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The Interestingly Painstaking Process of Leather Dyeing Explained

Process of Leather Dyeing
Leather is a natural material and is used for making various items. You can bring about change in the color of the leather items by dyeing them. Change the look of the leather items you own by transforming them with a new hue.
Bidisha Mukherjee
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Leather dyeing is mostly required to hide any kind of repair work or any stains that are visible on the surface. It restores the color of the leather that has been lost, either due to regular wear and tear or because of some damage or sun fading. With the help of the right products and tools, you can easily apply dye on your leather items. There are various forms of finishes, styles and color tones that are available for dyeing leather. To learn how to dye leather, it is important to understand the type of dyes that can be used.
Types of Leather Dyes
There are two main types of dyes - spirit-based or alcohol-based dyes and water-based. When spirit-based dyes are applied, the alcohol is readily absorbed by the moist leather. This ensures better penetration of the pigment deep into the surface of the leather. They provide an even finish to the leather and protect it from insect attacks. However, this dye robs the leather of its natural smell and stiffens it after dyeing. Water-based dyes retain all the essential qualities of leather.
There are mainly two different types of leather used for making leather goods. One is the aniline that shows the natural characteristics of the hide with all its pores and scars. The other one is the nubuck, which has the texture of velvet.
Selecting the Right Dye
The first step of dyeing a leather is to select a dye that is most suitable for the leather. Do not choose the color of the dye by looking at its color in the container. This is because, most of the dyes, give an altogether different shade when applied. Rather, refer to the samples that are provided by the shop owners to make the right selection.
Preparing the Surface
Prior to the application of any dye, the leather should be given proper treatment to obtain the best effect of the dye. The surface of the leather items are often coated with a protective covering to keep its natural color intact. If this coating is not removed, then you may find the leather in a dull and mutilated condition after dyeing. Clean up this coating with the help of a deglazer.
Application of Dye
You have to apply the dye on a damp leather surface. So, at first, spray some water or rub a damp sponge all over its surface. When the leather is evenly wet, start applying the dye. While dyeing, try to keep your strokes long to ensure an even distribution of the color. It may happen that one coat of the dye may not give you the desired shade. In that case, you have to apply more number of coats.
Drying Process
The drying time largely depends on the type of the leather to be dyed. On an average, it takes almost one to two hours for the dyed leather to dry up properly. During this time, you need to flex the leather several times, in order to loosen up its fibers. In this way, you can prevent it from stiffening up. When the surface does not have a wet look, it indicates that the dye on the leather has dried.
Final Touch
The next step that follows drying, is buffing up the leather with a soft, clean cloth to remove the extra dye. It also helps the leather to get a polished look. Finally, you have to coat the dyed leather with leather finish. Leather finishes are available in spray cans. You can directly spray it on the leather surface or apply it with the help of a wool dauber. You must ensure that the finish spread on the entire surface uniformly.
You will get scope to experiment with the dyes on the leather. Add some designs, pictures or monograms on the leather surface to make it look more attractive. However, to achieve such results, you need a lot of practice.