Do-It-Yourself Leather Repair: Instructions & Videos
Minor nicks on genuine leather (not synthetics) can be easily repaired with sandpaper and super glue! This leather furniture repair method is exceptional for cat scratch damage as well as cracking on steering wheels or gear shifts. We recommend the flexible filler method for more severe damage requiring flexibility or to repair any synthetic.
Larger holes and tears should be repaired using a flexible repair compound similar to that used for vinyl repair. Click here to learn more. Be sure to check out our Get Started page to determine what method is best for your project!
Damage on any synthetic or holes and larger areas of damage on genuine leather should be repaired with a flexible heat-curing compound. Be sure to check out our Get Started page to determine what method is best for your project!
We recommend FC-1 Soft Filler, which is water-based, non-toxic, easy to apply, cures with low heat (incandescent bulb or sunshine), and is also sandable. Rub 'n Restore® products adhere well to this compound.
Zoom ahead to minute 3:50 to see the FC1 Soft Filler demonstration and skip the subpatch process which is only required for holes and tears. Minute 7:40 shows the texturizing process.
If your leather is peeling or flaking, it could be caused by one of two things:
1) Your leather is actually a cheap composite called bonded leather or polyurethane/PU leather that is suffering "hydrolysis-related failure".
Repairs are likely to suffer the same fate and are not recommended. More info and our affordable solution in this article, Bonded Leather Blues.
2) If the original grain of the leather or vinyl remains, and it doesn't absorb water like a fabric, then your material has an after-market coating (likely an elastomeric or solvent-based spray paint) which can be removed.
Gently sand with 220 or 320 grit wet-or-dry sandpaper until the surface feels smooth. You can also work with an old Scotch Brite pad and a multipurpose cleaner. Solvents like denatured alcohol or paint thinner can also be used, but beware! Solvents may etch the paint, turning it into a gooey mess without completely removing it, so test the solvent first in an inconspicuous area and see how well it works. If the solvents are effective but you want something more aggressive, you can also try make your own deglazer by adding 1.5 tsp lemon juice to 8 oz. rubbing alcohol.
Once you can no longer feel the difference between the original surface and the coated areas, you can restore the appearance with Rub 'n Restore®. While our colors are technically paints, their thin, water-based acrylic formula behaves more like a stain and is more harmonious with the material than other conventional coatings. Color changes will require occasional touch-up on high-wear areas, but Rub 'n Restore® will never peel or flake.