Can You Spray Paint Leather Car Seats – Being On A Budget

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Leather car seats are the most durable in terms of appearance and sturdiness. The only downside is that regular wear and tear can make it look faded and old. Fortunately, you can spray paint on your leather car seats to refresh their aesthetics. You can even change its color entirely to match your mood without overspending your budget.

Yes, you can spray paint leather car seats. You must start by cleaning the surface and wiping away any oils with an alcohol cleaner. Prep the surface by filling in cracks and creating a smooth base. Apply a primer, ensuring all the seat seams are adequately covered, and finish with a color coat.

Painting your car seat should be easy if you have the right leather spray paint and a set of tools. But you must make sure that the surface is thoroughly prepped before you start painting, or else the results might be disappointing.

Which paint can you use on leather car seats?

To achieve the best results, it’s important to use paint that’s designed especially for flexible surfaces like leather car seats. Choosing the correct paint variant ensures that the color doesn’t slide off, crack, or peel once it has dried. It also helps make sure that the final result is durable and lasting.

You can either buy a leather coloring kit from your local auto retail store or invest in spray paint like the Rust-Oleum Automotive Enamel Fabric & Vinyl Spray formulated for leather car seats.

What will you find in a leather coloring kit?

If you opt for a leather coloring kit, you will get leather prep, a palette knife, an abrasive pad, finishing sprays, a spray unit, gloves, and sponge applicators. These kits are available in multiple colors, so check them beforehand to confirm it has the color you want.

Which spray paint is ideal for leather seats?

You can choose from several quality spray paint brands in the market, like SEM, ColorBond, and Rust-Oleum.

I personally think the ColorBond Leather, Vinyl & Hard Plastic Refinisher Spray Paint is a good option for leather car seats as it seals the color into the surface. Moreover, it doesn’t crack, peel, or flake, making it a complete package.

If you plan on using a spray gun or an airbrush for paint application, you can even go for Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint. The best thing about Angelus paints is the wide variety of colors you can find to work with.

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In case you decide to buy an individual spray paint, you will need a primer like the SEM Clear Plastic Prep Aerosol to create a clean and smooth base to work on.

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Once you have created a solid foundation for spray paint, you can choose between different brands and colors to find the one that meets your needs.

How to paint your car seat with a leather coloring kit?

Here is a step-by-step guide on ‘how to paint leather car seats’ with a leather coloring kit.

Make sure to buy a kit that is nonflammable and non-toxic. Also, ensure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area, as leather paints contain fumes that are hazardous to health.

Step 1- Remove the Car Seats

Remove your car seats and set them up in a well-ventilated area. Before you start, disconnect your car’s battery and any electrical wires attached to it.

If you’re unsure about taking out your front and back seats, refer to the car’s manual for instructions. Take off any plastic components attached to the seats or cover them with masking tape.

Step 2- Clean the Leather

Before you start the prepping process, you should clean away any dust or debris on the seats. Brush each portion of the seat with a soft-bristled brush to remove food crumbs, dirt, or dust.

Next, vacuum your seats with a hose attachment to clean them thoroughly.

Step 3- Prepare the Leather

Use the abrasive pad provided in the kit to remove the transparent manufactured finish from the leather. As you scrub the top layer, some color will also come off, which is how it works.

When you see the old color removed from an area, take it as a sign that you have successfully cleared the transparent finish, and you should move on to the next spot.

As your top layer disappears, so does the shine, which is an indicator that your leather is prepped correctly.

The reason your leather seats look old most of the time is because of the cracks that develop on their surface. It is actually the paint that cracks and not the leather itself. So, when the painted layer is taken off, most of the cracks are removed in the process.

Step 4- Wipe with Alcohol Cleaner

Use an Alcohol Cleaner to wipe away any waxes, oils, or silicones that may be on the leather. This helps prepare a base for good paint adhesion.

Step 5- Fill in the Cracks

At this stage, inspect your leather seats closely and identify any small cracks on the surface. Fill in the gaps with a palette knife and Flexifil. You should apply the filler in thin layers, allowing 5- 10 minutes for each coat to dry.

Keep filling the cracks until they align with the leather’s surface.

 Step 5- Sand the Surface

Take 1200-grit sandpaper to the leather and make the surface smooth for paint application. Remove the sanding debris with a clean cloth.

Step 6- Sponge on the First Layer Of Color

Apply the first layer of your car leather seat paint with a sponge. This will help you cover hard-to-reach areas and also reduce later spray applications.

Don’t apply too much pressure, and gently wipe the colorant onto the leather using a sponge. Allow the first coat to dry for 5 minutes before moving to the next step.

Step 7- Spray On The Colorant

Use the kit’s airbrush to spray the Leather Colorant onto the seats. Start from around the edges of the piping towards the center, covering the hard-to-reach areas first.

Spray on the colorant in thin layers and allow the previous coat to dry before spraying more on top.

Apply the Leather Finish at the end to seal in the color. Once your paint job is complete, wait for a day before installing and using your leather seats.

How to Paint Leather Car Seat with Spray Paint?

While it’s easier to paint with a leather kit, there’s no reason why you can’t work just as well with individual spray paint. Here is an easy guide to help you achieve even paint coverage on your leather car seats.

Step 1- Remove the car seat

Removing the car seat ensures that you don’t miss any narrow spots and also protects your car’s interior from accidental splashes. You can check your car’s manual for instructions on unscrewing the seats.

Step 2- Clean the Seats

Clean the car seats with a stiff brush, making sure all the dust and food particles are adequately removed. You can even attach a thin nozzle to your vacuum cleaner to reach between the seams and other narrow areas.

Step 3- Wipe with Alcohol Cleaner

Clean any oils, waxes, or grime from the leather seats using an alcohol cleaner.

Step 4- Fill in the Cracks

Fill in any cracks on the leather using Flexifil and a palette knife. Prepping is key to achieving an even and lasting finish, so take your time and follow the process.

Step 5- Sand the Surface

Use sandpaper to slough away the top coat of the leather. Only apply a little pressure, or you may end up damaging the surface. Wipe the seats clean once you are done sanding with a clean microfiber cloth.

Step 6- Apply Primer

Spray on the leather primer in thin, even, and overlapping coats. Make sure to give each coat ample time to dry before moving on to the next one. You may need more coats of primer (5-6x) if the old color is dark or bright. Keep spraying layers until you have achieved a solid base to work on.

The primer enhances the adhesive effect and makes it easier for color to stick to the surface. It also prevents the leather from absorbing the pigment color, which can eventually make it hard and plastic-like.

Step 7- Start spraying the Color

Start with a thin coat of paint and slowly build the pigment with additional layers. Pay attention to the seams and other areas that might get ignored during the painting process. Wait 15-20 minutes between each coat, allowing it enough time to dry.

You may need to apply 3 to 5 layers of paint to achieve an even and pigmented coverage.


Does spray paint stick to leather?

Spray paints designed for flexible surfaces adhere properly to leather and vinyl. You can amplify the results by prepping and priming your leather surfaces adequately.

Which spray paint is best for leather seats?

The best leather paint for car seats is acrylic paint. It is water-based and can adhere to leather without cracking over time. As they respond well to changes in temperature, acrylic paints are perfect for use on your car’s interior.

Is it better to dye or paint leather?

Dyes are usually less pigmented than spray paints; therefore, they can’t be used to lighten the color of dark leather. On the other hand, spray paints are more pigmented and versatile and can be used to change the color of leather from dark to light and vice versa.

Can I lighten the color of my leather seats?

You can easily lighten the color of your seats by using a leather primer and full-coverage leather spray paint. Just make sure to apply adequate coats to achieve a good result.

Final Word

Changing the color of your leather seats is a quick way to refresh your car’s interior and breathe new life into it. The right spray paint and technique can give you excellent results and a durable finish.

If you are interested in spray painting your car’s exterior, check out our blog on how to spray paint your car, and you can go through all the steps in detail. Let us know what you think.

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