This guide will show you how to change the colour of a leather car seat. We will be changing the colour of this car interior from red to cream, but it is possible to change to any colour you want. A colour change can be made from any colour to another, i.e. black to white, or white to black, with just as successful results.
The Leather Colourant Kit used in this guide can also be used to change the colour of all leather, vinyl, plastic, PVC & leather cloth car interiors.
This photo shows a red leather car seat from a Rolls Royce. This guide will show you how to change the colour of the leather car interior.
STEP 1. PREP THE LEATHER
The first stage is to prep the leather using the Leather Prep and an abrasive pad. This process removes the transparent manufactured finish applied to leather. Removing the finish allowing colour to properly adhere to the leather.
As shown in the photo, as the finish is removed, so is the colour (but not all the colour). Basically, when you remove some colour from an area, that indicates the finish has been removed, and so, you can move onto the next area.
Once you have prepped an area with the abrasive pad, you often get a lot of prep and colour sitting on the surface. This is very common with old Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Bentley, Aston Martin and other cars that used Connolly leather.
So, we wipe the leather with a cloth to remove the excess prep and colour. This tends not to happen as much with modern cars (1980's +) as the way leather was made changed, becoming more resilient against the prep. Not to worry though, it doesn't affect the end result!
The photo to the left shows what the leather should look like after being prepped. You can see where the colour has almost completely been removed in the middle flutes of the seat. Notice that the shine has also gone making the leather look more matt. This is the main indicator of correctly prepped leather (no shine), as the colour will not always be removed.
Leather is painted, that is how a wide variety of colours are achieved. When leather becomes old, it looks as though it cracks, but most of the time it is actually the paint that is cracked, not the leather itself. When you prep the leather, the painted layer is either removed or reduced greatly (as shown in the above picture) and so all the cracks are removed as well. This makes for a very smooth finish and excellent end result.
STEP 2. CLEAN THOROUGHLY WITH ALCOHOL CLEANER
Using a cloth, wipe the leather down with the Alcohol Cleaner. This process removes any waxes, oils or silicones that may be on the leather. Removing these gives better adhesion of colour.
As you can see so far, like any job, preparation is the key to success. Take your time when doing it and your end results will be great. It's not a hard job to do - it can just be quite time-consuming!
STEP 3. FILL ANY REMAINING CRACKS WITH FLEXIFIL
After prepping the leather, there may still be a few small cracks in the leather. These are fixed by spreading the Flexifil over the leather with a palette knife. The filler only sits in the cracked leather. After applying a layer, leave for 5-10 minutes to dry. Build the Flexifil up in thin layers until all cracks are filled to be level with the surface of the leather.
The leather should then sanded smooth using fine 1200 grit sand paper.
STEP 4. SPONGE ON THE FIRST LAYER OF COLOURANT
Once the leather has been properly cleaned and all repairs have been made, it is then time to apply the colourant.
The first coat is applied by sponge. This is done to work the colour into hard to reach areas and to also minimise later spray applications. As you can see by the photo, the colourant used is highly concentrated and so, changes the colour of the leather quickly.
This photo shows roughly what the leather should look like after one base coat of colour has been applied.
When applying the base coat do not rub too hard for too long. Instead, applying gentle pressure, wipe the colourant onto the leather with a sponge.
To speed up drying use a hair dryer and it should take no more than 5 minutes to be thoroughly dry.
STEP 5. SPRAY ON THE COLOURANT & FINISH
The next step is to spray the Leather Colourant onto the leather using the airbrush in the kit. To start with, spray the colour around the edges of the piping and in between the seat flutes.
This is covering the harder to reach areas first, which in the end, makes the job easier, and uses less colourant. Then proceed to spray the colourant on in thin coats over the seats until it looks nice and uniform. Always let the previous layer of colourant dry before spraying more on top.
After applying the colourant you should then seal it in with the finish.
The Leather Finish is the same finish that we removed at the start of the process. It’s applied by airbrush so it’s important to ensure your airbrush is cleaned thoroughly after spraying the Leather Colourant.
The kit contains both Gloss and Matt versions of the Leather Finish, which can be mixed together at different ratios to achieve the right level of sheen for your leather. Here is a quick guide to achieving different sheens:
Gloss: 100% Gloss
Semi-Gloss: 75% Gloss and 25% Matt
Satin: 50% Gloss and 50% Matt (this is often used on leather furniture)
Semi-matt: 25% Gloss and 75% Matt (this is what you’d normally find on a car interior)
Matt: 100% Matt
It’s important to thoroughly shake each bottle before opening.
Mix the finishes together to create the version that you’re after, using the guide above as a reference. Once mixed, test the finish on an inconspicuous are to make sure you’re happy with it. You can adjust it by adding more matt or gloss, as needed. If you’re unsure what finish you want, start with Satin and adjust as required from there
Once you’ve found a mixture you’re happy with, it’s time to add the Crosslinker Eco. This should be added at a ratio of roughly 1:8. For reference, add 15ml of Crosslinker to 125ml of Finish.
The finish is applied exactly the same way as the colourant. When you spray the Leather Finish onto the leather, make sure it is dry before spraying on a second coat. Like the Leather Colourant, you can use a hairdryer to speed up this process.
Once the job is complete, wait 1 day before using the leather.
This photo shows the two front seats from the car, after a total colour change. We changed them to a specially selected cream by our customer and applied satin finish.