How To Paint Leather Furniture [5 Steps]

Yes, it is possible to paint your leather furniture. However, the trick is to use the right method, not to damage it in the process. But what exactly is the right method? And can you paint faux leather furniture? We’ve looked into the various methods for painting leather and faux furniture, and in this post, we will answer these questions for you.
Here are the steps to paint your leather furniture:
  1. Clean the furniture
  2. Pick the right paint.
  3. Prime The Leather Furniture
  4. Paint the Leather Furniture
  5. Apply a leather finish
There are a few different ways to paint your leather furniture, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it. However, there are a few things that you need to do to prepare your leather furniture before painting it to ensure a nice finish. Continue reading to learn about the various ways to paint leather and faux leather furniture.
Modern Living Room with newly painted Leather Sofa, How To Paint Leather Furniture [5 Steps]

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Steps to Painting Leather Furniture

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A gorgeous leather couch inside a white retro inspired living room with ethno styled cabinets and dividers

Common reasons why homeowners may want to paint leather furniture include changing the color so that it matches a new home decor, restoring aged leather that has faded over time, or repairing leather with a significant amount of surface damage. Whatever your reason is for painting your leather furniture, it’s always best to take a look at your manufacturer’s care guide to ensure that the methods will not damage the leather furniture.

Things you’ll need:
  • Handheld vacuum or hose attachment
  • Microfiber cloths or clean rags
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint cup
  • Leather cleaner
  • Leather Polish
  • Drop Cloth
  • Coconut oil
  • Leather sponge

1. Clean the furniture

After you have gathered all of your supplies and have laid down your drop cloth, the first thing you’ll need to do before painting your leather furniture is to clean it thoroughly. The last thing you want is for dust and debris to be painted into the furniture. To clean the furniture, you can use a vacuum to get in between the small crevices and cracks, as well as a damp cloth to remove any debris that may be wedged between the back and seating of your leather furniture, if it’s a couch or chair. 

2. Pick the right paint

You must choose the right type of paint before applying it to your leather furniture. There are paints designed specifically for leather, such as acrylic paints, made to bond to the leather’s surface easily. These pants are guaranteed to give your leather a smooth finish. Depending on the grade of leather furniture you have, you can also use certain chalk paints.

3. Prime The Leather Furniture

After you have thoroughly cleaned your leather furniture, it’s now time to apply a primer. The primer will help the paint adhere to the surface of the leather, and it’ll keep it from peeling. You can purchase a leather primer from furniture stores, or you can make your own homemade primer using one part water and one part acrylic paint.
If you are painting a small piece of furniture such as an office chair or an ottoman, you can use a leather sponge to apply the primer to the furniture. If you are painting furniture that is on the larger side, such as a sofa or recliner, it’s best to use a straight edge or angled paintbrush. When applying the primer, be sure to use long, even brush strokes. Apply a single layer of the primer to the furniture and then wait until it dries to apply a second coating. 

4. Paint the Leather Furniture 

After the primer has dried. Apply the first coat of paint, starting on the back and sides of the furniture. If you are painting a sofa, recliner, or chair, always paint the seating last. Be sure to apply thin layers of paint to the leather so that it will not clump up or gather in the crevices or dents of the furniture.
Pay special attention to the buttons and seams of the furniture and quickly brush any paint spills so that they don’t dry. Once the first coat of paint has dried, apply the second coat. After applying each coat, flex the leather so that it’s thoroughly covered.

5. Apply a leather finish

After the second coat of paint has dried, it’s always a good idea to apply a wax or finish so that the leather maintains its durability and shine. There are a variety of leather finishes then you can choose from, many of which can be purchased online or at any home furniture store.  After applying the finished, allow the furniture to dry 12 to 24 hours before using it.

Steps to paint faux leather

Painting faux leather furniture follows the same method as genuine leather furniture, for the most part. Continue reading to learn about the steps involved with getting the job done. 
Things you’ll need:
  • Acrylic leather finish
  • Paint cup
  • Acrylic leather paint
  • Sponge 
  • Drop cloth

1. Lay down a drop cloth

Start by laying a drop cloth beneath the furniture, making sure to cover the surrounding hardwood flooring. It’s important that you not skip this step, as the paint is almost guaranteed to drip at some point.

2. Clean the furniture

Once you have gathered your painting and cleaning supplies, start by cleaning off the furniture using a damp rag. Wipe the back and sides of the furniture paying special attention to the crevice between the seat cushion and back of the furniture (if you are painting a chair or sofa). Next, take a handheld vacuum to your furniture to suck up any hidden dirt or debris that may lie beneath the seating cushions and around the buttons and seams. If you don’t have a handheld vacuum, use the hose attachment of your roller vacuum.

3.Apply the paint to the furniture

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Grab your paint cup and pour a small amount of paint into it. Using a small paintbrush or sponge to apply the paint to the furniture, starting at the back and sides for chairs and sofas. Scrape off any excess paint on the side of the cup to prevent dripping.
Acrylic paint tends to dry pretty fast, so be sure to catch any drips that may roll down the sides of the furniture. Apply the paint in thin layers and use long strokes to ensure an even finish. The paint may look a bit blotchy at first, depending on the grade of the letter that you have. However, once it dries, it will appear more even. When painting a chair or sofa, be sure to cover all of the threads and seams, especially around the buttons and seating cushions. 

4. Apply a finish

You can also use a finish on faux leather if you like to add a bit of shine to its surface. Always let the paint dry completely before applying any finish, as applying it too soon will cause the leather to become blotchy. You can also use several oils as your finish, including coconut oil and olive oil. If you notice any bubbles on the leather furniture, don’t fret. You can paint over them or wait a few seconds for them to dissolve. After applying the finish, allow the furniture to dry 12 to 24 hours before using it.

What kind of paint can be used on leather?

The best type of paint to use on leather furniture is acrylic paint designed specifically for leather and faux leather materials. These paints work great on leather, as they’re made to adhere to leather surfaces without peeling, chipping, or cracking. However, you can also use standard acrylic paints. It may be best to take a look at your leather furniture’s care instructions to see if the manufacturer recommends any specific paints or brands for the furniture.

What kind of paint do you use on faux leather?

You can also use acrylic paint on faux leather as well. The grade of your faux leather will determine how well the acrylic paint bond to the leather’s surface. 

Can faux leather be dyed?

Some grades of faux leather can be dyed without them damaging the leather itself. These are usually higher-quality faux leathers that can withstand aniline application with deteriorating. 

How do you seal acrylic paint on leather?

Sealing the acrylic paint on your leather furniture can help to prevent it from cracking and staining. If you have any issues with getting your paint to bond to your leather furniture, here are a few steps to seal it.

Step 1

Before sealing your furniture, be sure to remove any excess dirt and dust. You can use a damp cloth or vacuum to do this. If the furniture is super dirty, a warm rag soaked in soapy water can do the trick to lift any superficial stands and remove surface dirt. Use another damp rag to wipe down the furniture so that no soap residue remains. Then use another dry cloth to buff it dry.

Step 2

Test a small amount of sealant on an inconspicuous part of the furniture, such as the back or sides. Wait about an hour or so for the finish to dry completely to determine if it’s okay to use on the furniture’s entire surface. If the paint starts to rub off on your application cloth, do not continue. 

Step 3

Use a clean cloth to apply the leather sealant to the furniture. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area, as many sealants contain harsh fumes. If using a spray-on ceiling, be sure to keep the nozzle of the sprayer and least 8 to 10 inches away from the surface of the furniture to avoid oversaturation and dripping.
Give the finish some time to dry, and then apply a second coat. If you are using liquid or cream sealants, use a sheepskin or microfiber cloth to work through the ceiling into the surface of the leather. Finish the process by buffing the leather with a soft towel.

Is there spray paint for leather?

Yes. One of the most popular spray paints for leather furniture is the TRG Color Spray. This spray works on plastic, vinyl, and leather to give these materials a flake-free and natural-looking finish. It’s guaranteed not to rub off or peel and is worth taking a look at if you are looking to change the color or enhance the appearance of your leather furniture.

Wrapping Things Up

Some types of leather furniture can definitely be painted. However, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s care guide to ensure that your specific leather furniture can be painted without causing damage. You can also contact a local furniture repair shop to see if they offer the service for you. Always do a spot test before applying any paint or finish to your leather furniture, as it can sometimes be tricky to determine which products may be harmful. 
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