How do I dye and perhaps stencil a faded leather purse?
  • I have a faded leather Fossil purse that I love and want to return it as closely as I can to it’s original state or prep it for a decorative effect. I have in mind deepening the color and doing a Celtic tree of life on it. I would love to know what the best products are for the outcome I want.
  • You need to rub the purse down with acetone(nail polish remover) or rubbing alcohol. This is to remove any waterproofer that would keep the paint from sticking. Rub those with a paper towell until the old color start to come off. You can kind of feel when you are rubbing on the leather rather than the waterproofer.

    Dye na flow is really good for replacing the old dye or paint. It sinks into the leather nicely and you can't feel it or see brush strokes. Choose the right color. You don't want to make drastic color changes because you will see those other colors through the dye na flow. Red to orange is ok, but going from orange to blue will make it brown.

    You can do stenciling with Dye na flow, but it is very thin and can run or bleed through the stencil. You should use a sponge/sponge brush and pat it through the stencil very lightly in layers to keep from bleeding.

    Alternatively, using textile color or neopaque would be easier to get a sharp stencil line. I would go this route if I was going to do it. Either of these paints are also ok to replace the color as well, but they will be a little more like painting and a little less like dyeing the leather.

    Pearl ex varnish is a good way to finish the purse and waterproof and protect it. It is not absolutely necessary, but it will keep it nicer longer.

    Hope this helps

  • Thanks! That was very helpful. It’s a green purse so I should be able to use greens, blues, and violets, correct? I’m thinking metallics and yellows/golds would work too. I’m surprised you suggested Dye-na-Flo over textile colors, so glad I asked! This works out great since I have a ready supply of dye na flow and Lumiere on hand.

    I’d like to do a gradient color effect for the background. Can I do this directly on the purse? Or should I apply stripes of color to a sponge and then to the purse. The closest example I know using this technique is in gradient effects nail art.

    And now for something completely different, can I use thinned dye na flow & Lumiere to dye strap, picot, and fold-over lingerie elastics? They have a high nylon and poly content. I want to do a multi-color effect as opposed to getting just one color if I use iDye. I’m guessing I would need to find a way to keep the elastic stretched during the process. Because lingerie is washed frequently what is the best way to set the color. Ironing is not an option.

    Thanks again,

  • It really depends on the effect you want with the paint on which you should use. Textile and dye na flow are going to stick very similarly. Dye na flow is better on softer leather, on hardish shoe leather it is not as good because it isn't as easy to absorb. Better on soft leather and suede.

    Dye na flow will make it look like it has always been that color because it will blend in with the leather. Textile will make it look more like it has been hand painted and would be betetr for sharp lines and stripes. Neopaque is what I would use if i wanted to completely cover the color underneath.

    I don't see a problem painting the gradient directly on the purse. It might be difficult transferring neatly from brush to purse. I would practice that.

    On the nylon lingerie, I believe you can do this. I would thin with neopaque extender or just dye na flow, and not use water. You want as much stretch as you can get with this, so thinning the paints with water would probably be be bad. The Lumiere, you will have no problem with as it heat sets on it own after 72 hrs. It has a catalyst in it that self-cures the paint. Dye na flow does not, but you can add it. It is called airfix. You add 3% airfix to the dye na flow and it will make it more durable again in 72hrs.
  • Thank you. I have airfix and will do some test samples with the elastics.
    I’ll pick up a leather bag at goodwill for testing the gradient effects. Based on your recommendations I’ll stick with the dye na flow.
    You’ve been very helpful. Thanks!