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How to repair leather or vinyl with Soft Filler?

A flexible compound is best for repairing leather and vinyl upholstery. We like Soft Filler to repair leather or vinyl that has:

  • scaly, cracking, or thinning areas where the finish has worn and suede or backing is exposed,
  • been used as a cat scratching post, or
  • holes larger than 1/2″.

Repairing peeling bonded, bicast, and polyurethane leathers is not recommended. See why and our solution.

This video shows how to subpatch and repair a large hole as well as the scaly surroundings.

Video contents:

  • 00:30 – Cutting the subpatch
  • 01:00 – Inserting the subpatch
  • 01:20 – Glueing the subpatch
  • 03:14 – Cleaning excess glue and readying the surface for repair compound
  • 03:48 – Applying the leather filler, spreading, and feathering
  • 05:16 – Dry time and how to tell when the filler has cured
  • 06:22 – Sanding (we now recommend smoothing and feathering with rubbing alcohol)
  • 06:58 – Additional layers of filler repair compound
  • 08:32 – Texturizing and final sanding
  • 09:41 – Recoloring the repaired area

Print or download our free leather filler instructions.

Soft Filler is water-based and easily applied. It will air-dry, but cure time can be accelerated with an incandescent bulb or sunshine. Soft Filler is lightly sandable once cured. Rubbing alcohol can also be used to blend cured filler.

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Click here for troubleshooting Soft Filler, how to repair perforated leather, and cracking vinyl.

Reader Interactions


  1. Tony Assante says

    I have a 79 MGB with a 3 inch crack and a quarter of an inch wide in the top of my dashboard. Would your method work for this Thanks Tony

  2. Shannon Burton says

    I have a motor home that I am preparing for sale. There is a small amount of peeling on the couch seat between the cushions but they are not removable. Would the soft filler work here? How do I match the color?

  3. Jen says

    I want to repair a some cat scratch marks on a white leather sofa. What does the process look like and what do I need?

  4. Christopher Putnam says

    I have a new (used) leather recliner I just purchased. I was told it’s about 15 years old, but that it is high-end leather and had a high retail price. I’m not sure if that’s right, though it does seem pretty tough. Most of the leather is nice is smooth, if a little distressed, except the armrests and a part of the leg rest which is very scratchy and uncomfortable – it’s almost like rubbing my arms against sandpaper. Not great. Would the Soft Filler be appropriate here? Cleaning it doesn’t seem to resolve.

    • lesandre says

      Try a gentle sanding with 320 grit sandpaper. The proof will be in applying color. If the color corrects it, you’re golden. If not, strip it out with alcohol, let dry, use the filler.

  5. NC Leather rip repair says

    Love your videos! Good, thorough instruction, comments that are applicable to what you’re presently doing (vs tips on a step already done) and no unnecessary schmaltzy accompanying music used!

    I’ve had a rip in an arm of the most comfortable chair (+ the frame has ‘good bones’) for too long. The rip really downgraded its looks so I demoted the chair to storage. I’m into DIY but when I tried to repair it it surely wasn’t as good as yours. Thanks so much for the great instructions & tips!

    • lesandre says

      Yes, filler will work. FYI, split leather is the lower half of the hide. There is no original epidermis (skin surface), so it is inherently weaker.

  6. Julee Barton says

    We filled a large hole in our leather couch with your filler compound, should the Levi patch be showing? We have done 4 fills, should we do more before dying?

    • lesandre says

      The filler dries whitish-clear, so you may still see some of the denim patch. If it feels good, apply the color. If you need to rework the repair, just remove the color and apply more filler. Rubbing alcohol can also be used to smooth imperfections in the cured filler, rather than sandpaper.

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The Knowledge Hub is a library of articles and videos complied to help our customers complete their DIY leather and vinyl restoration projects.