How to darken and soften leather with coconut oil
How to Darken Leather
Leather tends to fade over time, which can make a leather item look entirely different than when you originally purchased it. To darken leather, you have to prepare and clean the leather first, then use polish, oils, or dyes to give it a darker hue. If you want to darken a piece of leather, doing so is relatively simple as long as you follow the right steps and use the right materials.
Preparing the Leather
Vacuum or dust the leather.Before you darken the leather, you need to remove dust and dirt or it will get trapped in the leather during the darkening process. Use a vacuum attachment or a brush to remove any excess dust on the leather.
Put a drop of mild dish soap into a damp rag.Put the dish soap into the rag and run it under the faucet. Agitate the rag so that suds start to form, then wring the rag out. You want the rag to be damp, not wet.
Wipe the leather down with a mild dish soap and water.Wipe over the leather in small, circular motions. Continue working over the leather until you've wiped down the entire thing.This should remove any dirt buildup.
Wipe the leather down with a damp rag.Wipe away any traces of the dish soap from the leather with a damp cloth or rag.
Let the leather air dry.Let the leather air dry before applying any oils, polishes, or dyes. To prevent cracking, dry the leather out of direct sunlight. When your leather dries, it’s ready to be darkened.
Oiling Your Leather
Purchase neatsfoot oil compound, mink oil, or leather honey.You can purchase these oils online or at a shoe repair store. These products are manufactured specifically to condition leather and darken it. Other oils, like olive oil, can stain the surface of your leather, so avoid using them.
Pour a tablespoon of the oil onto a non-abrasive cloth.Measure a tablespoon of the oil and saturate a small area on your cloth. You only need a little bit so do not saturate the entire cloth.
Rub the oil onto the surface in an even layer.Go in a back and forth motion over the surface your leather. Try to apply the oil in one uniform layer. The leather should start to darken. If you run out of oil on your cloth, put another tablespoon of oil on it.
Let the oil dry overnight.Once you’re done applying the first layer of oil, let the leather dry out overnight. Come back to the leather and see if it’s as dark as you wanted it.
Apply more coats of oil to make your leather even darker.If the leather isn’t as dark as you wanted, saturate your cloth with the oil and repeat the process, letting the leather dry in between coats.
- You can apply as many coats of oil that you want until it reaches the hue that you desire. Remember to let the leather dry in between coats.
Dying Leather Darker
Purchase a leather dye.You can either purchase an oil based or a water based leather dye online or at a leather store. Read the instructions on the dye before using it. Both of these dyes will dry out the leather over time, so make sure to condition your leather with oil or conditioner after applying them.
- Water based dye is cut with water, while oil based dye is mixed with specific chemicals, like a dye reducer.
- Oil dyes last longer and are harder to strip from the leather. Use a water based dye if you think you may want to repaint your leather a different color later.
Saturate a sponge or a cloth in the dye.Apply some of the leather dye to a dry cloth or sponge. Using a sponge or a soft cloth will prevent visible stroke marks that a brush would leave behind.
- When using dye, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area to prevent yourself from inhaling the fumes from the dye.
Apply the first coat of leather dye in small circles.Rub the cloth with the dye in small circular motions over the surface of the leather. As you apply the dye, the leather should start to get darker. Try to get as equal coverage as possible for an even and clean finish.
Let the leather dye dry for 24 hours.The leather dye may lighten up as it dries. Leave the leather in a room temperature area out of the sunlight to avoid cracking or peeling.
Apply more coats of dye until the leather is as dark as you want it.After the leather has dried, come back to it and see if it’s as dark as you wanted it. If it is, you’re done. If not, then apply additional coats of dye, letting the leather dry in between applications, until it reaches the hue that you want.
Applying Polish to Darken Leather
Purchase a dark leather polish.Look for a leather polish online or a leather shop. Find one that is several shades darker than your current leather.
Put a dab of polish into a non-abrasive cloth.Hold the cloth over the top of the polish bottle and turn it upside down to leave a quarter sized dab of leather polish onto your cloth.
Work the polish into your leather in small circles.As you apply the polish to the leather, you should see it start to darken almost immediately. Continue to add more polish to the surface of the leather until the leather is fully covered.
Buff over the leather with a dry rag.Use a separate clean rag and buff over the leather in circles. This will help even out the look of the polish and will help it seep into the leather material. Continue buffing the leather with the rag until the polish looks uniform on the surface of the leather.
Let the polish dry overnight.Allow the polish enough time to seep into the leather and dry. If you want your leather to be even darker, you can apply more polish to the leather after it has dried.
Before darkening leather, remove any dirt currently on the leather with a vacuum brush or a damp rag with a drop of dish soap. Next purchase a leather darkener, such as neatsfoot oil, mink oil, or leather honey. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil on a non-abrasive cloth and rub it into the leather in a uniform layer. Let the oil dry overnight and decide if it looks dark enough. If the leather isn’t as dark as you’d like, apply more coats of oil. Just remember to allow each coat to dry before applying the next one.
Video: How to Darken Leather Dress Shoes | Kirby Allison
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