How to dye faux leather: 14 steps (with pictures)

How to dye faux leather: 14 steps (with pictures)
How to dye faux leather: 14 steps (with pictures)

Faux leather or imitation leather is a material commonly used in the creation of upholstery, clothing and accessories. It is typically made from plastic polymers and mimics the look and texture of real leather. Dyeing faux leather is a fun and inexpensive way to transform an item of clothing or breathe new life into an old accessory. After you've selected a stain that adheres well to the faux leather, you can have fun dyeing an old chair or adding a new pattern to a skirt or bag.


Part 1 of 3: Choosing the right dye

Paint Faux Leather Step 1

Step 1. Acrylic stains

Acrylic stains are available at arts and hobby stores in a variety of colors, including metallic or glitter tones. It can be applied to various surfaces and adheres well to leatherette. Unlike other types of stain, acrylic stain does not rub off easily. In addition, it is known for its elasticity and therefore it is less likely to flake over time.

Paint Faux Leather Step 2

Step 2. Leather dyes

Leather dyes are acrylic dyes that you can find in local art and hobby stores. It is available in a variety of colors and is specifically formulated for better adhesion to both real leather and faux leather. Leather dye is more expensive than acrylic dye with prices varying between € 4 and € 10 for a small bottle. However, this higher price is justified by the fact that leather dyes are less likely to flake or fade over time.

Paint Faux Leather Step 3

Step 3. Lime paints

If you like shabby chic, lime paints are the perfect choice for giving any piece of furniture or accessory the worn and weathered look associated with this style. They are ideal for dyeing imitation leather as they adhere well to a variety of surfaces and materials. Many brands carry a wide range of lime paints that you can find in art and hobby and DIY stores.

Part 2 of 3: apply the stain

Paint Faux Leather Step 4

Step 1. Clean the leatherette

Dampen a cotton ball with a little isopropyl alcohol and clean the entire surface of the imitation leather to be dyed to remove all traces of dirt, grease and wax. A perfectly clean surface free of any dirt or grease will increase the adhesion of the stain to the surface of the material.

Paint Faux Leather Step 5

Step 2. Use an artist palette

In order to have easy and efficient access to stains as you work, prepare an artist palette with your chosen colors. You can buy an artist's palette made of wood or metal at art and hobby stores, or you can simply lay out the different stains on aluminum foil, an old newspaper or magazine.

Paint Faux Leather Step 6

Step 3. Dilute the tincture

Put a small amount of the acrylic stain of your choice on the artist's palette and add a few drops of acetone to it. Mix the tincture and acetone thoroughly with a small paintbrush. The acetone will help dilute the dye, making it smoother and easier to handle. Be sure to add only a few drops of acetone to the tincture (no more than the equivalent of a teaspoon) to prevent it from getting too watery.

  • Acrylic stain tends to dry quickly, so be sure to only put on the palette a small amount at a time.
  • If you find that the dye is still too thick, gradually add acetone a few drops at a time until you get the right consistency.
Paint Faux Leather Step 7

Step 4. Apply a base coat for large areas

If you need to stain a large area the same color, it will be necessary to apply an even base coat over the entire area first. Apply the stain you chose for your project to the surface to be stained. This is the ideal approach if you need to stain furniture or clothing.

Paint Faux Leather Step 8

Step 5. Apply the stain with a sponge

Put some stain on the artist's palette and dab it lightly with one side of the sponge. Then apply the stain to the entire leatherette surface using long, vertical passes. Since acrylic stain dries quickly, it is important to work quickly if you are using this type of stain.

Try to make long passes with the sponge when treating a large area to avoid creating streaks. If you are dyeing upholstery, consider painting one side at a time

Paint Faux Leather Step 9

Step 6. Let dry

Before applying further coats of stain, wait until the first coat is completely dry. Place the object in a safe place where it cannot be disturbed, damaged, or moved. Let the stain dry for 15 to 20 minutes.

Paint Faux Leather Step 10

Step 7. Apply several coats of stain

To intensify the color of the chosen stain and give it more shine, you can apply several layers. After the first coat has dried completely, apply a second coat to give the stain more luminosity and intensify the tone. Make sure the stain has dried completely before applying the next coat.

Part 3 of 3: paint a pattern

Paint Faux Leather Step 11

Step 1. Trace the pattern on the faux leather

Using a pencil, lightly trace the desired pattern onto the faux leather. Be careful not to squeeze too hard, as this will leave a mark on the surface. In addition, the dyes being semi-transparent in nature, the bold lines may appear through.

Paint Faux Leather Step 12

Step 2. Fill in the pattern

Using a brush, fill in the design with the colors you want. Be careful not to apply too thick coats of stain, as these may crack over time. If your design is made up of multiple colors, allow each color to dry before applying a new color to avoid smudging.

Be sure to rinse the brush every time you change your stain color. Keep a small cup of water nearby to dip the brush in before using a different color

Paint Faux Leather Step 13

Step 3. Correct mistakes with acetone

If you make a mistake, use a cotton swab or cotton ball lightly soaked in acetone to carefully remove the unwanted dye. Once the error has been corrected, allow the surrounding area to dry before resuming staining the surface.

Paint Faux Leather Step 14

Step 4. Let dry

When the design is finished, set it aside and allow it to air dry. Be sure to place the object in a safe place where it cannot be disturbed or damaged. The stain should dry after 15 to 20 minutes.

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