HOW TO RESTORE LEATHER JACKETS?
Leather jacket color restoration technique
Most leather jackets are made of lambskin; very soft and supple leather that could also be said to be “porous”. There is no protective coating to prevent the dye and restoration ingredients from penetrating deep into the leather. This is why the restoration method below works so well for the vast majority of leather jackets! Also, dark colors are easier to restore. In other words, the color restoration of black lambskin jackets is the most common restoration project and they are the easiest to restore! However, this method has also been used successfully to restore various other leather articles such as leather bags, gloves and furniture, in a wide range of colors and types of leather.
Before you begin
What you’ll need:
|Color restoration basic kit||COSTA BRAVA leather dye|
(not included in base kit)
- Read this article from top to bottom, including notes and watch the video tutorial.
- Look for any dirt spots that would prevent the dye from penetrating leather.
If present, see Additional information 1.
- Inspect the leather for signs of “sun burn” e.g. shiny washed out color. (Additional information 5.)
- For a black jacket, you simply use COSTA BRAVA black dye. But if you need to make your own custom dye color, COSTA BRAVA is available in many colors including all primary colors, white, black and clear. Mixing these, you can make any color! See color swatch here.
- Set up where you can freely move the jacket without spilling the dye.
- If needed, use tape to cover the buttons and other areas.
The restoration method
Let’s get down to business! This method has two parts (A) first you restore the leather then (B) you protect it.
- Put 5 ml of Lanolin (liquid Grasso) in a bowl.
- Shake your COSTA BRAVA dye bottle thoroughly and mix about 30 ml of COSTA BRAVA dye with the oil. Add about 30 ml of TENDERLY. Shake URAD jar thoroughly then add 30 ml of URAD. Mix well.
- Test 1st coat on an inconspicuous area first. (See Additional information 5.)
- Evaluate if any conditional steps apply or if adjustments need to be made to the recipe. (See Additional information 2.)
- Apply 1st coat, one patch of leather at a time. (See Additional information 3.)
- Apply a second coat if needed.
- Hang to dry for a few hours. The restoration should now be complete. If not, and this is rare, it may be necessary to apply yet another coating. Otherwise, move on to the protection step.
- Protective Coat
- Apply SAHARA: Preferably outdoor or in a well-ventilated area and preferably wearing a mask, spray a thin layer of Sahara on the jacket. Hang to dry for 8 hours without moving the jacket. For longer lasting result, repeat this step once.
- If leather is dirty, clean it using AQUILA leather cleaner (not included in kit). Spray Aquila and gently wipe. Let dry for 15 to 20 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
If it is a light color jacket and there are spots with no color left at all, use COSTA BRAVA on these spots first, then clean with Aquila otherwise these spots may darken.
- Recipe adjustment examples (for step A.4): The leather looks too dull: Add 30 to 50 ml of URAD to add more shine or use less Grasso oil. It feels stiff: Add 30 to 50 ml of TENDERLY.
- As you apply the restoration mix, you may come across very discolored areas. On black leather jackets for example, the color damaged spots will be visible as grayish to almost white areas. To fully restore color to these very damaged spots, you may need to apply pure COSTA BRAVA dye first, and without letting the dye dry, go over that same spot again with the restoration mixture (As shown in the video tutorial).
- Repairs, such as patching up a tear, can be done before restoration. However, the changing of the lining is best done after restoration.
- If in your test (in step A.3) the dye does not seem to penetrate the leather, you can suspect “Burned leather”. Sun, body grease, silicon and hair spray (among other things) can “burn” leather preventing the dye from properly penetrating. In that case, adding CAMOSCIO PRO (Liquid version of CAMOSCIO, not included in the restoration kit) to the dye mixture may work. It’s worth a shot because if that does not work, we know of nothing else that does.
- This method is not for changing the color of your leather. It is a color restoration process.
- This restoration process is not the regular maintenance of leather jackets. Read How to care for leather jacket article.
- Don’t worry if your dye color is not an exact perfect match. The color pigments will blend-in by penetrating the leather so it will not be noticeably different if it is only slightly off.
- Don’t forget to buy the COSTA BRAVA dye as it is not included in the Color Restoration kit.
- Quantities given here are for a short jacket. However, these will vary widely from one jacket to the other, depending on the type of leather and how much product it absorbs. 50 to 100 ml of the final Costa-Brava dye color is enough for one jacket.
- Test on a less visible part of the article at every step of the way.
- Six to twelve months after the restoration is completed, you can use URAD and TENDERLY as regular conditioning and maintenance, as described in the article How to care for leather jackets?
Leather is a very noble material and has incredible longevity, provided it is well cared for! Using this method, you can give a new life to your leather. It could be old and otherwise lost, it could be just slightly discolored, it could be worth thousands of dollars or have sentimental value... Either way, using these simple steps and with only minimum effort, in most cases, you will end up with your leather looking new again!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
All our products have been subjected to exhaustive testing. However, since every leather is unique, both in terms of the raw materials, products employed and tanning methods used in its preparation, we recommend that a test be made on a less visible part of the article prior to the application of any leather care product.
How much does it cost to restore a leather jacket?
You can buy only the 140 ml URAD-TENDERLY bundle and a small Costa-Brava dye and restore even a large full length jacket for under 40$. Urad-Tenderly is the regular maintenance of your leather jacket, so any leftovers from the bundle will be used for the annual cleaning, protecting, and conditioning step (see How to care for leather jackets.) So in fact, you are really paying about 30$ for the regular care, and only about 10$ for the restoration.
For just a bit more, but still under 60$, you can replace the Urad-Tenderly bundle with the Small leather's color restoration kit with one big advantage being that it includes the Sahara protector. The small kit will easily cover one large full-length jacket. But while the total cost will be about 55 dollars, the amount that should be considered for restoration is still really only the amount for the dye.
In short, it cost about 30$ for the products to condition and protect your jacket, and the dye to restore the color can cost as low as 10$ (can be more if you need to make your own custom color for example, or if more dye is needed.)
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Read the latest version of this article as well as the added "Frequently Asked Questions about How to restore color to a leather jacket?"