How to Paint Leather

    by eHow Contributor

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    Leather is a versatile material used for clothing, home decor, craft projects and many other activities. With a little preparation, its surface can be painted. Paint a large surface area of leather or simply use paints to add decoration to a small portion of your project.

    Things You'll Need

    • Clean Rags
    • Soft-bristled Hobby Brushes
    • Hobby Paintbrushes
    • Sponges
    • Pint Of Water
    • Flat Paintbrushes
    • Acrylic Paints

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    Clean the leather thoroughly before applying paint to the surface. Add one ounce of leather bleach to a pint of water to make a gentle leather cleanser. Apply the cleanser with a soft-bristled brush or wool dauber.

    Use acrylics to paint on leather. Make sure that the label of the acrylic paint container states that the paint is safe for use with leather.

    Apply paint over a large area or use it to embellish only small portions of the leather project.

    Cover a large surface area with paint by first applying a solution of paint and water to the leather's surface. This will prepare the leather's surface for the application of undiluted paint.

    Mix a solution of one part water to one part paint and use a wool dauber to apply the solution to the leather's surface. Apply with long, even strokes.

    Add more water to the solution if you see that it is not being absorbed into the leather's surface. Add more paint if you see that the solution is not adding much color to the surface.

    Apply one or two coats of the solution, allowing the paint to be completely absorbed into the leather between coats. The leather should remain slightly damp, not dry.

    Apply the undiluted acrylic paint with a large paintbrush or wool dauber. Make sure that the coats of paint are applied evenly. Use long, even strokes.

    Embellish small areas on the leather's surface by applying undiluted acrylic paint with a small paintbrush.

    Flex the leather several times during the drying process. This will help prevent the paint from cracking when the piece is completely dry. Flex the leather in between coats of paint as well.

    • Follow the instructions given on the leather bleach container.
    • Consider using leather dye rather than paint to cover large areas.
    • Test the paint/water solution on a piece of scrap leather before applying it to your project.
    • Lightly sponge the surface of the leather with water before you paint it. This will help the color to be absorbed evenly into the leather.
    • Use vegetable-tanned leather if you are going to paint the entire surface of your project. The tanning processes that other types of leather go through prohibit paint or dye from adequately penetrating the surface.