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Can I mix Rub ‘n Restore® Colors together or modify a color with acrylic paint?

All Rub ‘n Restore® Colors are compatible and can be mixed to create your own unique color. Learn how here or scroll down. This is the same process we use to perform Starter Color Analysis.

Our colors (except Black and Bright White) are combinations of all sorts of pigments. Sometimes it’s best to modify a color with very specific pigments. Familiarity with the color wheel is helpful. You’ll also need water-based universal colorant (the same pigments used to customize latex paint at the hardware store or home paint supply). Acrylic paint can also be used for very small adjustments only. You will also need an equal volume of Clear Prep+Finish™. Click here for instructions or scroll down.

Please note, modifying any color voids our warranty, and we cannot accept returns or exchanges on such items.

How To Mix Rub ‘n Restore® Colors

  1. Start with drops of colors on a piece of cardboard. Make a note of the ratio (for example, equal parts Mahogany and Walnut). If drops are hard to measure from the twist cap, open the bottle, and use the stir stick to measure drops onto your cardboard.
  2. Mix them together with a brush, and apply to the surface. The color should appear a shade or two lighter when wet.
  3. Allow to dry. The color will darken slightly. Do a couple coats to achieve full coverage.
  4. You may also need to apply one coat of Clear Prep+Finish™ or polish the color with a soft, dry rag to mimic the luster or “level the playing field”. This will allow you to get a more accurate read on how your mixture compares to the desired color.
  5. Allow to dry, and assess the color.
  6. Modify the ratio of colors as necessary, and repeat the process until the desired color is achieved.
  7. Expand the ratio to the volume of color. Start with 1/2 or 3/4 of the total volume in case a final adjustment needs to be made and test.
  8. Mix in a clean container from the recycling bin or one of our mixing bottles. Do not use any kitchen or eating utensils. Cover your container with saran wrap if not in use.
  9. Remove any test patches with rubbing alcohol or simply paint over them.

TIPS:

  • White lightens but also steers lavender or pastel. Marine White (an off-white which has a little yellow) is usually a better choice than Bright White for this reason.
  • Black darkens but also muddies bright colors (like red). It can also have a blue tone. For a neutral darkening (and muddying), Espresso is better. In this vein, if Peppercorn is too blue, mix with Espresso to get a warmer dark grey.
  • Many neutral bone / beige colors are best achieved by adding a little Taupe to a pale color like Marine White, Ivory or Beige.
  • Many dark wines are 3 or 4 parts Wine or Cherrywood and 1 part Eggplant.
  • Honey, Cognac and / or Rust will achieve the popular distressed saddle tan look.

How To Modify Rub ‘n Restore® Colors with Universal Colorant

  1. Add colorant / pigment to your Rub ‘n Restore® color. Use a stir stick to drop or drizzle colorant into the Rub ‘n Restore® color. Use a clean stir stick to thoroughly disperse. Make a note of your additions.
  2. Thoroughly stir to disperse these pigments, taking care to scrape the bottom and sides of the container.
  3. Add an equal volume of Clear Prep+Finish to maintain the correct ratio of resin to pigment. A few drops of colorant is negligible and doesn’t require the addition of Clear. But more substantial dribbles must be matched with Clear.
  4. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Apply to the surface. The color should appear a shade or two lighter when wet.
  6. Allow to dry. The color will darken slightly. Do a couple coats to achieve full coverage.
  7. If the color dries very dull compared to the material, apply one coat of Clear Prep+Finish™ and allow to dry. Or buff the color with a soft, dry rag to mimic the luster and ‘level the playing field’. This will allow you to get a more accurate read on how your mixture compares to the desired color.
  8. Assess. Repeat as needed.
  9. Remove any test patches with rubbing alcohol or simply paint over them.

TIPS:

  • High-chroma (bright) pigments, if needed, should be added first. Once a color becomes too muddy with mineral pigments, you often can’t recover it.
  • Reds quickly steal the show. Use sparingly, and choose the correct one. Usually there is a red oxide, magenta, and a couple of hot reds that with lighter and darker values.
  • White lightens but also steers lavender or pastel.
  • Black darkens but also muddies and steers cool-grey.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Chrissy says

    I have an end table from the 1940s with about 1/8 “ leather on top, originally mahogany colored like the table, now dry with various water stains all over it. I want to refinish it for sentimental purposes but hope to go lighter or even with a color. Is this possible?

  2. Chris says

    I’d like to do a color change on multiple couches to make them all espresso. One is currently a bright red and the other is a dark green. Would I be able to easily make this change on both with just espresso and clear prep + finish? If not, what else would I need?

  3. Donna says

    Hi, I painted over my leather couch, but now would like to change the color. Would your product work over existing painted couch?

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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.