Dyes cannot be used to change leather or vinyl to a lighter color. For this you need a finish (paint).
Changing the color of leather or vinyl can be more maintenance than restoring to original. Absorbent full-grain aniline or semi-aniline leather will get the best long-term wear. Non-absorbent leather and vinyl may require touch-up.
The following are not great candidates due to the potential maintenance:
- worn, scaly or thinning leather;
- loosely upholstered furniture with lots of wrinkles, folds, or deep creases (and therefore stress);
- pieces that receive a lot of contact with chemicals / liquids or rough kids and critters (particularly dog claws);
- seats in cars or boats (for these we suggest finding a heavier urethane coating);
- bonded, faux or polyurethane (PU) ‘leather’ which resist all coatings (including their own);
- or changing from dark or bright colors to pale or white shades.
In the latter case, consider Ash or Stone grey as a primer. White is the heaviest pigment and has the poorest coverage. This means you may use 2-3 times the normal quantity and will have a thicker, heavier and less flexible finish that may wear more easily and require more touch-up.
Here’s what wear and discoloration look like:
Touch-up is easy and mitigated by:
- choosing a color that complements the original;
- choosing a color with a similar value (light vs. dark);
- dabbing or stippling the color to create a marbled or distressed appearance so future wear will look natural and intended.
Our products are water-based acrylic finishes (paints). Acrylics can be less durable than urethanes and require touch-up. However, acrylics don’t feel plasticky like urethanes. Acrylics also don’t crack or flake, so stripping and sanding are not needed prior to touching up. Still, if you’re wanting to change the color of a boat or auto interior, you might consider a heavier urethane or aerosol.
|Change Color||Match Color|
|More product needed||Less product needed|
|More labor required||Less labor involved|
|Touch-up likely and varies||Little to no touch-up|
|Available now||Wait until sample received; our turnover is swift|
|May be as expensive as matching, depending on scope of project||Matching fee; 8 oz. order minimum for Advanced Custom Color|
|Discouraged for auto, RV, boat interiors||Recommended for auto, RV, boat upholstery, primary or secondary colors|
The video below demonstrates a change from a dark green to a solid, lighter tan color in five coats using Rub ‘n Restore®.
- 0:08 – Cleaning and prep
- 0:48 – First coat of color
- 1:36 – Second coat
- 2:10 – Third coat
- 2:36 – Fourth coat
- 2:54 – Fifth coat
- 3:12 – Final result