Some faux leather furniture is made of polyester or microfiber fabric with a thin polyurethane finish that creates a leather-like appearance. As the finish wears, the microfiber is exposed. Ultimately we discourage refinishing this material for the same reasons as peeling or flaking bonded leather: a material that can’t hold its own finish isn’t likely to retain anything else you add to it.
That said, a paint can be used to stain the worn, exposed fabric and better conform with undamaged areas. However painting fabric may result in a stiffer texture or uneven appearance. A clear wax is needed to create a smoother, more lustrous surface that blends with the original.
Many folks report success with chalk paint. However, we suggest using a thinner fabric paint or our water-based leather finish, because chalk is limestone (sedimentary rock) and is too heavy and inflexible for faux leather.
Here’s how you’d do it:
- Clean the furniture with denatured or rubbing alcohol and allow to completely dry.
- Thoroughly stir Rub ‘n Restore® Color.
- Dampen the worn fabric with water. This will allow the color to disperse and absorb more evenly.
- Work in small sections, using a brush or damp sponge to apply color, and taking care to disperse and blend.
- Use a rag dampened with water to remove color from surrounding, unworn areas where the faux leather surface remains intact.
- Buff the worn areas you’ve painted with a dry rag to remove excess paint. This will result in a softer feel. Take care not to overscrub the fabric and damage the weave or nap.
- Allow to dry. This may take several hours with an absorbent fabric. A fan in the room will help. It will not stain clothing once totally dry. Even if the color is a good match to unworn areas, it may dry darker on worn, fabric portions. Finishing with clear wax should correct this.
- Repeat until all worn fabric areas are stained and dry.
- Apply a clear wax with a lint-free rag or brush to the painted areas to create a new leather-like look and feel. Use a hair dryer to warm the wax, if needed, to disperse and blend it with unworn areas. Minwax® Soft Touch and Annie Sloan® Clear Wax are oil-based and do well for this application. Do not wax velour, velvet, or any remaining faux leather (polyurethane) surface. Clear waxes may require periodic reapplication to maintain the new ‘finish’. Re-stain the fabric, if needed, prior to reapplying wax, as the wax will likely repel the paint.
If it’s not already obvious, we don’t recommend color changing these materials.