Tulsa Leather Care is a re-dyeing, and repairing specialist...We have and offer MOBILE SERVICE in the NE Oklahoma area. We re-dye and repair  Leather and Vinyl Furniture, as well as Auto interiros...Hand bags....and Jackets...Feel free to call us (918-227-0326) or email us (TulsaLeatherCare@gmail.com) for information regarding your project.....We offer mobile service,  as well as MAIL IN service...918-227-0326...TulsaLeatherCare@gmail.com...Our mailing address is:...Tulsa Leather Care 1006 W. Taft #364,...... Sapulpa, OKlahoma...74066

Leather dyes, and "colorants".

Aniline dye: ~ Leather "Paint" ~ Leather preparation ~ Is one better than the other?

When re-coloring leather there are two kinds of products used.
These products are used by any one, and every one who changes the color of leather.

1. One is translucent and solvent based. It's called Aniline dye, and is a true dye because the pigments are dissolved in fluid. This product (aniline dye) is translucent, and is only used for "tinting" (or re-tenting) leather.

2. The other product used to "color" leather has the ability to make thing opaque, and by using this product you can in fact "cover up" stains, blemishes, and repairs that have been made to leather. The definition of any pigment that is SUSPENDED in fluid Vs. DESOLVED in fluid, is called "paint". 

Any time you see leather its a color other than a "natural" color, or a color that isn't translucent than the product used on that leather is technically, and "by definition" considered "paint".

Is one better than the other? Well, that's a personal choice. While aniline dye can help something look a bit more two dimensional, opaque colorants (paints) can be used to make things vibrant, AND two dimensional.

More about
Aniline dye:
Aniline dye is translucent, and can only be used to make things darker. It works a lot like food coloring.

If your making a color change to leather that is going to be darker, then you can use a translucent material that is solvent based.  This product is a true "dye". Understanding that the definition of "Dye" is a pigment that is dissolved in fluid. True dyes will only "tint" leather and are like working with lenses. When using "dye" the underneath color is always a consideration because it will influence the color that's being applied.

When "dyeing" an oxblood colored couch to the requested brown that the customers requested, you don't use brown, instead you use a green dye to go over the burgundy.

This is because aniline dyes are like lenses, and the existing color of "oxblood" would (and did) come through the green to combined with green make the couch turn dark brown.
This is because green and red make brown.

        Aniline dye properties:
Aniline dye is thin, and unless sealed after application with a clear "sealer" allows leather stains. Aniline dye also fades easily, and nothing can be done about that. Aniline dye is VERY subject to sun fading easily. It just isn't very color fast.

A benefit to aniline dyes is that aniline dyes have depth, and  can help to lend an almost two dimensional look to leather.


More about
Leather "paint":
When doing an "opaque" color change, the material that is used can be (is) defined as paint. This is because the definition of "Paint" is any pigment that is suspended in fluid, rather than dissolved in fluid. The use of leather colorants that can be defined as "paint" includes the colorant that's on your sport shoes, your car seats, and almost any other leather product.

When ever you see any leather that's colored white, blue, red, any color that's not a "natural" leather than the product that's been used to make it that color is by definition "paint".

With this understanding of the materials used and how they work, let me say that the products used by myself, (whether defined as Dyes, or Paints) were made specifically and only for the application onto leather, or vinyl. They have properties that allow great flexibility, as well as encourage adhesion to leather.

            Leather "paint" qualities:
While "technically this product may be referred to as "paint" (pigment suspended in fluid) let me assure you that it was made, and formulated only for the application onto leather. It's flexible, color fact, and looks and works great.

In fact there's a lot more "painted" leather in the world than there is "dyed" leather. Almost all car seats, sports shoes, leather jackets, and hand bags, as well as almost any motorcycle leather "anything".

This product can also be mixed with clear liquids and be made to be translucent as well. This gives the leather technician (us) the ability to do foux finishes that include layering, antiquing, generation all kinds of creative looks.

Leather preperation:
Prior to re-dying (or re-coloring) any leather the existing finish is wiped (almost washed) with a chemical to "etch, and strip" the existing leather finish. The products used are denatured alcohol, and/or acetone. We do this to every item that we change the color on.

If you were to have a hand bag (or any leather) where the color failed when using leather "paint", I'd be suspect that there may have been some kind of (maybe ?) chemical in the leather that has migrated to the surface of the leather over time, (and maybe with and as a result of heat?) and after the re-dying / re-coloring that has influenced the adhesion, or penetration of the ,material used to make the color change.

While this situation certainly isn't the norm (one out of maybe 200-300 or more?) the remedy is to simply clean the bag again (something that we do) and then re-strip the color off, let it dry, strip the leather again, and then re-dye / re-color the leather.

What kind of finish does my bag have? It is aniline dyed or does it have leather "paint" on it? :

The easiest way to tell what kind of product your bag has been "colored" with is to touch a wet finger to the leather. If the moisture is absorbed, than the leather is aniline dyed. If the moisture is repealed, then the likelihood is that your bags color is (in essence) paint.

Which colorant is better ? Is one better than other?
Is one better than the other. Not really, but they each have their own properties. its really a personal choice, and a lot depends on what the leather goods are, and how they are going to be used.

What about the sheen of the leather finish:
The sheen (flat, satin semi, or gloss) can be what ever you want it to be. We are the ones that "make" the sheen that you'd like to have.