Leather is considered to be one of the most beautiful materials in the world, with it being used to make clothes, bags and furniture. And while leather is known for its rustic and timeless appearance, this does not mean that the material doesn’t come with its setbacks.
Whether that be wrinkling or damage, leather is prone to wear and can even lose its color over time. So if you want to know how you can darken your leather, then you have come to the right place.
These days, there are countless methods that can be used to darken leather, with each one using different products that can be found in your home. So to help you, we have compiled a selection of these methods in the following article, where we have also outlined the various supplies you will need to get the job done.
While darkening leather can be a complicated process, these methods promise to make the exercise much easier, helping you to complete the task without issue or error.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at how you can darken leather from the comfort of your home…
How To Prepare Leather
Before we can teach you how to darken your leather, you must first understand how to prepare the material for the process. This practice should always be implemented before darkening the leather, especially if you intend to use one of the methods that we have decided to showcase.
What You Will Need:
- Bristle brush
- Vacuum cleaner
- Mild kitchen soap
- Leather cleaner
- Microfiber cloths (x2)
1. To begin the preparation process, you will need to remove any dust or dirt that has collected on the material, which can be done using a vacuum cleaner or bristle brush.
Removing the dust is a very important step in the cleaning process, as it will reduce the amount of debris that could scratch the leather or get trapped in its pores.
When you have successfully removed any dirt or dust from the leather, you can move on to the next step.
2. For the next step, you will need to clean the leather using a piece of cloth, mild kitchen soap and warm water.
All you have to do is dampen the cloth with water and then add two drops of the kitchen soap to the rag.
Once you have done this, you can agitate the cloth to form suds before wringing out any excess moisture. This should result in a cleaning rag that is completely damp but not wet.
3. When the cloth is ready, use it to wipe down the leather using slow circular motions, while making sure to cover the entire surface.
If the leather is particularly dirty, you can add some more kitchen soap to the cloth until the material is clean.
After you have finished, rinse out the rag and use it to remove any soap residue from the leather. Better yet, get a clean cloth and use that to give the material a final wipe down.
4. For the final step, you will need to leave the leather to air-dry, which means it should not be left in direct sunlight.
If the leather gets too hot it can dry out and crack, which is something you don’t want before the darkening process.
Once the leather is dry, you can begin darkening the material using one of the following methods.
How To Darken Leather (With Oil)
One of the most common ways to darken leather is by using leather oil, which has been specially formulated to condition, protect and darken the material.
These days, there are several leather oils available, with the most common including mink oil, neatsfoot oil and coconut oil.
While each of these oils can be easily purchased from your local hardware store, which one you decide to use comes down to your own preference.
Personally, we believe that neatsfoot oil is one of the best, as it produces a particularly attractive finish.
What You Will Need:
- Microfibre cloths (x2)
- Leather oil (mink oil, neatsfoot oil, coconut oil)
1. Take a teaspoon of your chosen oil and pour it onto a clean microfibre cloth. You will only need to use a small amount of oil on each section of the leather.
If you use too much oil, you could run the risk of over-saturating the material, which could lead to other problems.
2. Start rubbing the oil over the surface of the leather, while making sure to apply a thin and uniform layer.
For the best results, we recommend rubbing the oil into small sections of the leather, while using a slow back-to-forth motion.
If you happen to run out of leather oil, then you can add a few more drops until the material has been evenly coated.
3. Once the first coat of oil has been applied, you will need to leave the leather to dry for around 10 – 12 hours.
When you come back to the material, the leather should be 2 – 3 times darker than its original color.
However, if you are still unsatisfied with the new shade, then you can apply more coats of oil until the leather has reached your desired darkness.
How To Darken Leather (With Coffee)
If you want to darken your leather using a natural and chemical-free approach, then you can do this using coffee. While coffee may not darken your leather to the same degree as oil, it can work to make the material a shade or two darker.
However, it is important to note that both cheap and expensive coffees will produce the same results. So there is no need to waste your money on a gourmet blend, as even instant coffee is enough to make the method work.
What You Will Need
- Brewed coffee – regular or instant
- Distilled water
- Microfibre cloth
- Leather conditioner
1. To begin this method, you will need to brew a strong coffee.
This can be done by placing the coffee over medium-high heat and allowing it to boil for around 2 minutes while making sure to stir the mixture until the coffee grounds have dissolved.
For the best results, we recommend that you simmer the coffee, as this will produce a much stronger concentration.
2. When the coffee is ready, remove the pot from the stove and allow it to cool for around 5 – 10 minutes.
This is important because you don’t want to use hot coffee when darkening your leather.
3. Once the coffee has cooled, you can start applying it to the surface of the leather using the sponge.
During this process, you will only need to apply a single coat at a time, while also giving the material some room to air dry.
Because of this, you can apply as many layers as you want until you have achieved your desired shade.
When the leather has been completely coated, you can let it rest for 12 – 24 hours, which should leave the material darker than it originally was.
To complete the process, wipe down the leather using water and a clean cloth, as this will remove any excess coffee trapped in the pores.
Finally, leave the leather to air dry and it should be ready.
For a final touch up, we recommend conditioning your leather with a good quality leather conditioner, which will restore the natural oils lost during the cleaning process.
And there we have it, that is how you darken leather. We hope that you found this article helpful and that you will refer to it the next time you want to darken a leather jacket or satchel.