Can You Spray Paint Leather – Top 3 DIY Leather Spray Paints

can you spray paint leather

As a busy mom of two young girls, my life is always on the go. Between school drop-offs, playdates, and sports practices, I rarely have a spare moment. However, despite my hectic schedule, my profound love for all things creative keeps me even more occupied in transforming old items around my home. 

And one way I like to update things in little to no time is through spray painting! Because of their versatility and minimum time needed, I am hooked to spray painting fabrics, old vases, picture frames, and lamps to give them a fresh look without spending hefty amounts on buying new items. Read my article on spray painting denim if you want to up your jeans game.

Once, I stumbled upon an old purse, and that’s when I thought if I could spray paint leather. After a bit of research and trial and error, I discovered that not only is it possible to spray paint leather, but it’s also a fun and creative way to update worn-out leather items.

You can spray paint leather with the right tools and techniques. Spray painting leather is an inexpensive and easy way to revamp old leather items, such as shoes, jackets, or furniture. However, using spray paint for leather is important, as regular spray paint may crack or peel over time. 

Whether you’re a busy mom like me or someone who loves DIY projects, I hope this article inspires you to spray paint leather and breathe new life into your old items. 

Can You Spray Paint Leather

As we already know by now that it’s possible to spray paint leather, but there are certain things to consider to help you put the best foot forward. 

Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Type of leather: Not all leathers are suitable for spray painting. Leather with a smooth surface and tight grain is the best choice. Avoid suede, nubuck, or patent leather, as they are unsuitable for spray painting or have specific requirements to repaint. 
  • Leather condition: Before spray painting, the leather must be clean, dry, and free of any oils or conditioners that may prevent the paint from adhering to the surface.
  • Surface preparation: Proper surface preparation is essential for successful spray painting. Sanding the leather with fine-grit sandpaper will help the paint adhere to the surface.

What Do You Need to Get Started

The right tools and equipment will make your job easier and offer professional results. Below are some basic things you need to get started:

1. Leather Preparer

Before starting the spray painting process, it is essential to prepare the leather surface properly. The leather preparer helps to remove any dirt, oil, or wax buildup that could affect the adhesion of the paint. Using a leather preparer ensures that the paint will penetrate properly and the finished product will be long-lasting. Angelus Leather Preparer & Deglazer is my personal favorite as it gives a professional finish, even if you’re an amateur at leather painting.  

2. Fine-Grit Sandpaper

Sanding the leather surface with fine-grit sandpaper helps remove smooth or shiny finishes allowing the paint to penetrate the leather more effectively. Sanding creates a rougher surface that provides more grip for the paint, ensuring better adhesion. 

3. Leather Paint

Well, duh! Leather paint is specially designed for use on leather surfaces. It is a flexible, water-resistant, and durable type of paint that provides excellent coverage and color retention. Leather paint ensures the color will not fade, crack, or peel over time, even with regular use.

4. Paint Sprayer or Spray Paint Can

Depending on the size and shape of the leather item you are painting, you can choose between a sprayer or a spray paint can. A paint sprayer is a more professional tool that provides better control and coverage, but it can be more expensive and requires more setup time. A spray paint can is a more convenient and affordable option, but it may not provide as much control or coverage. Choosing the right tool for your project to achieve the desired results is important.

5. Painter’s Tape

Painter’s tape masks any areas you do not want to be painted. It can be used to create clean lines and sharp edges, and it can also help to protect the leather from overspray. Using painter’s tape ensures the finished product looks neat and professional. ScotchBlue Original Multi-Surface Painter’s Tape is perfect for damage-free removal and gives value for money. 

Steps to Spray Paint Leather

Here are the steps to follow when spraying painting leather:

Step 1: Prepare the Leather Surface

The first step in spray painting leather is to prepare the surface. Use a leather preparer or rubbing alcohol and a clean cloth to clean the leather thoroughly, removing any dirt, oils, or waxes that may be present. Allow the surface to dry completely before moving to the next step.

Step 2: Sand the Leather Surface

Using fine-grit sandpaper, gently sand the leather surface to create a textured surface for better paint adhesion. Be sure to sand evenly, covering the entire surface of the item. Once complete, use a clean cloth to remove any dust created during the sanding process.

Step 3: Mask off Areas

Use painter’s tape to mask any areas that need not be painted. This includes hardware, zippers, buttons, or any other areas you want to protect from the paint.

Step 4: Apply the Leather Paint

Apply the leather paint using a spray paint can or paint sprayer. Be sure to consistently hold the can or sprayer from the surface, typically around 6-8 inches, and apply in thin, even coats. Avoid oversaturating the leather with paint, leading to drips or runs in the finish. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. Typically, 2-3 coats are sufficient for complete coverage.

Step 5: Finish and Seal

After the final coat of paint has dried, allow the surface to cure for 24-48 hours before using the item. You can also apply a clear coat or sealant to the painted surface for extra protection and durability.

Tips and Safety Measures for Spray Painting Leather

  • Always use spray paint specifically designed for leather surfaces to ensure the best results.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area and use a respirator mask to protect yourself from paint fumes.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from the paint.
  • Do not apply paint in a humid or excessively hot environment, affecting the finish. You can read more about how temperature affects the permanency of spray paints.
  • Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times.
  • Keep the spray can or sprayer moving at all times to avoid oversaturating one area with paint.
  • If using a paint sprayer, ensure it is properly cleaned after each use to prevent clogging or damage.

Aftercare for Spray Painted Leather

After completing the process of spray painting leather, it’s essential to take proper care of the painted surface to ensure its longevity and prevent any damage. Here are some tips for taking care of spray-painted leather:

1. Avoid Abrasive Cleaners

When cleaning a spray-painted leather surface, avoid using harsh or abrasive cleaners. These can damage the paint and cause it to peel or flake off. Instead, gently clean the surface with a soft cloth or sponge with a mild soap solution.

2. Wipe Spills Immediately

Wipe off the spills immediately, as leaving them on the surface for an extended period can cause them to seep into the paint and leave a permanent unwanted stain. Saphir Medaille d’Or Super Invulner is a premium waterproof and anti-stain spray for all leather shoes and bags. 

3. Keep Away from Direct Sunlight

Direct sunlight can cause the paint to fade or crack over time. It’s best to keep spray-painted leather items away from direct sunlight or use UV protection products to reduce the effects of sun exposure.

4. Moisturize the Leather

Spray-painted leather surfaces can become dry and brittle over time, leading to cracking and peeling of the paint. To prevent this, it’s essential to moisturize the leather regularly using leather conditioners or oils.

5. Store Properly

When not in use, it’s crucial to store spray-painted leather items properly. Avoid stacking or placing heavy objects on top of them, as this can cause the paint to crack or peel.

Leather Items You Can Spray 

Here are the most commonly asked questions about leather items that can be spray painted. 

Can you spray paint leather couches – yes, you can!

Can you spray paint leather jackets – with the right tips? Sure, it’s possible.

Can you spray paint leather sofas – like all leather items, sofas can also be easily spray painted.

Can you spray paint leather chairs – yes, here’s an article to help you revamp your car seats while staying on a budget. 

Can you spray paint leather shoes – shoes are probably the most widely spray-painted leather item. 

Can you spray paint leather headboards – you need to take proper precautions and mask the surrounding of your headboards before spray painting them. 

Painting the leather white/gold/black/silver – Most leather spray paints come in various colors, so finding one that matches your desired shade should be easy. 

Top Three Picks for Spray Painting Leather Shoes 

When it comes to spray painting leather shoes, it is essential to choose a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for use on leather. Here are my favorite picks that can yield awesome results for your shoes:

Moneysworth & Best Brillo Nu-Life Leather/Vinyl/Plastic Color Renew Spray

It works like a charm for renewing or changing the color of your shoes. The waterproof formula repels stains, soil, and water keeping your shoes mark-free. Moreover, it also meets the California VOC standards, which means it’s low VOC and won’t cause harm to you or the environment.

Saphir Tenax Leather Dye

When it comes to spray painting shoes, Saphir Tenax can never go wrong. Not only is this a great spray paint for shoes, but you can use it on a variety of leather surfaces like purses, sofas, chairs, headboards, etc. The paint is available in over 30 colors, offering a wide selection. The high-quality finish and permanent coating work beautifully on even the most scuffed things. 

TRG Super Color Spray Leather

Whether you want to refresh your old pair of shoes or add a pop of color to a new pair, TRG is definitely worth checking out. From the classic black and brown to the very vibrant red, blue, magenta, and more, the color palette of TRG offers more than 50 whopping shades! So no matter how hard it is to find your color, this palette will definitely have something for you. 


Will spray paint stay on the leather?

Yes, spray paint can stay on leather as long as the leather is properly prepared and high-quality leather spray paint is used.

Can fabric spray paint be used for leather?

Fabric spray paint should not be used on leather as it will not adhere properly. It is essential to use spray paint specifically designed for leather use. However, if you sand the shoe so much that its fabric shows up, you can then use fabric paint. 

What kind of paint will stay on the leather?

High-quality leather spray paints are designed to adhere to leather and are flexible enough to move with the leather without cracking or peeling.

Can you spray leather a different color?

Yes, you can spray paint leather a different color using leather spray paint in the desired color.

Can you permanently paint leather?

Yes, spray painting leather can create a permanent color change if the leather is properly prepared and high-quality spray paint is used.

Is leather paint just acrylic paint?

Leather paint is usually water-based, but it is not the same as acrylic paint. Leather paint is specifically formulated to adhere to leather and is flexible enough to move with the leather without cracking or peeling.

Final Word

Spray painting leather can be a fun and easy way to transform your old leather items into something new and exciting. However, it is essential to prepare the leather properly, choose the right type of paint, and take the necessary precautions to ensure that the paint sticks to the leather. By following the steps and tips outlined in this blog, you can create a unique and personalized item that reflects your style.

So, the next time you find yourself with an old leather item that could use a new look, don’t hesitate to try spray painting it. Who knows, you might end up with a beautiful, one-of-a-kind piece that you’ll love for years!

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