This guide will show you how to restore the colour of a leather car interior. Because we can match the colour of leather exactly, you can use our leather colourant kit to restore the full interior, or one car seat, or even just a worn panel.
This photo shows a worn cream coloured leather car seat from a Maserati. We will restore the colour to the two front seats.
Apply some prep onto the leather and then rub the surface with an abrasive pad. This process will remove the manufactured finish and also some of the colour, which you can see in the photo. After rubbing a small area, wipe it down with a cotton cloth to remove any excess colour from the leather. The leather is correctly prepped when you start to see colour transfer from the leather onto the abrasive pad or cloth. This indicates that the finish has been removed exposing the colour beneath.
The above process will have removed the manufacturers finish and any silicones that are soluble in solvents. There are however some silicones like spray on polish and waxes that aren't soluble in solvents, and so to remove these we need to use the alcohol cleaner. After using the leather prep wipe the leather down with a cloth dampened in the alcohol cleaner. Now wait 30 minutes for the cleaners to evaporate.
Looking at the above two photo's you can see that the leather prep greatly cleans the leathers surface removing all the dirt and grime. More importantly though, the leather prep reduces the painted coating on the leather and so remove all creases & cracks. That's right, for those that didn't know, leather gets its colour by having a thin flexible painted sprayed onto the surface.
It is this painted layer that becomes dirty, creased and cracked. So, when the leather is prepped, this painted coating is either removed or greatly reduced, and so, the soft, smooth and clean leather beneath is exposed.
To smooth over the bad cracking on the driver’s side bolster the heavy filler is applied using a palette knife and wiped on in a thin layer so that it only goes into the cracks.
The filler is then left to dry for about 5 minutes, or this can be speeded up using a hair drier. The filler can then be sanded down with very fine sandpaper (1200) to make it smooth. This process can be repeated until it is totally smooth.
Shake the bottle of colourant for about 3 minutes to make sure it is well mixed. Pour a small amount onto a sponge and rub into the leather. The idea is to sponge on a thin coat of colour working it into any gaps, creases and hard to reach areas. Apply light pressure here to work the colourant into the grain. If you apply too much pressure you may get a foam of colour on the surface, this is not a problem, just wipe it away with the sponge (gently).
Also notice the on the photo above, after applying the colourant by sponge, we have applied another coat of filler. Sometimes your repair looks perfect until you put the colour on, and then it shows the cracks very lightly. So, if this happens, just re-fill and apply the colour again. There is no need to take the colour off; both products work perfectly with each other.
The colour is then applied by sponge to the whole seat giving quite a nice finish. The idea of the sponge coat is to work the colour into the crease and cracks; we do not aim for a perfect finish.
The colour dries naturally or can be speeded up with a hair drier. Note, the cracked leather on the bolster is now very hard to tell it is there. This is down to the application of filler on top of colour and vice versa.
Once one full coat of colour has been sponged onto the car seat, set up the airbrush and spray a fine coat of colour onto the leather to correctly blend it in.
When you have achieved a perfect finish, seal the leather in with your desired finish.