How to Paint a Leather Couch

by Brenton Shields
Painting a cracked leather couch like this one could give it a new lease on life.

Painting a cracked leather couch like this one could give it a new lease on life.

Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

A leather couch is a durable and stylish piece of furniture, but over time it might fade or succumb to scratches at the paws of your pets. A touch-up of paint will help to restore the couch to its original glory or give it a completely new look. You'll need a leather painting kit from a furniture or department store, as you must use paint designed specifically for leather. You'll also need at least a full day to complete the project, as you never want to rush such a delicate job.

Items you will need

  • Latex gloves
  • Newspapers
  • Detergent
  • Rag
  • Leather prep solution
  • Leather filler
  • Leather colourant
  • Leather spray paint
  • Application sponges
  • Dry rag
  • Isopropyl alcohol cleaning solution
  • Leather finishing spray
Step 1

Put on latex gloves to protect your hands from potential irritants. You'll be working with chemicals, and it's always best to keep them off your skin.

Step 2

Spread a sheet or a layer of newspapers on your floor and move the couch onto it. Move other furniture away from the work area.

Step 3

Clean the couch with a damp rag and mild detergent. This will remove any dirt or grease that might come between the leather and the new layer of paint. Wipe the couch completely dry with a clean rag.

Step 4

Apply leather prep to the couch and cushions with the application sponge. This will remove the manufacturer's original finish, as well as any oil or grease. When you start to see the original color coming off on your application sponge, you are finished.

Step 5

Applying a leather filler to any cracks, using an application sponge. The filler will fill in all the cracks, which look like white streaks in the leather, or at least make them darker and less noticeable. Continue applying the filler until the white cracks have all darkened. Allow the filler to dry for five minutes.

Step 6

Squeeze the leather colourant from the tube onto a clean, dry sponge and rub it over the couch. Colourant, a dye that helps the paint blend better, must be applied before the actual paint. Use large, smooth strokes to reduce any bubbles. Allow the first layer to dry, and then apply a second layer using the same technique. Allow the second layer to dry before continuing.

Step 7

Spray the leather spray paint over the couch. Hold the sprayer about 8 inches and use large, sweeping sprays to create an even coat. Do not hold the sprayer in one area for too long or you will risk getting bubbles or gloppy streaks. Let the paint dry for at least a few hours. Test an inconspicuous spot before proceeding.

Step 8

Spray finish over the couch. Leather finish is a clear layer of paint that will protect the color and give the couch a glossy sheen. Hold the sprayer about 8 inches from the couch and apply it using large, even strokes. Let everything dry for at least 48 hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • You should only repaint the couch the original color, or one very close to it. Painting a different color over the old one can cause blending issues.

Photo Credits

  • Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images