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. You can also modify any of our colors with water-based universal colorant (the same pigments used to customize latex paint at the hardware store) or acrylic paint. In this case, you will also need an equal volume of our Clear Prep+Finish™.

NOTE: we cannot accept returns or exchanges on colors that have been modified, and our warranty is void when colors are modified using any non-Rub ‘n Restore pigments.

Learn how to mix Rub ‘n Restore® Colors.

Learn how to modify colors with acrylic paint.

How To Mix Rub ‘n Restore® Colors

  1. Start with drops of colors on a piece of plastic from the recycling bin. Thoroughly stir each color with its own stir stick. Use the stick to measure out drops onto the plastic (this is much easier and more accurate than using the twist cap which can squirt and dribble). Make a note of the ratio as you go (for example, 1:1, 2:1, 4:1 parts Butterscotch and Rust).
  2. Mix the colors together with a small 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, if necessary.
  4. Most colors dry low luster. If your upholstery is shiny, you may need to apply one coat of Clear Prep+Finish™ or buff the color with a soft, dry rag to match the shine of the surrounding area. This provides you a more accurate read on how your mixture compares to the desired color.
  5. Assess the color, and modify the ratio as necessary. Repeat the process until the desired color is achieved.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Remove any test patches with alcohol or simply paint over them.


  • 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 2 to 4 parts Red Chili, Wine or Cherrywood plus 1 part Plum.
  • Buckskin, Cognac, Butterscotch and / or Rust will achieve the popular distressed saddle tan look.

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

  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.


  • 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.

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  1. 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?

  2. 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?

  3. Dear Mom & Daughter, CC & Lesandre,

    I am looking to restore all very worn leather & a lot of vinyl in our 20 year old (non-fancy) car, which has three tones + a tiny bit of black.

    The largest part (over 50 square feet) will be something in between taupe and ivory (or taupe and marine white).
    A smaller part will be ivory with less taupe (or, seeing your customers’ photos, maybe between ivory and sand).
    I am about to order swatches in these four colors, hoping to be able to roughly gauge in which ratio to buy these (which is tricky to do even after having seen the swatches, with no idea of how strongly the whites are covering/lightening).

    In addition to this, I need a very small amount of espresso (for touch-up on about 1 square foot section)
    I have a substantial amount of lamp black, left from a prior small leather fix.

    [Alone with 4 kids, your color matching services are unfortunately way over my budget. (If I was to get those I couldn’t afford the needed dye & filler anymore.) And I can’t really justify buying a 2oz bottle of espresso while likely only needing I am wondering if it would be possible to achieve a similar tone to espresso by toning down lamp black with a bit of your taupe &/or sand &/or ivory. – ? – If so, which one or combination of those would best steer lamp black into the direction of espresso/neutral brown?

    P. S.
    I am thinking:
    It would be exceedingly helpful if you were selling small test pods like (1/4 or 1/8 oz) of your actual colors, alongside your pre-painted swatches,
    so that people could test combinations of your colors on your color swatches,
    or your actual colors on their actual (pre-colored) piece and its various stages of fading.

    I am certain that people who don’t have the time, experience or confidence to go through extensive color testing, mixing and matching themselves would still be more than happy to purchase your professional color matching services, – while people who can’t afford those but would love to buy your ready-made dyes would likely be MUCH faster at making a purchase – of testers – followed by a confident bold purchase of a generous amount of just the right tones for them to mix – or layer – themselves.
    I certainly would have done so; – two weeks ago; (instead of continuing to procrastinate ruminating likelihoods & possibilities of outcomes until my mind fades, day after day.” )


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