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How to Dye Leather

The Guilty Crafter's Dye-I-Y studio

By Angela Daniels

January 24, 2016

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Project Description

My best tips for dyeing leather.


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Prep, dyeing & Rinse time: About a weekend

Rit Products Used


You'll Also Need

  •   leather cleaner

  •    leather conditioner

  •    leather sealer

  •   4 gallon pot

  •   large metal spoon

Step By Step

  1. See the full video tutorial above. Recorded from an earlier live Periscope broadcast.

  2. Just quick points again: This is NOT an exact science. The tanning process for different leather objects are different and I can NOT guarantee you'll be as lucky as I was with this purse. With that in mind, don't try and dye precious pieces that would make you feel heartbroken if they got ruined. To me, leather dyeing should be reserved for pieces that you absolutely weren't using or wearing- something destined for the donation pile.

  3. Be prepared for a long dry time. I put this purse in front of the fireplace and it didn't dry for a couple of days.

  • http://www.ritdye.com The Ritsters

    LOVE how this came out. Thanks for experimenting with this.

  • Patty

    What is brand of leather sealant?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hello Patty, Thank you for reaching out. We don’t have a specific brand that we encourage to purchase to feed the leather back, we just recommend using a leather lotion or moisturizer so salt content in dye wont make brittle and crack. Hope this helps.

  • Karol Luna

    Could I dye an acid green purse with the aqua color ? Would the two colors mix and become a diff color or would it be Aqua ?

    • http://www.theritstudio.com Angela Daniels

      Hi Karol- What a darling purse! I thought I would jump in and attempt to answer your question to the best of my knowledge. Anytime you dye, you have to take the original color into consideration. So yes, you should be able to assume that the original green of the purse will be factored into you overall final color after you dye. If I were trying this purse (and remember, I suggest ONLY dyeing something that you wouldn’t be heartbroken about if it doesn’t work out because each leather will have it’s own tanning properties so there are no guarantees for eventual success), I would take off that little key fob and dye just that small piece as a test to give me an idea of what the outcome would be if I dyed the whole purse. Hope this helps!

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1091086937588981/ Rob

    10 mins of repetition, lol fast forward to ten min marker and you can save some time, thanks very much, but just want the details myself, haha hehe, hugs!

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/1091086937588981/ Rob

    I plan to do shaving cream painting with the dye on goat hide which is raw hide, not tanned leather, basically the dried out skin, will wash them first though I do know leather dye works fine, yet ive never used RIT. I will test with it first yet I wonder if it will stain fast like m other brand of dye, its pretty much instant, sinks deep, where as this video seems to take a long time to set in. I will not be diluting it either. So if anyone might have any tips for rawhide dye’n techniques, i am open ears. Drum making hide not tanned…. So if you think of a set of bongos, etc.. That type of hide…

  • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

    Hi Evon, Thank you for reaching out. What is the fabric content of the material?

    • Evon

      Unsure.. The cream part is synthetic I assume, the dark is leather. I’ve included a closer pic

      • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

        Hi Evon, We have two different dyes to choose from, depending on the material. Our original dye, all-purpose Rit, dyes natural fibers well, such as cotton, rayon, ramie, linen, silk or wool. Our new synthetic dye, Rit DyeMore, dyes polyester, nylon, acrylic, acetate, and many plastics. Since you believe the cream portion of the purse is made from a synthetic material, DyeMore would be the recommended dye to use. DyeMore is intended for use on the stove top for fabric that can be immersed in a dyebath of very hot water, 180 to 212 degrees, and agitated for at least 30 minutes. For this reason, you may want to try applying the dye to only the straw portion. We have emailed you instructions for the process.

        • Evon

          Thank you for your help! Fingers crossed!

  • Jana

    Hi. I have watched your video and bought the Rit dye to try it myself. Just wanted to check that I don’t need to add salt or vinegar to the dye bath?

    • http://ritstudio.com RitDye

      Hi Jana,
      Thank you for reaching out. Salt helps brighten the color of the Rit Dyes. There was no salt used in this project. If you would like to use it in your project, then you are welcome to. Hope this helps.

  • Megan

    I dyed a patent leather CHANEL that was dark blue BLACK with RIT dye more!! ? I didnt use water, just put on, wiped off with acetone and continued until it was black. No issues.

  • https://www.ritdye.com RitDye

    Hello Del, I recommend using a foam brush you may have to do about two maybe three coats of brushing the dye on. I recommend placing some newspaper or an old towel on the inside of the shoe to avoid any excess dye dripping on the inside of the shoe. Thanks!

  • Jeff Sanderford

    20 minute video. 15 minutes talking, 5 minutes of useful information.




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