Leather gloves can not only elevate a look but also protect the hands from the cold and work hazards. Yet, leather is a tricky material. It naturally discolors and dries after a long period no matter how careful you are. So, whether you’re looking for a guide to renew their color or change them to a more interesting color pattern, you’re in the right place.
In this article, we will provide a step-by-step guide on how to dye leather gloves flawlessly and give them a brand new appearance. There are three main steps:
- Clean and prepare the gloves for dyeing
- Apply the pigment
- Condition the leather
Besides, there are helpful tips you can use to increase the pigment. Dive in!
Table of Contents
Things You’ll Need
1. A leather deglazer
Manufacturers put leather under various tanning and layering processes to enhance its finish and lifespan. That is not to mention the protective layers of moisturizers and conditioners you might have applied over time. Before dyeing the gloves, you must remove all this. Paint won’t stick to an unprepared leather surface. Hence, you need a leather preparer or deglazer.
2. A leather dye or mink oil
There are numerous leather dyes you can choose from, the two most popular are solvent-based and water-based. In general, we recommend using water-based pigment for dyeing leather gloves. Though solvent-based paints are tougher, more long-lasting, and easier to clean, they become brittle and crack as leather ages.
Since leather is natural skin, every piece differs in fiber texture, elasticity, and porosity. Depending on the gloves’ leather type (e.g., tanned, unfinished, full-grain), different types of dyes may be required. Read the product description carefully and spot test the paint before purchasing. Some good dyes can even restore cracked leather.
If you want to dye your gloves a lighter shade, we advise getting a bottle of white paint. It will act as a primer for the color to go on more vibrantly. But if you only wish to darken or restore the gloves’ color, mink oil is a great alternative. It doesn’t offer color choices but it is probably what you already have at home. Mink oil is quick and simple to use. It will also condition the leather.
3. A leather conditioner
If you choose to use mink oil, you don’t need another leather conditioner. But if you want to dye the gloves with paint, you will need a leather moisturizer or polisher. It will help nourish the fiber, restore the leather’s flexibility, and prevent the paint from cracking. Avoid buying spray bottles as the spray nozzle makes it difficult to work with small areas.
4. A paint applicator
A wool dauber applicator is your best bet. It is soft and gentle to the leather, yet it can spread the paint evenly on rough surfaces. If you don’t have one, a sponge, paintbrush, or even cloth can work well as long as you apply the paint carefully and slowly.
5. A mask and protective gloves
Last but not least, grab a mask and pair of disposable gloves to protect yourself from inhaling or contacting the chemicals.
Steps to Dye Leather Gloves
Step 1: Prepare the gloves
If you’re dealing with grimy work gloves, you need to wash them before applying the leather deglazer. Use clean water, a mild detergent, and a soft brush to scrub off any dirt. However, some types of leather shouldn’t be soaked in water. If that’s your case, gently wipe the leather surface with a damp cloth. Then, leave the gloves to air dry completely.
Afterward, follow the product instructions to remove the leather’s protective layers. Remember to apply the deglazer with a clean white cloth or sponge to avoid color transfer. While applying, you might notice some of the color coming off. That’s normal. Also, don’t forget to put on protective gear.
Step 2: Dye the gloves
Firstly, tape the areas you don’t want to dye. If you’re using pigment, shake the bottle or use a stirring stick to mix the paint well. After that, apply a thin, even coat of mink oil or paint to the leather in one direction. Remember to brush a coat of white paint if you’re going for a lighter shade. Wait until the paint dries and put on a second layer, this time, in the opposite direction.
If you choose to use mink oil, put the product in a bowl of warm water to warm it up. Then, spread a thin layer of mink oil on the leather and wait for it to dry. You can always add extra layers to darken the color.
Step 3: Apply leather conditioner
Lastly, use a leather conditioner to shield all the hard work. If you’re not a fan of commercial leather conditioners, you can DIY a leather balm from household products like beeswax, cocoa butter, and olive oil. Here is a video showing the details of each step:
Dyeing leather gloves should be fun and enjoyable. Whether you’re repairing an old pair or dyeing an exciting color for your new gloves, we guarantee you will get amazing results with our guide on how to dye leather gloves. We appreciate all thoughts and questions via the contact page. So, don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you for reading!
Veronica is our content editor. She is a talent in delivery. Her main work is editing and writing articles that are both informative and simple to follow. She is in charge of synthesizing our understanding of what personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed in each job, how to best apply it, and how to visualize that equipment.