Basic Guide on How to Dye a Leather Product

Basic Guide on How to Dye a Leather Product

Leather products have always been regarded as symbols of durability, elegance, and timelessness. However, to further elevate their visual appeal and create unique, personalised items, dyeing leather has emerged as a popular practice among manufacturers and artisans alike.

As a reputable dye manufacturing company in India, we understand the importance of using premium-quality leather dyes to achieve exceptional results. This guide will help you learn about different types of leather dyes, their applications, the necessary equipment required for the dyeing process, and a step-by-step process to dye leather products flawlessly to achieve the best results.

Types of Leather Dyes

Basic Leather Dyes

Also known as penetrating dyes or aniline dyes, these are among the most widely used dyes for colouring leather products. These dyes are typically water-soluble and offer intense and vibrant colour results. When applied to leather, basic dyes penetrate deep into the leather fibres, resulting in a long-lasting and uniform finish. They do not obscure the natural texture and grain of the leather, creating a beautifully natural appearance.


  • Basic leather dyes are commonly used for products where maintaining the natural texture and grain of the leather is essential.
  • They are suitable for full-grain and top-grain leather, as well as vegetable-tanned leather.
  • These dyes are suitable for various leather goods, such as belts, wallets, handbags, and small leather accessories.

Alcohol-Based Leather Dyes

Also known as spirit dyes, they are ideal for colouring vegetable-tanned leather. These dyes are formulated with alcohol as the solvent, which allows for superior penetration and excellent colourfastness. Alcohol-based dyes dry quickly, which enables artisans to layer colours and achieve different shades with ease.


  • Alcohol-based leather dyes work exceptionally well on vegetable-tanned leather due to their superior penetration properties.
  • They are a popular choice for products that require rich and even colouring, such as leather shoes, belts and other leatherwear where a more intense and consistent colour is desired.

Oil-Based Leather Dyes

These are the perfect choice for enhancing the natural beauty of aniline leather. They effectively seep into the leather, enriching its natural grain patterns and providing a lustrous finish. The use of oil-based dyes results in a more transparent and translucent effect, which adds depth and character to the leather.


  • Oil-based leather dyes are primarily used for aniline leather, as they enhance the leather’s natural characteristics.
  • They are an excellent choice for products that demand a luxurious and rich appearance, such as high-end leather furniture.
  • These dyes are popularly employed in luxury leather furniture, automotive interiors, and high-end leather goods.

Water-Based Dyes

These have gained popularity due to their environmentally friendly nature. As they are water-soluble, they offer a wide range of vibrant colour options, easy clean-up, and emit minimal odour.


  • Water-based dyes are versatile and can be used on various types of leather, such as vegetable-tanned and chrome-tanned leather.
  • They are a preferred choice for environmentally conscious manufacturers and artisans.
  • They are commonly used for various leather products, including journals, book covers, and other smaller items.

Equipment List

Before embarking on the leather dyeing process, ensure you have the following equipment readily available:

  1. Leather Deglazer: It is essential for removing any existing finish from the leather surface. By stripping away previous coatings, the dye can penetrate more effectively, resulting in a more vibrant and even colour.
  2. Spray Bottle: Fill the spray bottle with water to keep the leather damp during the dyeing process. Maintaining the leather’s moisture helps ensure an even and smooth absorption of the dye.
  3. Paintbrush: Choose a high-quality paintbrush suitable for leather dye application. The brush should be soft and pliable, allowing for smooth and even strokes during the dyeing process.
  4. Leather Dye: Opt for high-quality leather dye in the colour of your choice, ensuring it complements the type of leather you are dyeing. Investing in premium dyes guarantees long-lasting and fade-resistant results.
  5. Scrap Rag: Keep a clean scrap rag or soft cloth nearby to wipe off any excess dye and maintain a clean workspace throughout the dyeing process.
  6. Gloves: Protect your hands by wearing gloves throughout the entire dyeing process. This precaution ensures that your skin remains safe from potential dye stains and exposure to any chemical residues.

Steps on How to Dye Leather

Preparation Stage

Cleaning the Leather: Properly cleaning the leather surface is the crucial first step in the dyeing process. Begin by using a mild leather cleaner or create a mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap. Gently wipe the leather surface with a soft cloth to remove dirt, dust, and any residue from previous finishes.

Leather Deglazing: In cases where the leather has an existing finish or coating, apply a leather deglazer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This step ensures that the leather is free from any barriers that could hinder the dye’s penetration. Allow it to dry completely after applying the deglazer..

Apply the Dye

Test the Dye: Before applying the dye to the entire leather product, it’s crucial to conduct a patch test on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather. This precaution allows you to assess the dye’s compatibility with the leather and verify the desired colour outcome.

Dampen the Leather: To encourage even absorption of the dye, lightly dampen the leather surface using the spray bottle. This step prevents the leather from absorbing the dye too quickly, thereby facilitating a more controlled and uniform colour application.

Apply the Dye: Wearing protective gloves, dip the paintbrush into the leather dye and begin applying it to the surface. Use smooth and even strokes, ensuring the dye is worked into the leather fibres thoroughly. For a more consistent colour, apply the dye in multiple thin coats, allowing each layer to dry before adding the next.

Layering: Layering the dye allows for customisation and depth in colour. As you apply multiple coats of dye, the colour becomes more intense and rich. Patience is key during this process, as it is essential to allow each layer to dry before adding the next to prevent smudging or uneven colouring.

Apply Your Finish

Once you have achieved the desired colour, it’s time to apply a leather finish or sealant. The finish acts as a protective barrier, safeguarding the dyed leather from wear, moisture, and fading. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time to ensure optimal results.

Expert Tips on Dyeing Leather Smoothly to Gain the Best Results:

  • Always conduct a patch test before dyeing the entire leather product to avoid any unexpected outcomes or unwanted colour variations.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area to ensure proper air circulation and minimise exposure to dye fumes.
  • Stir the leather dye thoroughly before use to ensure the colour is evenly distributed throughout the dye solution.
  • Use light, even pressure, when applying the dye to avoid creating streaks, blotches, or excessive saturation in certain areas.
  • Exercise patience throughout the dyeing process and allow the dye and finish to dry completely between each coat for optimal results.
  • Store any leftover dye in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources to maintain its quality and effectiveness.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) about Leather Dyes

Q1. Can I dye any type of leather with basic leather dyes?

A1. Basic leather dyes work best on porous leathers, such as vegetable-tanned leather and chrome-tanned leather. Aniline and semi-aniline leathers are particularly compatible with basic dyes as they allow for deep penetration, resulting in a more natural and vibrant colour.

Q2. Is it essential to use a leather deglazer before dyeing leather?

A2. While using a leather deglazer is not mandatory, it is highly recommended, especially if the leather has an existing finish or coating. Deglazing the leather ensures that the dye can penetrate effectively, resulting in a more even and long-lasting colour.

Q3. Can I mix different leather dyes to create custom colours?

A3. Mixing leather dyes can yield unique and customised colours. However, ensure that the dyes you are combining are compatible and water-based or alcohol-based to avoid undesirable results. It is advisable to conduct a test on a small piece of leather before applying the custom mixture to the entire product.

Q4. How long does the dyeing process take, and how should I care for dyed leather products?

A4. The dyeing process can take several hours, depending on the number of coats applied and the drying time required between each coat. After dyeing, it is essential to protect the dyed leather from excessive sunlight, water spills, and harsh chemicals. Regularly conditioning the leather with a suitable conditioner can help maintain the colour and extend the product’s lifespan.

Best Quality Leather Dyes from a Leading Dyes Manufacturer

Experience the brilliance of our premium leather dyes, meticulously crafted to elevate your leather products to unparalleled heights of excellence. As a top-quality dyes manufacturer, we take immense pride in our commitment to innovation and craftsmanship.

Unlock a world of vibrant colours and captivating hues, tailor-made to enhance the natural beauty of your leather goods. Our cutting-edge formulations ensure deep penetration, fade resistance, and long-lasting brilliance, making your creations stand out in the market.

Partner with us to infuse your leather products with unmatched elegance and durability. From leather shoe dyes and leather furniture dyes to other variants, we offer a comprehensive range of dyes to suit every need.

Contact us at +91 63599 99085 or +91 9824111218 / 219 today to explore the limitless possibilities of colour and creativity. You can also email us at for general queries.

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