How to Re-Dye Your Leather Coat

by Mason Howard ; Updated September 28, 2017

Rejuvenate and give a whole new look to a leather coat by changing the color. Leather that has been previously tinted can be easily re-dyed using a water-soluble leather dye. Leather dyes come in a wide range of colors. You can mix colors together to create your own individual color, add water to make a subtle color change or use straight to make a more considerable color change. It is important to clean and prepare the leather on the coat before coloring to ensure adequate penetration of the dye.

Clean the leather and strip any previously applied conditioner or waterproofer using a leather deglazer. Rub the deglazer thoroughly into the leather using a damp cloth. Cover all leather surfaces. You may see a slight fading of the original color.

Mix the dye well before using. Use a stir stick, and scrape the bottom of the bottle to bring up any pigment that has settled. Put the cap on tight and shake well. Use a clean, empty dye bottle to mix together different dyes if you are customizing the color. Add water to make the dye more transparent.

Test the dye to make sure the color is what you anticipated. Test it on a swatch of same or similar leather or in an inconspicuous area of the coat. Adjust the dye if necessary.

Sponge a layer of the dye onto the leather. Use long strokes to sponge an even coat and avoid blotchiness. Cover all surfaces.

Hang the coat on a hanger, and allow the dye to dry for one to two hours. Apply a second layer of dye if needed to even out or enrich the color.

Buff the coat with a dry cloth once the dye job is finished and completely dry to remove any dry dye residue.

Spray the coat with a protective leather finish.


  • Wear latex or plastic gloves when applying dye to avoid staining your skin. Wear painting clothes or an apron to avoid staining good clothes.

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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.