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The Do’s And Don’ts of
Leather Painting


Credit: Rachel Levy

At first, leather doesn't seem like the most agreeable surface to paint on, but with the right preparation and care, painting leather can transform objects into beautiful works of art. There are some things we have to consider when painting leather, so here we’ll dive into what to do — and not to do — when starting your project.

Preparing your leather for painting

It’s unlikely that your leather surface will be immediately ready for painting. Going through the right preparation steps when beginning your project is essential in ending with high-quality results.


  • Ensure that the entire leather surface is clean.

  • Determine if there is a clear protective coating on the leather. If there is a protective layer, pour acetone or rubbing alcohol on a cloth, and rub the protective layer off of the leather surface. Most of the time, this step will be enough, but in case this doesn’t remove the protective layer, you can give it a light rub using fine sandpaper, which should do the trick.

  • Block off any areas you don’t want to paint on the surface with masking or painter's tape.


  • Start painting immediately without checking to see if you’re working with a protective coating or not.

  • Forget to block off any areas like plastic, wood, shoelaces, etc that you don’t want to paint.

Painting your leather surface

Now that you’ve done all the necessary steps in preparation for painting, it’s time to create the masterpiece you’ve been waiting for! We recommend using high-quality leather paint from Creative Nation so you can get the best results.

  • Paint in thin layers with paint formulated for leather.

  • Paint 2-4 coats of thin layers until you get the desired effect. Wait until each layer has dried before beginning the next layer.

  • As a shortcut, you can use a hairdryer on warm (not hot) or a heat gun to help the paint dry in seconds.

Whether you’re customizing a shoe, decorating a piece of leather furniture, or painting a leather wallet, these do’s and don’ts will help you on your way. The most important part of the process is to enjoy, explore, and have fun!

Creative Nation Leather Paint 12-Pack
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