes off pigmented (painted/coated) leather, a Repair & Recolour Kit is needed to replace the coatings that were removed.
They are approximate.
Remember that each digital device may display colours a little differently and back lighting can make colours appear extra vibrant. Viewing colour up close or far away, in morning light or night light as well as the nearby and ambient colours present and our individual colour perception all impact what we see. Sample Pots are ideal for colour testing.
Our coloured products come in different formulations and each version of the colour varies:
- Leather Paints: full strength colour
- Aniline Dye Stains: transparent version of the colour that may be impacted by the original colour (substrate)
- Colour Creams: sheer or semi-opaque version of the colour
- Coloured Leather Fillers: approximate verion of the colour (in a white base)
Colourants can be applied by hand using a sponge, fine paintbrush (for detail areas such as piping), small foam roller, spray gun or airbrush. For most DIY jobs, a sponge is ideal.
The products are water-based and air-drying. Drying times vary based on a few factors. Typically, they are dry within 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Drying times are affected by the environment, assistance given and the number of coats:
- Environment: air flow (windy or still), atmospheric temperature, whether in sunshine or shade, humidity (wet or dry weather).
- Assistance: the use of a fan, room heater, a hair dryer or direct sun
- Number of coats: the first coat dries fastest. As coats build, the overall coating is ‘damp’ and more time may be needed between each coat for each coat to feel dry. A single coating can be dry to touch in minutes (assisted) or 1 hour (unassisted). Your project (sofa repairs, car seat touch-ups etc) can be considered dry in 2 days and cured in 14 days. Most projects can be used after 1-2 days with extra care given to the new coatings for the first couple of weeks whilst they expell moisture and bond to the surface.
For large jobs, it can help to leave 2 or more days drying time mid-project and before applying topcoat.
If at any time, there’s coatings disturbance, that’s a sign that the previous coatings are not dry enough yet. Allow more drying or use a hair dryer to speed the process.
Typically, 30 mins to 1 hour.
Filler must be applied in thin coats. A hair dryer, gentle sunshine or a room heater can be used to speed drying. Overnight drying can be helpful mid-project.
Filler can be sanded when dry. If it crumbles or balls when sanding, it isn't dry enough or was applied too thickly. Allow more further drying.
No. These colourants are self sealing which means that they don't rub off onto skin or clothing.
Dyes are stains that are not self sealing. On some leathers there can be a small amount of dye transfer onto skin and clothing. To seal dyes, apply 2 coats of clear Topcoat (No.7).
You could push through the job in 1 day (using a heat sources such as a hair dryer and with 2 people) however, taking your time is recommended when using a Repair & Recolour Kit. We suggest you allow 1-2 night drying time half way through the colour coats and again before applying the topcoat (more if needed). For most jobs, 2 to 7 days is enough time.
When restoring an aniline sofa and using an Aniline Restoration Kit, your job can be completed in 1 day or 3-5 days if finishing with topcoat.
If the furniture is under cover, the products can be used successfully.
Yes, the Repair & Recolour Kit can be used on man-made leather-like materials but typically, with reduced durability. If the material is in a degraded state (peeling, flaking, crumbling), repairs may not be viable.
In some instances, Aniline Dye Stain can be used to stain man-made materials and fabrics.
The care products can be used with pleasing effects.
Broadly speaking, 'Aniline' means 'dyed'. Aniline leather is coloured using dyes and has little to no coatings.
2 days, or longer if you can.
Coatings are touch dry in 1 hour, dry in 2 days and fully cured in 14 days.
Wait 7-14 days before applying any care products or wiping with water. Wet weather can mean slower drying.
"I previously purchased a kit to recolour my leather sofas. That was in 2020 and they're still going strong (now 2023)".
Linda P, QLD
Proven performance : Our leather products are professional grade and many are used in tanneries which means that they are performance tested and industry approved. Whilst they can last for years, in after-market applications, results and durability vary from job to job due to many factors.
Purpose : The products let you do as much coatings maintenance as you want or need over the life of your leather. They give you the ability to touch-up any mishaps or give your leather a periodic make over. This might be once a year, once every 2, 3 or 4 years and so on - it depends on your leather and how much use it gets and what it needs to look good.
Best results on quality leather : The coatings perform best on a well prepared substrate that is inherently robust. Where the strength and integrity of the leather is compromised, the durability of repair and recolour work may be reduced.
The location of a tear affects the outcome : Repairs to tears in non-load bearing areas can last indefinitely. The longevity of tear repairs in load bearing areas such as seat cushions can be difficult to predict. Stitching the join can lend extra strength before gluing, filling and recolouring.
Oils prevent adhesion of coatings, filler and glue : Areas that are affected by body oil and hair oil can be problematic. They may require touch-up before other areas.
Correct products and processes : Best results are acheived when the full process and correct products are used. Each product plays a role in creating a beautiful and durable result. Using the full system allows for maximum performance.
After care : Wear and tear typically occurs on high impact zones such as armrests, head rest and seat cushions; the areas that receive abrasion, body oil and perspiration. Good ongoing after care can extend the life of leather and coatings. Harsh techniques or inappropriate products can damage leather coatings. Never rub as it can result in coatings removal.
Amount of use : If your leather sofa is used by 4 people, it receives 4 times the amout of use as a sofa that is used by 1 person. Think of it as 'mileage' - like on a car. Rotating your use of a sofa spreads the wear and tear evenly and can extend the life of the coatings and leather.
Type of use : Avoid abrasion to minimise coatings wear and tear. Dog claws and lots of perspiration can reduce the longevity of the coatings.
The products are made for leather. They are laboritory tested, widely used and known to be safe for leather.
- Ensure you like it. It's best to be sure that you like the effect of the product before using it. If you don't like it, cease using it. It's better to be safe than sorry.
- Test your colour in an inconspicuous area to make sure it's what you want before proceeding with the job. If you want to alter it, it's best to make that adjustment before you start colouring. Sample Pots are ideal for colour adjustment.
- Test your topcoat to ensure it has the level of shine you like before proceeding with the job. Topcoats shine can be reduced with the addition of Dulling Agent and increased with the addition of Gloss or High Gloss Topcoat.
- The right product for your type. Ensure you have a product that's suitable for your leather type.
- Inferior and damaged finishes. Coatings that are compromised may be disturbed by simple routine cleaning. When this happens, it shows that the original coatings have expired and need to be replenished with new ones.
- Learning curve. Get to know the product and how your leather responds to it.
Each product in our Repair & Recolour Kit performs an important role towards maximising durability and creating a beautiful, showroom finish. When used alone, Leather Paint will stick to most substrates, however for optimal results, we recommend the full process. Here's why:
Spot & Prep (No.4): Anything that prevents optimal adhesion, undermines durability. This strong cleaner strips soiling, surface oils, silicones, waxes and emollients. A thoroughly clean surface is the first step towards producing a lasting result. Use it generously, scrub vigorously and wipe with moderately firm pressure.
Sanding: Sanding smooths surface imperfections and keys the surface - another important step towards good coatings adhesion.
Prime (No.5): This adhesion promoting coating creates a chemical bond between the leather and the new colour coats. Good adhesion contributes to durable results.
Colour (No.6): This is the bit we all enjoy! Applied in thin layers to render a showroom quality finish.
Topcoat (No.7): With the highest rub-resistance, this coating protects the colour coatings from wear and tear thereby extending the overall performance of the system.
Beware cheap alternatives: The full benefits of each coating are achieved by layering in the correct order. Some sellers mix a tiny percentage of primer and/or topcoat into their paint and call it a day. There is a clear difference in performance when corners are cut.
Colours and leathers vary. Some colours give coverage with fewer coats than others. Some leathers may require more coats than others.
Why so many coats? You want a lux showroom finish. The coatings a refined. They are formulated to colour the leather without looking thick and painted. These professional colourants are low viscosity (watery). They produce a sleek, grain-hugging finish.
Prime (No.5) : 1 coat (apply 2 on high traffic areas like seat cushions and armrests if you have some left over)
Colour (No.6): Leather Paint. There's a wide range of normal. Anywhere from 3 to 8 coats are typical. Your job may require more or less due to your colour choice and leather type and condition. Same colour touch-ups require fewer coats. Colour changes typically require more. More coats may be needed to cover leather filler than for areas without filler. Your application method and technique may also play a role in determining the number of coats needed. Once full and even coverage has been achieved, no further coats are needed.
Some colours are inherently more more opaque (eg: White) whilst others are more transparent (eg: Lemon).
Tip: When changing colours, it can help to add White to your first coat. Add less White to your second coat then use the final colour for subsequent coats. This trick is particularly helpful when changing from a dark brown to Lemon, for example.
Topcoat (No.7): 2 coats (you can apply more to high traffic areas if you wish).
Colour Restoration Cream (No.32): 1 to 5 coats are typical. You can apply more to high traffic areas or to cover stains if you wish).
Aniline Dye Stain (No.29): 1 to 3 applications are typical. If you are using a darker shade (than the original) or your leather is very faded, more applications may be needed. You can apply more to the faded areas and less to the areas that are uneffected by fading.
Colour Restoration Cream (No.32): 1 to 3 coats are typical. You can apply more to high traffic areas or to cover stains if you wish.
No. Colour work corrects colour problems. It just address the aesthetics. Coatings offer protection but they do not moisturise, nourish or soften leather. If you are looking to restore the look of your leather, you'll need a repair and recolour system suited to your leather type. If you want to maintain the health of your leather to help prevent drying, cracking and delamination, you'll need a set of care products for your leather type.
After repairing and recolouring your leather, wait 2 weeks then commence an ongoing 3 monthly care regime.
Feel: No, when applied to viable, clean substrates and when fully cured (up to 14 days), they are not sticky. Finishing with Topcoat and conditioning your leather 7-14 days after colour work is recommended for best results.
Smell: For most people, most products have an insignificant smell when they are wet and no noticable smell when they are dry. The products with the strongest smell are in the cleaning category. Many products have a pleasant aroma.
If your nubuck has a low nap, is older, faded or stained there are some colour treatments that may be suitable. These options require a change or compromise along with the solution:
1) You can use Aniline Dye Stain (No.29) to enrich the colour. For larger jobs, using a spray gun may help to deliver the most even result possible. With this option, there is a chance of dye transferring onto skin and clothing in the short term.
2) The Aniline Restoration Kit gives semi-opaque coverage of blemishes and leaves a coating on the surface. The soft touch and unfinished quality of nubuck will be replaced by a coated look and feel.
3) For full coverage of imperfections, if the nap is low, a Repair & Recolour Kit. can be used. If repairs are needed, including the use of leather filler, this system can provide the coverage required to conceal the repair work. The compromise: Although imperfections can be disguised or covered, the original doe skin look and feel will be permanently changed to a coated /pigmented finish.
There are limitations to what can be achieved when it comes to suede. The treatments that can work include:
1) Aniline Dye Stain (No.29) can be used to enrich the colour. For larger jobs, using a spray gun may help to deliver the most even result possible.
2) For small touch-ups to cover marks or stains and for pastel and mid-tone colours, Fabric & Suede Colour (No.) is an option. For spot treatments and all-over colour makeovers, a good colour match is needed. Colours can be mixed. Not suitable for an all-over colour change.
Repairs: Most suedes can be glued but are not compatible with leather filler or leather paint.
Considerations when using Aniline Dye Stain (No.29)
- Your leather may or may not take up the stain evenly.
- Garment linings may also be coloured and that too, may or may not be even.
- Suede may stiffen and may need to be treated to restore suppleness.
- Hand application may not produce even results. Using a spray gun generally gives optimal results on suede.
- For large jobs, a lot of stain may be needed to acheive full and even colour.
- Colour may transfer onto skin and clothing (for a while).
- Colour must the same, similar or darker (cannot be lighter).
Yes, often but not always. It depends on the coatings on your leather and how long the dye has been present. Dye Remover (No.15) can be 100% effective when used to treat fresh transferred dye stains or when the leather coatings are not very porous. If the dye has penetrated the coatings, the stain may be permanent. Recolouring over the stain using a Repair & Recolour Kit (for pigmented leather) or Aniline Dye Stain or the Aniline Restoration Kit for aniline leathers) can help to minimise the appearance of the dye stain.
You can't really. We believe that there's no effective, user-friendly way of drawing embedded oil from leather.
There are some oil removers on the market that you could try. We have tested them and found the process to be long and messy and the results less than ideal. When we find a solution that works, we will happily make it available to you through our store.
If you are doing colour work over an oily area, clean it thoroughly with a strong cleaner like Spot & Prep (No.4) to remove as much oil as possible from the surface.
No. Glue (No.16) is white and dries clear. Wipe away any excess glue from the surface. Colouring over glue is optional.
Instructions or directions for use are on product pages, on product labels and there are further guides in the How To help centre and FAQs.
Leather Hero Leather Paint is tannery grade. It is, by comparison to house and artist paint, thin and watery. It is this deliberate low viscosity that renders a beautiful, sleek, showroom finish. Applied in thin, fast drying coats, coverage builds without adding bulk. It also helps to maintain the look and feel of the grain and other natural features.
Colour Restoration Cream is thicker; more like a thicker lotion.
Aniline Dye Stain is liquid like water.
Do the repair and recolour work first. Wait for the coatings to cure (up to 14 days), then apply conditioner and leather protection.
If you want to apply Water Repellent or Leather Softener, do that after all colour work (including topcoat) has cured and before any care products (conditioner and/or protector).
If you have recently applied conditioner or protector, be sure to remove them fully before doing any repair or recolour work. Do this with Spot & Prep (No.4), a microfibre cloth and a scrubbing brush.
- Clean using Spot & Prep (No.4). The area must be free of soiling, oils, waxes and any loose or flaking elements.
- If necessary, use scissors to trim any loose tags of leather that can't be repositioned into place.
- If the tear or cut has neat edges, apply glue to the edges, wait a few minutes for it become tacky then apply a second layer of glue. Press and hold the edges together. Wipe away excess glue. Avoid use until cured.
- If the glued join is still too obvious, fill the join with thin layers of leather filler. Refinish the area using the Repair & Recolour Kit.
- If the tear is in a load-bearing area, depending on the size and location of the tear and the quality and condition of your leather, gluing alone may or maynot hold. For additonal reinforcement, stitch the join as neatly as possible using a leather stitching kit. Insert/massage glue into the join then wipe away the excess from the surface. Allow to cure. Conceal with layers of leather filler. Experiment with smooth (palette knife) and stippled (sponged) finishes to blend the texture of the repair with the surrounding leather. Allow to cure and sand to smooth as needed. Refinish the repair using the Repair & Recolour Kit.
- If the tear is large, it can be helpful to insert a sub-patch using leather glue to bond the underside edges of the tear to the patch. Fill and refinish to conceal the tear.
For more information on repairing, head to the How To library.
Delivery time = Dispatch time + Transit time.
Notifications: An email with your parcel tracking number is sent when your order is ready for dispatch. Whilst your parcel is in transit, you may recieve subsequent delivery updates from Australia Post. These updates may change the original estimated date of delivery. Please contact Australia Post for any delivery queries.
Dispatch times: Most parcels (96%) are dispatched from our Sydney warehouse within 0-2 business days (excludes NSW public holidays).
Transit times: Australia Post offers the following estimates:
1-3 business day to metro locations
2-4 business days to rural locations
5 business days to remote locations
2-4 business days to metro locations
3-6 business days to rural locations
5-8 business days to remote locations
6+ business days
From time to time, dispatch times may be slower than normal due to health measures, resourcing limitations and supply chain issues. Similarly, Australia Post transit times are affected by external factors such as weather events and health measure. Such delays may apply without notice. We thank you for your understanding.
Our warehouse is not open to customers. All orders are placed online and fulfilled via an automated process.
Currently, Leather Hero products are available online only.
No. Due to online automation, it is not possible to combine orders. Freight is automatically purchased from Australia Post for each order. No refunds for postage charges will be made.
If possible, we will ship both orders in the same box for your convenience. However, as freight is calculated based on weight and dimensions, this may not be possible in all cases.
We can't facilitate exchanges but we can accept some products back for refund. Follow this process:
1) Read the Refund Policy for full details and to determine if your order is returnable
2) Contact Us to request a return. Provide your order name, order number and reason for return. Wait for a reply from us
3) Once your return has been approved, order the products you would prefer from our store, then return the original order
4) Once we receive your return, we will process a refund per our policy
Not anymore. Whilst we used to provide in-home leather restoration services, we no longer do.
If you are looking for someone to use Leather Hero products on your job, consider contacting a handyperson in your area.
Do a small test area to assess the level of shine.
Topcoat is more dull than I would like
Mix in a glossier topcoat into your existing one. For example, add some Topcoat High Gloss to your Topcoat Matte, Satin or Gloss. In fact, you can blend any combination to reach the level of shine your require. This could be 50:50 Gloss and Satin for example.
I've already applied 2 coats of Matte or Satin Topcoat but want a shinier finish
In this case, you can choose between these options:
2) Add around 10% - 30% leather paint to your topcoat. The shine of the paint can help to lift the shine of the Topcoat. (more for Matte than Satin). Apply 2 - 3 coats. You can experiment to find the mix that meets your desired look. This approach somewhat dilutes the protective properties of topcoat but generally produces a satisfactory level of protection.
3) Use Waxy Nourish (No.9). Wait 7 - 14 days after colour work then apply this conditioner. It contains natural organic waxes and glazes that render shine. Apply 1 or more applications per your desired aesthetic. Do a test area in an inconspicuous place first to ensure that it is the right solution for your needs. Reapply after cleaning as needed for the life of your leather.
Add Dulling Agent (No.30) to the topcoat until it reaches the level of shine you are looking for. Add in progressively, testing in an inconspicuous area as you go.
1) Allow more drying time. The colour coats may not be dry enough. Anywhere from 2 -14 days may be required. A heat source such as a hair dryer, room heater or gentle sunshine can be used to speed drying.
2) Try another applicator. If the sponge is old and caked with dried product, use a new one. Do not use a cloth or any other abrasive applicator. A foam roller can work well. Of course, if you can use a spray method, that will remove all chance of abrasion.
3) Use a light touch. A heavy handed technique can drag damp coatings off. When you reach the finishing coats, use a gliding pressure; the lighter the better. Try a dabbing technique on areas where the coatings have been disturbed. This can deposit more colour with less friction.
4) Use a blend of 80% paint and 20% topcoat as your last colour coat. Topcoat has sealing properties that can assist the transition from colour to topcoat. Complete your job with 2 coats of topcoat.
5) Don't disturb the coatings whilst they are drying. They want to form a film. If you work into the coatings during drying, disturbance will occur (peeling, pilling, colour removal).
6) Work quickly. Work in one area or panel at a time. Working quickly, sweep the topcoat over the surface then leave it to self level.
7) Insufficient surface prep. Adhesion problems can stem from inadequate surface prep. There may be soiling, waxes, silicones (from conditioners or even added by the manufacturer), or oils (from conditioners or skin and hair) preventing optimal coatings adhesion. A strong cleaner like Spot & Prep (No.4) together with vigorous scrubbing and firm wiping with a microfibre cloth is needed to remove these contaminants. Sanding the old coatings keys the surface for optimal adhesion. If you have a resistant area, it could be that more surface prep was/is needed. Go back to the beginning. Scrub, sand (try a coarser grit paper this time), prime (2 coats), colour then topcoat again.
When some colour coatings are old, thin, worn, inferior quality, unprotected (by a robust topcoat) or compromised by body oil, perspiration, inadequate cleaning or the use of inappropriate cleaners, they eventually degrade or wear off. This can first become evident when cleaning. The coatings may ball up, feel tacky, peel, disintegrate or come off. This shows that the protective coatings have expired. Whilst this is a known to occur it is not common.
The solution is to refinish (recolour) the affected areas. After thorough surface prep, apply new coatings over the old expired ones to restore the look and feel and to protect the leather. In some instances, new colour and topcoat may be needed. In other cases, just topcoat may be required.
If your leather has recently been recoloured the coatings may not be cured yet. Allow 7-14 days curing time before wiping your newly coated leather with water or any other care product.
Filler is an adhesive, flexible compound used for surface correction before recolouring with a leather paint system. It sticks to clean, structurally sound surfaces. If you find that it isn't sticking well, consider these factors:
1) Oil in the leather. Hair and skin oils prevent adhesion.
2) Surface level barriers. Soiling, waxes, oils or silicones on the surface can also impede adhesion. Scrub with brush, Spot & Prep (No.4) and wipe firmly with a microfibre cloth. Repeat until the surface is free of visible and invisible contaminants.
3) Keying. Sanding keys the surface which promotes better adhesion. Smooth, shiny surfaces in particular, benefit from sanding before repairing.
4) Applied too thickly. Filler must be applied in thin layers and each layer must be dry before the next one is applied.
5) Drying time. This varies quite a lot but each layer of filler is usually dry in 30 mins to 1 hour (if applied thinly). Heat can be used to dry filler faster (hair dryer or gentle sunshine). If you can sand it, it's dry. If it balls up, it's not dry enough yet or was applied too thickly.
6) Weak substrate. Whilst filler is flexible and bonds well to robust surfaces, it may not adhere as well to a heavily stretched, strained and generally weakened surface. Basically, it needs some support from the underside to do it's job.
5) Load bearing limitations. Glue and filler can hold together a tear in a non-load bearing area indefinitely. When repairing a tear on a seat cushion that may carry 50-100kg of human weight, stitching the leather back together before gluing and filling can produce a more viable repair.
6) Applied to plastic or fabric. Filler may not adhere well to some faux materials (man-made leathers). If the plastic upper is smooth and shiny, extra keying may help to improve adhesion. If applied to the lower fabric layer, adhesion may be short term if the surface is used for seating or is routinely stretched and flexed.
Try cleaning the leather again using Spot & Prep (No.4). Sand the area to key the surface. Leather Binder or Leather Glue may help to seal the surface and priming may also optimise adhesion before reapplying filler.
This usually just means that more coats are needed. When using a Repair & Recolour Kit or leather paint, it takes a number of thin coats to build to full coverage.
There are a few factors that impact adhesion and coverage:
- Surface prep:
- The surface must be keyed with sandpaper to promote optimal adhesion.
- It must also be free of oils, waxes, silicones, soiling and emollients. This requires deep cleaning using vigorous scrubbing and firm wiping with a microfibre cloth. If there are contaminants on the surface, adhesion may be compromised. Without good adhesion, achieving coverage may be difficult.
- Drying time: Each coat must be dry before the next one is applied. If not dry enough, the application of a new coat may remove the previous coat. Allow plenty of drying time. If there’s disturbance of previous coatings, allow more time or use a gentle heat source to promote drying. Sand to smooth any problem areas as needed then continue with the process.
- Technique: After the first coat, be sure to use a gliding technique with your sponge. This can help to minimise coatings disturbance.
- Leather: Leathers vary in porosity, texture and previous coatings. Some allow coverage faster than others.
- More coats: Due to the variables, it may be that more coats are required. When changing colours, more coats are usually needed. Depending on your leather, colour and application method, anywhere from 4 to 12 coats may be needed. There is a wide range of 'normal'.
Tip 1: If you are concerned that things are not progressing as expected, it can help to do a test panel. Focus on completing one panel from start to finish. This can give you a good understanding of the process and how your leather responds.
Tip 2: If you encounter a stubborn spot that resists colouring:
- first, try building coverage using a dabbing technique. Ensure each coat is dry before applying the next. Dabbing can deposit more paint than wiping/gliding.
- If this doesn't work, there may be a contaminant on the surface preventing adhesion. In this case, it's prudent to allow drying, then repeat the surface prep steps before continuing with primer, then colour.
This is an adhesion problem. Here are some possible reasons for adhesion problems.
- The previous coats are not dry enough yet.
- The material may not be leather but rather, a synthetic version of it. Faux materials such as vinyl, PU, faux, bi-cast and bonded ‘leather’ are essentially a form of plastic or have a high synthetic content. They lack the porosity of true leather and can resist coatings adhesion. There are many man-made leather substitutes. Some can be coated successfully whilst others can be difficult to coat.
- Inadequate surface prep. There may be soiling, waxes, silicones (from conditioners or even added by the manufacturer), or oils (from conditioners or skin and hair) preventing optimal coatings adhesion. A strong cleaner like Spot & Prep (No.4) together with vigorous scrubbing and firm wiping with a microfibre cloth is needed to remove these contaminants. Household cleaners and maintenance strength leather cleaners are unsuitable for pre-colouring surface prep. Any remaining surface soiling or contamination, may prevent optimal adhesion.
- The presence of lots of embeded oils can make recoating difficult as oils repel adhesion.
- Sanding the old coatings keys the surface for optimal adhesion. If the original coatings aren’t etched, adhesion may be reduced.
- Priming promotes optimal adhesion by promoting a chemical bond between the original surface and the new coatings. If priming is skipped, adhesion may be reduced.
- Although it is rare, some leather manufacturers use excessive additives to improve the feel of lower grade leathers. These additives can impede coatings adhesion.
Sample Pots are primarily for colour tesing. When testing for colour, it's OK to skip the surface prep, sanding and other products as you just want a good reading on the colour.
Sample Pots are not for performance/durability testing. If you want to test for performace, use a Repair & Recolour Kit (the full refinishing system) on correctly prepped leather (not vinyl) and allow 14 days curing before testing.
- Note; even on a brand new lounge, it is possible to rub away the coatings with intense, vigorous rubbing and/or inappropriate cleaner (abrasion or chemical stripping). This is why every leather care label in the world says "Do Not Rub".
- It's also worth noting that leather furnishings and car seats are not designed for use by clawed animals but rather for human sitting or reclining.
- Leather paint is thin by design. This creates a sleek, luxurious finish that doesn't look thick or like house paint. Multiple coats are applied to build full coverage
- The vinyl swatch supplied with Sample Pots is suitable for colour testing but is unsuitable for performance testing.
If your seat cushions are sewn in, coating the side walls is trickier than for removable cushions. Furniture construction varies. Some sewn-in cushions touch loosely and are easy to pull and hold apart. Others are firm and tighly pressed together. This makes it more challenging to recolour the side walls. Here are some tips for completing this aspect of your job.
Engage a helper
It can help to have a second pair of hands for this stage of the job. One person holds the cushions apart whilst the other coats and dries with a hair dryer.
Use your body weight
If you are working solo, try kneeling on one cushion to expose the side wall or kneel on 2 neighbouring cushions to open the gap between them and expose the cushion walls. Have your product and hair dryer on hand and allow each area to cool before allowing them to touch.
Another technique is to use props to hold the cushions open while you work and while the area dries. Things like dowl, a ruler, paddle pop sticks, tongue depressors can be useful. When the main areas are dry, touch-up the areas covered by the props.
After drying off the area, it can help to place a piece of tissue paper between the cushions for the first day or so. Alternatively, running your hand between the cushions a few times in the first day can also help avoid problems.
More coats are needed. There is a wide range of ‘normal’ when it comes to the number of coats needed. Sometimes it can help to use a stippling/dabbing technique when applying paint over filler. This method typically deposits more colour with each coat than a wiping technique. If you have a spray gun and can spray on some additonal coats, that's also a good option. Do a test area. Try these strategies:
1) Dab on a coat of colour, dry it off with a hair dryer, dab on second coat, dry it off then dab on another coat. In most cases, this gives coverage.
2) If white filler was used, tint some with up to 50% paint. Apply it using a dabbing/stippling technique, feathering the edges to avoid ridges, edges or demarcation lines. Dry it off with a hair dryer. If needed, give the area a light hand sand to take off any peaks and render a soft 'leather grain' texture. Now your white filled area should be much closer to your paint colour. For example, if your paint is Black, the filler may be mid or dark grey. Use the dabbing technique to apply the paint until coverage is achieved (per above).