Painting on leather can be a bit tricky, but having the right paint for leather makes your life that much easier. Leather is a great durable material that can look even better over time. Painting on leather is a great way to customize any leather piece, whether it be a purse, shoe, wallet, or even a couch. It does take some special paint to get the best coat of color, but it is an inexpensive way to unleash your creativity on your leather products. If you decide to paint on your leathers, make sure you look for leather paint products. A regular coat of paint can smear and come off easily. The last thing you need is to ruin your quality leather pieces with cheap paint.
What Is It?
Like the name suggests, leather paint is simply paints and dyes that are used specifically for leather materials. The different types of leather paint can be better for specific uses. Some are made for coloring, repairing, or decorating leathers. Leather paints are optimal to paint on leather, and most of the time they can be used on other surfaces as well.
Types of Leather Paints
The four main types of leather paints include acrylic-based paint, metallic paint, pearlescent paints as well as leather dyes. The different types of leather paints can be more optimal depending on what you want to use them for. Here we go into the details of each one so you are able to choose the best type for you.
1. Acrylic-Based Leather Paints
Acrylic-based leather paints are similar to regular acrylic-based paints, but are made to adhere better to a leather surface. Since leather is extremely flexible, the formula of the acrylic-based paints is made to move with the shape of the leather. This ensures that the paint won’t crack or peel off even if the leather moves and bends. Acrylic-based leather paints are water-solvent paints, which means that they can be easily washed off when painting. It is a foolproof method to customize your leathers. The paint also mixes well with other colors, so you can bet the basic primary colors and get a multitude of different shades to fit your specific project. Once the paint is dry, it is water-resistant so you can rest assured that your masterpiece isn’t going anywhere.
2. Metallic Leather Paints
Metallic paint is popular for leather surfaces since it stands out especially on dark leather. Most leathers are a darker shade, and metallic paints show up extremely vibrant on a variety of surfaces. They help to add a unique touch to your classic leather pieces. Many people also love using metallic leather paint for accents on shoes or jackets. With shoe painting on the rise, metallic paints can add subtle accents to even the plainest shoes.
3. Pearlescent Leather Paints
Pearlescent leather paints are similar to metallic paints, but they provide an even greater sheen that tends to glow and shift with the light. This is due to the addition of mica, which are shiny specks of ceramic. This type of paint is made from tiny specks of ceramic called mica. This helps to give it a pearl-like finish that provides more depth than a metallic paint would. This type of paint is used most commonly in the interior detailing of cars aside from being a great addition to your leather projects. They are used as a leather finish on parts such as the dashboard, steering wheels, and seats. Since the car moves in the sun, the pearlescent paint gives the leather a smooth and glowing finish.
4. Leather Dyes
Leather dyes are different from leather paint in that they saturate deeper into the leather material. Like the name suggests, the dye is used for switching the tone of the leather and works better for a complete color change than on specific detailing. It can also be great for repairing fading leather. The dye can bring your faded leather back to life and are more durable than leather paints. The dyes are typically less vibrant, so they are not optimal if you want to add a design to your leather. Since they are more heavy-duty this option is also less likely to fade, crack or scratch. If you are looking to give your leather pieces a complete makeover or revival, the leather dye is a great option.
5 Best Paints for Leather
Leather pieces are not cheap, so when looking for a leather paint option, you want to find something that is high-quality, heavy-duty, and versatile to fit your needs. With all the options on the market, it can be difficult to find the right one for you without testing it out first. Lucky for you, we have done the testing for you. We have tried a wide range of leather paint products on different leather items to bring you in-depth reviews of our top five picks.
1. Fiebings Acrylic Leather Paint
The Fiebings Acrylic Leather Paint is a water-based option that is more like a dye than it is a paint. With this heavy-duty option, you are sure to seep into the leather surface and revive your leather products for longer. The bottle itself is 2 oz. which is more than enough for any leather project. It comes in a variety of different colors, and are easily mixed if you need a more specific unique color. The dye is super pigmented, so you do not need to use several coats to get the color you need. The formula is flexible and easy to work with. When dried, this dye is water-resistant and will not crack or peel over time. If you are looking for a fool-proof option to revive your old leather products, this one is simple and gets the job done at an affordable price. Since this dye comes in a single set, it is more optimal for single color dyeing rather than intricate detailing or decorating.
– heavy-duty dye that is flexible
– pigmented color gets the job done
– easy to use and clean up
– comes in a single color
– more for larger applications
– dye is less pigmented than paint
2. Angelus Leather Paint 12-pack Set
The Angelus leather paint set comes in a 12-pack set with a wide array of colors. Angelus creates high-quality paints that many shoe detailers swear by. They have grown in popularity due to their highly-pigmented and versatile paints. Each bottle is 1 oz. of non-toxic paint that can be easily mixed to get the perfect shade that you need. The paints are acrylic-based and create a water-resistant finish that is great for shoes, jackets, purses, and much more. These heavy-duty paints move with the flexible leather and withstand wear over time. This set is simply a high-quality option that is great if you need a multitude of different colors. It is a great started set that is of professional quality. Although it is versatile enough to work on different types of materials, the formula of the paint is optimized for the flexibility of leather. The pigmented formula only requires one coat to give you a vibrant design that is sure to catch people’s eyes.
– high-quality formula does not crack or fade
– comes in set of 12 colors
– highly-pigmented formula
– applicator in jar may not be detailed enough
– some colors may take more than one coat
3. U.S. Art Supply 12-Pack Leather Paint Set
The U.S. Art Supply Leather paint set comes in 12 different colors and also comes with an airbrush thinning reducer as well as a brush cleaner. With this set, you are getting a complete package. These paints are made for an airbrush pen but is versatile enough to be used simply with a brush. The formula is ready to be airbrushed straight out of the bottle with special airbrush flow characteristics. The pigmented formula is made from acrylic resin and light-fast pigments. The colors are all non-toxic and meet the current safety standards. This set is slightly more expensive but is especially great if you have an airbrush machine. The colors are easily mixed for a more customized color palette. Even though the formula sprays easily, this set comes with a reducer for a thinner flow. With an airbrush, you are able to create a vibrant or less opaque finish to your designs. These paints are a great option if you need something versatile enough for larger surfaces or more detailed work.
– high-quality airbrush formula
– comes with thinner and cleaner
– works on many different surfaces
– optimized for airbrush use
– may need several coats for more opaque finish
– not as great for detailed work
The Jacquard Lumiere Acrylic set comes in 8 different metallic shades. This is a great option for those that require metallic detailing or simply want to add to their leather paint collection. These metallic paints spread evenly and smoothly, but are flexible for leather surfaces. This is a slightly more expensive set, but are made for more specific uses. The metallic pigment in these paints leaves an eye-catching sheen that only requires a single coat even on dark surfaces. Each individual jar is 2.25 oz. which is sure to last you a long time. The acrylic-based formula is easy to work with and gives a sophisticated look to any leather piece. Even as metallic paint, this formula is non-toxic and conforms to ASTM safety standards. This specialized paint set is perfect if you need a metallic set with a variety of different colors. Even though it only comes in metallic colors, the brand does have other options if you like the formulation of these paints.
– pigmented metallic colors
– vibrant even on darker surfaces
– non-toxic and complies with safety standards
– set only comes in metallic shades
– more specialized set
– more expensive than standard sets
5. Kaps Dye Paint for LeatherTable could not be displayed.
The Kaps leather dye comes with a sponge and brush, great for reviving old leather and for more detailed spot treatments. This product is a dye, rather than leather, so you won’t be able to make designs with this option. This is great for touch-ups or to completely makeover your leather products and change the color or tone. The dye itself is extremely versatile and works on much more than leather. Many people use this foolproof and easy to use the product on scuff marks on shoes or for changing the shoe color completely. The high-quality die will not crack and is ready for use after only 24 hours. The product comes in a single jar that has 25 ml of dye that works for any project. This is an affordable option for those that need a single color. Kaps has a wide range of colors from primary colors to more unique shades to match any color you need. The complete set allows for quick and easy application. Since the dye is slightly less pigmented than paint, this formulation is easily buildable if you want a more vibrant or opaque color. If you are looking for a dye that can repair or revive old leather products, this is the product for you.
– affordable dye that anyone can use
– able to be layered easily
– a wide variety of colors to choose from
– not a paint so not great for decorating
– requires more than one coat
Leather paint can do a lot to add customization to a variety of different leather goods. With DIY projects on the rise, you can find specialized paint in practically any color for your specific projects. With all the different leather paints you can draw intricate designs or revive or touch up an old faded leather product. Leather painting is inexpensive and does not require any special skills to use. It can be a bit hard to choose one, so hopefully, this guide is able to help you out. Do not settle for regular paint, since leather paint is optimized for the flexibility of leather and ensures your design will last.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and creating fond memory for all of us.