How Is Leather Colored?

How Is Leather Colored?

February 28, 2022

While some leather is left to retain its natural color, we’ve all seen brightly-hued leather goods. How is leather colored? How are manufacturers and artisans able to dye leather evenly?

Depending on the type of tanning process used, leather can be treated and colored in virtually any shade.

Here’s a brief guide to how leather is colored.

General overview

Leather can be dyed using both natural and synthetic dyes. Typically, shades of brown and tan are tanned and dyed with vegetable dye, whereas other colors might require synthetic dye and the application of more pigment. Naturally-dyed leather may still have hair and pores visible.

After the tanning process, the leather is placed in a big vat of dye. This helps reach darker shades. The dye is then fixed and rinsed to ensure that no color rubs off on anything later.

Colored leather

To get bright, vivid shades, additional pigmentation is added to the leather. If you want to know whether one of your leather products has been pigmented, put a drop of water on the leather (in a discreet place). If the leather repels the water, it has extra pigmentation.

Smooth leather is often pigmented. The dye is allowed to penetrate the leather as much as possible; then extra pigment is added. This makes it difficult to see any hair or pores left in the leather.

Step-by-step process

There are three basic stages to the leather dyeing process. First, the leather is prepared for the dye. The leather is tanned, then usually conditioned and primed to remove any debris that could create an uneven dye application.

Next the leather is dyed. During the dyeing process, manufacturers will ensure that the dye vats are well mixed at all times. They may use a cloth or a sponge to apply the dye to the leather. The leather might be dipped in the vats, or the dye might be hand-applied, depending on the desired effect. Leather usually requires three to six coats of dye before it’s ready.

As the leather dries, it has to be flexed occasionally. This helps it retain its supple, flexible quality. After the last coat has dried, the leather may be buffed with a cloth to give it a sheen.

Finally, the leather is finished. This may involve adding a pigmentation layer, or one may simply skip to the protective top coat. Once the top coat is applied, the leather is ready to use in clothing, accessories and more.

Quality exotic leather goods

When you’re looking for high-quality, exotic leather goods, Acadian Leather is here to help. We specialize in sourcing the best leathers available and then custom-making leather shoes and accessories.

Whether you’re searching for a truly unique gift or are in the market for a replacement for a trusted leather accessory, call or stop by Acadian Leather. We’ll be happy to help make a custom accessory that will last for decades to come. Whether you prefer natural shades or brightly-colored exotic leathers, we’re sure to have exactly what you need.

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