How to paint leather ?

Categories : Leather

Customizing shoes and sneakers is now something everyone wants to do. Whether it's to have a unique creation on your feet, or to bring an old pair of sneakers back to life.

Discover our tips and tricks for getting started with sneaker customization: from preparation to applying paint.

What paint to use on leather ?

To paint on leather shoes, sneakers or accessories, it's very important to use a flexible paint that will last over time and won't peel or crack. 

That's why we recommend you to use a leather paint made for shoes or simply for customization.

We recommend you the SneakArts paint because you don't need to buy paint additives for fabrics or plastic comparing to other brands. Indeed, the paint can be diluted with water or directly used on fabric, suede, or plastic. 

Mixing the paint or adding a paint additive can take time, but also can get very expensive if you want to work on other surfaces. 

How to prepare leather for painting ?

When you paint on leather, it’s highly recommended to prepare the leather, to have the best resistance possible. The prep is the most important step to have good results.

Use a cotton pad with a deglazer or acetone to remove the factory varnish. If you don’t do this properly, you will paint on a varnish and not on the leather itself.

To get better results, especially on the front part of the shoes, or grained leather, we highly recommend to use sandpaper (400 or 600) to have a smooth and homogeneous surface. 

Don't skip this step if you sell a customization services !

- Once the surface is prepared, you can paint on leather. But before painting, make sure you clean all the dust with a dissolvent again, and the leather is totally dry !

Painting on leather and faux leather

Now that your preparation is done, it’s time to learn how to paint on leather and faux leather, either on shoes or accessories. The standard leather paint is fluid and can be used with a paint brush or airbrush.

First of all, we recommend you to always apply thin layers of paint instead of big coats. It makes the paint more resistant, elastic and avoids the risk of peeling / cracking.

Repeat the process once your coat is dry (15 minutes naturally or 30 seconds using a hair-dryer). Most of the time, you need 2 to 4 layers to have a homogeneous color. 

Tips : If you want to save time on dark colors, start painting with a lighter color

Note : If you want to paint using a stencil, you can discover our article to have the best possible results. 

How to seal the paint on leather ?

Once you have finished your customization, you have to seal the paint using a top coat, especially if you want to wear your shoes regularly and keep the colors vibrant longer.

Before applying a paint finisher, wait 24 hours so the paint is completely dry and adheres to the leather, but also to avoid burrs.

The process is similar to what we did before with the paint : you need to apply thin layers of finisher using a paint brush or airbrush. You can apply 2 to 3 layers of matte or glossy finisher / varnish depending on the final result you want.

Make sure your coat is dry (15 minutes naturally or 30 seconds using a hair-dryer) before applying another coat.

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