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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Refinish Leather Furniture For Less Than $20



My husband got a phone call a few weeks ago from a woman in our neighborhood who wanted him to remove some furniture from her home as she was expected new furniture to be delivered.  The couches she was tossing were leather.  I have always been a fan of leather furniture, but have never been a fan of the price tag that comes with it.  When he plopped the couches on our driveway, I immediately told him I wanted to refinish it.  He gave me that you-are-oh-so-crazy look, and I began looking up information on the process.  What did I learn, you ask?  Ah….I learned that I could successfully refinish leather couches for less than $20, and that it would look just fine--even though I had never attempted such a project before.  Interested?  Well then stay tuned.  This one is going to be a good one.



The lady had owned a small dog, and that dog just loved jumping up on the couches.  Can you see all the scratch marks?  These things were not in the best shape--thus, my husband thought I was crazy.

After spending some time trying to track down some leather dye (I am a fan of Amazon, but I had some free time and wanted to get these bad boys done NOW) I finally got in touch with an associate at Joann's.  He had personally colored some leather couches with Rit Dye!  Did you hear that?  Rit Dye!  You can get some here.  I used two boxes of the powdered Cocoa Brown since my couches were already brown.  I paid less than $6 for the two packages.


First, I cleaned off all the furniture--a couch, a love seat, and two ottomans--with some rubbing alcohol.  I wanted to make sure the dye would take to the unworn parts of the leather.




 Next, I mixed my dye in a bucket (this will ruin a white sink!) according to the package directions.  I got an old rag, dipped it in the dye mix, held my breath, and started swirling the dye onto an ottoman in circular motions.  I had to work it into the cracks and crevices left by the puppy scratches, but it worked.  After I did one ottoman, I just knew this project was going to be a giant SCORE!





See how that dye just sinks right in?  It was amazing.


I went over each piece a few times.  Some of the parts that were originally rubbed off took the dye a little better than the regular leather parts, so I had to keep adding dye until I got a consistent look.



The dog had really done a number on this love seat.


 This was after one coat of the dye.  You must do more than one coat, or it will come out blotchy.  However, by the time I had finished one coat on the love seat, it was already ready for another.  I didn't have to wait several hours in between.  It was all just one continuous project.


I let the couches dry overnight.  When I used a white cloth to rub them the next morning, I still got a little dye coming off.  I ran back to Joann's and grabbed two bottles of this Leather Studio leather finisher.  You can check that out here.  I paid about $3 a bottle, and got two bottles.


I took a new rag, and applied the Leather Studio the same way I had applied the dye.  I put some on the rag, placed the rag on the couch, and spread it all around using circular motions. This stuff gave the couches a nice shine, without it being too shiny.  A few hours later I went back out with another white rag, and tested again.  NO dye came off!  I rubbed and rubbed in several places to make sure we would not get any dye on our clothes, and it was clean.  I had succeeded!  


This is a dark picture, but here is the love seat in my living room.  Good as new.  I am happy to report that the couches have been in our home for a few weeks, and so far they still look amazing!  Good luck with your project.  Happy homemaking!

14 comments:

  1. just curious how your couch and ottoman held up since you did them? i repaired mine using a different product and rhey started to look worn again within a coupke months...so im looking for a new technique!

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  2. just curious how your couch and ottoman held up since you did them? i repaired mine using a different product and rhey started to look worn again within a coupke months...so im looking for a new technique!

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  3. I love what you did with the leather couch..can you tell me how much water you used for one pk of dye? thank you, Marina

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    1. You just have to us e the amount of water on the back of the box .I have done this to a bench and used the amount that the directions stated just follow water instructions and dab away it's very effective but there's another product I been using as well it's called luv .available in Amazon .

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  4. I love what you did with the leather couch..can you tell me how much water you used for one pk of dye? thank you, Marina

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  5. Does the dye not rub off onto clothing?

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  6. Then it was a matter of using real leather or fabric. I checked out a lot of beautiful real leather around the Bur Dubai areas and Nayef Souq, Demir Leather

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  7. Per the makers of Rit Dye, t's not a good idea to use it to stain leather:

    We do not recommend using Rit dyes to dye leather. Our dyes contain salt which may cause the leather to become dry or brittle. In some cases, Rit has been used successfully to stain leather rather than dye it. However, there is the possibility that the dye may rub off while wearing the item or if it gets wet.

    From: https://www.ritstudio.com/faq/will-rit-dye-leather/

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  8. This is an amazing transformation. When I clicked on the link for the semi gloss finish by Joann there were no products available under that search criteria? I live in Canada, are there any other products that would seal the leather and stop the dye from rubbing off. I have been unable to find anything here. I appreciate Your fantastic post and look forward to any suggestions You may have as I have just inherited a nasty leather couch from a work site that I think can be revived.......Blessings from the North, Michelle

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  9. Thanks for this post. I definitely agree with what you are saying. I have been talking about this subject a lot lately with my friends.
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  10. Two leather recliners that had faded so badly from the sin they were are Green color on areas. They turned out great!

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