Painting band logos on the back of a leather jacket, or flowers on a purse has long been a favorite project. Now, with sneaker customizations becoming more and more popular, leather painting is gaining popularity as well. With a few easy to find supplies, paint can be used on both large surfaces, as well as add decorative details.

Things You'll Need

Leather paint (water based acrylic paint)

There are more out there that you can find that will work as well. You just want to check the label and make sure it says for fabrics or leathers. Test it out and make sure that it sticks. If you find these, then great. You're on your way. They are water soluble, so you're not going to need any thinners or anything like that. You just need the paints. You can use flat paint. They also make a metallic paint. They're nice to mix together. If you want to maybe use it for like little highlights, the metallics are really good for that. You can mix them together and create different consistencies of the flat and metallic.

Paint brushes or airbrush

Acrylic deglazer or cleaner

Acrylic Finisher

Do a Quick Leather Painting Project

Step 1

Clean the leather thoroughly, removing any water spots and dirt. While a commercial "leather preparer and deglazer" will work, you can mix 1 oz. of oxalic acid (sold as leather bleach) to a pint of water. Be careful not to soak the leather, just do a gentle cleaning with a soft brush.

Step 2

Use a small amount of water to keep the leather moist before you paint it. This will help with absorption. Vegetable tanned leather will absorb the paint easier and will require less water. Do a test patch before you start painting to see how the paint reacts with your piece of leather.

Step 3

Choose water based acrylic paint. Angelus makes leather paint that is widely used and comes in several colors. It is available at online stores such as Turtle Feathers

Step 4

Do large patches of leather by diluting the paint (one part water to one part paint) and brushing it on with a broad brush. You will usually need two coats. Airbrushes are also optimal for large areas.

Step 5

Paint details and creative touches using a variety of smaller brushes and leather paint. Painting on leather is similar to painting on any surface, so use the same brush techniques.

Step 6

Move the leather between each coat, flexing the painted area. This will keep the paint from cracking down the line.

Step 7

Use an acrylic finisher to seal the paint and help preserve it. You can choose a gloss or matte finish for your project. Simply apply the finisher in one smooth coat. Adding extra coats will cause the leather to look like it is covered in wax.

Tips & Warnings

Consider using leather dye for larger areas instead of paint. This will add a more natural look to your projects.

Airbrush artists should dilute the paint with a small amount of acrylic finisher to keep the flow smooth.

Do not apply too much paint as it will build up, and then crackle and peel when it is dry.

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