Can You Spray Paint Leather?


Last updated: September 16, 2023

Discover Whether You Can Spray Paint Leather materials and How to Go About It in This Guide

Can you spray paint leather?

Leather is a timeless, elegant, and durable material used for crafting everything from stylish shoes to luxurious couches or even the seats of your trusty automobile.

But this durable material is bound to wear and tear over time. If yours is begging for a makeover, can you spray paint leather? Will the fresh coat of paint look good and last long on the leather surface? 

In this article, we will explore the process of spray painting leather. That includes the materials needed, the steps involved, and some tips for achieving the best results. 

Keep reading to find out more!

Can You Spray Paint Leather?

Yes, you can spray paint leather using spray paints. However, the spray paint has to be specifically for leather, vinyl, or plastic. Before painting, dust the leather surface and deglaze it to remove the wax and silicon finishes present. Then, apply multiple layers of spray paint in thin, even coats.

What is Leather Spray Paint?

Leather spray paint is specialized for leather, vinyl, and plastic surfaces. It’s an excellent choice for renewing or changing the color of these materials. 

When applied correctly, it’s a quick and easy way to create a natural-looking finish that won’t peel or rub off. Whether you want to refresh your leather shoes, car seats, or furniture, leather spray paint can breathe new life into your possessions.

Several brands offer leather spray paint, each with its range of colors and characteristics. Some of the popular leather spray paint brands include:

  • Angelus.
  • Color Bond.
  • Dupli-Color.
  • MB Brillo.
  • Meltonian Nu-Life.
  • Rust-oleum.
  • Saphir Tenax
  • TRG Super Color.

These brands provide various color options and finishes, allowing you to choose the perfect one for your project. Since the spray paints come in about 4- or 12-ounce cans, you may need more than one container for projects other than a pair of shoes.

Types of Leather Spray Paints and Their Uses

Leather spray paints come in different types, each tailored for specific applications. Here’s a breakdown of some common types and their uses:

1. Leather Spray Paint for Shoes

TRG Super Color and MB Brillo offer specialized spray paint for leather shoes. You can refresh your footwear’s existing color or give it a new look, courtesy of the wide variety of colors. To ensure a lasting finish, clean your shoes thoroughly and apply thin, even coats of paint. Recoat as necessary for full coverage.

2. Leather Spray Paint for Car Seats

The spray paints under this category are designed for automotive leather seats and, in most cases, the majority of the interior works. These paints are the fastest way to update damaged seats instead of reupholstering them. 

Brands like Rustoleum and ColorBond offer paint options in a variety of colors. When planning to repaint or change the color of your automotive seats, remove them or protect the surrounding areas before painting. This will spare you the headache of cleaning up the overspray.

3. Leather Spray Paint for Furniture

You can use the leather spray paint for car seats on your household furniture. Whether you prefer the color selection offered by Color Bond or Rustoleum is up to you.

As for application instructions, stick to what the manufacturer recommends. Better still, keep reading for a more detailed breakdown of the preparation and leather painting process.

4. Leather Spray Paint for Custom Designs

If you’re feeling creative, you can use specialized leather paint, like the one from Saphir Tenax, to create custom designs and patterns on leather shoes and other items. This water-based paint can be sprayed, sponged, or brushed onto the leather, allowing you to experiment with different styles.

How to Spray Paint Leather Furniture

Despite your best care -or lack of it- the leather chair eventually cracks, peels, or discolor from frequent contact. When the seats are worn out, an instinctual response is to replace the furniture or reupholster the leather. Either option is quite costly.

Paint offers a more budget-friendly option. But can you spray paint leather furniture to update or change its original color? Absolutely! 

Here’s a general checklist for the supplies you’ll need when painting any leather material.

Supplies you will need

  • Clean, soft cloths or sponges.
  • Cotton balls or cotton rag.
  • Drop cloth or newspaper.
  • Finisher or sealer-optional.
  • Heavy-duty protective gloves.
  • Leather cleaner or mild soap and water.
  • Leather spray paint.
  • Leather preparer/deglazer or acetone.
  • Masking tape or painters tape.
  • Protective eyewear.
  • Respirator mask.
  • Sandpaper (fine-grit)

The steps

Here are all the steps to successfully spray paint leather furniture.

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

Select a well-ventilated area, like a spacious room with open windows or a garage. Adequate ventilation is crucial for expedited paint drying and your safety as spray paints contain toxic elements. Alternatively, you can clear the area around the leather furniture to create a workspace.

Cover the floor with a drop cloth or newspaper to protect it from paint overspray.

Step 2: Prepare the Leather Furniture

Clean the leather thoroughly using a leather cleaner or mild soap and water. Wipe the product and dirt residue with a clean, damp cloth. 

Wait for the leather chair to dry completely.

Cover the areas you don’t want to paint with painter’s tape. Such parts could be wooden legs, decorative elements, or non-leather parts of your furniture.

Step 3: Spray Paint the Leather Furniture

Wear a respirator mask and protective goggles to shield you from fumes and overspray. 

Thoroughly shake the leather spray paint can to mix the paint evenly. Now, hold the spray can approximately 6–8 inches away from the leather surface and spray. 

Apply the paint in light, even coats, using a gentle back-and-forth motion. The first coat should cover 50 percent of the original couch color.

Ensure each coat of paint dries completely before applying another. The drying time may vary, so follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations or apply techniques to speed up spray paint drying time if you are in a hurry to use your furniture.

Apply several thin coats until you achieve the desired color and coverage. Be patient. You may need more than two coats to get the full coverage you want.

Once you’re satisfied with the paint coverage and it has dried for about 48 hours, remove the masking tape and dispose of it appropriately.

Run a dry cloth over the painted leather sofa to check for paint transfers and pick up any dust that may have settled during the dying process. If the coast is clear, replace or rearrange your newly refurbished furniture.

Best Spray Paint for Leather Sofas

Use TRG Super Color Spray to give your beloved household leather furniture the best facial. This is a dye spray paint for enhancing or updating the fading color on leather couches.

It’s the same paint you’d reach for when you want to transition to a completely new color for your chairs and, by extension, the aesthetic appeal of your living space.

TRG Super Color spray has a wide palette, guaranteeing the perfect shade for every leather project. If part of the accessories or upholstery on your sofa is made of vinyl, they also get a new coat with this paint. 

The paint comes with an instruction manual and an option to get the leather refinishing kit for optimal results.

Can you spray paint leather

How to Spray Paint Leather Shoes

Can you spray paint leather shoes to express your creativity? Perhaps your boots have seen better days, and shoe polish won’t do it justice. Or your new pair of kicks could use a few colorful patterns. Whatever the plan is, this section will show you the best way to paint shoes. 

The Procedure

Gather all your supplies mentioned in the previous section before you begin.

Step 1: Prep work

Clean your leather shoes with mild, soapy water to remove heavy soiling or a quick wipe to remove dust.

Wipe new leather shoes with acetone to remove any waxy or silicone finish present. You can substitute this solvent with a deglazer or leather preparer. 

Let the shoe air dry as you line the floor with old newspapers in readiness for the paint job. Ventilate the indoor work area if spray painting indoors or carry out the painting process outside.

Once the shoes are ready, tape off parts you don’t want to paint, like soles, laces or straps, or shoe-specific design features. Next, stuff the toe section of your leather shoe with newspapers to even out any creases and achieve a smoother finish.

If you need to stencil the details, now’s the time to set it in place.

Step 2: Spray Away!

Wear your safety gear before getting started because the paint fumes and overspray are harmful to your health.

Shake the can thoroughly to mix the paint. Standing (or sitting) about 6–8 inches away from your shoes, spray a light coat to avoid paint drips or runs. Move your arm—not your wrist—steadily from side to side to paint the leather shoe evenly.

Let each coat dry completely (follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations on drying times) before applying the next.

Keep spraying and layering light coats of paint until you achieve your desired look. 

Step 3: Remove the tape and add the final touches

Once your shoes are dry and you’re satisfied with the colors, carefully remove the masking tape and the stencil. Leave the shoes to dry fully and the paint to cure for at least 48 hours.

Once everything is dry and ready, put on your freshly painted leather shoes and rock that unique style you’ve created.  

And that’s how to spray paint leather shoes!

Further reading – How to get spray spray paint off shoes

Best Spray Paint for Leather Shoes

Our vote for the best spray paint for leather shoes is the Saphir Tenax Leather Spray, previously known as the Meltonian Nu-Life Color spray. 

This paint brand has a quick-drying formula and offers various colors. Such a feature allows you the creative freedom to choose color combinations and complete the project in record time.

This paint’s pigments will permanently change the color of your kicks. If you want to renew your weather-beaten footwear, this is the spray paint for the job.

Although it adheres well to faux leather, plastic, vinyl, and leather, it won’t work for your nubuck or suede shoes. 

How to Spray Paint Leather Car Seats

Refinishing your leather car seats is similar to handling leather furniture, as previously discussed. What if the car seat material isn’t leather? Can you spray paint faux leather? Let’s find out.

What you’ll need

Refer to the supplies mentioned for painting leather furniture.

Steps to follow

First, remove your automotive chairs for easier handling. Once they’re down, place them on a large tarp or drop cloth. Ensure you’re working in a well-ventilated area.

Step 1: Prepare the surface and workstation for painting

Begin with a thorough wipe-down using a damp cloth. Consider scuff sanding the car seat with 400-grit sandpaper to texturize the surface and promote even paint adhesion. 

Alternatively, you can buy a leather preparer by color bond with their matching leather colorant for refinishing. Apply the preparer per the instructions manual, let it set, and then tape off parts like the seatbelt and buckle beforehand. 

Step 2: Painting leather car seats

When ready to paint, gear up and keep a 40 cm distance between the aerosol nozzle and the substrate. 

Shake the spray paint thoroughly and then dispense a thin coat of paint. Move your arm steadily going vertically or horizontally on the auto chair.

Once the first coat is on, let the paint dry before layering more aerosol color. Repeat the process until the painted surface is uniformly colored. 

Leave it to cure for at least 48 hours before reinstalling it to your vehicle and eventually test-sitting on it.

Best Spray Paint for Leather Car Seats

ColorBond Leather, Vinyl, and Hard Plastic Refinisher paint is the highly rated spray paint for leather car seats. Users agree that it offers the best color match for their automobiles. 

This paint also has a detailed instructions manual, enabling novices to update their car interior perfectly. Besides leather, this paint is formulated to bond exceptionally well with vinyl and plastic surfaces on auto interiors. 

The paint bonds and dries in 10 minutes upon application, sealing the color in a lifetime or zero flaking, peeling, or cracking. This paint is sure to look great and last a good while.

How to Protect and Maintain the Spray-Painted Leather

Protecting and maintaining spray-painted leather is crucial for long-lasting results. Follow these tips:

  1. After spray painting, consider applying a leather sealer or finisher to protect the paint from wear, stains, and fading. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Maintain leather suppleness by applying a leather conditioner. This prevents cracking and keeps the paint looking its best.
  3. Don’t use harsh chemicals, solvents, or alcohol-based cleaners on painted leather, as they can damage the paint and the leather.
  4. For valuable or antique leather items, consult a professional leather restorer or upholsterer if you’re unsure about proper care.

FAQS – Spray Painting Leather

Is restoleum spray paint good for leather?

Rustoleum doesn’t make paint specifically for leather, but its fabric and vinyl paint can be used on leather successfully. It comes in various colors and provides a cost-effective solution for leather projects.

Does spray paint last on leather?

Yes, spray paint can adhere well to leather surfaces when used correctly. Choosing a paint designed for leather or flexible surfaces like vinyl is essential for the best results. These spray paints are formulated to maintain their pigmented color and durability.

What kind of paint do you use on leather?

Acrylic paint is an excellent choice for leather painting. It dries quickly, is non-toxic, and is water-based, making it easy to work with. Specific dyes designed for leather are also available for hiding tears and furniture restoration.

How do you permanently paint leather?

To ensure a lasting paint job on leather, apply thin coats of paint and wait for each coat to dry fully before recoating. After painting, seal the leather with a finisher or sealer to protect the paint. Follow product-specific instructions for best results.

Can I spray-paint my leather seats?

You can spray paint your leather seats to refresh their appearance. Use leather-specific spray paint, follow proper surface preparation, and apply multiple thin coats for complete coverage.

Final Thoughts on Spray Painting Leather

Spray painting leather is a creative, cost-effective, and rewarding DIY project that breathes new life into your leather items.

Whether you’re transforming your shoes, furniture, or car seats, the right leather spray paint, proper preparation, and careful application will yield fantastic results.

Just remember to seal and maintain the spray-painted leather material so you can enjoy your creations for years.

So, can you spray paint leather? You absolutely can. Happy painting!

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