Dying a leather bag - need advice!

  1. I enjoy picking up vintage bags at garage sales and thrift stores and trying to rehab them. A couple of weeks ago I bought a vintage black leather Coach City bag at the thrift store for $10. It was scuffed, dirty and smelled like mildew but it was intact with no major marks or damage.

    I have hand-washed vintage Coach bags in the past and they have always come out well. This bag looked beautiful after I washed it and I was getting really excited about it - but then the mildew came back with a vengance! I had to re-wash it and eventually I had to use bleach to kill the mildew. The bag is now sweet-smelling and clean but it really looks terrible. The bleach striped off much of the deep, rich, black color and it is now an ugly, rough, dirty grayish color.

    It was only $10 so I can just toss it and chalk it up to experience but I kind of hate to give up on this little bag that has been through so much. I was thinking of dyeing it. I bought a bottle of black Rit liquid dye and also a bottle of paint-on liquid shoe dye. I can also ask the cobbler for an estimate to professionally dye it and go that route if it isn't too expensive. Has anyone done that?

    What are the opinions of the rehabbers on this forum? Has anyone every tried to dye an entire purse? (Not just cover a flaw but dye the bag?) What process did you use to dye the bag? The RIT bottle talks about adding salt to warm water for dying clothes - should I use that process for a leather purse?

    Or is it hopeless and should I just toss it? Thanks in advance for your advice!
  2. I don't know about using Ritz dye for leather and I don't know much about Coach bags.

    If you go to your cobbler, they tend to have leather dyes you can buy off the shelf and DIY.

    I recently bought some black leather dye from my cobbler to touch up a bag and shoes.

    I have had my cobbler dye a few bags to change color or just because the whole bag needed an overall same color dye job - all with excellent results. But I have never tried to do it myself. Price would depend on complexity of bag ( amount of hardware, etc). Good luck.
  3. Thanks! After reading about the issues my enthusiam for doing the dye job myself is waning. I am leaning toward asking the cobbler for an estimate for the job.
  4. if you actually go through with it post pics so we can see it!
  5. Do it yourself jobs tend to streak badly if you are new to leather craft work. Black used to be hard to work with unless products have vastly improved over the years. Brown is a much easier color to apply evenly. If most of the black has been removed, a coat of brown should go on nicely.
    D.I.Y. can be fun so don't be discouraged. You can always re-dye if you don't like the outcome.
  6. Do a forum search for Tarrago, Fiebing or Meltonian cream. There have been lots of dye/restoration jobs posted! I don't know about using RIT on leather...isn't that only for fabrics?
  7. I thought I'd try to dye my leather bag darker to hide the permanent stains and here are my results...

    keep in mind that I'm not on this forum because I have a weakness for designer bags, so this bag is not couture ;), but i really like it nonetheless (won it from eBay); its a Sabina New York bag, which was originally somewhere just below $300 i think.

    I stripped it with Feibings DeGlazer, then I used Feibings Professional Oil based dye, then 2 coats of Mink Oil (which darkened it and evened the color very well), then I sealed it with 2 LIGHT coats of Feibings Acrylic Resolene. I buffed this bag until no color has rubbed off and she's ready to go.

    **** I let the bag dry for a day after every application, of each product ***

    tell me what you ladies think::thinking:
    Before_SabinaNewYork.jpg After.jpg
  8. I think it looks really good. I've been tempted to play with dye but hadn't gotten aroudn to it. what do you use to apply the dye?
  9. I almost dyed a bag recently but didn't. Here's my story:

    I bought a 'badly-faded' but brand new Luella Baby Gisele bag in turquoise, at an incredibly low price. When the bag arrived a few days ago I could see it was indeed faded from sun damage in the store. However not as badly as I had been led to believe. Anyway, I contacted a leather restorer in Dublin, who said they could restore the bag to perfect condition. Before sending the bag off however, I checked out leather info on the Internet. Turned out the secret was applying extra-virgin olive oil to the bag! Although there is still a discoloured band on the front of the bag, it's not that noticeable and I'm inclined to leave it.

    Back to your bag, however. Olive oil treatment may not work due to the bleach. But I'd advise you to check out how well any restorer could treat the bag. It's possible the texture of the leather may be changed. Then again, it may still look better than it is now, from what you say. The company I was going to use is a leather care franchise called Color Glo. I believe it operates worldwide. But it may be expensive, or more than you want to pay. I was quoted about 100 euros. Whatever you do, I hope you end up with a lovely bag!
  10. Good job! Well done! :tup:
  11. You really did a very good job. How you avoid coloring those hardware?
  12. I had a cobbler dye a sad bag of mine, and it came out super. He dyed it black.

    The only downside was it's still got a strong dye smell and after use, my fingernails are often black underneath from the dye getting under them.

    I put it in storage for the past month, maybe it'll be cured by now?
  13. I wouldn't be inclined to go to a cobbler with any sort of expensive bag, but that's just me. I'd bring it to a recommended leather restorer or leave it alone.
  14. looks great. i did almost exactly the same thing with a minkoff bag, minus the Mink Oil (but everything else exactly the same). the only thing i'm afraid of is getting water on it, being that the resolene isn't waterproof and some websites i read said that the professional oil can rub off. any experience with this?
  15. I think that if you rummage around in the Tano subforum, you'll find some threads there about some absolutely great dye jobs. They may be about a year old, if I can remember correctly.