Leather Dye Liquid Dye Powder Dye for Leather
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Miss Gloria Xu(Mr.)
Nanyang Development Zone, Xiaoshan, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
The coloration of leather is typically made with azo dyes and it is interesting to take a deeper look at the factors that allow us to understand these dyes and the process of dyeing leather. While a considerable amount on dyes and dyeing properties has been written over time it has often been out-dated due to new legislation or tannery needs in terms of leather performance. Here we will attempt to bring together the ideas regarding leather dyes as used today and how the structural properties influence the performance properties. The theory being that if one needs specific fastness characteristics one can then use the structure that best meets these needs.
How to dye leather.
- Choose your leather dye.
Most commercially prepared leather dyes come with leather preparer, the dye itself, and a finish (such as leather sheen). Consider the following when choosing a dye:
Alcohol-based dyes stiffen the leather, while water-based dyes leave it soft and supple. Many water-based dyes are actually coatings, which can completely change the color of the piece.
The color of the dye is not representative of the final color. Test on a small sample first. If you are touching up an already dyed piece, use a color-matching service to get an exact match.
Dyes can be spray-on, paint-on, or sponge-on. Choose the type that works best for you in terms of ease of use.
- Tape off any area that you do not want dyed.
Cover any buckles or metal pieces that you do not want dyed with masking tape. The tape may damage the leather finish, but you'll be removing that anyway to make the surface available for dyeing.
- Move to a well-ventilated area.
Most leather preparers and leather dyes release fumes that are unhealthy to breathe. Work in a space with good ventilation. If dyeing your leather outdoors, keep it out of direct sunlight and extreme heat.Most dyes give best results at air temperatures of 60ºF (15ºC) or above
- Protect your hands and floor from stains.
Leather dye can stain skin for a week and other surfaces permanently. Wear two pairs of latex or nitrile gloves. Lay down plastic drop cloth to catch spills.
- Apply the leather preparer.
Rub the leather preparer or de-glazer on with a clean cloth. This removes the leather finish so the dye can penetrate evenly into the material.
- Wet the leather.
Use a spray bottle filled with water to dampen the surface of the leather. Do not over-saturate the leather, but make sure you have an even covering. This helps the leather absorb the dye evenly, resulting in a smooth finish.
Some leather dyes do not require this step. Check the label.
- Apply your first coat.
Start by painting the edges with a paintbrush. For the rest of the job, apply the dye in a thin coat using a sponge, wool dauber, paintbrush, or sprayer. Check the dye label to see which tool the manufacturer recommends, or weigh the following pros and cons:
Sponges can apply a special affect or texture to the leather. Apply in a circular motion for an even look.
Wool daubers are easy to use when applying liquid dye to small areas. They may not work well with gel dyes.
Paintbrushes are good for edges and small areas, but it is hard to hide the brush strokes over large areas. Apply the first layer left to right, the second up and down, and the next layer in circular motions to ensure even coating.
Sprayers makes it easy to blend colors for repairs or multi-color dye jobs. An airbrush or touch-up spray gun provides the most control. Check the dye instructions to see if it is suitable for spraying.
- Apply additional coats of leather dye.
Let the first coat dry a little, then apply another one. Repeat with additional coats of leather dye until it reaches the desired color, usually after three to six coats. Applying several thin coats makes it easier to achieve a uniform color.
- Allow the leather to dry completely, manipulating it periodically to keep it supple.
Allow the leather to dry for at least 24 hours. Pick it up and flex it occasionally (wearing gloves) to prevent it becoming rigid. The leather may feel sticky at first, but this should disappear after buffing or applying leather sheen.