Before & After · DIY · repurpose & renew · tutorials

Before and After: DIY Dyed Leather Chair

I shared with you about a week ago that I was giving a few things a facelift, one being a leather chair…my sweetheart’s favorite comfy chair.

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 The leather on it has faded over the years. You can see the original color of the leather towards the bottom back and sides, the part that wasn’t exposed to light.

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Before…

It’s a well-built chair and the leather was in great condition. It’s the color that didn’t go with anything I currently have or the plans I have in my head for how I hope to remodel. Since we needed a chair in our little cabin in the big woods, and since buying a brand new one was out of the question at the moment, and since I couldn’t think of getting rid of it because it is his favorite comfy chair, I thought I’d try to change the color of the leather. I wanted to make it a dark chocolate espresso color rather than a blotchy orange.

Here’s a tutorial video that was the inspiration behind this project.

I ordered the three-step products on Amazon as pictured below. Sorry, the bottle of dye isn’t pretty. I forgot to take the picture before opening the bottle. Warning it’s messy!

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 This is what I did:

Warning: this project takes time, patience, and is messy, but worth it!

  • Taped off chair legs and arms where I didn’t want the dye/products to touch
  • Used a clean cloth and wiped the chair down with Fiebing’s Deglazer. I used about 2- 1/2 bottles. This takes off the dirt, top finish, and gets the leather ready to receive dye.

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  • Applied  Fiebing’s Pro-Dye in Chocolate with an applicator (kind of like a big wool Q-Tip) all over the leather. I wiped away any excess with a clean cloth. It looks almost black, but is a rich dark chocolate.
  • Waited 24 hours and re-applied a second coat of dye (in some areas)
  • Ran out of dye and reordered more from Amazon! I used almost 4 bottles of (4 OZ.) dye.
  • Applied second coat of dye

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  • Waited a few days (because I got busy with other things)
  • Wiped down chair pretty vigorously with clean lint free cloth. Some excess dye came off.
  • Applied Fiebing’s Acrylic Resolene Top Coat using a damp sponge with the product and followed the directions. I used less than 1 bottle.
  • Allowed to dry
  • Wiped down wooden arms and nailheads with a damp cloth.

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My Helpful Tips:

  • Wear gloves when working with these products as they are harsh chemicals and  the dye will change your nail color for days!
  • Wear a mask. The deglazer and dye especially have a very strong odor.
  • Work in a well ventilated area with good air flow.
  • Put down plastic. Lesson learned! I used a drop cloth (what was I thinking!) and the dye soaked right threw, staining the garage floor. Sorry honey, we are planning on painting the garage floor one day, right? Add that to the project list.
  • Next time I will apply the deglazer with an applicator instead of a cloth. I think it will go farther rather than get absorbed into the cloth.
  • Apply dye in even strokes and in small sections at a time. Realize the dye may not be absorbed evenly due to the nature of the hide. Reapply where needed and according to the directions. I did have a few areas that for whatever reason didn’t receive the dye as well. I did start with a very blotchy  leather appearance, which added to a bit of the variance in the end result. I’m not sure if it needed more deglazing or if it had something to do with the hide itself. They are small areas and I’m overall happy with the look and think some of the variance makes it look more natural.
  • Make sure you get into every nook and cranny, especially when dealing with piping.
  • Purchase a large bag of applicators as you will use a number of them when it appears the dye doesn’t spread as well as a new one.
  • Apply the resolene in a thin coat to avoid it from getting too tacky when dry. Again, I did this in even strokes and in sections. Follow the directions.

Approximate Cost for all the products: $ 70.00.

  Here is the before and after…

I’m not sure how this will wear over time. It’s still sitting in my garage waiting for us to move it into its new home.

I am thinking of all the possibilities of leather dyeing …. purses, shoes, belts, other furniture….

But someone has a new comfy chair!

*Fiebings has not compensated me in any way for promoting their products.

 Let me know if you try this project. I’d love to see your Before and After pictures!

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8 thoughts on “Before and After: DIY Dyed Leather Chair

  1. LOVE the quality of this blog post & pictures!! I’m beginning my project now with a 6 foot sofa. I’m using dark brown pro-dye & starting with the cushions & 4oz bottles – just to be sure it comes out before investing in the 32oz size. Thank you so much for posting this! Your chair looks beautiful!

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