Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to paint leather

I'm all for updating or repurposing stuff I already own to fit within a new space vs. buying something new. My dark, leather media boxes are case and point.

I decided that I needed to paint these leather Container Store media boxes in our entertainment center as a way to start lightening that side of the living room (the untouched side!). The rest of our living room is bright and airy and minty, and the entertainment center, TV and media boxes are all dark and drab...

Am I crazy deciding to painting leather? I thought so, but it turned out to be really simple!

How to Paint Leather Hero

I experimented a little and with guidance from this wonderful blog, I was able to successfully paint these leather boxes using just a few simple things that I had laying around the house.

What you need:
Paint (I used leftover wall paint)
Sandpaper or Foam Sander
Blue Painters Tape if you're getting fancy 

How to Paint Leather 1

You're all going to be surprised at how simple this is.

Step 1: Clean off your leather, then roughen it up with some sandpaper or a foam sander. Paint will soak in and stick better if the surface isn't so smooth.

How to paint leather 2

Step 2: Dillute your paint in water. I went with about a 50/50 mixture. It doesn't need to be an exact science, but you need the paint extra liquidy so it will soak into the leather.

Depending on your color choices, you'll need a couple of layers of the liquid paint, not allowing it to fully dry between coats.  I used three coats with my yellow, two with my gray.

How to paint leather 3

Step 3: After letting your liquid coats dry, apply undiluted paint. You'll likely need a couple of coats.

How to paint leather 4

Step 4 (optional): Depending on the design that you chose, feel free to tape over any painted areas for layers after it has dried for at least 24 hours. (Don't worry, the tape won't peel off any paint!)

How to paint leather 5

And they turned out great! Check out a couple of before & after shots.

Before and After Leather Box

Entertainment Center Before & After

So who's off to paint something leather?!

P.S. Congratulations to DJ for winning the wall decal from Dana Decals. 

And don't forget to enter my giveaway to win an eco-friendly candle from Fremont Candle Co.! Enter through this post.  

Fremont Candle Giveaway


  1. It's amazing how much that small changed brightened up that area of your room so much. I love this project!

  2. This is such a fun update!! Great job, and thanks for the tutorial. I would have never known you can do this!! Thanks for sharing it at Work it Wednesday this week:)

  3. This turned out great! Never underestimate the power of small changes.

  4. Oh, Goodness! That is amazing!! Thank you for sharing and thank you for the visit and sweet comment at The Dedicated House. It means the world! I would love it if you would share this post at my Make it Pretty party which is still live. Here is the link if you want to check it out. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  5. Very cool idea! Have you noticed any trouble with the paint cracking on the leather at all yet? Or does this work better when the leather is on a permanent form like a box?

    1. No paint cracking since it's a pretty sturdy box. If you're painting something not as sturdy, I'd recommend moving the leather around in between each of the diluted paint coats. That should help with preventing any cracking.

  6. I love this! Great idea painting leather. I added it to my 15 Modern Furniture Makeovers round up today!

  7. I love this! I have an ugly old pleather box and this would be perfect to update it! Thanks!

  8. I like your blog a lot. Its informative and full of information. Thank you for sharing.