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Tandy Skills: Dyeing Tutorial

Tandy Skills: Dyeing Tutorial

Choose your Dye 

Tandy has a wide variety of products to add color to your projects. Whether you choose an alcohol- or water-based dye, you want to test it on a scrap piece of leather first. It is always a good idea to buff your leather to remove any surface debris when dying leather a solid color. Next, dampen or case your leather. Using a sponge or a spray bottle, lightly dampen the surface of your leather. Try not to oversaturate the leather, but if you do, let it dry until it is back to its natural color and cool to the touch. Casing helps your leather absorb dye evenly. Your workspace should be well-ventilated. If you are working outdoors, keep your project out of direct sunlight and extreme heat. The leather dye will stain anything it touches so be sure to cover your workspace and wear gloves. We used plastic sheeting under our paper for this video to protect our work surface.  

Choose your applicator 

While we offer many different applicators to color leather, we are going to show you four common ways to add dye to leather. You can use these methods on their own or combine them to achieve your desired outcome.  

Applying dye with a Paintbrush 


 

Apply the first layer left to right, the second up and down, and the next layer in circular motions to ensure even coating. Let the first coat dry thoroughly and repeat with additional coats of dye until it you achieve the desired color. It’s best to apply several thin coats to achieve a uniform color. Pro Tip: Paintbrushes are great for edges or small areas, may leave brush strokes on large areas. 

 

 

After your final coat of dye is dry, buff your project with sheep’s wool, cloth, or paper towel to remove any dye residue and polish the surface of the leather. Repeat until the desired color has been achieved. 

 

 

 

Applying dye with a wool dauber 

Wool daubers are easy to use when applying dye to small or large areas. Apply the first layer left to right, the second up and down, then in circular motions to ensure even coating. 

 

 

Let the first coat dry thoroughly. Repeat with additional coats of dye until it reaches the desired color. It’s best to apply several thin coats to achieve a uniform color. 

 

 

Once you have a few even coats, buff your project with sheep’s wool, a cloth, or a paper towel to remove any dye residue and polish the surface of the leather. Repeat process until the desired color has been archived. 

 

 

 

 

Applying dye with a sponge 

Sponges are a highly effective way of applying dye to a large area quickly and evenly. This method generally gives you an even coat with fewer applications. Apply the first layer left to right, the second up and down. Then apply again in a circular motion for an even look. Let the first coat dry thoroughly.  

Repeat with additional coats of leather dye until it reaches the desired shade. It’s best to apply several thin coats to achieve a uniform color.

Once you have a few even coats, buff your project with sheep’s wool, a cloth, or a paper towel to remove any dye residue and polish the surface of the leather. Repeat process until the desired color is achieved.

Dip-dying

Dip-dying leather is a great way to ensure an even coat of dye for your leather. You can apply the dye at full strength or cut the dye with water or a dye reducer. This process usually requires only one application to reach desired results.  

Fill a container with your chosen dye and dip leather evenly into the liquid then quickly pull it back out. Wipe off excess dye with a sponge or paper towel. 

 

Once you have a few even coats, buff your project with sheep’s wool, a cloth, or a paper towel to remove any dye residue and polish the surface of the leather. 

Allow the leather to dry for at least 24 hours. The leather may feel sticky at first, but this should disappear after buffing. When dry, apply a thin coat of oil to your leather to ensure moisture retention before applying a finish. Allow it to soak into your leather then buff it again. This step is optional, but it is a nice touch when applying all-over dye to help avoid your leather from becoming stiff. 

Take time to try different techniques to find what works best for you. And remember, anything you do requires practice! Here are a few recommended books to help you on your leatherwork journey. 

Coloring Leather Book by Al Stohlman  

ABC's of Leatherwork  


 

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