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!