How To Darken Leather
Leather is a great material for home furniture, clothing and accessories. But sometimes we want to change the color of our leather — whether it has become too light and weathered or we just want something different. We can’t always afford to buy new leather furniture or clothing, so we sometimes try to at least darken our old items.
In this article you’ll find six easy ways to darken your old leather items – from those that use no chemicals at all, to those that require a little more commitment on your part. These methods are simple enough for anyone who wants darker-looking leather without breaking their budget or going through a professional process.
- Method 1: Dyeing at Home
- Method 2: Wipe on Dye
- Method 3: Use Leather Conditioner
- Method 4: Using a Lotion to Darken Leather
- Method 5: Using a Household Product to Darken Leather
- Method 6: Using a Professional Chemical to Darken Leather
Method 1: Dyeing at Home
Dyeing your leather at home might sound like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of tutorials out there that can walk you through the process. The most important thing you’ll need is time and patience. If you’re not too worried about the color or quality of your dye job, then following some basic instructions could get your items looking darker in no time.
Method 2: Wipe on Dye
This method might seem like it would require a lot of effort, but the truth is, all you need to do is buy some dye at the local craft store and wipe it on your item with a rag. This is especially helpful for small areas because it will likely cover everything evenly without much work on your part.
Method 3: Use Leather Conditioner
Leather conditioning products are designed to help maintain and even darken leather, but they also come in handy when you want to darken up an old piece that’s faded or lightened over time. Simply apply conditioner to your item and wait for it to dry before wiping off any excess product; this will make your leather appear darker while also helping protect it against future fading or yellowing.
Method 4: Using a Lotion to Darken Leather
Want to darken your leather but don’t want to use harsh chemicals? One way you can achieve this without using any chemicals is by using a moisturizer or lotion to moisturize the leather.
This method is easy and won’t harm the leather. You just need to apply a generous amount of lotion or moisturizer to the piece and gently rub it in until it’s fully absorbed and dry. The natural oils in the lotion will darken the leather, making it look newer and well-cared for.
Once you’ve applied your lotion or moisturizer, let the product sit on the leather for at least 10 minutes before wiping any excess off. If you’re worried about staining your hands, try wearing gloves while rubbing in the product.
Method 5: Using a Household Product to Darken Leather
This method is an easy way to darken your leather items using only household products!
To begin, mix fabric softener with water in a bowl or pot. You can use any brand you want. Take the material you’re wanting to darken and dip it into the mixture. Soak for 15-30 minutes, then wipe off the excess solution.
You’ll need to repeat this process three times per day for five days in order to get the best results.
Be sure to let your item dry thoroughly between each dipping session, preferably overnight or on a warm day outside.
If you do not have access to fabric softener, you can use laundry detergent instead!
Method 6: Using a Professional Chemical to Darken Leather
If you have a large item to darken, you might want to use a professional chemical. Leather Dye is the most popular option out there. All you have to do is warm up the dye in water, carefully apply it to your leather with a sponge or brush, then let it dry. You can also use this method for smaller items, but be careful not to wet the entire thing in the process!
There are also some methods you can apply as we suggest below.
Method 1: Using Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is an easy way to darken your leather at home – and for small items, it’s probably your best bet. Simply dip a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub it over the surface of your item until you’ve achieved the desired color. Then let it dry before touching anything so that you don’t smudge or blur the color. This won’t work on light-colored leathers because rubbing alcohol will simply lighten them even more.
Method 2: Using Tea
The tea leaves are mainly used as an astringent for oily skin types and are rich in tannins which help to darken their complexion. If your leather has become too light over time, soaking some tea leaves in water overnight might make it darker enough for you without too much effort on your part. Use these instructions: Add one cup of boiling water to one tablespoonful of black tea leaves. Allow them to steep overnight and strain out any excess liquid before applying them to your item with a sponge or cloth.
Method 3 – Oil-Tanned Leather
Oil-tanned leather is a popular type of leather used in making luggage, so it’s a good option for your old jackets and handbags.
To darken oil-tanned leather at home, you’ll need to use an all-natural liquid shoe polish that has been made from beeswax and oils. This will leave your item with a shiny finish that is not too unnatural looking. In order to do this, you’ll need to rub the liquid shoe polish on the surface of your leather with a cloth. The more coats of polish you apply, the darker it will become.
Method 4 – Suede and Nubuck.
Method 6 is one of the easiest methods for darkening leather at home that involves little or no chemicals. It’s best for suede and nubuck.
You can use shoe polish like Kiwi Shoe Polish to cover your suede or nubuck items. Be sure to test it first on an inconspicuous spot, because some shoe polishes will cause discoloration if applied too heavily.