Fiebing’s Leather Dye made it into my Amazon cart because I wanted to change the color of our secondhand recliner and an old Vera Wang synthetic bag. I used the dye without diluting it, which resulted in a rich purple shade with green/gold duo-chrome shifts. Results will vary between synthetic projects, as this is formulated for leather. If you know me, then you know that I was delighted at the duo chrome, metallic colors the dye was creating!
The purple dye is a deep jewel toned purple. Using the Fiebing’s Leather Dye is simple, but you want to protect your work area & wear plastic gloves because this dye will stain. I dyed the chair outside on our brick patio on top of a large piece of cardboard.
The Vera Wang bag (Kohl’s) simply says “Man Made Materials.” The recliner soaked in the dye better. The handbag changed color but the dye seemed to be swimming on the surface a little. The purse originally took on a metallic chartreuse tone with purple & gold shifts. It deepened to a beautiful purple with pulls of gold & green.
Fiebing’s Leather Dye Steps:
Before beginning, tape off any hardware or parts you do not want to be dyed with painter’s tape. I did this on the handbag but the dye is so thin that some of it did seep onto the metal parts.
Remove waxes, oils, and surface residue from the project. Apply deglazer, rubbing alcohol, or denatured alcohol to the surface with gloves on. Wipe with a soft cloth to remove residue. I used denatured alcohol. Apply dye immediately afterward–while the pores are open.
Fiebing’s Deglazer is mainly comprised of ethanol & ethyl acetate. It runs between $6-8 for 4 oz.
I used Sunnyside Denatured Alcohol. Denatured alcohol is ethanol & methanol. I got mine at Menards for under $5 for 32 oz. I brushed it on with a foam brush and finished by wiping with an old cotton t-shirt.
4 oz is fine for small projects like a handbag but I recommend grabbing the quart of denatured alcohol for something the size of a recliner.
Two thin coats (4 hours apart) are recommended. I did one coat on my projects. The dye is extremely thin so be cautious not to spill it. I poured mine in a plastic container to dip into. Allow the dye 24 hours to dry before sealing. Fiebing’s Purple Leather Dye is $8 for 4 oz or $22 for 32 oz on Amazon. It retails for $7 for 4 oz or $26 for 32 oz (+ S&H) through Fiebing’s. Between the two projects, I used roughly 20 oz of dye.
I began by using a foam brush to apply the dye but that soaked up too much product. I ended up using wool daubers for the rest of the projects. They work great for a smooth application.
To clean up any splatter or spills, blue Dawn dish soap & a stiff kitchen brush removed the dye off of countertop & skin. I really recommend using gloves.
The handbag used barely any dye but the chair soaked up much more. I recommend getting the 32 oz bottle for large projects. I wiped the surface of my projects with a soft cloth before proceeding & no purple color pulled off.
Apply Leather Finisher/Sealant
I purchased Fiebing’s Resolene in Neutral to seal the dye. Resolene is acrylic, water resistant, and applies with a slight blue tint that dries clear & glossy. Use a damp sponge in long strokes once over to prevent tacky build up. $8.29 for 4 oz on Amazon or $7.25 (+ S&H) through Fiebing’s. Between the two projects, I used half of the 4 oz bottle.
At first, I diluted my Resolene, per the advice of leather forums. I went in a day later with a light-handed application of straight Resolene on both projects. That seemed to work better.
I did have some of the purple dye end up on my sponge but the Resolene is a necessary step in my opinion. It sealed the color & made the projects look more even, a little deeper, and gave the recliner a leather-type appearance again (even though it is polyurethane foam.) Sealing the projects lessened the metallic, duo chrome effects but deepened the purple shade dramatically.
Fiebing’s Leather Dye is alcohol based & comes in 29 shades ranging from basic browns to bold greens, reds, and blues. 4 oz bottles include one wool dauber. I suggest getting a few more for large projects (a 10 pack is more than enough.) This project was stress-free and I love the chair so much that I wish I had more to dye! I recently did this project so I can not say how water resistant the recliner & purse are. They do not pull any purple when wiped with a soft cloth and I will update if I have any spills on the chair or caught in rainstorm scenarios to share.