Back in black: my journey dyeing a Bal

schadenfreude

really
O.G.
Nov 13, 2007
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TPF has been such an invaluable resource during my various bag repair/rejuvenation experiences, so I wanted to pay it forward with my own story.

I've been lusting after a black RH mini Pom for a while now, but it's been impossible to find one. A downtrodden mini in some questionable color popped up on the Bay for a song, so I figured what the hell. The seller's idea of packaging was to wrap it in bubble wrap, put it inside a heavy coated paper shopping bag, tape it shut, and send it on its way. I mean.... really. But anyway, it was in decent shape and didn't smell horrible. It was faded and stained, but the leather is decent, moderately thick and definitely nicely slouchy.

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schadenfreude

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Nov 13, 2007
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I got the necessary products: deglazer (to remove the finish/coating), oil based dye (it penetrates, so shouldn't have as much transfer), Edge-Kote, and a sealer/top coat. I got these from my local Tandy Leather store, even though the employee was a total *** who refused to help me at all. (They do not recommend dyeing previously dyed items.)

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schadenfreude

really
O.G.
Nov 13, 2007
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Next I put down a big junk towel and disassembled the bag: took all the tassels off, the drawstring out, strap pieces apart, etc. Once Little Miss Center of Attention got a whiff of the activity, she had to plop herself right in the middle of it the second I left the room.

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schadenfreude

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Nov 13, 2007
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I started with the deglazer. I think it is probably just denatured alcohol. It smells to high hell and evaporates very very quickly. I poured some onto a rough junk rag, and scrubbed the leather surface. I started with the back of the mirror, in case things went awry. As you can see a lot of the original color came off, along with the shiny finish. The harder I scrubbed, the more the color came off.

I should note that I wore disposable latex gloves throughout this entire process.

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schadenfreude

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Nov 13, 2007
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Next I moved to the bag itself. I rubbed all the blue gray surfaces with the deglazer. The leather did not become crunchy or very dry. The slouch factor did not seem affected.

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schadenfreude

really
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Nov 13, 2007
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I let it dry out overnight after this. Then I applied the first layer of dye using one of those wool daubers. I used q-tips to get the dye into smaller crevices. I didn't bother to mask the hardware.

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schadenfreude

really
O.G.
Nov 13, 2007
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I gave it another coat yesterday morning - this picture sort of sucks. This is after the 2nd cost had dried.

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Sssy

Member
Jan 1, 2013
4,064
10
London
What a great job :smile: How the leather feel after second coat? Still soft? Will you put any more or just sealant? It looks like your lovely cat has a good taste in bags :graucho: I think she is just checking quality of Balenciaga leather ;)
 

schadenfreude

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Nov 13, 2007
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After coat #2, I took it outside to evaluate in the sunlight. Still patchy! I gave it another coat of dye after this.

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schadenfreude

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Nov 13, 2007
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After the 3rd coat, I used acetone to clean up the hardware. I started with Q-tips but that was messy, I switched to stiff flat small paintbrushes -- that was way better. The acetone sort of ran onto the leather with the Q-tips, so I used the same paintbrush to touch up the dye. You can tell the difference between the left and right sides here. The stuff came off the hardware fairly easily.

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schadenfreude

really
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Nov 13, 2007
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I read online that you need to wipe or brush the dried leather to get any remaining dye particles off before you seal it, as that is what causes transfer. I scrubbed it with a rough dry rag and woah! Super transfer, all over the rag and my hands.

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schadenfreude

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O.G.
Nov 13, 2007
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So I put on a few coats of Tan Kote with a damp sponge. All seemed to be going well until I checked on it later. It looked plasticy and was so stiff!!! So I removed as much of the Tan Kote as possible with what Deglazer I had left, and then violently scrubbed it with a stiff brush. Sooooo much pigment came off on my hands and brush, but the leather's color didn't appear to fade at all, so that's good. Also reassuring is that the leather got all nice and soft again.

After the coats of Tan Kote:
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Mama's little helper:
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After deglazing and scrubbing:
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After deglazing and scrubbing, I put a little water on a Kleenex and rubbed lightly. Eeeep!!
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Now, I'm out of deglazer and not sure what to do next, so I'll take it to the Tandy Leather store tomorrow after work and see if someone there would like to be helpful. In the meantime, I gave a couple of my less used Bals a nice coat of leather honey. Of course, that seemed like the perfect place to hang.

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riiche

Member
Jan 11, 2014
132
17
Singapore
Hey love, would you be open to finishing your Bal with Tarrago dye? From what I read Fiebings is good for the first layer (penetrative) then the Tarrago is good to seal the colour (will rid the bag of the patches as well, and give a polished finish). One of my Bals was professionally redyed in Tarrago and looks quite beautiful after - stiff and shiny but it wears off with use, like an all new Bal.

Your kitty is so cute by the way :biggrin: what a sweetheart.
 
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schadenfreude

really
O.G.
Nov 13, 2007
3,637
95
44
Hey love, would you be open to finishing your Bal with Tarrago dye? From what I read Fiebings is good for the first layer (penetrative) then the Tarrago is good to seal the colour (will rid the bag of the patches as well, and give a polished finish). One of my Bals was professionally redyed in Tarrago and looks quite beautiful after - stiff and shiny but it wears off with use, like an all new Bal.



Your kitty is so cute by the way :biggrin: what a sweetheart.

I will look up the Tarrago again. I think I was skeptical of it because of all the horror stories about it peeling off.