Dye & Recolor
The Most Versatile Leather & Vinyl Dye You Will Ever Use
2. Apply a thin coat of dye.
3. Allow to dry.
Each order comes with a detailed instructional brochure. It can be viewed or downloaded here.
Popular topics and techniques are discussed below.
If you have other questions, please read our FAQs.
Please click here to learn how to repair your own.
If you have applied many layers of dye and are not getting sufficient coverage, and you're dyeing a red or dark color to a light/white, or you're working with a synthetic (i.e. bonded leather or vinyl), apply a coat of Clear Prep+Finish™ between every 3-4 layers of dye. You can apply the Clear as soon as the color is dry. Make sure your sponge has the optimum moisture level, not too wet or too dry. A layer of Clear Prep+Finish™ will seal the dye and add strength. Subsequent layers of color will get better coverage with less coats.
Start with small amounts in case you don't like the result. Take notes, so you can replicate the formula. Mix in a glass bowl. Test your color in an inconspicuous spot and allow to dry. Experiment until you get the desired color. Re-bottle the color and wash your glass bowl immediately.
If you wish to preserve the multi-toned appearance of the material or if you're working with aniline, we recommend mixing a glaze by diluting Rub 'n Restore™ Color with Clear Prep+Finish™. A glaze is more transparent, and will allow you to deposit color without completely obscuring the "distressed" look. You can mix the glaze directly on your sponge, i.e. one squirt of color plus one squirt of Clear Prep+Finish™. More Clear will be more transparent; more Color will get better coverage and be more monotone. Experiment, and make a note of your ratio and method, so you can replicate the results in the future.
A glaze is also great for blending areas that have been dyed with those that have not. It is also recommended as a topcoat if you want a satin finish, as the Colors alone are matte, and the Clear Prep+Finish™ used as a topcoat is quite shiny.
This video demonstrates working with a glaze and a spray gun, but using a sponge to dab or pat the dye works very well for re-creating the multi-toned appearance.
You can also recreate the "distressed" look by rag-rolling or sponge-patting (rather than spreading) the dyed surface with undiluted Color. You can also use water, which will have an erasing effect. Be creative!
For faster application or if you're doing a dramatic color change from dark to light, we recommend using some form of spray application. Many customers report great success with Preval sprayers, which are both inexpensive and easy to use, even for a novice. If you've got a compressor and some confidence, you can use a siphon detail gun or gravity spray gun to apply Rub 'n Restore™.
Thoroughly stir and filter the color to remove any lumps. Spray approximately 6”-8” from the surface, moving in smooth, swift strokes. Avoid puddling in any area, which can create a “fish eye” effect. If you do, spread it around with a sponge, allow to dry, and then re-spray. Allow each coat to dry before applying another. You can immediately follow with the Clear Prep+Finish™. Rub 'n Restore™ products are water-based. Clean your gun with soap and water.
Gently polish the brass nails with super-fine “0000” steel wool before applying Rub 'n Restore™. Use a brush, rag, or sponge to apply the dye, working around the brass nails as best you can. When you have completed the restoration, and the surface is dry, use the steel wool to polish the nails once again. The steel wool should remove the dye from the metal without damaging the newly restored leather/vinyl. Super-fine “0000” steel wool is available at woodworking or hobby stores if your local hardware doesn't have it.
While the manufacturers of our raw materials only guarantee a shelf-life of two years, we have, on numerous occasions in the past 30 years, reconstituted Rub 'n Restore™ Colors and Clear Prep+Finish™ that were more than four years-old. The key is to store the product in a cool, dark place. Reapplying the pressure seal will further extend the shelf-life.
Thoroughly stir all Rub 'n Restore™ Colors before reuse (Clear Prep+Finish™ does not require stirring). We also recommend filtering both the Clear Prep+Finish™ and Colors through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove any lumps that may have coagulated.