Leather is a durable material that looks attractive, and painting on it is a great way to customize any leather product. Although painting on leather might be a challenging task, the best paints for leather can make it much easier.
Using paint on leather is an inexpensive and great way to unleash your creativity. However, to get the best coat of color, special paint may be required. A regular coat of color will only smear and come off easily, and the last thing you want is to ruin your quality leather items using cheap paint.
With DIY projects on the rise, you can easily find specialized paint in any color for your leather projects. Not sure which one to pick? The guide below will give all the information you need to know before buying the best paint for leather to create colorful custom designs.
What is a Leather Paint?
Just like its name suggests, leather paint is dyes and paints that are specifically designed for leather surfaces. Some of the leather paints are even designed for specific uses, including repairing, decorating, or coloring leather materials.
Leather paints are best used for painting on leather, and most of the time, they can also be used on other surfaces. There are many options of leather paints to choose from in the market today. So, what is the best paint for leather surfaces?
Which Paint is best for Leather?
1. Angelus Leather Paint Set of 12 1 oz
- Set of Angelus Leather paint in twelve colors, 1 oz jars, version 1
- Ideal for athletic shoes - boots- jackets - purses - tack
- Non-Toxic 1 oz jars
- Angelus Acrylic Leather Standard Paint
- Made in the USA
Angelus, the manufacturer, is known for manufacturing leather-related products, including leather polishes, protective sprays, and paints. As one of the best leather pants you can find in the market today, the Angelus leather paint set comes with twelve tightly sealed bottles of paint.
Each of these bottles contains an ounce of different colors of acrylic paint. The colors mainly include yellow, red, orange, black, pink, white, purple, yellow, blue, green, lilac, and turquoise. This set comes with all the elements you will need to create different unique designs you're looking forward to.
The paint in the bottles is made from non-toxic substances, making them safe for use. Additionally, these jars are clearly labeled to identify the different paints. You can mix the colors to get the shade you want. This paint is easy to clean and reapply when necessary. It is a great option for customizing bags, shoes, and jackets and can also be used to hide marks or scratches.
2. Jacquard Lumiere Exciter Pack 9 Jewel Colors
- Lumiere is a stunning metallic paint
- Can be applied in multiple ways
- Works great on multiple surfaces
- Includes 9 - 1/2 ounce bottles
- Made in the USA
Another amazing product you should check out is the Jacquard Lumiere Exciter Pack 9 Jewel Colors. This set includes nine bottles of metallic leather paint, each of them having half an ounce of paint. The different colors include sunset gold, halo violet gold, halo pink gold, halo blue gold, pearlescent green, pearlescent turquoise, pearlescent magenta, pewter, and russet.
All these bottles are tightly sealed to prevent accidents. The paints give a glossy look from a clear coating of acrylic polyurethane. These paints can be applied on different surfaces, including leather, wood, paper, cotton, and polymer clay. It is easy to apply the paint using a paintbrush, an airbrush, or a rubbing sponge.
This Jacquard Lumiere paint doesn't have any harmful elements, and it conforms to the standard of ASTM D4236. These paints are best used for darker surfaces and are also a great option for a beginner looking to get started with painting leather.
3. Angelus Leather Paint 4 oz
- Whether you are restoring, customizing or completely revamping, this...
- Easy to clean up
If you're looking to buy a single color to use for your project, then the Angelus leather paint boasts an extraordinary wealth of colors that seem to shine with a standard. Since durability is essential, this paint features opaque and thick paint that is resistant to even the most severe discoloration.
These colors of paint are water-resistant, and the colors result in great coverage and vitality with each layer that is applied. For example, dark brown paint is best suited for dark leather. They are easy for beginners to use, and the cost effectiveness4 of the colors is also quite impressive.
The Angelus Leather Paint is thick and rich, so make sure to shake well before any use. It is beautifully coated on canvas to maintain uniform color, and once it dries up, you can cover it with transparent varnish to protect against splashes and scratches.
4. Kaps Store Dye Paint For Leather Shoes And Bags
- VERSATILE DYE: Quality dye for natural and synthetic leather and...
- RECOLOR & SCRATCH COVER: Excellent for covering leather defects...
- COMPLETE KIT: Comes with a handy brush and application sponge
- LEGACY: Manufactured in Europe by family business with decades of...
- 1 jar contains 25 ml - 0.85 fl. Oz. of dye. Choose your desired color...
If you're looking for leather paint, the Kaps Store Dye Paint For Painting Leather Shoes And Bags is one of the best options out there. This paint has an alcohol-based leather dye that can be used for painting faux leather shoes, bags, and other leather items. Moreover, it is an ideal dye for covering defects on a leather surface.
This product can also be used to permanently recolor leather accessories. Every product features one bottle that has 25 milliliters of the dye of a certain color. It is available in 70 different colors for leather products with everything from a beige and dark lilac color to chocolate and turquoise color.
Additionally, this product includes a paintbrush and an application sponge. Kaps company, the manufacturer, boasts lots of experience with leather paint products. The product also comes at a very affordable price. So, if you're looking for a leather dye that provides better longevity and durability, then this is an excellent leather paint to consider.
5. U.S. Art Supply 12 Color Set of Primary Opaque Colors Acrylic Airbrush
- Set Contains: 1 oz. Bottles of 12 Primary Opaque Colors (Deep Black,...
- Colors are ready to spray out of the bottle and have outstanding...
- All colors are made with high quality Acrylic Resin and light-fast...
- Our vibrant acrylic airbrush colors are designed for permanent results...
- U.S. Art Supply Airbrush Colors are ready to spray professional grade...
The U.S. Art Supply 12 Color Set of Primary Opaque Colors is a leather and shoe paint set. With this set, you're not only going to get some leather paints but also a complete kit that will help you bring your craft design to life.
It features 12 jars of acrylic leather paint, with each having one ounce of paint as well as different colors of paint. The different colors of paint include hot pink, deep black, deep purple, grass green, bright yellow, orange, white, bright red, pure pink, coffee brown, flesh, and sapphire blue.
Furthermore, the package includes an airbrush cleaner as well as an airbrush reducer and extender base. The paints in this set are made from a high-quality acrylic resin, which meets the ATSM D-4236 safety requirements. The set is available in three configurations, including primary colors, transparent colors, and pearlized colors.
Types of Leather Paints
There are four main types of dye that are used for decorating, coloring, and fixing leather materials, including;
1. Acrylic Leather Paints
Acrylic paints are water solvents which means they are made from dissolving pigments using an acrylic polymer emulsion. This acrylic leather paint is used for decorating different leather things, including fashion accessories like leather boots, belts, and jackets.
Additionally, the acrylic paint can be mixed with other colors, can easily be washed away, and reapplied when painting. This makes the acrylic leather paint a great option for experimentation in different patterns and techniques. Finally, when they dry, they are water-resistant.
2. Metallic Leather Paints
Metallic paints give a glossy and metallic-looking finish. Most of them are made of metal flakes with a top-coat of acrylic polyurethane to get a glossy look. These paints are mostly used for automobiles along with vinyl paint producing a glazed look, especially with durable colors.
3. Pearlescent Leather Paints
Pearlescent leather paint is made from tiny specks of ceramic known as mica. Like metallic paints, pearlescent paints can also be used to paint the interior parts like the leather seat cover, steering wheel cover, and dashboard. However, a pearlescent paint gives a more versatile sheen finish than the other metallic options.
4. Leather Dyes
Generally, leather dyes tend to be more durable than using leather paints. This is because they seep into the material, making them less vulnerable to cracking, fading, scratching, and dust. They are mostly used in heavy-duty paint jobs and complete makeovers.
However, these leather dyes tend to offer a lower vibrancy and restricted color range than leather paints. Moreover, they are not the best for intricate designs and colorings, which need a high level of precision.
What Do You Consider When Purchasing the Best Paints For Leather?
If you're looking to paint leather with colorful designs, it would be best to get a full palette of colors that you can choose from. A multi-color leather paint set will also allow you to blend the colors so as to create custom hues.
Most of the best paints for leather also come in a variety of sheens, and you need to determine if you're looking to create a shiny or flat finish. If you're looking to touch up a piece of leather furniture, paint leather shoes, or clothing, then you have to look at the item carefully in bright light so as to compare its finish.
Different paints for leather are applied using different brushes. Some paint sets will include a built-in paintbrush applicator or accessory sponges. However, no matter the applicator type you use, it is always a great idea to pull the leather taunt in order to create a flaky and streaky surface.
Furthermore, it is crucial to follow the instructions by the manufacturer when it comes to the application and the drying times to ensure the paint dries effectively. Using water or a paint dilution solution will provide you with even more consistency. Fortunately, you can apply additional coats of paint in order to get the desired opacity.
When it comes to the durability and sustainability of the paint, there are some things you need to consider, for example, the resistance of color to fading and the speed of color. In addition, the leather may experience some wear and tear every day, and it is crucial that the paint resists the type of wear.
There are some things that will help determine the speed of color of a particular paint. First, the paints are pre-mixed with a primer which is not only color resistant but also provides a better color rendering.
The efficiency of the paint is one of the most important aspects you need to consider when buying leather paint. The efficiency refers to the amount of coverage that the paint will provide. A layer may appear transparent and sometimes make brush strokes a bit more visible.
Waiting for the first coat to completely dry before applying the second coat which makes a difference. They are very few options that offer satisfaction after only one coat. Some may need two, three, or sometimes more coats. A primer may help provide more efficiency and cleaner coverage for your painting needs.
While the value of the paint can't be quantified, consumers need to consider the cost of something when looking to buy one. The value of the painting depends on the project. If you're printing purses, furniture, or shoes for an event or party, then you might consider the sets that come with more colors.
How Do You Paint Leather?
Since leather is very pricey, you need to be sure about what you're doing to not mess with the project. So here are a few ways of how to paint leather to ensure it is durable.
Preparing Your Leather
Before you start painting leather, you need to prepare the leather to make sure that the paint applies properly. It is best to test one smaller section of the leather before so that you won't ruin the whole project. Here are some ways to prepare your leather for painting;
- Clean the leather with a damp cloth to remove any dirt particles.
- Wipe the leather with alcohol to eliminate wax and oil on the leather surface.
- Clean the leather gently using a little solution to ensure that it dries quickly. However, do not soak the leather.
- If the leather is in bad shape, use light sandpaper to remove the deposits from the surface, then wipe down the leather again.
- Use a sealant or a deglazing product to ensure the paint adheres well to the leather surface.
When working on leather, it is a bit different when compared to normal painting techniques. With leather surfaces, it is important to seal acrylic paint before painting, unlike with other paints where you would apply the seal after painting. Here are the steps you should follow when sealing;
- Wear a mask and protective gloves
- Combine the bleach with water in a spray-type container, ideally ten parts of water into one part of bleach.
- Spray the solution on the leather surface, then wipe it using a soft cloth or a ball of cotton wool.
- If the leather has a darker color, the solution may somewhat fade it.
- Allow the leather some time to dry.
Painting on Leather
For the best outcome, here are a few techniques you need to follow when applying the paint;
- Use a bit of paint on the brush, and remember the thinner the paint will be, the more adhesive the painting will be and will dry up faster.
- In the first coat, you need to thin out the paint by adding some water, which provides a watercolor effect. Avoid thick paints because they tend not to dry properly, may peel and crack off the leather.
- A leather paint may be sensitive to environmental changes, which means the thinner the application, the better because it allows for contraction and expansion.
- A good leather paint like leather acrylic paint tends to last longer than regular paint.
- The next coat of paint should be a bit thicker, which means you shouldn't add water.
- Bend the leather item in between coats to ensure it doesn't stiffen or crack too much.
- Depending on your desired results, give the project up to seven coats of paint.
How Do You Maintain the Leather After Painting?
Once your acrylic leather paint or metallic paint has applied well, it is now time for maintenance. To maintain the leather you need to apply a finish. However, not all items will require a finish, but a finish will offer them more protection for surfaces that require more durability. Here are some tips you should note;
Only apply the finish when you're sure the leather has dried properly.
- A leather finisher for the type of paint you're using is important, for example, a finisher for acrylic paint on leather.
- Apply the finish after the leather paint has dried and allowed it to dry.
- Note that different finishes may have an effect on the results, where some have a more matte appearance while others are shiny.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Leather Painting
1. Are acrylic paints good for leather surfaces?
Acrylic paints are great for a leather surface, and it is also one of the strongest forms of paint for a leather purse, leather jacket, leather couch, or leather wallets. Moreover, acrylic paints are thermoplastics that react to temperature in the climate. Therefore, water-based acrylic paint is preferred to regular acrylic paint.
2. Will fabric paints work on natural and synthetic leather?
When looking to paint leather, fabric paint is not ideal because of the way the leather material is. As a result, any fabric paint may not be able to saturate it and cause the pattern not to appear. In addition, the surface and texture of both leather types are different from denim or canvas materials. For this reason, even if you can apply acrylic paint on natural leather, you should get paints that are specifically designed to match a leather surface.
3. Does acrylic paint wash off leather?
If you seal the paint after applying it, the acrylic paint won't easily wash off. Without the sealer being added, the acrylic paint will form a very chalky texture. Some acrylic paints like gloss or satin have built-in sealers, which means you won't need to do something on top. However, if you need to wash the acrylic paint off the leather, there are certain guidelines you need to follow.
4. Can you spray paint a leather jacket?
Yes, you can. In fact, a leather jacket works well with spray paint. If you're looking to create a wholly painted appearance or mark patterns on the back of the jacket, then a spray leather paint option may be the best one. Additionally, a spray gun or bottle helps create a model or a message on the design.
5. How long does it take for the paint to dry?
The drying times of leather paint may vary depending on what you want to paint, for example, if you paint leather shoes or leather jackets and the type of paint you're using, whether acrylic paint or metallic shades. However, leather painters may require approximately 15 to 30 minutes to dry in between coats. Once the painting leather job is done, then you should leave it for a day or two before the leather paint thoroughly dries up.